Camino runs much more slowly on my G4 667 TiBook than on the Lombard 333 Mhz Powerbook. I need a good browser.
August 22, 2004 9:55 PM   Subscribe

MacBrowserHell: I just updgraded from a Lombard 333 Mhz Powerbook to a G4 667 TiBook with 1GB RAM. Camino now seems to run dog-slow. And the others have their troubles...

Firefox .9 has the same problems it had with .8 -- namely that periodically, it just decides to stop responding to typed urls and/or dialog boxes become permanent fixtures -- and also seems a little less responsive. IE is, well, IE, and Safari, while nice, still has its CSS and Javascript bugs. Also, I can't run it when I have to boot into 10.2.8 instead of Jaguar to do some compatibility checking.

I'm particularly grumpy because the waits have all the signs of being a rendering-related: the progress bar fills up, but then the page doesn't appear for another 30 seconds or so, and in the meanwhile keystrokes slow down, and occasionally the spinning beachball of death appears. Yet I can't imagine this is due to the change in hardware -- I've upgraded processor, processor speed, and memory.

So I'm wondering: does anyone else see this? Does anyone else recall Chimera and Firefox being truly zippy amazements, and now find them burdensome and clunky? Did I just forget to check some box appeasing the cocoa/quartz demidieties? In short, what is going on here?
posted by weston to Computers & Internet (20 answers total)
Huh. Is this a brand new machine, or did you inherit it? I'm not sure how a brand new Mac would have this problem, but if it's a hand-me-down, there could be all sorts of 3rd party apps that are somehow screwing things up.
posted by jragon at 11:13 PM on August 22, 2004

Response by poster: Not new, but freshly nuked. The only out of the ordinary third party app I've installed is Pro Tools LE (which I don't run concurrently with the browser).
posted by weston at 11:41 PM on August 22, 2004

Firefox .8 is pretty fast for me. But I have other issues with it (crashes, not good with flash (freezes/hangs, often), sometimes portions vanish when I maximize, etc.). I tried upgrading to .9 but it won't import my bookmarks so I said fuckit.

Safari is slow as hell for me. I gave up on it but haven't tried it since November (maybe they're released an update?).

IE is fast but has issues, I'm sure you're well aware of.

Camino I tried for about an hour and then gave up (slow, clunky).

I plan on trying Opera tomorrow. :)

Since switching to Mac, I'm amazed at how shitty the browsers are. The only thing worse are the font management programs.
posted by dobbs at 11:59 PM on August 22, 2004

so what browser do you use dobbs? which was your browser of choice on your previous OS?

and um, yea, there have been some updates within the last year for safari. also firefox.
posted by rhyax at 2:02 AM on August 23, 2004

OT:Amen on the font management end. I've been playing with different programs all night, and they're all shit.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:21 AM on August 23, 2004

SafariSpeed and Safari Enhancer can bump up the response time.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:19 AM on August 23, 2004

Try Moz.
posted by joeclark at 6:04 AM on August 23, 2004

Omniweb, which uses the same engine as Safari, but easily more features than any other browser. I (heart) Omniweb.
posted by jragon at 7:59 AM on August 23, 2004

Response by poster: Moz I will try. But it's so freakin' huge.

Camino I tried for about an hour and then gave up (slow, clunky).

The sad thing is that when Chimera originally hit the streets, it was the baddest, fastest thing for the Mac. I can't understand how this is even the same browser, which is what leads me to believe I might be doing something wrong, even though I can't think of anything.
posted by weston at 8:09 AM on August 23, 2004

For what it's worth, I recently upgraded from a B&W 500MHz G3 desktop with a gig of RAM. It ran Panther just fine and I settled on Safari as my browser of choice. While a little sluggish, it still ran OK. FireFox was slow opening up but then was on par with Safari. I used Camino a tiny bit and don't remember much, although I don't recall it being horrendously slow.

Now I have a dual-proc G4 450MHz desktop, which of course is a lot faster than the G3, but is still a bit under your 'new-to-you' TiBook, weston. And it runs FireFox and Safari just fine, again under Panther.

So, I'd like to dispute dobbs' stance on Mac browsers--they're fine, even on older Mac hardware. If browsers are slow for you, it's probably your machine in one way or another, and not the browsers. What machine do you have, dobbs?

I don't have a ton of suggestions, except to make sure that you try all the browsers with clean profiles (i.e. move your profiles folders elsewhere so the browser makes a new fresh one). Also check the Activity Monitor (it's in Apps -> Utilities) to see what exactly they're doing--are they eating RAM, or using the CPU a whole lot?

You've probably done this already, are you trying multiple different webpages? It won't help to try out (a site that lagged Safari for me on the B&W) or similarly bloated sites and not to try loading Google or something in the middle like MeFi or Slashdot.

Also, what other apps do you use, and do any of them have issues with speed or instability?

Finally--weston, what exact issues have you seen in Safari, assuming you have 1.2 and not 1.0 (1.2 is a huge improvement, rendering-wise)? I know it's not 100% perfect but in all my browsing I rarely encounter any issues that aren't related to people coding IE-specific, which would be equally crappy in Moz-based browsers.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 10:53 AM on August 23, 2004

That TiBook* has one of the lowest end configurations that can support Quartz Extreme. If you have a low-end graphics chip and keep a lot of Windows open, Quartz Extreme can actually slow down application redraw by quite a bit (though 30 seconds sounds pretty extreme). You may want to try disabling it to see if that clears up your problem.

* There were actually two TiBooks with that clock speed, one with 16MB Video RAM and one with 32 MB Video RAM. If you have the one with 32, it's probably something else. You can run Apple System Profiler and look under PCI/AGP cards to find out which one you have.

PS dobbs, to import bookmarks from Firebird to FireFox, you have to choose Manage Bookmarks..., then Import..., then choose the ~/Library/Firebird/profiles/[your profile name or 'default']/[some random dir name]/bookmarks.html file. It's a bit of a PITA, but you'll end up with all your bookmarks in a new Imported Bookmarks folder.
posted by boaz at 11:41 AM on August 23, 2004

so what browser do you use dobbs?

Believe it or not, I switch between Firefox, IE, and Safari, depending on the site I'm going to. When I was on Windows, I used IE.

What machine do you have, dobbs?

I have a G4 867 Powerbook with 640mb of ram. It's less than a year old and everything except browsers and font management software runs great.

PS dobbs, to import bookmarks from Firebird to FireFox, you have to choose Manage Bookmarks...,

Are you sure this is present in .9? (I will try again later). I tried upgrading twice and as far as I remember, there was no manage bookmarks (it's certainly not mentioned on the Firefox site), but instead, under FILE there was an IMPORT option which let me choose bookmarks. When I did, it popped up a window that said "select which bookmarks you want to import from the list below" or something like that. However, the list is always blank (which I thought meant it wasn't finding my bookmarks).

To be honest, the damn thing crashes/freezes/hangs so often, I'm looking forward to finding something sturdier. The only reason I really use it is that I have so many bookmarks in it.

Also, one bug that drives me absolutely crazy, especially on mefi, is that Firefox refuses to let me click on a link until the entire page is done loading. For instance, I go to the blue and am reading the first post while the rest of the page loads. I click the link... nothing happens. Once the blue finishes loading, I can click it, but not before. It's often faster for me to click to the comments page and then click the FPP link from in there. Bloody annoying.
posted by dobbs at 12:21 PM on August 23, 2004

Oh, and I'm on Panther.
posted by dobbs at 12:21 PM on August 23, 2004

Oops. I might have misunderstood your problem, dobbs; you may actually have a profile issue. Either way, in all versions of Moz/Firebird/FireFox/Camino the bookmarks.html file is just an html file, so you can just open up the bookmarks.html files in a browser until you find the one with your old bookmarks, and then use the technique above to import them.

On Preview: It's the window brought up by the 'Manage Bookmarks...' menu item in the Bookmarks menu.
posted by boaz at 12:26 PM on August 23, 2004

boaz, thanks for the tips. While I have your ear... here's something maybe you can explain for me. What's the best or proper way to upgrade something like this.

For instance, I have the Firefox app in my applications folder. I download the new version to my desktop. Then what? What is the order for dealing with the multiple apps with the same name? Do I rename my .8 version first and then drop my .9 in there? Do I just copy one over the other? What's the best solution?
posted by dobbs at 1:29 PM on August 23, 2004

I've been using Safari (on Panther) since I got bored of switching browsers every month or so.

Every now & then I have to crank up IE to get at some page designed by some dizzy sod or if I want to d/l a chunk of a site (using IE's Web Archive).

If you haven't done already, getting the Debug menu Safari can help [In Terminal without Safari running enter:
% defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 1
(change the 1 to a 0 to turn it off)]

It adds a lot of useful functions such as User Agent (Safari pretends to be IE, Mozilla etc - handy for ducking browser sniffing), Open Page With (open with another browser) and so on.

And importing bookmarks from other browsers ;-)
posted by i_cola at 3:06 PM on August 23, 2004

Response by poster: boaz: apparently my Powerbook has an ATI Rage with 32MB... am I correct in drawing from your post that this means the Quartz Extreme thing is not the problem?

Also... I'd thought Quartz Extreme was a panther thing... right now I'm working in 10.2.8. Would I see the issue there?
posted by weston at 5:35 PM on August 23, 2004

boaz, I updated to .9.3 of FF and it seems a little slicker. I imported my bookmarks, which for some reason were in a folder called Phoenix (?!). Anyway, thanks!
posted by dobbs at 7:18 PM on August 23, 2004

weston: QE was introduced in 10.2, so it could apply, but your 32 MB video card should be fine; I've got the same chip in my iBook G4 and it handles QE beautifully. You may just want to save your bookmarks.html file from your ~/Library/Camino, then trash that folder and relaunch Camino (re-importing your saved bookmarks). Also, if you're running 0.7, upgrade to 0.8 or a nightly build asap, depending on your level of bravery; they're much faster and less buggy than 0.7. Even the nightly builds have been pretty stable ... for me.

dobbs: I generally just copy over old versions, since it can be confusing having multiple versions of an app hanging around; aliases, the Dock and dock programs like Dragthing can still point to the original, and files may launch the old version when double-clicked. If you want to save an older version, a good way (provided you're running Panther) is to right-click on the app in the Finder, choose 'Create Archive of ...', and append a version number to the created zip file. Then you can copy over the old version and not worry about accidentally using it, but still have it around in case you want to backtrack.
posted by boaz at 10:52 PM on August 23, 2004

boaz, thanks for saving my mac ass again! ;)
posted by dobbs at 11:57 PM on August 23, 2004

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