Saturday, February 05, 2011

List of the Month - Why my Web browser keeps crashing!

It is, I fear, because I've always got far too many windows open at once.  

But what's a boy to do?  People tell me that it is possible to set up gizmos called 'feed readers' to send me new articles from favourite blogs, but it all sounds far too complicated to me; I prefer to just leave them all permanently open, so that I can check them at any time with a single click of the mouse.  Indeed, I quite often leave individual posts open in their own tab, if there's an interesting comment thread evolving (comment thread notifications by e-mail - why would I bother with that?).  I've never been much of a fan of 'bookmarking' either.  I suppose I spend so much time online these days that I'll often visit 100 different webpages in a week, many of which may have some lasting interest to me - but it would be far too cumbersome to try to catalogue them all; I figure they'll be interesting and relevant to me as long as I keep them in an open tab; when I close the tab (or the browser crashes, and I can't recover my previous browsing session), then I've accepted that their usefulness to me is done.

And so.....  this is what I usually have going on at any one time:

My blogging window - with Blogger, Froogville, Barstool Blues, and The Book Book.... usually supplemented with GoogleAnalytics and Statcounter, and, sometimes, an IP Address Lookup, and at least one Wikipedia tab (for checking names and dates of birth for people I quote on here).

Then I have my YouTube window, which usually has at least two or three different tabs open in it (and quite often also one or two things from other video sites, particularly the Chinese YouTube clone, Youku).

There's the general reference window, which usually has three or four Google or GoogleScholar tabs open at once (essential aids to my editing work!), and at least a couple of Wikipedia pages, along with AcronymFinder, Amazon, a currency exchange calculator such as Oanda or X-Rates or XE, a couple of Chinese dictionaries (I find Mandarin Tools fairly poor in its database/definitions, but quick and easy to use, while NCIKU has much richer content but can be maddeningly glitchy), and the local weather.

There's also usually a sports window, with upcoming English Premier League fixtures, recent results, and the league table courtesy of Football365, cricket news on CricInfo (which appears to have been recently taken over by ESPN - what the hell? what does ESPN know or care about cricket??), the Grand Prix latest from Planet F1, and - currently - the Superbowl XLV page.

Then there's my 'What's On?' window, with indefatigable bar/restaurant reviewer BeijingBoyce, upcoming gig news from BeijingDaze and the Beijing Gig Guide (which often have me pursuing links to free music samples on the artists' MySpace pages or Chinese music site Douban), local listings magazines Time Out Beijing and City Weekend, and the city's indispensable literary salon The Beijing Bookworm.

There's my China window, with essential news and views from Danwei, The Peking Duck, China Digital Times and The China Beat.... usually accompanied by the hilarious China Daily Show, blog-friends at the Granite Studio and Found In China and Bokane, and - much of the time - by CN Reviews, Fool's Mountain, China Law Blog, ChinaSmack, China Geeks, and Global Voices: China.

And finally, there's my 'favourite blogs' window, where I try to keep up to date with my dear blog-friends and commenters: Other Men's Flowers, OMG, Whaddayamean, Cedra, The Enigmatic Masked Blogger, and a few others I wouldn't embarrass by mentioning in public.

Well, not quite finally, because these days I usually have a whole set of tabs just for JES and his remarkable Running After My Hat - following the comments on his two or three most recent posts, occasionally delving back into his archive to revisit a remembered favourite, checking in on some of his fascinating cast of commenters (such as DarcKnyt, Marta, SevenImp, and a/b), or following a few of the scores of diverting links he provides.

Sometimes, it's not just Firefox that crashes, but my brain....


stuart said...

I'm truly humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as some real giants of the blogosphere. Given my dearth of posts in recent months, I'm also feeling guilty about contributing to a browser crash.

Perhaps my guilt will motivate me to be more productive.

Tony said...

Gosh, all that surfing and hugely prolific blogging as well. When do you eat, or sleep?

Feeds (RSS, Atom) are really very simple to set up and particularly good for keeping track of blogs that aren't updated often; it's a bore to keep checking and drawing a blank.

Froog said...

No, eating and sleeping haven't been adequately prioritised in my life lately, Tony. I must do something about that.

Stuart, I hope you can find time to get back into a more regular posting habit. Without a regular fix of China-cynicism from you, I start thinking that the regime here has suddenly become all enlightened and progressive and started turning its tanks and landing craft into ploughshares and so on.

JES said...

Oh, gosh, you do embarrass one.

Agree completely with Tony about setting up a feed reader. Easiest one -- especially since both Froogville and the Barstool are Blogger-based, so you need to be logged into your Google account anyhow -- is Google Reader. You sound like the ideal candidate, not just in terms of your reading habits but in terms of how much (or little) effort you want to put into it.

Almost surely because my Firefox installation includes too many plug-ins and add-ons, I finally got sufficiently impatient with it to give Google Chrome a try. Faster, of course (without all the add-on cruft), and now my default browser at work and at home.

One blog I follow recently had an interesting post on the topic of "Rid[ding] yourself of unsightly browser tabs." It's here:

(Caveat: I like the sound of this technique, but haven't yet tried it myself.)

Froog said...

Thanks for the tips, JES.

Hmm, I just opened that link in another tab - which probably isn't the best start!

I am sceptical about GoogleChrome - have tried it a few times, and not like it at all: I seem to recall that there were one or two bizarre emissions from its functionality... not being able to track back or forward through the browsing history, possibly? I suppose I'm just too familiar with the look-and-feel of Firefox now: it would be hard to readjust to something new, even if there are significant advantages in stability.

Froog said...

Emissions for omissions?? Oh, my! My poor, overtired brain!!

I'm so ashamed.

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