Me and my browsers

Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 04:42PM

By Eric Richardson

On December 27, 1998,, I decided to check out "Gecko" as a replacement to Netscape Communicator. I liked it.

A touch over 11 years later, my browser situation is less clear. I'm using -- and liking -- Google Chrome as my day-to-day browser, but am stuck with different situations that mean I'm required to use Chrome, Firefox and Safari in any given day. That's less than optimal.

I switched over to Chrome reasonably soon after the Mac version came out, and on the whole I'm thrilled with it. It feels less memory-glutenous than Firefox, and the process-per-tab model that allows it to have a Task Browser for pinning blame on overactive pages is a big plus. Password remembering is good, though Firefox would remember some non-password fields that I found handy.

I miss some things from Firefox, particularly the "Recently Closed Tab" implementation that restores a tab state complete with history (and does so into a new tab). Accidentally closing a tab with text in a textarea is a downer.

Ironically, my affairs with both Firefox and Safari revolve around PDFs. Chrome won't display them in the browser, and there are only so many files in the downloads folder that I'll stand before that gets annoying. I tend to use Firefox to do research in the L.A. Times archives through Proquest, a task that involves opening dozens of PDF stories.

When it comes to PDFs with relative links in them, though, Firefox just can't cut it. That's likely a factor of how the plugin system works. In any case, to access the links in agendas from Metro or CRA, I end up having to use Safari.

I also tend to switch back to Firefox when doing Javascript programming to use Firebug's more comprehensive console.

And let's not even mention those times when I need to access the City of Los Angeles' Public Way Reservation System. That takes a VMWare instance and a copy of Internet Explorer.