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Can I be an IE, Firefox, and Chrome guy all at once?

Why should you be limited to one operating system alone? What about browser choice - why stick with one?
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

I love this guy, but mostly what he writes. Sure, we don't agree on absolutely everything but I am a dinosaur to his Big Bang (not a euphemism). This time, Chris Dawson considers the use of all operating systems of the spectrum - Windows, Apple, Linux and Chrome, especially - instead of being tied down to just one.

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I could not have said it better myself. But seeing as the Generation Y lives mostly within the browser (yes, of course we live in operating systems too, but go with me for this one), why should we be bogged down to using one browser? Why not two, or in my case, four?

I do use four browsers. Some are better than others in some cases and some just don't provide what I need for certain tasks. I can't write blog posts in Chrome, but it's brilliant for loading memory-intensive applications like FarmVille or Silverlight. Firefox doesn't load Outlook Web Access very well, yet IE8 does the trick nicely.

Here's what I use and when:

  • Internet Explorer 8: Outlook Web Access, BBC iPlayer
  • Firefox 3.6: Pretty much everything else; it's where my bookmarks are and synchronised on the web, and used for work (ZDNet), essays (library e-access), research and social networking, except:
  • Chrome 4.1: FarmVille (Facebook) and other Flash memory-intensive web applications
  • Opera Mini: my spare Nokia phone while my BlackBerry is being repaired; Twitter, Facebook and occasionally my web mail

With the exception of Opera Mini - as you can only load one application at a time in the Nokia series 40 operating system with no support for multi-tasking - they all boast saved tabbed browsing. Though IE8 can be bit more difficult, I can load a section of tabs, force close the browser in Task Manager and they are saved for loading as and when I want to use them later on. In the meantime, I'll open up Chrome and have a browse around, maybe do the same then switch to Firefox. It's a productivity technique, and it suits me well.

I do not miss many things about being a computer science student. The one stomach churning, annoying, aggravating and fury-inducing thing was the arrogance of some students claiming one was better than the other - either operating system or browser - simply because their choice was definitively the best and there was no room for discussion. Since moving to criminology and therefore a non-computing subject, and even from discussing it with like-minded friends and tech colleagues, while we may not always use the same operating system or browser, there is no discrimination as a result of doing so.

No one, single browser is perfect. If there was, then there wouldn't be a competitive edge - something that could either be debated as a good thing or a bad thing - depending on whether you're a consumer or a corporation. And no doubt, the comment section below will stack up with comments saying "Firefox is the best" or "IE sucks". Who cares about what you think? It should only care to you what you think.

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