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Browsers I use

Opera was for the longest time my favorite browser. It had tabbed browsing when that was just an idea in the back of a Firefox developer and it had a great hiding ability in the PC which made it great for work, Ctrl+H (they changed it afterwards) and it minimized to a task-bar icon, perfect for that unexpected visit to your workstation and even better, as my job was visually intensive but I could listen to whatever, it has a voice reader built-in on Windows XP. Unfortunately, Opera has more or less dropped from my the list of browsers I use with one exception: It's my default feed reader and IRC chat client.

I also use it on my Mac laptop because it allows private tabs (as opposed to the whole browser) saving screen-real-estate. Sadly on the PC it has gone from main browser to occasional special use, which is a bit sad considering Opera pioneered a huge amount of the technologies used in other browsers like: tabbed browsing, keyword searches, persistent tabs, built-in developer tools and the speed-dial. It's got extensions now but by taking so long there, there aren't many great ones or something like Chrome's Web store.

[Edit: Mar, 23, 2012:
I just found this great extension for Opera called Ghostery that blocks trackers on the websites you visit. One of the consequences of this is that your browsing becomes faster, since it doesn't have to load a lot of other crap. I block everything except Google's services since I use those fairly often. This makes browsing on Opera way quicker and much more pleasant. ]

This is my main browser in Windows and in Linux. It is fast, snappy and responsive and now has the ability to open mail links in gmail which is great. I worry a bit about its Google integration but its feature set is great including the ability to open PDF within the browser which I love and have downloads in a tab. However much as I like Chrome on the PC, I just can't make it work for me on the Mac. I've installed it a bunch of times but it just doesn't work for me.

One of the features that Chrome added that tipped me into using it as my main browsers is the ability to do targeted searches from the awesome bar. In Opera I can type "w river blindness" and it will automatically search Wikipedia for me for entries on that. This feature has been added to Chrome and it makes browsing for me much quicker. This was one of my favorite features of Opera I'm glad it is propagating.

This browser has come back from the dead and is now my go-to second line browser in ALL my platforms. That is pretty impressive, because before its switch to a regular release schedule it was going fast into the night. In reality I use three browsers rather than just one. I use a Nightly 64-bit build on my Windows set up, which works stably and fast, whereas the 32-bit was slow as molasses, the Beta on the Mac and regular on Linux (simply cause I haven't been able to get the newer builds on the package manager there).

Essential add-ons: pdf.js (lets you preview PDF in browser like Chrome), HTTPS-Everywhere, Firebug, Growl/GNTP, Downloads in Tab (doesn't work in Mac for some reason), FireGestures (if you use a trackball like me) and NoScript (for security).

And if you have Firefox set to remember your tabs from the last time make sure you don't load them until selected otherwise Firefox will start up sluggishly.

This is only on my Mac and I use it for quick and fast browsing on my Mac. I love the integration with Preview and its full-featured print menu (I do a lot of print to PDFs). I also watch most YouTube videos or Hulu on Safari because it seems to work better with flash than the other browsers. Safari is great on the Mac (and on my iPhone), all serious browsing however goes on in Firefox on my Mac. In a way I used it as a replacement for Chrome which just doesn't do it for me on the Mac.

A little known feature of Safari on the Mac is that it allows you to view quick-time trailers full screen.

Internet Explorer 9
I don't use this browser really but it's 9 version is decent, it even has a 64-bit version. I still recommend Chrome or Firefox over it, but finally I can say if you're using IE9 you don't have to switch.


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