Browsers
Zhu, Justin

Browsers
Sun, Feb 17, 2019


I’ve spent at least 1,000 hours of my life using Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. That is 1,000 hours each, separately.

I think it’s about time that I discuss how and why I use these browsers.

Firefox

Analysis

Right now, I spend 50 percent of my time on Firefox, 50 percent of my time on Safari. This is a rough estimate, since I use Firefox to watch videos and scrape the Internet and Safari for non-work related activities, like checking email. In principle, I use Firefox because of the open-source philosophy, this philosophy being transparency and full control over how technology influences my personal habits and lifestyle. Moreover, Firefox’s business model is not one predicated on collecting user data, which is what I really value and respect since user data has really become the new currency of the 21st century. History will tell if this system we have in place is sustainable, if history lives on to the 22nd century.

I don’t care much for “Internet speed tests” or “CPU usage” or battery life, but if you do, then Safari might be your better option. As mentioned, I support the principles and mission of Mozilla and Firefox, and if that comes at the cost of a few nanoseconds of loading a browser or that I have to plug a charger more frequently to my laptop (I do that all the time anyways), then so be it.

If there’s anything to take away from this post, it’s to use Firefox as much as you can.

Usage

The key for me is to limit tabs, especially when using Firefox. Safari is better with tab handling and CPU usage. For that reason, I do find myself using Safari every now and then.

Default unless otherwise specified.

General

Uncheck restore previous session on Startup. Saves time and also forces myself to finish whatever work I need to get done in a given moment of time.

Tabs

Check everything under tabs

Language and Appearance

Default font: Georgia

Size: 16

Check Check your spelling as you type

Files and Applications

Always ask you where to save files

Performance

Check use recommended performance settings

Browsing

Check Use Autoscroll

Check Use Smooth Scrolling

Check Search for text when you start typing

Check Recommend extensions as you browse

Home

Let Momentum control home page

Check Web Search, Highlights, and Snippets on Firefox Home Content

Use the address bar for search and navigation

Default Search Engine is Duck Duck Go

Provide search suggestions in address bar results

Privacy and Security

Content Blocking: Strict

Always send websites a “Do Not Track” signal that you don’t want to be tracked.

Check Autofill addresses

Firefox will remember history

Block pop-ups, warn add-ons, prevent accessibility services

Check all under Security

Select a certificate automatically

Toolbar

Uncheck everything

Dark Color Theme

Compact Density

Only put Simple Mass Downloader and One Tab on there

Extensions

Essentials

Simple Mass Downloader

One Tab

Rescue Time for Firefox

Hoxx VPN Proxy

Optional

Momentum

AdGuard AdBlocker

Awesome Screenshot

Enhancer for YouTube

Facebook Container

Ghostery

LastPass

Privacy Badger

WebRTC Leak Shield

Wikiwand

Safari

Analysis

Definitely a lightning-fast, easy-on-the-CPU browser for Apple Macbook users.

My only concern is that it doesn’t come with a lot of good extensions like Firefox since Apple is by definition the antithesis of open-source. Being said, this is my setup:

Usage

Default unless otherwise specified.

General

Safari opens with all windows from last session.

New Windows open with Homepage.

New Tabs open with Homepage.

Homepage: justinzhu.me

Remove history items after one year

Favorite shows: Untitled folder

Top Sites shows: 12 sites

File download location: Ask for each download

Remove download list items: After one day

Check open “safe” files after downloading

Tabs

Open pages in tabs instead of windows Automatically

Check everything except show website icons in tabs

Autofill

Check everything

Search

Search Engine: Duck Duck Go

Check Include search engine suggestions

Check everything below

Security

Check everything

Privacy

Check everything except Block all cookies

Websites

Make sure Notifications and Pop-up Windows are completely turned off

Extensions

  • WasteNoTime
  • Grammarly for Safari
  • MarkdownLinker
  • Ghostery Lite UI
  • Ghostery Lite Content Blocker 1.0.0

Advanced

Show full website address

Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage

Uncheck Reading List

Check Stop plug-ins to save power

Check Default encoding: Western (ISO Latin 1)

Check Show Develop menu in menu bar

Customize Toolbar

Get rid of everything except for the WasteNoTime plugin, which is located on the right.

Chrome

Analysis

I started off using Chrome my freshmen year, a lot. At the time, I didn’t care much for a good browser experience. Everybody was using Chrome so I used it too. It’s got a great console, but I can do on Chrome what I can do on Firefox.

Usage

Find the equivalent setups on Firefox and translate it onto Chrome.

Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge

Analysis

Like Safari, this is my second option after Firefox. The only difference is whether I’m using Windows or Mac.

Usage

This was my very first browser! I use it on Windows computers every now and then, but since I have a Mac now, I’ve stopped using it over the last few years. It brings up good childhood memories.

For example, it was where I got to deploy and create my very first website: http://crazycomixproduction.weebly.com

Man, the nostalgia.