"We can't get online. I think whatever you did with Firefox made our internet not work so we should switch back to Internet Explorer."
- My Dad
Can we all see where this is going?
I just finished rescuing my parents after they horrifically couldn't get to any websites besides Gmail (thank you, Gmail Offline). I would have loved to use LogMeIn to remotely fix up my parents, but unfortunately, LogMeIn fails to work when there is no internet connection. Shucks.
My dad explained to me that ever since I "made Firefox their search engine and did the Google start page thing," they've had problems with the internet. Awesome. That narrows it right down. I didn't even bother explaining that Firefox isn't a search engine. We've gone down that road before - that conversation never solved anything. Interestingly though, my dad does
realize that there is a difference between Firefox and Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, he thinks using the devil's browser will fix all of his connectivity problems. Little does he understand the actual difference, which mainly consists of the different ways that browsers render web pages.
The irony of this whole thing is that I breathe html and css all day long, and despite my parents knowing my job "title", they don't understand what I actually do, which largely consists of fixing
these display issues and supporting that misbehaving web browser known as Internet Explorer.
I should look at it on the bright side: the more people that use Internet Explorer, the more job security I have, since knowing all the quirks of every version of IE like the back of my hand is somewhat of a craft and takes a seasoned front end developer to code for them on the first pass. But unfortunately, I don't look at it like this. I would much rather not have to support non-standard browsers so I could move forward and start embracing new technology in CSS3. I want them to embrace the new so I can move forward with what I do and I can build bigger and better.
So to my parents: Let me try to explain this in different terminology. I'm going to try to explain this in a language that you'll understand.
Let's say you own an old, junkie car, and we're not talking about a classic - we're just talking about an old, worthless beater. Then let's say I got tired of having to fix your car every time it broke, and finding parts for it was like trying to find a Starbucks in the middle of the Pacific. So then I decided to buy you a brand new car. This new car was a great looking, reliable car with all the latest technology built-in. But unfortunately, this new car had a slight problem - the dashboard told you something was wrong. But since you are my parents, I know you didn't know what the icon on said dashboard meant (it was probably something like a low tire warning). So instead of just fixing the issue with the new car, you decided you wanted your old, junk car back. Forget the fact that I'm the one stuck fixing it up every day with the problems that came along with it like finding a Starbucks in the ocean (analogy) - it didn't really matter to you because you were fine with the car anyway and the problems I dealt with never affected you.
As terrible of an analogy as this is, I will just have to hope it makes sense. Internet Explorer is like that old car I'm stuck supporting and Firefox is the new car that's got all the latest gadgets and gizmos. It's my goal to get as many people to upgrade from their old, junkie cars to the new, state-of-the-art car, because I have to maintain both on a daily basis, and if everybody had the latest and greatest, it would make my job easier and a whole lot more fun. (Keep in mind, switching browsers is free, and doesn't cost as much of a car, so this upgrade is a little easier to stomach.)
This concludes my comparison of cars to web browsers. So dad, I'm sorry, but you're stuck with Firefox, and I hope this little story explains why I'm not letting you switch back.