I’m having some trouble deciding what Web browser to use these days.  I’ve got three that are constantly in rotation: Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome.  Be warned: the rest of this post is just me babbling about Web browsers.  If you’re not interested, don’t bother to read any more.

I don’t really use IE for much, except when I have to download multiple files: I VASTLY prefer the IE download interface to the other options.  I don’t want my files automatically downloaded to one big “Download” folder, I want to both have controld over where they are saved and not have to navigate my way to that save point each time I’m downloading a file.  There might well be a way to alter the settings in Firefox or Chrome to do just that, but I haven’t looked into it yet.

I’ve been using Chrome the most out of the three, in part just because it felt cool to be using something so new, but also because I really do like the functionality of it.  Being able to type into the address window and get auto-complete options that include both webpages and google searches is awesome; I Google things enough that this saves a big step for me (I know, Google toolbar would do the same thing, but this way the toolbar is the same space as the address window.  So much space and time saved!).

Which brings me to Firefox.  I have a love/hate thing going with Firefox.  I’ve never thought it was a very attractive interface, and some of the functionality things bother me (the download stuff mentioned above, and other things I can’t remember).  But Firefox has a ton of add-ons and cool applications that make it incredibly useful.  For instance: Zotero, a bibliography tool that allows you to capture sources from library sites, Amazon.com, Google Books, or pretty much any Web page that has bibliographic data.  Read It Later is an add-on that lets you save links without bookmarking them, for those things you don’t have time to read, but don’t care about enough to bookmark (there are lots of these, I find).  I just found another add-on, called FireShot, which I haven’t tried yet, which might solve some of the problems I’ve anticipated for the 202C pilot program for next semester (something I’ve blogged about over here) (I just realized that, until the Composition Program site is fixed, that link won’t work.  I might re-post that blog entry here, and talk more about the project itself, later).  FireShot lets you annotate a screenshot, and share that annotated file with other people.  I’ve been struggling with a way to allow teachers to comment on student work if it is posted in the Blogs @ Penn State environment (by the way, for more about the pilot I just mentioned, check out the project’s blog page).  End notes in a “Comments” section are fine as far as they go, but they just aren’t sufficient for the intricate task of composition instruction through written comment.  I’m hoping FireShot will be the solution to this dilemma… but I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know.

I guess the moral of this story is that, even though I think Google Chrome is incredibly cool, until it offers the add-ons and versatility of Firefox, I should try to use the Fox more often…

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