More browsers than I can count

So sure, Google gave Mac users the finger with Crown, fine! Google, you be that way!

I’ve been playing with a few browsers, and wanted to offer my thoughts.

Minefield is a Mac optimized Firefox. Not to be confused with Mozilla’s own alpha app Minefield (supposed to be faster than chrome).

It’s basically Firefox, but compiled specifically for Intel Macs. I haven’t had any problems with it, and have been using it a few days now. So far so good. Plugins all work, etc, so that’s nice.

I came across Cruz, just this morning (and am writing this post in it), and really like it. It’s not ready for primetime yet, if for no other reason than there’s no clear/easy way to import bookmarks. Importing bookmarks, FTL.

What I do like is that it seems incredibly light weight, and is very user extensible, with scripts from I’ve already stripped ads and reformatted gmail, and have friendfeed running, as an iPhone site in a left pane, seperate browser. Cruz comes with left and right pane browser plugins by

 default, so you can run another site, or two (Not on the screen real estate of a Macbook Air!) in seperate instances. You can even control the user-agent of each pane, which is cool since most iPhone friendly sites, make awesome sidebar apps.

Of course there’s still regular old Firefox, and Safari, but there’s not much need to discuss them, we all know about those two browsers. I’d totally use Safari as my every day browser, but some of the Firefox plugins are just too useful. Camino is an option, and I tried it for a while a year ago, there weren’t enough plugins to make it compelling. That might have changed, I’ll take a look.

Fluid is a choice too, it’s by the guy who created Cruz. I just don’t get the point of a webpage, as an application. Sure you get seperate instances of each page, so one bad script doesn’t kill your browsing, but really, that’s it? I suppose if you only have 1 tab open, then Fluid would make sense, since it’s lighter than FF and I think even safari, but who only ever has one site open? Not me.

As much as I like choice, sometimes it’s too much. I wish one or even two companies could figure out how to make a stable browser, that doesn’t suck memory, doesn’t crash, and is fast. 


I came across (this morning, also) a cool tool to help with “too many browsers to choose from” syndrome. Choosy is a pref pane (sorry windowz people) that sets itself as your default browser. After that, clicking links in email, IM, etc, can either open your default browser, or offer a cool graphical, “Which browser” dialog so you can divert links where you’d like them.

This is especially useful to me, since Minefield doesn’t seem to get “open as tab” when clicking links in Twhirl. Now I can choose, which does handle new tab. 

It’s also nice since sometimes if I’m just looking at something quick, I can open it up in Safari, to load fast, read it, and close. BAM!

So far so good, Firefox hasn’t opened in about 3 days.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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