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04 February 2006

Browsing with Opera

I still use Safari, which is why this page looks funky on Explorer or Netscape. I hate those browsers.

When we were last in NYC visiting our friend Hans, he asked why I was still using Safari.

"Because you told me to switch from Explorer to Safari last year."

He did. And he was right. I defer to Hans on all things techie.

"Now you need Firefox. It's so much better than Safari."

He proceeded to list a bunch of attributes that I don't remember, but I remembered that I needed to get Firefox.

Unfortunately, when we got back to Portland, I was quickly caught up in the whirlwind of the semester, with no time to install and customize a new browser. Safari would have to do for a few more months.

Now it's the beginning of a new semester, and I have some extra time on my hands, so I downloaded Firefox. I can't get it to do half the stuff Safari does, although Hans swears that it does it all. I'm waiting for further instructions from him, but in the meantime, I downloaded Opera, just for kicks.

I had read reviews about Opera years ago, about how this was the world's greatest browser. The only problem, though, was that it cost bucks. Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, Safari, Mozilla - all of these can be downloaded for free. Why pay for a browser that might be a little better when perfectly good ones exist at no cost?

Opera is now available for free downloads. You can still give them money for round the clock support, but the tutorials and forum are free and seem to provide good enough help, so I'll save my $30.

So far, I'm very happy. I can't get my RSS feeds to work, but I've got a question into the forum, and hopefully they'll spout out an easy fix soon enough. If it turns out that Opera can't read my feeds, then I'll go back to Safari, at least until I hear from Hans how to make the feeds work in Firefox!

Anyway, on the Opera main page, there's a link to download Opera Mini, and the text says "Surf the entire Internet with Opera Mini - the new and revolutionary browser for nearly any mobile phone." Fine. But the picture next to the link is what bugs me.

opera ad girl

The juxtaposition of a woman in a bikini with washboard abs and a big FREE sign sends a bad image.

How many people notice this stuff consciously? Not many, I'm sure, and while I understand that sex sells, this is saying that this is yours for the taking, folks. Bugs me lots. I like the browser; it's lovely and elegant and I feel like I'm doing something different and special. It's a more refined browser than Safari, which seemed lighter and less clunky than Explorer when I first started using it. Going back to Safari (or Firefox) now would be hard. It would be like wearing heavy work boots after frolicking around in a sexy pair of Manolos.

However, the advertising is crass and inelegant, and if Opera doesn't have the RSS feed ability that Safari has, I'll have to wear those work boots a while longer.


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