Firefox 4

I upgraded to Firefox 4 yesterday when prompted, with mild trepidation, but excited about what I’d read of its ability to eliminate the need for things like Flash, using functionality native to HTML 5.

So far so good. I haven’t hated it enough to go back. It does seem to load pages faster, which is always a plus. It’s tough getting used to the interface changes, some of which may not be gratuitous. YMMV. I hate the gratuitous change of menu position for opening in new tab versus new window on the right-click of a link. My surfing is a rapid series of right-click then click on 2nd item in menu. Every time I forget it changed, many times a day, I get a new window and I get annoyed. That may be recognition of open in new tab as the new normal, but it handicapped me for the moment.

There are shortcuts otherwise, like Ctrl + and Ctrl -, or Ctrl and the scroll wheel on the mouse, but I hate my zoom toolbar button add-on being disabled. I never got used to having scroll mice and am as comfortable with the old style. Surfing is a mouse-driven activity and pausing to hit keyboard shortcuts is a discontinuity. Much as it’s a discontinuity to have software in which a lot of typing takes place and most things are done with keyboad commands, then have some vital function that needs to happen regularly and can only be done by stopping to grab the mouse.

I am not sure I see the point of condensing the toolbar or moving the tabs. It confuses me and slows me down every time I want to switch or close tabs, and it feels harder to tall at a glance which tab is active.

I don’t miss there being a status bar, and rather like the tooltip style display of URL at the lower left when hovering over a hyperlink. I’ve been told there are add-ons for changing elements of the UI back to the way they were, so if I have not become comfortable with one or another after a while, I could look into that. I suspect I’ll be fine, though.

No idea how it will run on a slower machine. This one has Vista, 3.2 GHz CPU and 2 GB RAM. We haven’t tried it on the 2.4 GHz XP machine that only has 512 MB RAM and, interestingly enough, gets bogged down beyond belief by Flash. Since it’s possible to revert, we should probably try it.