8. Mozilla lets users block
By Mark Alberstat
A FEW WEEKS AGO in this column, I discussed using other PC operating
systems such as Linux. Although not many people are going to switch their
OS, one part of your system you might want to reconsider is your Internet
After the browser wars of the late 1980s and early '90s, Microsoft's
Internet Explorer came out on top and now has the vast majority of users,
whether you are on a PC or a Mac. But this does not mean it is the best,
it just means it is the best distributed.
There are several browser options available to the avid Internet surfer.
The second most popular browser is Netscape Navigator. In the early days
of the Net this browser was the best. Microsoft's marketing and money
pushed it aside and today it still has a loyal but small following.
One browser that is growing in popularity is Mozilla. People are flocking
to this product for several good reasons.
One of the factors people like about Mozilla is its ability to have
several browser windows open in the same session. The software
accomplishes this rare feat with a tabbed environment. Suddenly your task
bar is not cluttered with half a dozen, or more, browser windows when you
are moving from one site to another. Until you have discovered the joy of
tabbed browsing for yourself, you are going to have to trust me - this
feature alone is worth changing over.
Another good reason for switching is that Mozilla has the ability to block
pop-up ads. Today people are downloading extra programs to stop these
modern-day annoyances because their current browser, mainly IE, allows
pop-ups and they are cluttering up computer screens.
With Mozilla, stopping them is as easy as going to the tool bar and
telling the program to block pop-ups from that site. Next time you visit
this site pop-ups are a nasty memory.
The built-in search facility is also a nice feature in Mozilla. Just type
in the word you want to search for in the address bar and hit the search
button. Mozilla goes out and places your word in the major search engines
and returns with your hits. If you try this in your Microsoft browser, you
are locked into searching through MSN.
Printing Web pages with Mozilla also seems to be more intuitive than with
IE. On several pages I tested, Mozilla shrank the page about to be printed
to fit on the page, rather than cutting it off, which is what IE tends to
For those among us with a good dose of paranoia, Mozilla also has an
excellent cookie manager. This small utility allows you take control of
your browser's cookies and even set cookie permissions for sites and then
remembers that decision for later use.
Mozilla is also open source software. This means you can actually get
involved in the development of the program and help with its growth
through beta-testing and bug reporting. Although you may feel you are only
one small user on a large project, your input could be included in the
next release or upgrade, something you could almost never claim with
A few other browsers you might think about trying out include SlimBrowser
by Flash-peak, Avant Browser or Safari, the new browser for Mac's OS X.
Mozilla can be downloaded at www.mozilla.org
SlimBrowser can be downloaded at www.flashpeak.com
Avant Browser can be downloaded at www.avantbrowser.com
Safari can be downloaded at www.apple.com
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Originally published 11 May 2003