Bitching about Browsers

All right.I thought that my first post after Shakespeare in Paradise would be something about the festival, something about the cultural industries, something thoughtful about economics and development and creativity, you know? Something constructive.But no.My first post after Shakespeare in Paradise is about browsers. About Snow Leopard. About upgrading. About this being 2009 and my having had MORE unresolved PROBLEMS with Safari and Firefox and the Mac OS in the past two months than I have ever experienced since I switched to Mac back in 1996. (Yes, my programmes used to crash in the '90s but that was because of extension conflicts, and resolutions were easy; these days, OS X isn't supposed to have the same issues. Snow Leopard is supposed to be the Messiah of OSs and we are all supposed to be happy. Ha.)Imperfect as it is, my VISTA version of Internet Explorer is the most reliable and functional browser I currently have.*GASP*These must be the very last days, people.But there, I said it. Mozilla and Safari, get your asses in gear. I am thoroughly dissatisfied with both of you right now. And here's why.


Once upon a time, Safari was my browser of choice. Chalk it up to laziness perhaps; it came with the Mac, so hey, I was satisfied with it. But the real reason for my satisfaction was one small but very important feature: the wonderful way the browser had integrated RSS and other feeds. No need for me to go setting up a mail programme to do it for me, with the attendant need to scroll through the updates (the way Outlook does it for me today); all the updates to the websites and blogs I was following would show up every time I opened my browser window, right up there in the bookmarks toolbar for me to see.But then one day, oh, back in January or so, the bloody thing stopped working. Safari has upgraded a whole lot since then, looking spiffy and enticing, like food under glass -- but I can't get the programme to work. What's the problem? The damn thing won't upgrade my bookmarks. I keep trying, every month or so, but it won't save the changes I make. So the feeds that are updating are out of date; the blogs that are listed in my RSS feeds are obsolete, extinct or no longer interesting to me; and the reading that I am doing is not recorded anywhere, because I do not like the way Firefox handles feeds. And we have done everything we can think of -- upgraded the OS, upgraded Safari, trawled through support sites, deleted everything -- everything but a clean install of the OS, which I don't believe I ought to have to do. There are no other solutions out there. The problem has been going on for a full year now, and no fixes have been forthcoming.Am I disgusted? Your call.


So I am now a user of Firefox. I have always had Firefox installed as a second browser, as it handled some things better than older versions of Safari, like certain kinds of Javascript and all the plugins that came with it. The only thing I didn't like about it -- which was a big thing because my reading of blogs and feeds up to this year was a major part of my internet life -- was the way it handled feeds. But over the year I've been using Firefox as my primary browser, things have improved. There is now very little difference between my experience of Safari and Firefox, and I am close to being a convert to the latter. In fact, I was considering taking Safari out of my dock altogether and never using it again until this week.This week, since I upgraded to the latest version of Firefox, I have experienced more browser crashes in five days than I have in the past five years. And everytime I get a silly little message telling me that Firefox is embarrassed.Embarrassed? Embarrassed is not good enough. This is not new technology, people. This is not a new thing. The upgrade is not a beta. This is supposed to be a top of the line browser (at least that is what the people at Mozilla would have us believe). This is supposed to be quality stuff.It's not much quality if the crashes keep happening.Oh, and you can add to that the server host for this blog, vDeck, who, ever since I had issues with accessing this blog back in July, have said that the problem is on my side. Even though I have cleaned up my server and every other blog that I run on this site is working. Even though I have reloaded the Wordpress software several times and created a mirror database for the blog to step in whenever the functionality of the current database cuts out (which it does, like Bahamas Electricity Corporation power supply, on occasion, and, like BEC, generally without warning).So there it is.And guess what?  I'm not alone. The main difference between me and Adam Engst is that I don't have his resources, nor do I have his patience. I do not care to spend 90% of my online time figuring out the problem. I have tried with the Safari issue to resolve it for the better part of a whole year and nothing has given, nothing at all; and I do not wish to have to wait as long for Mozilla to solve their Firefox issue. I'm not convinced that vDeck is interested in my puny blog site problems, so I am half-resolved to move Blogworld from vDeck to another server (not sure about it though because I need to investigate some more). I know that my problems are not isolated, and that there are several other people who have the same issues. What I don't get is why the issues persist.My only conclusion is that the people who are making programmes for the Mac, who were once determined to keep customer satisfaction by caring about the customers' experience, have been corrupted and have gone over to the Dark Side, which values profit and productivity more than customer loyalty. You think?Tell me it ain't so.