It gets a little tiring, being a peon on the ground among the Clashes of the Computer Titans. The battles have varied in my computing lifetime- IBM versus the Attack of the Clones, Windows vs. Mac, Microsoft vs. Netscape and its progeny, AOL vs. the Opener Internet- and today, all sorts of different platforms fighting to gain turf on each other's products, preferences and loyalties for everything from browsing to music delivery to movies/TV to personal assistants who apparently get mad if you mix them up.
You'd think Mozilla products would steer clear of the proprietary wars. They're open-source, non-profit, and have long supported choice where Microsoft and even Google products seemed determined to force their models on to you. Mostly, that's true, and Firefox remains my default browser. But they're pushing it.
For a few years now, they've made it clear that they do not like Adobe products. Unlike other browser helpers that you choose to add on (or plug in, depending on what it does), neither Adobe Reader nor Flash products have automatically installed or updated. This had led to the ritual Malware Tango nearly every time I reboot this computer: A New Version of Adobe This-or-That is available. You need to download it externally from any given browser, run a DOS-style install command, remember to avoid the "optional offer" for whatever they're pimping this month- usually, McCrapafee, but sometimes the Ask toolbar with all kinds of sticky shit attached- wait for it to load, change its defaults back to where you left them, and finally ignore the browser's ads for other "products you might like."
Fortunately, this laptop and its Windows 10 guts are pretty stable, so I can go weeks without these annoyances. So recently, Firefox inflicted new ones.
Until this week, any .pdf I opened through a website reached through Mozilla, and any attached to a work email I received in Outlook, opened using an Adobe product running in the browser. It had a floating toolbar at the bottom of the displayed page, with options to one-click print the document or one-click save it to my folder of choice. For most work things, this would be my OneDrive electronic pdf folder. But as of sometime last week, every document gave me a different interface, only allowing saves to my Downloads folder. This, it turned out, was the native-to-Firefox .pdf viewer. Some investigating revealed:
Gee, tanks! Never knew that when not choosing to upgrade to version 52 but got upgraded anyway. And "this document" and "this article" were "these useless," but an off-site site provided the answer: there's an Extended Service Release of Firefox 52, in which all the old stuff still works. I downloaded it, and I have my .pdf functionality back- even slightly improved (it opens documents directly in the Reader program)- but I suspect I'll need to do this drill when we go to 53, and 54, and 106, and Infinity-seven. Hopefully without having to decline Mcrapafee every time:P
I didn't do any better with Google searches today, either:P
Yesterday, I triumphantly tracked down some potentially good new information on someone who owes a client money. This came less than a week after I googled another deadbeat and found that he was a plaintiff in a big-looking personal injury case. That dude wound up being the first making my crest fall today: his PI lawyer called in response to my restraint, said the guy owes his firm big bucks for file disbursements, plus his recovery (if any) has a Medicaid lien on proceeds, plus the case ain't getting tried any time soon. So my potential pot of gold was more of a windmill to tilt at.
Then it got worse. I've had One Of Those Files on my desk for weeks- a judgment a co-worker needed filed. I finally got a free moment and uploaded it, paying the court filing fee for the task. Then I sat down to google the defendant.... and found out that he died in October.
The good news (other than him being, you know, dead) is that he left enough of an estate to require a court proceeding to be filed. So I can, and will, file a claim for the judgment in it, but chances are that isn't getting paid any time soon, either.
So if you've got anybody you really don't like who you'd like me to google....