One of the things that attracted me to the Opera browser in the first place was its offer of a free email account. It was not only fast and simple to use, it was basically better than any of the other free emails on offer, such as Hotmail, and Yahoo, in my opinion. In fact, I had a second account under a different name which I used mostly for my Greenpeace activities.
As for the Opera browser itself, Opera was always ahead of the game with new ideas, such as ‘Speed Dial’, and the ‘Page Source’, (Ctrl U), in Developer tools. As such it was an ideal browser for people developing their own websites, and I still use the ‘Page Source’ function regularly – though now for a different purpose. (See below).
Furthermore, Opera was very fast to implement changes in accordance with HTML and CSS specification updates.
In the early days, updates to Opera came thick and fast. As development continued new ideas were tried out, such as pictures of the websites’ front pages in ‘Speed Dial’, and subsequently discarded. The pictures were “nice to have”, but came at a cost of speed and storage requirement. The current version is 48.0.2685.39, and I have only known 1 update to have caused a problem in all that time. Something of a record, I would say.
At some points, there were major policy changes. For one, the Email facility was deemed to be no longer necessary, and arrangements were made for it to be taken over by another company completely – Fastmail, in Australia. The transition was completely painless, and almost unnoticable as far as the user was concerned. The original addresses at “@operamail.com” were still operating as before, but were now being handled by a company on the other side of the world. This arrangement continued for some years, but this year (2017) Fastmail gave notice that “Guest Accounts” would no longer be available after the end of August, and if customers wanted to continue with Fastmail, they would have to pay for the service. I elected to switch over to another account I run at Hotmail, and my Operamail accounts were no more.
Meanwhile, Opera had taken a major policy shift in that they were no longer developing their own browser independently, but had based their current design on Google Chrome, which they had adapted to look like their own browser. Again, to the user, there was no apparent difference, so apart from a little disappointment that Opera was no longer fully independent, it really was not a big deal.
For those who want to live advert-free, Opera is the browser you need. Adverts are not only an annoyance, they also cost you money, as it takes your bandwidth to download them. Furthermore. downloads will take longer if adverts are included. The Daily Telegraph site in the UK complains whenever I visit, as it can see that I am blocking their adverts. No matter, since they introduced “Premium”, I visit that site less and less!
This is a great idea for saving you bandwidth, which also saves you money. The requested data is first compressed by Opera, transmitted, and then decompressed by the Opera browser. The result is the same, but with a reduced bandwidth requirement to transmit the same amount of data. With a fast processor, any time penalty in display is certainly not noticeable.
Switch on Turbo Mode by going to “Settings”, “Browser”, and checking the box labelled “Enable Opera Turbo” at the bottom of the page.
For people wishing to download films, TV shows, etc. from the Internet, there is always the risk that their computer can be traced, and that they could suffer a hefty fine, or worse. It is therefore strongly recommended that you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to do such downloading, which you would normally have to pay extra for. Not with Opera!
Opera now has a built-in VPN facility which can be switched in by going to ‘Settings’, ‘Privacy and Security’, and checking the box labelled “Enable VPN”. Secure proxy is provided by SurfEasy Inc., a company based in Canada. Note that:- Turbo mode can not be used if VPN is selected. When you are finished with VPN, you will have to go back into “Settings” to switch on the Turbo Mode again.
The Pirate Bay has been causing some problems recently. Where there is normally a link showing a magnet, and called “Get This Torrent”, mousing over the link has no visible effect, and the linked file is therefore not available. Until 2 days ago or thereabouts, there was a second link alongside the first, in the same line, called “PLAY/STREAM TORRENT”, which required you to download a program called “Bitlord”. Mousing over the second link produced the usual result of a pointing finger, which indicates that the link is working, and the file is available.
However, when I did my usual check on software that was new to me, it didn’t take long to find the problems.
Bitlord. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)
WARNING: Do not download Bitlord. It has major adware and will slow your system down hugely.
Now when I look for a file on the Pirate Bay, the PLAY/STREAM TORRENT link is no longer visible. Perhaps the Pirate Bay has finally come to its senses?
When we now look at the page source, however, we see that both links are still in place, even though only the first is visible in the rendered page, and is inoperative.
Here is the trick!
In the source file, both links are operative, and can be accessed by mousing over and right-clicking. My Vuze program swings into operation without a murmur as if the link were perfectly operational in the rendered page.
So, the moral of the story is “Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet!” Use Opera’s (Ctrl U) function to look behind the scenes, and find out where the truth is.