February 8th, 2003
I'm a bit short on interesting links to post today, because I've spent most of my time on-line today fiddling with new software.
First of all, I've decided to give Opera 7 a try. It's not that I'm unhappy with Mozilla, but receiving the email announcing the release of a new version of Opera reminded me of some of the things it does better than Mozilla.
- Tabbed browsing is really nice in Opera. In Mozilla it's rather bolted on the side, and sometimes – especially when launching a URL from outside the web browser – Mozilla will insist on opening a new browser window instead of a new tab.
- Opera is a much leaner program than Mozilla, and loads much more rapidly. On a 166MHz Pentium system with only 64MB of RAM this is very handy.
- Opera's implementation of the "Open all items in this folder" feature can be applied to any bookmark folder, whereas in Mozilla you have to save your bookmarks in a folder which has been set up to work that way.
None of those is decisive, but they're all features which I hadn't realised I'd been missing until I came to enjoy them again this weekend. I'm going to keep using Opera for the next week or two before deciding whether to register it, but my initial reaction is that Opera has a lot going for it.
The other software I've been playing with is FeedReader, a desktop RSS aggregator. I tried this out a few months ago and found it horribly sluggish, but whatever it is the author changed in version 2.3 has hugely improved the performance for me. (In fairness, whatever shortcomings earlier versions may have harboured were probably exacerbated by my using relatively limited hardware.)
My initial reaction is that while in principle I can see the advantages of using RSS to follow posts to weblogs in practice there are enough sites I visit every day that don't have an RSS feed that it's just as easy for me to carry on visiting all my daily reads using a web browser rather than try to remember which sites I should visit using this program or that. However, FeedReader is very nice indeed as a quick way to access headlines from news sites. The sooner BBC News Online make all their content available via RSS the happier I'll be.