Every Friday, I’ll be jumping on the soapbox and letting rip into the things of the week that have annoyed the living daylights out of me. Think of a dumbed down version of Peter Griffin’s ‘Grind my Gears‘
When I first started writing here at ZDNet, I did take into account a few things about "the browser". At first in my naivety I did throw out a few hypothesise 'willy nilly' without that much of a thought; more excited at the prospect that this new blogger would have tens of thousands of people reading and engaging with him from all over the world. It was a soapbox moment.
Well now this "browser bitching" - I'm coining this term now, by the way; it's started to drive me nuts. Not you though as the reader per se, but this overt self-styled passion for imposing the browser of your choice onto someone else.
Yes, we know that there are plenty of browsers out there on the web to use and to try out. Yes, we understand that the EU occasionally cranks it up to a "Spinal Tap 11" and forces all Internet Explorer-by-default users to broaden their horizons. Yes, we understand that only Mozilla seems to be the only non-evil corporation in the world.
That's all good and well, I say to the general consumer population. But please, just shut the hell up about which browser you use.
Computer science students, you are officially the worst. It's not even the Antichrist's of the Mac world for once. It's more likely to be the scrawny, anaemic looking, chaste without choice, acne-ridden nerd. I won't even throw them into the same league as the geeks; oh no - these are the die hard nerds.
These are the ones that pipes up some arrogant and smart-arse comment in the lecture and thus interrupting the teacher, followed by a muffled, meandering scoffed laughter across the second to front row of other perpetually arrogant arses.
- Previous weeks: Gratuitous product placement mid-TV show
- Previous weeks: Mobile devices without copy and paste
Do you want to know one of the major contributing factors into me changing course after my first year from computer science to criminology? It was the bloody students. I couldn't stand them. I swear to God I was the only one in that male dominated ego-fest who knew how to interact with a member of the opposite sex in real life - and that even took into account the married, middle-aged lecturer with three children.
In the relatively dense real-life friendship social network (yes, there is a sociology of the world outside of Facebook), many nodes - my friends, are heavy computer users still, whereas others are not as much. We all use a wide variation of browsers with Google Chrome being the most common.
For one friend, the sort of friend who knows what she wants but not technically minded, after having a jocular moan to her about her browser - it was taken in good spirits, of course (maybe you just had to be there, but it was very good natured), I suggested Chrome over her very slow Firefox. She had tried it before, but for some reason it just didn't appeal to her all that much and felt apathetic to trying anything else. She didn't want to move outside of her comfort zone.
"That's fine, love. Everyone's different. I prefer Chrome, but if you prefer Firefox, then you just carry on using it and let nobody else tell you otherwise", I said. In text, it may well appear to be underwritten with sarcastic tone, but sincerely it was not. And without a second thought, we both carried on sipping our tea and talking about our various and respective encounters following the night before.
In my eyes, browser choice, as well as the "Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux" furore, mobile phone which usually encompasses BlackBerry vs. iPhone, and other major consumer brands which conflict and contrast its users against their rivals, I treat as a "consumerists' dimension of difference".
In short, a sociological dimension of difference is an element to our lives where we blend into society, such as race, sexuality, gender identity, and religion. A consumer version of that would be essentially the same thing, just in terms of brand alignment and an innate need to choose one particular product over another for reasons of in-built psychology. Believe it or not, you'll have some users who prefer touch over typing, because their brains are simply geared that way.
The very vast majority of people do not discriminate on the aforementioned sociological dimensions of difference; I especially don't, considering I consider myself to be of a 'dimension of difference' in at least one of those areas. So why take it out on something 'less offensive' like consumer choice?
Well, I find it offensive that someone would essentially discriminate on browser choice or the others which I mentioned above, that causes a negative or ill feeling, hurt or an increase in disparity or equality.
Yes, even though we may well be the most respectful, politically correct and culturally aware people, we have all made faux pas' in the past: the slightly racist but ironic joke at the party when among friends of all ethnicity's, a sexist comment which was made in a purely jocular way to a friend of a different gender, and so on, so forth and suchlike. We are all guilty of it.
I, at least in this area have probably recommended a certain kind of browser for students because of features around productivity, stability and compatibility. But I doubt I would go as far as to hold a gun to a puppy's head and say, "use this browser, or the fluffy sod gets it" in written form. So stop doing it because all it does it make you look like an aggressive, arrogant idiot.