Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On uninstalling Google Chrome

I finally gave up with Google Chrome on my laptop. Here's what popped up when I completed the uninstallation process, with my answers:

Google Chrome has been uninstalled.

Thanks for trying out Google Chrome. Please help us improve Google Chrome by telling us why you uninstalled it. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Which of the following best describes you?
I am uninstalling Google Chrome for now, but I may try it again in the future
I am permanently uninstalling Google Chrome
I am only uninstalling briefly. I am going to reinstall straight away (e.g. changing computer, upgrading operating system)

Why are you uninstalling Google Chrome? Please check all that apply
It doesn't load some web pages properly (please list any examples below)
It's missing some features that I use (please provide detail in the box below)
I'm concerned about privacy (please provide detail in the box below)
It seems to slow down my computer
It crashes too often
Other (please provide more details in the text box below)

Please provide any additional detail on your reason for uninstalling:

There are too many Firefox add-ons that I have come to rely on and using Chrome just leaves me "naked" in comparison. I blogged about this potential problem when Chrome initially came out:

I first installed Chrome when I heard Gmail and Google Reader had exceptionally good performance in Chrome. This was true, but as soon as I clicked a 3rd-party link from within either, I felt I was abandoned and frequently would end up copy/pasting the URL into Firefox and continue from there.

I definitely appreciate the engineering skills and value of having a process-per-tab kind of browser, but that functionality alone is not sufficient for a heavy add-on user such as myself. In fact, I have checked the "slow down" checkbox since that model seems to in fact be a liability when viewing YouTube videos: I definitely notice much higher CPU usage from Chrome when visiting a site containing an embedded video than visiting the same page with Firefox.

Perhaps not all is lost: the process-per-tab model could still be applied to Firefox and a "Chromium Tab" Firefox add-on that worked similarly to the "IE Tab" add-on (in that it would enable the Webkit/Chromium engine on a per-tab basis) would be fantastic in my books.

So maybe I'll eventually re-install it. There's definitely value in the "application mode" as well, which hides the address bar and makes a "tab" its own window using the site/application's "favico" as the application window's icon, but that breaks quickly - as I described above - when you need to go outside that site/application. That "application mode" would also be a neat add-on/extension for Firefox. :)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Do you still not use a router?

I was helping out an extended family member over the phone the other night when I realized he would connect one of his two computers directly to the cable modem, in turn, depending on which computer he was going to use to get internet access.

This struck me as being very odd. Ten years ago, I was using hubs and later migrated to switches and then router/switch combinations to network computers. I just can't imagine what life would be like to have more than one computer in a house and not some sort of network between them.

More scary was that he called me on April 1st, the day the Conficker author(s) decided to freak everyone out. Since Conficker's primary infection mechanism was to exploit a vulnerability in a Windows service and he had just reinstalled Windows on that computer, I was worried he could get infected and warned him about the dangers of doing so.

In this case, a router would have not only removed the "unplug this computer, plug that computer" inconvenience but also have acted as a firewall between his computer(s) and the internet, therefore making it difficult to get infected by worms like Conficker just because your computer is connected to a [hostile] network.

Thankfully, I have an extra router lying around that I'll give him the next time I see him, but seriously, if you don't have a router, go spend $50 on a networking device that doubles as a firewall. Most internet software is NAT-aware these days, so you're no longer trading off convenience for security.