Comic Update: Moose & SquirrelThursday, April 22nd, 2010
Next week we’ll be concluding my AEA stoyline. Today’s comic, a continuity-free interlude, features Opera Mini. I should say, rather, that it features Opera Mini if it were a moose instead of a browser installed on hand-held devices. A short moose. A midget moose with some sort of glandular problem.
I hope you’re able to follow the metaphor I’ve created, as I don’t think I can devise another way to repeat what I just said above.
Frequent readers may be aware of the fact that I have not been too kind to Opera in the past. Typically, these tussles have dealt with how they’ve handled conflicts with certain competitors. Today, it’s a different story.
What Matters With Mobile: Speed
I own an iPhone, a device that comes pre-installed with Mobile Safari. Safari is a great modern browser that renders most (non-Flash) websites beautifully and accurately. And when I’ve got a decently strong connection, it even does it in a time-frame approaching (but not reaching) quickly.
The fact is however that my phone’s provider is AT&T. And when I’m at home, my WiFi access is through Comcast. Despite their many bold claims and lovely commercials stating otherwise, neither vendor provides what I’m going to refer to as a fast connection. Quite the opposite, I’m positive that there are several times in any given day where a 28.8k modem would more quickly deliver me the information I am seeking to consume.
Tell me, why as a society is it acceptable to charge people for a speed that they might, but usually won’t, receive from any given service, rather than the speed that they actually are receiving?
Regardless, these modern day robber barons aren’t making my service any better anytime sooner, so experiencing the web through Safari on my iPhone is similar to experiencing a milkshake through one of those really tiny coffee stirring straws. Yes, sooner or later you’ll get the shake, but it’s not exactly at a speed that’s enjoyable.
This is where Opera Mini comes in. Yes, it’s a less-capable browser in the rendering sense. But if I want to wait for a minute or longer per page, I can certainly do so for my rounded corners. Usually when I’m on a mobile browser, I want data quickly. Very quickly. So Opera Mini serves me just fine. Better than fine, in fact. It’s very fast. Which makes surfing the web effortless again. Which I dare say is how it is supposed to feel.
Addendum: Privacy & Security
A few days back, I made the following pro-Mini tweet: “Speed matters. Especially on mobile. And that is exactly why I’m using Opera Mini more than Safari, despite the rendering deficiencies.”
Ben Adida offered the following question as a counter: “Does privacy matter? Cause Opera Mini proxies all of your connections, even SSL, via its servers.” It’s a valid question, especially considering his expertise in the field of privacy and security. Not being an expert on how Opera does things, I poked at both Bruce Lawson and Molly Holzschlag, both Opera employees.
Both of them said “If you don’t trust us (Opera), then don’t use the service,” and then each followed up with more details.
Molly backed up the security conversation with this gem: “Regarding proxy serving in Opera Mini? We are a public company in Norway, which has some of the most stringent privacy rules.” as well as the very honest tweet: “As such if you cannot trust based on the integrity of a product or its company, no matter who, then don’t use that product!”
Bruce gave us reasons to trust Opera with two security-related links. First, he indicated that Opera Mini is actually more secure on public WiFi than other browsers (with this link to back his claim) as well as linking to a post about how well Opera scored with security according to Symantec (here’s the abridged version: very well.)
So is Opera Mini fast? Yes. Is it secure? Yes.
That’ll do, moose. That’ll do.