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This is the third blog post, since I decided to change the focus of my blog to reviewing more software and web applications that I use in my classroom and personally. I wanted to get a baseline of the software and web applications that I am using right now and some of the rationales I have for using them, as I start down this new road.
So to start this project I have decided to write about the tools I am using in the following order:
1. Productivity suite (mail, calendar, contacts, todo):
2. Office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slide show, notebook):
3. Social media
4. Internet browser
5. Blogging (blog host, blogwriter)
These are not in-depth reviews of each product discussed, but simply a quick hit of my thoughts about the Software/Web Applications and how I use them right now or if I do).
Currently I use a combination (yet again Apple/Google) of Safari and Chrome as my primary browser combination. Important considerations that I have for any browser is its ability to render our Infinite Campus gradebook correctly, and be supported by Google Docs and be extensible. If a browser can’t do those properly it has limited functionality for me.
Chrome: Chrome as it become more and more stable is becoming my browser of choice, I am not getting the “ah snap” notifications nearly as often as in the past. It is extensible, does everything I ask of it, is fast and integrates easily with all the other Google services that I use (as it should). And yes I can change the theme, which while a minor thing, does make it more visually appealing to me.
Change to Google Chrome
Safari: The improvements made with 5.0+ have made this my secondary browser. I like the extension gallery and the choices continue to grow rapidly. Safari has really improved considerably over the past few years and I like using it. I am not crazy how the spinning beach ball of death still appears too often and that I have to keep the gray look, but those are relatively minor things. It integrates quickly and easily with the other Apple tools that are on my MacBook Pro.
Firefox: I kept trying to use Firefox, I like its extensibility and how it is it is developed, but I never really stuck with it for more than a couple of months. The last time that I tried it in September it couldn’t render my grade book properly and that was the final nail in the coffin for me.
Opera: I keep going back to it because it does everything I want, but it is not supported by Google Docs and some things just don’t work right in it. Version 11 was another improvement and the people at Opera always seem on the cutting edge of new browser development. But whenever I choose to use it, it just doesn’t seem to completely do what I want and I end up going back to a different browser.
Flock: Just changed over to the Chrome style for Mac and when I tried it a couple of weeks ago, it couldn’t use Chrome’s extensions. Of all the themes Flock’s is probably my favorite. The Mac version of Flock just didn’t seem ready for prime time right now.
RockMelt: I got the invitation to try it and I did. Unfortunately, RockMelt just didn’t do it for me, maybe if I was a bit more social it would be more interesting, but I am not and after I used it for a couple of hours, I could tell it was not what I am looking for right now in a browser.
There are many more browsers out there that I have tried (Camino, OmniWeb, etc.), but for various reasons I decided to just stay with the Chrome and Safari (IE not an option on the Mac) browsers which both have their quirks, but are vastly superior to their previous versions.
The browser someone chooses from today’s offerings are more a matter of personal preference than actual performance. Almost all of today’s browsers let you browse the internet, view pages and most of the time do so reliably.