Tuesday, 14 June 2011

CometBird: A User's Review

I'm getting used to the new layout of Cometbird. It still loads like greased lightning and does all the things I love it for. Since adapting is what my profession is all about, I'm going to tell you all why I love Cometbird and promote it even though I'm not being paid to.

A fistful of browsers

I'm a fickle customer, particularly when it comes to web browsers. They get one chance to impress me and if they blow it, game over. I'll go off and look for something else and woe betide the something else if it ever lets me down: I'll not only quit using it, I'll slag it off wherever I go and encourage people to use my current favourite.

Thus it was with IE, then Opera, then Firefox, then Safari, then Chrome. Only Cometbird has ever managed to be consistent in delivering an excellent service in terms of letting me browse the internet and use applications software such as galleries and forums without either locking me out or blocking stuff for my own good or letting every viral Tom, Dick and Harry onto my PC like IE did.

Browsers and search engines

Since a lot of people don't quite understand what a browser is, I'll make it clear. The best way to explain what a browser does is to liken it to a television. What does a telly do? It shows you programmes. You can change the channels to watch different programmes by pushing buttons on a remote control. Well that's what a browser is: it lets you look at stuff you want to see online like a telly lets you watch programmes. Google is a search engine, one of many. It's a channel, if you like, that shows content. Google has a browser of its own called Chrome. Microsoft's Internet Explorer uses AOL as its default browser. You can use any search engine you like on any browser, just like you can watch any channel you like on any television.

I don't have an issue with Google per se. They have excellent products that I like to make use of every day. I'm just not keen on their browser, Chrome, because I find it buggy and incompatible with other Google products such as Blogger.

Why Cometbird rocks

Cometbird is best described as Firefox without the bugs. Recently, a Firefox user complained about the way FF was rendering images. That and other issues with it were driving him nuts. A friend explained that people adding apps to it were unwittingly causing complications. Ayo knows more about this stuff than I do, so I've taken his word for it. Anyway, Cometbird doesn't seem to have this problem.

It runs on a Gecko rendering engine (this affects the way it displays HTML on websites) and is compatible with Firefox plugins. It also doesn't let viruses and other malware onto my computer willy-nilly. And it doesn't block me when I try to sign on to a forum or login to an application like a gallery or online shop. That was why I dropped the other browsers.

Get rid of IE
Get a better browser

The average page-loading speed is vastly superior to IE, which takes forever, then blocks CSS3 graphic effects such as rounded corners, box shadows, and gradients with a warning that there's ActiveX content that can harm your computer on the site in question. I hate this the most because potential clients may find it off-putting. If you decide that I'm not a troll out to fill your PC with all kinds of e-nasties like trojans, worms and viruses, and click to accept, IE then renders my pretty rounded corners as square and puts a thick white border around my nice gradient. Older versions won't display my lovely Javascript fading slideshow. If you've got IE, you've got ugly. IE 9 is out now, but it won't run on Windows Vista Home Basic so you have to buy a new operating system if you don't have Windows 7. You might as well buy a new computer while you're at it! Apparently, this version is a vast improvement, but it's still got a long way to go to catch up with Webkit (Chrome, Safari) and Gecko (Firefox, Cometbird) browsers.

New and improved

So I use Cometbird. The last version was fine. It rarely crashed (all browsers do sooner or later) and always let me onto forums and galleries with no problems. The Firefox add-ons I found useful and the graphics are smooth and beautiful. I have to keep reminding myself to check my work in IE because Cometbird makes it look so good it's easy to forget that other browsers render HTML differently. And every time I used another browser, whether it was to check my work or to look at something using my other Gmail account (I have two. One for business and one for personal use), I was reminded why I took to Cometbird — it's just better. It's the Usain Bolt of browsers and it displays HTML beautifully.

Like all browsers, there's a constant drive to improve and to build on improvements. There's no chance of an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude taking root, is what I'm saying. Increasing development of software, applications and HTML mean there's always a need for ways to improve the user's experience.

The latest version has that "paste and go" thing I liked about the new Firefox (it comes up when you select a link), and it's as fast, efficient and beautiful as ever. I'm a bit annoyed about the loss of that handy RSS button that used to sit in the right-hand corner of the web address bar on sites with blogs, forums or galleries, but that's common to all Gecko browsers now. Want to move the tabs to the bottom of the toolbars? Click on "View" then click on the "tabs on top" option, which as a default has a tick mark beside it. Hey presto! your tabs have moved! It's also got the Most Visited tab in the bookmarks toolbar, which you can delete if you want to. I did. Do I still reckon it's the best and most powerful browser? Oh, yes. Yes indeed. Download it now and see for yourself what you've been missing out on.

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