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How to switch browsers for someone who can barely use a computer

Earlier tonight I was introducing Fiona to the wonders of Mozilla Firebird, since IE recently became incapacitated on their Win98 box. That is to say that Internet Explorer Just Didn’t Work™, and they needed a replacement. In the tradition of Joe Clark’s ‘How to explain validation to someone who can barely use a computer’ I’ve decided to transcribe the conversation between myself and Fiona… for posterity at least.

Chris
Well, we can update your version of Internet Explorer to version 6, if you like. Or you can try Firebird.
Fiona
Is Firebird the one you use at home?
Chris
On my PC, yeah.
Fiona
So what’s so good about it?
Chris
It blocks popup ads, for one.
Fiona
You’re shitting me. Really? That’s awesome!
Chris
Yeah. And it has a little Google searchbar up in the corner. You can just type in whatever you want to search for without going to Google first. It has tabbed browsing, too.
Fiona
Which is…
Chris
If you see a link you want to look at you can control–click on it and it’ll open it up in the background. It just means you don’t have to look at it right away, and it’ll be all loaded–up and ready for you by the time you want to look at it.
Fiona
That sounds OK… I guess I’d have to see it in action to understand what you mean, though.
Chris
Matt tells me it’s revolutionized the way he looks at porn.
Fiona
Oh, it’s obviously fantastic then.
Chris
Damn straight.

After installing Firebird and tweaking of the toolbar layout a little (Chris Cook’s ever–so–squeaky Luna theme eases the transition for the IE–dependent, visually at least), I’m glad to say Fiona’s family are now firmly pro–Mozilla. Having her IE Favorites automatically imported into the bookmarks pane was a big plus, and so was the file size — the IE6 installer is an “11Mb to 70Mb” download… something she wasn’t going to attempt over dial–up. Firebird’s 7Mb zip was comparatively astounding.

So that’s three meatspace IE–to–Firebird conversions I can attribute to my name now, with only a few hundred to go. I should probably target my parents next… and steer them away from the vulnerability–laden Outlook Express while I’m at it. Until next time, I’ve been your host, Chris Clark; upgrading browsers for the people I love… one box at a time.