A Better Browser?

Today, while surfing for some updated software for my "new" computer (see A New Addition to the Fleet!) I found an intriguing page for Opera - a new internet browser.

Most likely you're using a computer with Microsoft Windows with Microsoft Internet Explorer to read this, because, what ... something like 95% of the world uses it. If you're one of my real friends, you're probably using Netscape Navigator on a Mac. I don't even think I know anyone who uses linux or any of that shit, but if you do, well then congratulations, you're better than we are.

Regardless, I use both IE at work and Navigator at home. And although they both have their benefits, I really don't like either of them. Netscape, as you know, was bought out by AOL (before they went on their huge shopping spree and bought Time/Warner) so they're just part of a huge media conglomerate that's almost as bad as Microsoft. Well, nobody's quite that bad. Maybe Hitler.

So I found this Opera (coincidentally at www.opera.com) and I downloaded "Opera 5 for Mac OS Beta 2". Jeesh, for a application that I've never heard of to be on version 5, I thought, this is odd. But hey, if it beats IE or Navigator ...

And since I'm running OS 8.0 on my machine I had to download a few goodies from OS 8.5 - Appearance Manager and Navigation Services. I swear that I had Appearance Manager already, but who knows.

Over an hour of downloading, eighty-three restarts of my computer, and I'm ready to go. I fire up PPP and then double-click Opera. Nothing. For a minute we just hang there. Shoot, I've killed my new computer. Great. I hate you Opera. Then the application opens. No load screen, nothing. We have tons of bookmarks here. I double-click one of them. Bang! We're open. The page loads very quickly.

It looks much like IE or Navigator, with lots of button icons at the top of the page, a URL window, you know, the usual. The default typeface is pretty large, bigger than Navigator. I go into Preferences to change it. Ooh, lots of variables. Lots of things to play with. Lots of things to ruin. I'm excited!!

I decide to head over to Art Barn to test out the (award winning) Flash Cartoons. The first page comes up, you need Flash. I go to Macromedia. We start downloading. I get a nice little download window, you can pause the download, then resume the download. Fancy. I finish the .hqx download and nothing. The application didn't open the file. I go to my desktop to open it. Stuffit Expander (the new one that I downloaded last weekend for my new computer) doesn't recognize the file.


It appears that we've failed Test One.

I go to the preferences and extensions folders to see if I could just drop in my Navigator files. Whoa-doggie! These are two wildly different beasts.

Time to give up on Test One.

Test Two is seeing how good this thing downloads photos. (I don't know, what tests should I do? Try to hack into the FBI? C'mon!) The machine gets a little weird when you toggle off the images when you're downloading webpages - you know, to make for faster surfing you can just download the text. The button to turn off/on the images is right there, very neat and pretty, but my machine wasn't all to hip to it. When I turned on the images on one page it took a waaaaaay long time to reload the page.

Then I tried to save the image.


Crashed. "The application has unexpectedly quit. Blah blah blah."

Now, this could just be because it's a beta version and they're still working the kinks out. But if you can't save images, or play Flash files, what good are you?

I know, I know, that's not really fair to just pan the product because of two failures. But then, whoever said that I was fair? No, in all seriousness, this beta version is too rough to use right now. But I like the look and feel of the program, and when they officially release the first version (what'd you think it'll be, Opera 6? Opera v.3?) I'll download it and give it another spin. It might just give the big boys a run for their money.


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Last Updated on: July 28, 2001

© 2001-2004 Joshua Paul Edwards

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