Vivaldi: Part 1 – the road to Vivaldi

So. I’ve been using Vivaldi as my daily driver for about a month now. What is my verdict? In a nutshell, I like it – and there’s a lot to like. But, like everything in life, it’s not perfect.

First up, a little background. I’ve been haunting the interweb thingy since the Millennium, when my then employer provided me with my first laptop: as a Consultant I was on the road constantly so I needed it to stay in touch. Like most machines probably in late 1999/early 2000, its OS was Windows and hence IE the browser. It was clunky, but so was the internet itself: to get online I had to commandeer a phone line at whatever location, home or office, plug it into the slot and use a flaky dial-up connection. At work there were generally a dozen or more people trying to do the same thing, so sometimes we had to adopt a rota system and limit ourselves to half an hour each – barely enough time to send and receive emails, submit time sheets and expense claims. Browsing? Forget it!

Things improved rapidly and before I knew it network connections were much better and I didn’t need to block a phone line to do my stuff. So I had time to browse a bit and discover things, mostly at home – my project managers tended to have eyes like hawks and an infallible spy system that kept them abreast of who was doing what when they were out of the office, whether in a meeting, on vacation, a smoke break or taking a leak. Those were happy days, believe it or not!

IE was ok, slow, a bit bland and lacking decent picture content and not a film in sight (at least initially: it, too, improved of course). Then someone recommended Chrome (I think it was a client) so I gave it a go, and it was, by comparison, great. It still is I suppose, but I haven’t used it in years, and since I could get at their Search, and Gmail and Maps and all the other stuff, from any browser, when it became an obvious and annoying resource hog I moved on to Firefox. That was probably the first time the issue of privacy invaded my brain as Firefox made a big thing about being more private that Chrome or IE or anything else – which was why I tried it. To be frank, I didn’t notice anything really different or revolutionary about it (unless you consider the fiddly set up and endless customisation options that didn’t always work to be different and/or revolutionary. I didn’t: I found it a pain). I persevered with it for maybe six months, then on a whim had another bash at Chrome’s latest release. That set a template for regular veering between Chrome and Firefox every year or so, and never being fully satisfied.

When I upgraded, finally, to Windows 10 – this was after I’d left my employer and started my own consultancy, and bought my own laptop – I got Edge and gave it a try (with Chrome still my default). I found it ok, better than IE for sure, as good or perhaps better than Firefox but still not as good as Chrome. That remained the case until Chromium Edge dropped onto my machine, and I found it so much better – simpler and cleaner looking than Chrome (which surprised me) and way less fiddly to customise than Firefox. It’d been my default ever since, and has in my view improved with each iteration.

But this piece is about Vivaldi. How did I get here? Well, after I retired, four years ago now, I started looking at alternatives to Microsoft for my computing needs – stuff like productivity suites and anti-virus software was now a licence cost to me personally rather than provided by my employer or claimable against my tax. Since my income had fallen through a trapdoor (pensions rarely match final salary, especially when said salary is based on a quite ridiculous daily rate plus expenses and per diem, as had been the case for nearly ten years) savings had to be found. Enter Libre Office and a reliance on the security functionality built into Defender in W10, and both have been perfectly ok: for me at least, they do what it says on the box. But while researching all of the alternatives for that – and my word, I was surprised at just how many there were! – I, naturally enough, came across loads of other browsers. You Tube is good like that.

I started test driving them, jut for fun and as a knowledge broadening exercise. I gave Firefox another (probably final) go, but it just didn’t float my boat: I found it even more frustrating to set up, had to rely on too many add-on’s, and never did manage to get their Dark Mode to work. I gave Opera a try, basically to benefit from the built in VPN – apart from that it didn’t differ much from the new Edge or Chrome: just another Chromium fork, really. And the VPN was not at all what I wanted or indeed expected. At that time (late 2019) all the spoof locations seemed to be Russian, so that cookie setting requests all came to me in Cyrillic script (even for English websites like the BBC or my local football club back home) and were hence meaningless to me. Besides, since Crimea and MH17 the country is not on my list of countries to visit or do business with, and never will be until there are huge changes in its leadership. So I uninstalled it after about two hours. No regrets.

I gave Brave a try. Like Opera, for me it wasn’t a huge change to Edge, but was again a bit fiddly. I didn’t get the all the stuff about cryptocurrencies and wallets and things like that, and I found it all an unnecessary distraction. I played around for a week or so, then dumped it too. I didn’t bother to even look at Safari, since I’m not an Apple fanboy and it doesn’t work very well or at all on Windows (so I understand anyway). Samsung’s browser is fine on my Galaxy mobile but there is no desktop version.

I wasn’t too bothered, frankly: Edge is fine. Then I stumbled across several videos and articles singing Vivaldi’s praises, so I downloaded it. I took a couple of hours to set it up, and I played around for a couple of days. In particular, as a long time Blogger user, I liked the look of the blogging tool, but couldn’t get it to work and besides it seemed to be quite limited: I got the idea it was essentially for Vivaldi users on the Community, rather than public. Beyond that, it was ok…..but I couldn’t decide what the fuss was all about. It seemed no better than Edge. I gave it a week, then Uninstalled it.

Edge continued to serve me well through the Covid years, when through my own experience with the virus I was not doing anything much of anything – Long Covid and the resulting bout of depression saw to that – but when things looked up this year and I got more active (though still with relatively minor issues that I continue to battle) I found that Vivaldi was still highly regarded. I decided to give it another go, a more serious go…….and that yarn will follow as Part 2 of this epistle.

Join the Conversation

  1. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you need to write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t speak about such issues.
    To the next! All the best!!

  2. First off I would like to say terrific blog!
    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do
    not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing.

    I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.

    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are wasted simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Kudos!

    1. Hi. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece, and that’s a really good question.

      With me, I tend to try and write something every day, including blogs like this or my main title,This World, This Life (https://travellin-bob2.blogspot.com) or just simply participating in various discussion groups, and whatever comes, comes! I don’t really centre my mind per se, and if I have an idea for a piece I generally mull it over subconsciously for a couple of days and them let it come. To that extent, I’m very unprofessional, and rarely plan anything, but it works for me. That said, this piece, and its follow up Part 2, I had intended to write from day one of using Vivaldi, but as often happens, once I started typing, it all came out quite different to how I had imagined it would, longer and I think better.

      Hope that helps…..and good luck with your own writing!

  3. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I think that you should publish more on this subject, it
    might not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t talk about these subjects.

    To the next! Kind regards!!

    1. Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. There will be more to follow, for sure – a few ideas bubbling around, waiting for The Muse to turn them into something concrete. Follow me so you miss nothing! ;-)) BTW, you might enjoy my follow up piece about what I like and dislike with Vivaldi.

  4. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through
    Google, and found that it is truly informative.
    I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if
    you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from
    your writing. Cheers!

    1. Hi. Many thanks for your response – I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. There is a follow up, detailing my likes and dislikes about Vivaldi, and there will indeed be much more more to come, I’m sure. You might like to view my This World, This Life blog at https://travellin-b0b2.blogspot.com – it’s been active for a few years now so there’s quite a bit of content I think you will enjoy. Please feel free to Follow both blogs!

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