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Browser Tabs: Web Weenie to Web Wizard...By Dr. Java

The Major asked me to take a crack at writing a weekly tech column, so behold the glory of me swinging at the first pitch.

I noticed some talk on the forum about the security advantages of non-Microsoft browsers like Firefox, Opera, Mozilla, etc. However, many surfers are unaware of Tabbed Browsing and its power to speed up your surfing.

Tabbed Browsing (TB) is a better alternative to opening a new browser window when you want several webpages open at the same time. In the gray area above each webpage, there is a "tab" labeled with the short title of the webpage you are using. You can create new tabs with a mouse click (or ctrl-T key combination). Then you bring up different sites, and easily switch among them. For example, you can monitor lines at your five favorite sportsbooks, have ESPN or USAToday in other tabbed windows, all a click away. The first advantage is that tabs are faster and use less memory than separate windows. Second, everything stays labeled and in order making it more organized and quicker to navigate. Most sites have a tiny graphic icon that will appear in then tab that helps identify the sites quickly.

The power comes in when you are doing searches and/or have multiple links of interest. Using MW forum as a simple example: Let`s say there are six topics you want to post or follow. From the Mess Hall list of topics, Right-Click your mouse on the link you want and select "Open Link in New Tab". Rinse and repeat. While the last page is loading, you can be reading the first. Once you get through reading all of them, refresh the first tab to see what threads have recently updated and floated to the top. This works with news articles, Ebay, web searches, and displaying the lines for different sports from the same sportsbook. (Just have different tabs for Football, Basketball, Baseball, etc.) This saves you from having to use the "BACK" button constantly and wait for the page to reload/refresh/reformat. This pays off big when you dig down 10 levels into a site and want to return to an earlier branch.

If you really wanted to get slick, you could put each sportsbook in a separate browser window, then each window would contain separate tabs for the sports at that particular book.

Finally, Tabbed Browsing on steroids (for non-athletes): In addition to saving bookmarks, you can save bookmark GROUPS. So, once you set up all your tabbed windows to check out multiple books or lines, you can capture that layout as a bookmark group. Then it is a simple matter to restore everything next time you go online. This option is under the `Bookmarks` menu at the top of the browser.

Okay, now for some short-cuts, tips and tricks and warnings. * ctrl-T (open a new tab) or (click "new tab" icon in upper left) or File->New->Tab

* ctrl-W (close a tab) or (right-click the tab and pick "close tab") or File->Close Tab Note 1: ctrl-W notoriously fails when viewing a PDF file, so you have to use other methods. Note 2: the Q key is next to W and ctrl-Q closes the entire browser. (One guess how I learned that!)

* ctrl-PageUp or ctrl-PageDn keys will rotate you through the tabs

* You can`t create a new tab when clicking a button to submit a form.

* If the link is actually a Javascript operation or a pop-up, then you don`t get open-tab option when you right-click the link. In fact, the new choices have "create bookmark" where the open- tab was. If you didn`t pay attention, you probably created a useless bookmark you`ll want to clean up while you finish cursing. This almost never happens to the tab-newbies since they look for the open-tab option each time (with cautious optimism), until their hand is trained to click it automatically.

Next week (if I`m still around): "Have you been Hacked? A Poor Man`s Approach"

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