April 8, 2010

Yesterday's technologies, today

A few days ago, I added Socialwok to my company's Google Apps account. Socialwok is like having a private Facebook or Google Buzz inside my own domain. Yeah, I should be using Google Buzz, but Buzz is only available to regular Gmail, and not Google Apps. I would probably switch to Buzz when it's released for Apps.

Anyway, so I was "training" some of my users on using Socialwok when one of my users complained that he couldn't update his status. The symptom was that when he clicks on the status bar, nothing happens. I logged onto his laptop remotely, and discovered that he was still using Firefox 1.0.

Right. Not a problem, I'll just update it to the latest Firefox (currently at 3.6.3). But then I discovered that he was still using Windows Me! And FF3 doesn't support Windows 98/Me. So... I guess I would use FF2 then. I went to oldapps.com and downloaded the final version of Firefox 2, which was

Unfortunately, Socialwok still didn't work properly. Now clicking on the status works, but the keyboard doesn't respond inside the status bar or any other typing area. I thought about installing Google Chrome, but Chrome also doesn't support Windows Me. Then I remembered reading about a patch that makes FF work on older versions of Windows.

Sure enough, a quick Google search turned up KernelEx, which allows some modern programs requiring Windows 2000/XP to work with Windows 98/Me. Installing KernelEx also requires the installation of the Microsoft Unicode Layer. I've actually had the Unicode Layer for a while, but could never figure out what it's used for, since it doesn't seem to actually allow displaying Unicode.

Anyway, after installing the Unicode Layer and KernelEx, FF3 installed, and Socialwok worked, and everyone was happy.

P.S. It actually took a long time to do all this. My user's computer was so incredibly slow, installing oth versions of Firefox and the system patches took something like 1.5 hours. Plus, in the end, Socialwok still didn't work that well, since it's probably designed for modern displays, and his computer only has a 640x480 monitor...

Come to think of it, I should probably just give him my first gen Eee PC 700, since the Eee PC has a higher resolution (!) display, and is also much (!) faster than his ancient laptop.

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