If you’re like me, you use a ton of browser tabs. Tabs are amazing. Everything is right there, ready to be read, typed, shared, and switched to at a moment’s notice. Some sites even let you know when you have a notification waiting, like Facebook. So I tend to leave a set of tabs open at all times as my default daily routine. I’ve been like this for years, it’s just how I work. But recently I’ve been noticing that even my once-beefy and now more than respectable desktop is being impacted by memory-hogging sites like Facebook, Gmail, and more. To the point where I can’t even reliably type in certain pages without experiencing massive lag. Dafuq, right?
Well, I’ve finally had it. I’m trying something new. My previous setup was something like this:
- Main window: Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, reddit (now and again), a few other random regular sites, and whatever I’m looking at, reading, or YouTubing.
- Second window: nzbs.org, SABnzbd local interface, Sick Beard local interface, Couch Potato local interface, and Plex local interface.
- Third (occasional) window: Separate dedicated projects, or over on the second monitor.
I tried to adopt a more modular scheme so that I didn’t just have 20 tabs open in one browser. Yikes. So I found the marvelous Tab Bundler extension. This way I could use pre-defined windows based on tasks. One window (or “bundle”) would have Facebook and Gmail. Another, various subreddits and admin pages. Yet another for my Usenet-related pages (NZBs.org, SABnzbd, Sick Beard, etc). But I didn’t necessarily stick to it too well. Yeah, I still had all of my Usenet stuff in a window that was minimized when I wasn’t using it, but the majority of the rest of my use was still that main window. Facebook and Gmail alone were sucking up up to 1GB in memory easily after left open for days (or often a week or more).
So I got sick of it and found a nice little Gmail extension, Checker Plus for Gmail. Liked it so much I immediately donated a few bucks toward the dev. When I’m not broke again, possibly more to make up for my small donation now. But it’s great. Clean and simple popups, inbox viewing, and all for a tiny tiny amount of memory (currently 20MB) compared to what the gmail.com tab took up (between 100-400MB usually).
One thing I noticed is that the extension doesn’t support the use of Gmail’s new categories. You know, the Priority, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums tabs above your mail list if you’re using the new Priority system. Which you should be. They’re awesome. Anyways, looks like Jason Savard, the Checker Plus for Gmail developer, has a way monitor the Gmail categories in his extension using labels. Sweet. Off to Gmail to make some labels.
Fast forward a good amount of time, and I went through and cleaned up all of my labels, nesting what could be nested, clearing out what wasn’t needed, etc. Exciting, right? Hah. Anyways. Then I saw I had a Google+ notification. Then I thought about finding a Google+ extension. Bam, found a nice one in Google+ Extensions by, well, Google. Done. Now what else can I replace…
NZBs.org? Nope, not that I can find. No biggie. SABnzbd? SABconnect++. Sick Beard? SickBeardConnect. Couch Potato? The CouchPotato devs have an official extension. Bummer is that it doesn’t let you monitor your CP install or activity, only add movies based on whatever page you’re on. The upside is that I didn’t have to fetch the API key like for the other two extensions. So… That’s something.
So now I’m down to just the Facebook tab, and then whatever else I’m incidentally working on. And down from 50% or more RAM utilization out of 16GB to about 30% (keep in mind, I do have a ton of services running on the machine other than just the Chromes). And things feel a good amount snappier, I feel much less cluttered, and I feel like I have more access to web apps and services with the extensions with minimal effort and time involved. I can accept that, most definitely.
Do you have a favorite browser extension? Anything ridiculously awesome I should know about? If so, let those comments fly!