I'm browser obsessing...

I’ve been taking a lot of time over the past week or so messing around with Firefox and Internet Explorer 7.0.  My particular interest has been IE, primarily because I don’t understand it as intricately as I do with Firefox.  IE7 is a big change from IE6 and when you make the upgrade, you’ll need to take some time to learn what’s changed.

If you use Firefox, you’ll probably be productive pretty much immediately with Firefox 2.0 (as compared with Firefox 1.5).  And if you’re making the transfer from IE6 to Firefox, I believe it’s actually an easier switch than moving to IE7.  After a week of using them, I still have to force myself to use IE - I don’t like the interface and I don’t enjoy the way it forces me to do change how I do things.  Others very much like it.  You should try it for yourself.

I’d put in screenshots, but I’m doing this from home and I’m not eligable to install IE7 here.  There’s beef #1.  It’s worth repeating.  Unless you’re running an up-to-date Windows XP (or Windows 2003 Server which none of you surfing here should be) then you cannot get it.  In the simplest terms possible, click on Microsoft Update, and make sure you’re system is fully up to date.  If you are not running Windows XP SP2, then you should also click on Get Firefox.

One of the things that I’ve found disturbing over the past week is the grandstanding over finding bugs in IE7 and Firefox 2.0.  If you’re less technical, this is causing some confusion.  Should you be upgrading?  You said it was safer, and yet there are bugs being found even in the new versions!

If you are using Internet Explorer 6.0, yes you should upgrade.  You should upgrade immediately, you should not wait two weeks for it to be pushed out to you.  First, you’ll look cool being the first on the block.  Second it is truly a much better program over all.  And those bugs in IE7 that have been reported?  They’re minor, all things considered.

This bug, reported October 25, for instance.  It’s been enjoyable listening to Secunia and Microsoft argue over it, but in essence it’s been a battle over esteem.  The question is, “Who will be the first to find a flaw in Internet Explorer 7.0?  That will make you seem really smart!”

In layman’s terms, this is someone pointing to a house and labelling it as a bank.  The house may even have a facade on it to make it look like a bank, but if you really look there are tell-tale signs it’s not really a bank at all.  Not even the tellers are wearing uniforms and that safe at the back - why I think it’s made from styrofoam!

On the other hand, the bugs from IE6 (like this one, for an example) have been the equivalent of leaving your keys in the door.  We’re not labelling your house a bank, we’ve just left it wide open for anyone strolling by who’s actually smart enough to look for keys dangling out in the open.  Sometimes, they even jingle in the wind, so it tends to be easy to find houses with their keys hanging out.

I have absolutely no doubt there may be some serious bugs in both IE7 and Firefox 2.0.  Being first to report a bug is an ego boost, but there has been too much mountain making of IE7’s mole hills.  Firefox, too, has some ugly warts that need to be cleaned up.  Historically, Firefox has been quicker to repair the problems, I’ll be interested to see if that continues.

The other issue I’ve run across is, “Our computer guys won’t let us install anything.”

I’m the “computer guy” for my company of “computer guys.“  I need to be first out the gate for things such as this to make sure that others don’t run across problems.  Chances are, your computer guys are doing the same thing.  There will be very few reasons places which will not upgrade because there are so few reasons not to upgrade.  (Reason number one:  Your company still uses Windows 2000 - the funny smell comes from Microsoft’s direction for that decision.  Get the feeling that really bugs me?)  Talk to your computer guy about upgrading to IE7 - he’ll probably tell you it’ll happen on November 14th or 15th.  If you ask about Firefox, he probably will tell you either, “Yes, I use it at home” or “Yes, I use it myself here” or “No, I don’t like it very much and I make everyone use the IE instead.”

Bottom line, everyone who can needs to upgrade to IE7 as soon as possible.  If you can’t upgrade to IE7, get as up to date as you can and use Firefox 2.0.  If you prefer Firefox 2.0, you can use that even if you have IE7 already.  And be cool - like me.