Technicool: Firefox

By: Jeremy Pate
By: Jeremy Pate

For years as I cruised down the information superhighway, my tool of choice was Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but there are some security concerns with Internet Explorer.

Now, my favorite way to surf the net is using Firefox from Mozilla.

Firefox is what's known as open-source software. That means the source code itself (the guts of the program) is constantly being improved by a lot of people.

The source code for Internet Explorer on the other hand isn't open-source. It's highly secretive. Only people who work at Microsoft can work on it. The result is Firefox has very few bugs, while Internet Explorer has been known to have a lot.

One of the reasons I love Firefox is you can customize it to look almost any way you want. You can also take advantage of what's known as tabbed browsing.

Instead of having to open up a bunch of different windows to look at different pages, you can do so inside of a single window.

You can just hop back and forth without using up a lot of toolbar space. You surf the net with Firefox the same way you surf with Internet Explorer.

Instead of using "Favorites" like you would in Internet Explorer, Firefox calls them “Bookmarks."

Most Web pages work well with Firefox, but there are a few that are optimized for use with Internet Explorer, so keep that on your computer.

To download or learn more about Firefox, go to this Web page: www.mozilla.org/products/firefox.

In order to take advantage of tabbed browsing, you have to download a plug-in from the Firefox page. There are a bunch of them. The best one is located on this Web page: https://addons.update.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&id=158.

In order to change the look of Firefox (color, appearance, etc.) you do that through what's known as a theme. You download these from the Firefox website. There are a lot of themes. Browse them and then select your favorite. You can have more than one theme and switch back and forth as often as you like. The downloads are tiny files and shouldn't take long, especially on a broadband (cable modem, DSL) connection.

Here's a shortcut to the themes page: https://addons.update.mozilla.org/themes/?application=firefox.

There's a lot to Firefox which I haven't covered. Do yourself a favor and explore Firefox.

Also, let me know what you think. E-mail me at jeremy.pate@wjhg.com.


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