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Updated Sep 30 with instructions for adding custom search engines

I began surfing the Net with Netscape Navigator then moved on to Off By One in 2002 and switched to Phoenix the next year. Since then, I’ve been using one form of Firefox or another. I’ve used Internet Explorer, and I still continue to use it to update Windows XP, but it will never be my main browser. I’ve also tried K-Meleon briefly but it wasn’t to my taste.

I tried Opera on my old system and was suitably impressed with it. However, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a creature of habit and I was quite used to Firefox and its conventions. Switching over to a new browser and investigating how to adapt it to fit my tastes and quirks seemed like too much unnecessary work.

But when I thought about it, there wasn’t really a single compelling reason to continue using Firefox. (Sticking it to The Man is not a compelling reason.) Nor was there a single compelling reason not to use Opera. There were actually many good reasons why I should choose Opera over Firefox and I felt I should, at the very least, give Opera a try.

Opera may do things slightly differently but, who knows, perhaps those different ways might prove to be (gasp!) superior.

The browser is a free download and it’s no longer ad-supported. The current version, 9.23, is a 4.6MB download and version 9.5 is coming soon.

I’ll update this entry as I get used to the browser and I hope to eventually update it with tweaks and such.


I had no trouble importing my Firefox bookmarks but I had to spend some time manually sorting my bookmark folders according to my preference.

Mouse gesturing, a standard feature in Opera, is incredibly cool and convenient. (This feature is also available in Firefox but requires a separate download.) In barely two days of use, I became so used to them I found myself absentmindedly mouse gesturing in Firefox as well. The ability to close a tab and switch to the next tab with a gesture of the mouse is enough to save quite a bit of time.

The default font sizes in Opera are gigantic. Okay, I may be exaggerating a little but they’re much larger than what I’m used to. I had to reduce the size of normal fonts from 20 to 16 (Preferences> Web Pages>Normal font).

The tab toolbar is above the address bar while it’s below the toolbar in Firefox. I got over it quickly but if this minor difference bothers you a lot, you can switch it around with a little work.

Clicking on the next page in Technorati’s search results page displays the same page of posts. This baffled me for quite a bit until I realised it was caused by my standard practice of browsing with referrer logging disabled. Fortunately, Opera allows to users to set preferences on a per site basis. To do this, right-click while you’re on the site, select “Edit site preferences…” from the menu, go to the Network tab then check “Enable referrer logging”.

When you close a tab in Opera, the browser switches focus to a previous tab. I’m accustomed to the Firefox way which switches focus to the next tab. I edited the Close Tab mouse gesture using the instructions provided here and here so whenever I close a tab with flick of the mouse, focus switches to the next tab now.

See this entry for instructions to add a custom search engine to Opera.

Posted in Opera, Software.

2 Responses

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  1. Brinstar says

    I use both browsers. If Meebo supported Opera users, I would switch over to Opera entirely. Although I don’t use the mouse gesturing (haven’t got the hang of it), I find Opera a better experience (not that Firefox isn’t all right, too).

  2. Gobi says

    I continue to use Firefox for certain tasks but Opera has been my main browser for a month now.

    I’d strongly recommend giving mouse gesturing a try. I love being able to close a tab or go to a previous page with a flick of the mouse.

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