A few tips on browsing the internet better than your grandma (Part 1)

Photo: tombraiderforums.com

You hear the dreaded call echoing from down the stairs.
“Come down Charles dear, look at this funny video I saw on the world wide web”.
You drag yourself down to where she waits, a beaming innocent smile spread across her face.
“I seem to have lost it”, she says befuddled, closing every window she sees.
“No worries, I’ll just bring it back”
You rush forward grasping at a chance to save yourself.
“How about I do it gran, just tell me what it was called”.
You desperately yank at the laptop, but it doesn’t move an inch from an unbelievable iron grip, considering her usually arthritic fingers.
“No, no, not after you taught me so well Charlie”, she whispers to you, staring up with just a glimmer of malice in her eyes.
You admit defeat, release the device and slink backwards, you have accepted your fate. She starts off surprisingly well, remembering quickly how to use a mouse, but falters almost immediately after clicking INTERNET EXPLORER…multiple times.
“Ahhh, it’s always so slow”, she murmurs to herself.
She has to be mocking you, surely there’s no way she could forget so quickly. She continues onward, arriving at the Google search homepage, you say a quick prayer. She clicks on the search box, succeeding the first time. Thank God, you say to yourself, she’s finally learned. Maybe you were too harsh on her, you think guiltily. She is old after all, but you’ve always loved the enthusiasm she shows to learn. C’mon, it’s not so bad.
She types bing.com. Please no. She drags the mouse over to click search. She clicks on bing.com from the results. You begin to sweat uncontrollably. She arrives at the search page, completely unaware of the crimes she’s committing. She searches ‘you *space* tube’ and clicks on the first result. It could have been worse, you say as you begin to console yourself. She begins to scroll through the homepage of YouTube by clicking the small arrows on the scroll bar one.by.one. You begin to shake violently.
“Maybe, y-y-you should s-search it instead”, you manage to stammer out.
“Oh yes, silly me, just my old head you know”. She drags the cursor upwards to the URL search bar. You arm has a spasm and jerks the mouse down to click on the YouTube search bar. Her eyes remain fixated on the screen, but she raises an arm to tap reassuringly on your shoulder. She once again raises her wrinkled fingers above the keyboard:
C. h. a. r. l .i .e
You smile to yourself. All she wanted to do was find that video that you showed her on your phone, the one of grandpa, her and you bowling. You stop shaking, and stand up beaming, profoundly touched.
“Gran, that video isn’t on Youtube. It is only on my phone, I took it myself”.
You slide a hand into your front pocket and slip out your phone.
She chuckles to herself, but continues her turtle paced typing. Seemingly, ages pass, but when she is finished and you look over her shoulder a single tear of desperation rolls down your face.
Charlie bit my finger.

That feeling when an innocent human uses Internet Explorer. Photo: GIPHY

We’ve all been in a situation when you’re giving seemingly basic tech support. And although it can be (exceedingly) tough to keep your composure, we’ve all been in their situation, completely oblivious to our own ignorance. This article aims to give a few basic tips that are surprisingly unused. Maybe you know all of them, maybe none of them, but hopefully you take something away to improve your productivity.

A Starting Point: Which web browser should I use?

In all honesty, this question should really be a dogfight between Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox (available for both Mac and PC). You’ve probably already come across the intense shaming of Internet Explorer (microsoft recently re-branded it Microsoft Edge, it does include major improvements, but is still buggy enough to avoid for the moment). However, Safari seems to dodge a lot of scrutiny when it comes to performance; in basic terms, Safari has been proven slower than both Chrome and Firefox for your average browsing. At this point in time, Safari and Explorer serve one sad sole purpose: to install a superior browser. (There is one last lesser known option – Opera Browser, you only need to research if you are strongly against Chrome and Firefox)

The Case for Chrome:

Arguably considered the overall faster browser, (as in the time it takes to load webpages [HTML5 that is]). Most people agree that chrome has a sleeker and more polished design. Google doesn’t like to overload you with intimidating features, but they are there for you if you need them. Google’s other services, e.g Gmail, seem to work faster on Chrome. The absolute major downside of chrome is that it is a notorious memory hog (which basically means your computer runs slower). This is only a problem if you frequently have around 6 or more active tabs open, otherwise you shouldn’t notice an issue.

The Case for Firefox:

Although Firefox can be considered the fastest browser for certain tasks, it is hard to directly compare the duo solely based on speed. Firefox’s main advantage can be summarised to customizability. This term gets thrown around a lot in the tech world, but what it means in this case is that Firefox has better extensions. Extensions are add-ons (usually free) that allow more specialised/personalised usage – i.e. they are not included in the base program as they are not absolutely necessary for everyone. A basic example would be an in-browser to-do list taker, that’s only one click away. Personally, I love the degree of freedom that comes with these options. I must emphasise again that Firefox doesn’t use as many resources as Chrome. If you find your computer is really slow and you always run Chrome, please try Firefox and see if it works faster. You would be surprised how often Chrome is the guilty culprit.

Check out the official extension stores for comparison:
Chrome Store – Firefox Store

End of Part 1 – Check back soon for Part 2!


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