You know the gag where film credits list one guy as the producer, director, writer, star, publicist, music composer, and key grip? It came to mind while trying out Michael Hardy's HyperSonic Web Browser, a customized version of Firefox. The developer--Michael Hardy--says his browser proved five times faster than Firefox. It's fast, but as far as we can tell, the only real difference, other than frequent mentions of Michael Hardy, is that it's a bit less intuitive than the latest version of Firefox. However, it's highly customizable and, like Firefox, freeware.
Obviously, HyperSonic resembles Firefox and other browsers based on Mozilla's open-source browser core, but with some things changed around. We've used nearly every version of Firefox and its predecessor, Netscape, and we're not sure HyperSonic's look and layout are improvements, though that's largely a matter of taste. HyperSonic comes with some extras, such as themes and extensions, and it has some interesting touches, like the All-In-One Add-On Toolbar, which displays browser add-ons as icons in a thin vertical bar between main window and the browser's right edge (or right sidebar, if open). We customized the interface to show the Menu Bar and added File, Edit, View, History, Bookmarks, and Tools menus, each of which functioned normally. We also added a Help button, but clicking it only took us to the Firefox support Web page. We had to browse to HyperSonic's Web page to learn what makes it different. It offers some extra utilities on the Tools menu, such as Michael Hardy's Theme & Font File Changer and Michael Hardy's ProCon.
We ran our unscientific but revealing series of bandwidth tests on HyperSonic, Firefox, and Google Chrome. HyperSonic consistently loaded faster than our copy of Firefox, which has more options than a Lincoln Town Car, and just a bit more slowly than Chrome, our system's speed champ. However, the speed differences between all three were very small. Michael Hardy's programming skills seem to match his promotional skills, and his take on Firefox is well worth a look.