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Nov 1, 2005 5:59pm

arrrrgh, firefox (redux)

A few weeks ago, I decided to take the Attention Trust Recorder for a spin. The extension only works in Firefox, so I changed over from my beloved Safari for almost two weeks.

I had a few complaints about the switch from the start, some of which haven't haven't faded wih time.

  • I'm less flummoxed by Firefox's tab-switching keyboard shortcut. After a few days, I grew accustomed to the control-tab combination, though I still find it somewhat uncomfortable. It's definitely no longer alien to me.
  • I stopped noticing the Keychain lack after a few days of being bothered for passwords I couldn't remember. Fortunately, I use the same username/password combo for my unimportant accounts (newpaper logins, etc.) and Keychain provides a way to read my stored passwords. It would be better to keep these all in the system-level store (what do I do next time I switch browsers?), but for now it's fine.
  • I sort-of dealt with the stable browsing history issue by adding cache persistence headers to Reblog's output. Unfortunately, this causes the browser to fetch pages from disk instead of network, but makes no difference to the browser scripting engine's lack of stored state. I've seen a number of people write javascript libraries for storing Ajax state - I thought this was a ridiculous idea until I saw that Firefox made it necessary to engage in such repulsive hacks.
  • General "macness" is still a problem. Firefox feels like it's been brainlessly ported from Win/Linux land. Camino has more promise in this area, but I doubt it can use the same extensions that Firefox can. Meanwhile, a new annoyance crept up in Firefox focus handling: certain actions caused my browser to lose focus on elements or windows, especially when I did anything with tabs. I have't been able to discern a reproducible pattern, but I've started to develop a sixth sense around the browser quirks. I find myself engaging in technological coping behaviors, which helps the symptom but really shouldn't be necessary in the first place. Boo, Firefox.

Meanwhile, Ed from Attention Trust wrote a short post basically agreeing with my frustrations, so maybe we'll see a Safari version of the recorder. My personal preference would be to skip the browser consideration entirely, and write a local HTTP proxy that's browser-agnostic.

Back to Safari!


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