There Seems to be No Sign of Inteligent Life Anywhere: on Mozilla and Morons

Do you remember the scene from Disney’s “Toy Story” in which Buzz, after an assessment of the environment in which he has apparently landed (AKA Andy’s room), concludes, “There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere.”?
This about sums up my reaction to a recent attempt to troubleshoot a technical problem I was having with my web browser.

Several months ago, I encountered a problem with Firefox in which my menu and tool bars mysteriously decided to disappear. Needless to say, I was not amused, and the situation was compounded by the fact that, being unable to see the screen, I couldn’t determine what specifically had changed, because I was certain that I hadn’t, at least intentionally, altered any settings. (Every now and then, being blind has its drawbacks, but you just gotta keep livin’, as they say).

It transpired that somehow, my screen had been minimized, and my screen reader (the text-to-speech software that enables me to use the computer) will only function properly if Firefox is operating in full-screen mode. A friend provided me with the correct key command (which was F-11, because you were dying to know) for restoring the screen to normal, and my internet-browsing returned to its regularly-scheduled smoothness.

This time, not surprisingly given my slow but relentless march toward aging, the problem arose when I couldn’t remember the ridiculously simple, one-keystroke command that my dog could probably have performed with his dewclaw. No amount of searching (aka approximately fifteen minutes spent on Google followed by another 20 executing random key combinations to no avail), so I tossed my problem into the black hole of tech troubles that is Twitter. After only a few minutes, someone affiliated with Mozilla responded and attempted (operative word) to troubleshoot the issue.

I subsequently walked away with two life-altering lessons with which I will now edify you, dear readers, because unsolicited advice is part of the package you get for subscribing to my blog.
1: a communication platform that limits you to 140 characters per message does not lend itself well to online troubleshooting. Well, duh, you say. *that’s* your advice? Well, I did say it was free of charge, and you get what you pay for.
2: Every time I think the universe has hit its stupid quota, I am proven wrong, and yes, I count myself among the allotted number of idiots given leave to wander the planet unsupervised. But I am a child of Einstein compared with the single-celled organism I was unfortunate enough to encounter. After specifically explaining my problem and emphasizing that I was a visually-impaired screen-reader user, the individual on the other end of cyberspace, apparently at the end of his rope, sent me the following tweet: “Do you want your screen to look like this?” the tweet was accompanied by…wait for it… a screenshot. OK, Einstein. Let me explain this to you slowly, in monosyllabic words. I…am…blind. I…can’t…see…that. Comprende?

I did eventually resolve the issue, sans stupid techie, but I don’t remember precisely how I managed it, because that was the point in the story where my brain exploded.

To borrow a phrase from Bill Engvall, here’s your sign.

Question: Have you ever had a ridiculously trivial tech troubleshooting problem?



  1. guate6 said

    Have I ever had a ridiculously trivial tech troubleshooting problem?
    Why yes. Actually, all the time…it comes with the territory of helping others. Every time I encounter a problem, it’s always someone else’s and it’s always something ridiculously trivial and/or simple.

    But as for me…On a rare occasion that my brain performs what Microsoft calls a “memory dump,” I suppose so. My tech troubleshooting is usually much more sophisticated and quickly alleviated.

    On another note, I did offer to install Team Viewer on your machine so if you have problems, I can log in from my phone or my computer to help. The offer stands if you would like.

  2. Sometimes my computer decides that it’s French (this happens when you press Ctrl-Shift on the right side of the keyboard, by the way), and suddenly the question mark key becomes this: é, and the apostrophe becomes this: è. I type rather quickly with one hand, and was hitting the Ctrl-Shift accidentally from time to time. It took me forever to realize how I was causing the problem, and another forever to figure out how to correct it (pressing Ctrl-Shift on the left side of the keyboard).

    For awhile I actually had to power down the computer every time the accented e’s appeared, to get things back to normal. I’m sure that the solution is in the manual somewhere, but where’s the fun in reading the manual?

    Love your blog.

    • poetprodigy7 said

      Well, of course, reading the manual would just mean fewer adventures and less blog fodder. 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoy. Thanks so much for reading.

  3. ARRRGGGHHH! Hilarious ( and so true) post. Love this line: “command that my dog could probably have performed with his dewclaw”
    Not to mention your delightfully sensitive monosyllabic response to the ( sorry still laughing) screen shot.
    Hope things are going better

    • poetprodigy7 said

      Well, in this volatile economy, at least people like that are providing the rest of us with free entertainment.

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