Brace yourself for a mini-rant!
I have not posted on this blog for several days because I have been unable to access it. No, the website has not been down. The problem was in my computer and the total inability of computer programs to cooperate with one another. Label it “Browser Wars!
When i was teaching, i had the luxury of an IT Department run, in part, by a former favorite student and advisee. So if I ran into problems, I could simply dump them into his inbox and expect — and get!—a magical fix.
But in retirement, I’m on my own. I started with Explorer because that is what the college had taught me to use. However, on my home MAC, Explorer was an outer-space alien. And when it ate an entire website, chewing it up, digesting it, and spewing it out in the usual form of digested matter, I banished Explorer from my office.
The Apple store said to use nothing but Safari, which worked fairly well for a while but then went through a series of unfortunate crashes as it tried to keep up with more advanced hardware. When I tired of fighting those battles I switched to Mozilla, which seemed miraculous — for a while.
I don’t even remember all the permutations Mozilla went through in becoming Firefox, but for some time, it was my go-to browser. Until, that is, Apple upgraded from its latest animal incantation to the proverbial mountaintop operating system, Yosemite!. Do you remember Yosemite Sam from the Saturday matinee cartoons? Enough said!
Firefox couldn’t handle the mountaintop. The persistent symptom was the invisible cursor. After about five minutes of use, the cursor would simply fade away. I could tell it was there because items would light up or jump out as it passed over them, but I couldn’t see it to control it. And then the cursor problem spread to Microsoft Word. I was trying to review and edit my book manuscript using the internet, correcting punctuation marks and spelling errors, without a cursor. Can’t be done!
When I called in the experts the diagnosis was unanimous. Firefox was interfering with the cursor. Go back to Safari. It had been years since my first problems with Safari, so I figured someone had had time to fix it. Right? I spent yesterday switching all my bookmarks and passwords and links to Safari. Wrong! Suddenly I could not access my blog. When I clicked on its link — one that had worked for the past four years — it now took me to a zen website.
So this morning I called Vistaprint, the company that hosts my website. “You’re not using Safari, are you?” they asked. “”It won’t work with our software. Try Chrome.” So that’s where I am at the moment. I’ve downloaded another browser, transferred all my bookmarks and hidden passwords, and for the moment, it seems to be working.
But I’m left with a newly-discovered fondness for monopolies. Wouldn’t it be nice if all these programs were run by a central agency that could keep them working hand in hand? Is that too much to ask?