Google Chrome is a remarkably powerful web browser. When running on Mac OS it’s also an incredible power and memory hog. At least once a week it bloats so badly that it makes my desktop unusable. Starting today I’m going to take a trial run of living life without Chrome.
Since it’s Mac native, I’ve given Safari the honor of being the first test platform. Although today’s tests have been limited, it’s held up admirably – and more importantly hasn’t slowed the machine down to an infuriating place. As it turns out the threshold for victory in these real life tests isn’t going to be all that high. Anything that lets me get through a week without crashing the computer will likely get a pass as a better option than continuing on with Chrome.
There was a time I’d want to go out and try all the obscure browsers hoping to turn up something with wow factor to spare. These days, I’m mostly about simplicity in use rather than wow. I don’t care so much how the machine runs just so long as it does. I’m not going to spend a lot of time wanting to tinker around under the hood until it behaves “just so.”
I’d love to place all the blame squarely on Google here, but if I’m fair, I’m currently running a slightly more than 4 year old machine that was a touch under powered when it came out of the box. The ever increasing demand for raw processing power in a computer hasn’t been kind to my Mini. Truth is, switching browsers is probably the last ditch effort to coax a bit more life out of the machine before bringing a replacement online. If I were smart, I’d go ahead and make that purchase now instead of when something finally fails on me… but then needing to buy a computer right-the-hell-now after the old one has crapped out is pretty much one of my oldest continuously observed traditions.
Ditching Chrome won’t solve all that ails computing here, but it could well alleviate the most obnoxious symptom of aging equipment. For today, that would be more than good enough.
1. Fleeing to Canada. Despite the ferocity of your Facebook or Twitter conviction, face it, no one is actually going to move to Canada as a result of this week’s presidential election. Even if you did, you’d find a high tax rate, national health care, and an entire province that wants to break away and form its own country. So all you’d actually accomplish is swapping out one dysfunctional political system for another and paying a hefty moving bill for the privilege. Can we all give the hyperbole a rest and start talking about changes we can make here in the real world to start undoing the mess we’ve collectively made over the last 60-odd years?
2. Antique Technology. Using Internet Explorer 8 is pretty much like driving around in a 1979 Dodge Omni; sure it’s technically transportation, but its reliability is questionable and its style is pretty much non-existent. Like the idiot lights on out fictitious Omni, IE8 spends most of its time throwing up security certificate errors, blocking content, and generally making it unbearable to use for anything other than the most basic tasks… and even then it’s slow as Moses in a minefield. It’s always a comfort to know that here in the most technologically sophisticated arms of government, we insist on plodding along with antiques from the last decade. That’s a sure path to effectiveness and efficiency.
3. Mary Jane. If the people of the great state of Colorado want to toke up for recreational purposes, I say God bless. Given this country’s outstanding record of success at enforcing morality laws, my advice to the DEA is just let ‘em go. We can argue all night about pot being carcinogenic, addictive, a gateway to the wild world of opiates and other drugs, but I have a hard time seeing how it’s all that much different than cigarettes or alcohol. Regulate it, tax it, and then let the states decide how, when, and by whom it can be used. Carrying pot as a Schedule 1 narcotic, with heroin, meth, and LSD strikes me as dishing out a $1000 penalty for a $10 crime. In the grand scheme of shit that’s important, sorry, this just doesn’t make the cut for me.
Until the arrival of the new computers, the fact that many of us installed Firefox as our default web browser wasn’t quite officially sanctioned, but wasn’t banned either. I’d have still rather used Chrome, but that wasn’t even considered worthy of being an option. Now look, I’m all in favor of network security, but that doesn’t have to mean we get stuck using antiquated software – and yes, even a three year old browser feels antiquated after you’re use to using one of the other available options – you know, the ones that have been released in the current decade.
Hey, I’m super excited about getting a new computer. It’s swell that I can now unplug the machine and not have the battery die immediately. It’s just on this one little point of software where we’re having a real problem. I’m sure Internet Explorer works just fine for most people under most conditions, but on a machine that’s already bogged down with metric tons of security software and on a network that no one would call speedy under the best of conditions, IE pretty much adds insult to injury.
We’re a nation that prides itself on technological innovation, so please, for the love of God, his saints, and all things good and holy, can we find a way to look at the interwebs that doesn’t involve dragging out this old warhorse of a program? We’re seriously not doing ourselves any favors here. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask about the nine times I had to force quit Explorer before I went to lunch this morning.
And while you’re at it, can you please stop resetting my default homepage. I know our web address and I find it a lot less useful in my daily work than Google is. Sigh.