A Man Without a Browser

I’m a web programmer. As part of my job, I look at web pages. For money.

To look at web pages, one needs a web browser. I clung to Netscape 4.5 well past 2000 out of sheer Microsoft spite. But IE 6 was clearly superior, and once I’d gotten used to the look of the icons and whatnot, I switched over. No more nasty browser crashes.

Well, almost.

Firefox is the big thing in browsing these days, though, right? Everybody touts the superiority of Firefox like it were Hitler’s assassin. So I started playing with it — it was useful to make sure pages were loading right for the odd minority that preferred it — but never really got into it.

Then, Microsoft released IE7. Only took, what, 6 years? Great. You’re doing great there, fellas. I downloaded the beta, and it would promptly crash every time I tried to open it. I went through a lengthy ordeal to roll back to IE6, and vowed to never try it again-

But I did. They released the stable version, and voilá, there I was downloading again. I liked the little tab button to assist me in opening new tabs. Nifty!

But I swear, for the life of me, that has to be the most convoluted bunch of menu bars in history. I can’t get my menus to look anything like they did before, or like they do in most reasonable programs (File menu up top, icons beneath), so I’ve now deleted the shortcut to it. We hates it.

So I’m stuck with Firefox, which doesn’t have that nifty new tab button in a convenient location, but I managed to find it and add it to the icon bar, at least. But I can’t get the bookmark toolbar to show my special bookmarks — a tool I used religiously for accessing reference works. So I’ve just hidden that toolbar.

Now I can’t get Windows Media Player to install. Which means I can’t play any videos from CNN.com, my primary source for news.

I don’t think I’m asking for much, honestly. And I don’t think I’m guilty of user-error. I’m a pretty bright guy. (My dad went to Harvard on a Fulbright scholarship, so even if I only got HALF his intelligence, I’m still at least Yale material. Oh, SNAP!)

Maybe the IE issues are because I have Norton on my box. Or the Google toolbar. But both worked just dandy with IE6, so why should I be having trouble now? “Well, sir, we replaced your entire transmission — it’s a beauty — but you’re on your own trying to get that engine to start. We were plain flummoxed there.”

Wow — “flummoxed”! Didn’t I tell you I’m bright? That word was right there in my vocabulary, ready to use. Yale, here I come!

Assuming I can get to their web page to apply.