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Spending half a day at the Opera

First Inqpressions Opera 9 is really good
Tue Jun 20 2006, 17:57
BEFORE WE GO any further your humble correspondent must tell you something.

Over the years, on different occasions, I have unsuccessfully tried to become an Opera user. At first I would play with Opera for three days in a row and marvel at mouse gestures or tabs or something else. But on the fourth day I would always go back to firefox or IE (this was in prehistoric Win98 times) and resume my normal browsing habits.

It wasn't that I disliked Opera for a particular reason. Well, there was one major reason - ads - but even after Opera became ad-free I still didn't warm to it. I felt that Opera was too clunky, bloated and gimmicky to be a real browser. All I wanted was speed and compatibility with my favourite websites. I didn't care for anything else.

When firefox came out I felt that it was the perfect browser. It was small, lean, secure and fast. It was a breath of fresh air after many agonizing years of netscape and internet explorer. As a general user I had absolutely no reason to switch to Opera, and more so, pay for it. Even after it became free I didn't even bother to check it out.

When I got the chance do this first inqpression I tried to approach Opera 9 without bias. I tried to forget my previous experiences and look at it anew. Fair and balanced? We've heard of it.

What can I tell you? My initial impression is that Opera 9 is a pretty damn excellent browser. It is extremely quick and stable. It works properly with all my favourite websites. It has all the necessities web surfers need such as a popup blocker and form auto-completion. Heck, it even automatically imported all my bookmarks.

Some new features in Opera 9 include BitTorrent support, widgets, thumbnail previews, site preferences, improved rich text editing and a content blocker. Although, out of these features I can only envision two that may be useful to me.

alt='opera1a'

BitTorrent support is basic and doesn't really move me at all. I will stick with Azaureus and BitComet, thank you. Thumbnail previews look like a gimmick - at least to me - but I am sure that a lot of people will think different(tm). Site preferences is probably a very useful feature but I doubt that I'll ever use it.

Widgets, however, looks pretty interesting. On Opera's website widgets are described as, "small Web applications (multimedia, newsfeeds, games and more) that make your desktop experience more fun". In other words Opera now has extensions like Firefox.

One thing that I really liked was the right click menu. You can right-click on a word and search with it, or check the dictionary or encyclopedia. Other times you can use the right-click menu to block content, copy the address of the page or check spelling. Sure, you can get all of this in Firefox too but I am actually glad that this stuff is inbuilt.

Another great thing, that has been in Opera for a long time, is a little feature that remembers the last page you were looking at. It can be pretty useful when Windows crashes.

For what's it worth Opera 9 is an excellent piece of software, although I am still not sure if I'll completely switch over from firefox. Check it out for yourself - you may love it.

Likes:
Speed and stability.
Modifiable toolbar placements.
Right-click menu.

Dislikes:
No keyboard shortcut to open a link in a new window.
There is actually not much to complain about…

Don't care for:
BitTorrent support.
Widgets (but that's just me).
Thumbnail previews

 

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