The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Monday, July 14, 2008

Safar(i), so good

I have previously argued for the merits of the Firefox browser, and how it is infinitely better than the standard Internet Explorer which, for reasons I'll never know, still commands approximately 75% of the market share (on PC).  

However, I have become somewhat weary of the browser, especially since version 3 was released a few weeks ago.  Don't get me wrong: it's a powerful browser that has many great features, and the addons, most notably AdBlock, enrich ones browsing experience.  

However, Firefox is still a memory hog.  Immediately after Firefox opens, it already takes up no less than 60,000 K of RAM, even if it isn't doing anything.  The longer it stays open, the worse it gets.  I also noticed that, despite the claims of the Firefox team, the browser can be slow at times, especially with certain pages.  I would argue that fewer people would use the browser were it not for the great addons.  

I have since discovered a new browser: Safari.  This browser has  been around for quite some time on the Mac, and was released for Windows recently.  I have used it for about a week now, and here are my findings:

Safari is by far the fastest browser on for the PC I have tried (I also have tested IE, Firefox, and Opera).  I have never seen a browser load pages as quickly.  As far as resources go, it is the most lightweight, often taking up as little as 8,000 or 10,000 KB of RAM.  It is also probably the most attractive browser I've seen.  I've been using PCs my entire life, but, whatever be the faults of Mac, it is aesthetically superior.  

I have so far found few faults with this browser.  It doesn't seem to be able to multitask very well: it supports tabbed browsing (I tab like crazy), but especially if you are dealing with content rich sites (videos, etc), it doesn't like it when you have more than one or two loading at once.  The browser occasionally hangs for a few seconds, but I have a hunch it is the barrage of advertisements intended to overwhelm you into submission that is doing this more than anything else.  Unfortunately, Safari does not (yet) have an adblocking apparatus.  I haven't had any problems yet, but I can't say for certain how safe Safari is.  

The bottom line: if you want a lightweight, lightning fast browser, get this.  

Speaking of software, for a year or so I was using MSN lite as my messaging client.  This is MSN but without the annoying ads or hidden software that gets installed on your computer.  I found that even this lite version was remarkably inefficient: even after signing out, I noticed MSN was taking up no less than 20,000 K, which is far too much for a program that isn't doing anything.

There are a few alternatives to MSN that most people probably aren't aware of.  I have tried a few of them, including Miranda, Pidgin, and Trillian, and I find the latter to be the best overall.  Trillian is just as good as MSN, if not better, and it is faster and more efficient.  Right now I am signed off, but the program is still running in the task bar, and it is taking up only 1,500 KB.  It is a lightweight alternative that has many neat features, and I highly recommend it.  Pidgin and Miranda also work well, but they leave something to be desired.  Miranda is incredibly fast and lightweight, and works great if you only chat and do nothing else.  Pidgin appears more lightweight than Trillian,  but surprisingly, it takes up more RAM.  

I hope this post has been useful for at least one person.  We live in an age of abundant free software, most of which works far better than default programs.  Why stick with something you don't like if you aren't stuck with it?  

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

why dont you marry safari?

4:23 PM  

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