Well I was finally forced to join the masses and download Firefox and ditch Internet Explorer. Yes - my nickname is ‘Johnny Come Lately’.

I had been aware of the Firefox browser for a while but my previous experience was with a very early version of Mozilla that had a few problems with a couple of the Web sites I was using at the time.

The final straw came that pushed me over the edge was when my children downloaded some invasive spyware that commandeered the Web browser and implanted a ‘Web Search’ toolbar. As you can not deconfigure this toolbar without completely removing the product, I found myself uninstalling it, my kids would reinstall it for some whizzy colourful cursors. Repeat ad infinitum. Life is simply too short.

The immediate benefit of Firefox is the tabbed browsing which lets you keep multiple Web sites open and visible at the same time. After you have used this feature for a while, it is indispensible and you wonder how you ever lived without it.

Then I experimented with RSS feeds from the BBC and elsewhere. Instead of having to periodically check a range of Web sites for any new content, I wanted automatic notification of when new content was available. However, while the ‘Live bookmarks’ feature in Firefox was pretty good, I really wanted something like a pseudo newsgroup that would list new articles on a Website just like articles in a newsgroup. So, I downloaded Thunderbird which seamlessly and painlessly converted all my email messages and contacts from Outlook Express and I was finished.

I have been using Firefox for a week now and so far, the only Web sites that I have encountered problems with is Sony’s SonicStage download page (which insists on Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0) and Blueyonder’s selfcare home page (which is gloriously blank). However, this probably says more about the authors of these Web sites rather than any deficiencies in Firefox.