It’s the little things

The university is implementing a new computer system that will apparently do everything bar tie our shoelaces for us. (Yes, you know this can’t turn out well, don’t you?)

And so I’m reading the instructions for setting up my browser (only IE6 or FF2 allowed?… not starting too good, is it?). And the very first thing they want me to do to Firefox is to make new pages open in a new window instead of a new tab.

And yes, it’s a little thing. Except it isn’t that bloody little. FF tabs are a reasonably big deal for me. There are many reasons I use Firefox, but the tabbed browsing is not the least significant. Tabs are my buddies, and I have a lot of ’em. I don’t want to have a load of open windows cluttering up the computer. Surely I’m not alone?

Fortunately, I’m only likely to use this system once or twice a month. If it’s really that critical, I can tweak the settings as and when. (I might even bring myself to use IE… although I’ve just remembered that I upgraded to IE7.) But that’s not the bloody point. What am I supposed to think about a computer “system” that isn’t sophisticated enough to be able to deal with a key feature of the software I work with every day and that helps me get my job done?

Annoying enough so far. But do you know what was the final straw? I wandered over to the help pages for the system (just wondering if they might be a bit more useful than most of the university’s computing so-called help pages). And apparently

[systemName] is all about you

Not to mention that it’s

putting you in control…

There’s one thing worse than being forced (by employers, institutions, politicians and all the rest) to use bureaucratic, inflexible systems that at best cause us inconvenience and at worst make our lives downright bloody miserable. And it’s being told that the aforesaid systems are not bureaucratic and inflexible at all. No, no, they’re all about us! They don’t really take away our choices and control over our lives, whatever gave us that silly idea?! They’re really putting us in control – look, it says so here!

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4 Responses to It’s the little things

  1. Ancarett says:

    But, but, but, even IE now has tabbed browsing! Why in the name of all that’s holy and unholy would this not be able to deal with tabbed browsing? I don’t want to know, do I?

    You have all my sympathies. Your computer system should meet our website content management system: I think they have a lot in common. At least our CMS is confined to website authoring, however!

  2. Sharon says:

    But does IE6 have tabbed browsing, Ancarett? Perhaps that’s why it’s not supporting IE7.

    I browsed through the instructions a bit further and other things they want you to do include turning on ‘Advanced’ Javascript functions that resize open windows and generally muck about with your browser. I reckon this might be why they want to be opening things in new windows. But I have no idea why it *needs* to do all that. Again, it’s stuff that basically takes away your control over the way you use your computer, for no very good reason. I’m just really glad I’m not in a job where I’d have to use this system a lot – and it’s going to be affecting a lot of people in admin departments.

  3. david tiley says:

    If you really want to have weird fun with your browser, try Opera, which is now free.

  4. sharon says:

    I like Opera. Mind you, it’s like the other browsers I have installed on the computer (Safari, Camino, and what was that other one someone recommended?). As long as Firefox keeps giving me what I want, I hardly ever really try them out…

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