I’ve had a full-on day away from The Persuader Blog (which is actually quite healthy sometimes—as I could probably spend all day here), and will have a few posts coming up. But one thing struck me today: Firefox and how, after so many iterations, it still cannot support some common Unicode characters.
This is a problem for a typophile. Speciﬁcally, Firefox and Netscape 6 and 7 do not support ligatures and double quote marks properly. Before you send me a lot of emails about this, let me share this: I run a Windows system, and friends have sent me screen shots from their Macs so I know they are OK. I also run Adobe Type Manager. But regardless of whether I use PostScript Type 1, TrueType or OpenType fonts, ligatures and double quote marks always show up in another font in Firefox.
Here’s how this page shows up in Firefox (ligatures highlighted—note the different heights and weights; the quote marks are too small to be noticeably different at this reduced size):
I have sent bug reports for Firefox and Netscape, to no avail. But I experience these things on three different Windows computers of three different vintages with three different settings—so I refuse to believe I am alone.
It’s been my computing life: to buy bits and pieces and ﬁnd that my situation is not in an FAQ, or that tech support personnel have never come across it before.
Except I’m beginning to doubt that I am unique in that way. And I am sure that when things go belly-up with your computer, tech support or customer service makes you feel like you are the only person in the world who has had that problem, no matter how polite the rep is. The only exception I can recall off-hand are the people at Rackspace, who always go out of their way to help, and never make me feel I have a problem they have not seen before.
I’ve had to reinstall McAfee VirusScan many times; I still can’t access LinkedIn using Internet Explorer; and for years I told Telstra that it was the wind that was causing my broadband disruptions to the disbelief of the support staff (I was eventually proven right, but it took over two years). Last year, between three people and two support people in two countries (well, Apple Australia never answered, so you had better make that one support person in one country), it took us 90 minutes to ﬁgure out how to burn a data CD on Mac OS X because the CD-ROM icon did not show up as it was meant to, and as it was described in every single manual and book we had.
I’m not asking an awful lot of the software manufacturers—just use the same set of standards. I don’t want to open Firefox for LinkedIn, and Maxthon or IE for the other sites: that is ridiculous. I don’t care about the politics behind Mozilla and web standards’ consortia: I am a regular Joe who wants the products simply to work. In your manuals, write in English—not computerese. And keep forums so we can go and solve our own problems and not bug you. Track the conversations there so you can answer my questions when I call—too often I have come to you and you are clueless, but I eventually ﬁnd it answered, after having Googled different keywords, by a regular person on a forum who ﬂuked his or her solution. When I am on these forums, don’t have your staff insult me for trying to help other customers when you fail to.
I believe conversations solve problems, so I will be interested to hear if anyone out there has ever come across my Firefox problem. There is still nothing on Google, and this problem has been around since Netscape 6. Surf over to the post where the above screen shot was taken here and see if you have the problem: it’ll make me feel better.
The reality that I have come to realize is that the public seems to be able to help me more than any technical support department can usually, even when I have paid for it. At the very least I won’t feel alone.
Del.icio.us tags: Firefox | Mozilla | browsers | technical support | customer service | typography Posted by Jack Yan, 07:51
The weight looks consistent at a wide range of sizes for me. I'm using Firefox 2 on Win 2000 and tried it with Decennie JY and Verdana.
The problem could be that you're not using an HTML escape character. I think you still need to use them in UTF-8, but I'm not 100% sure. The blogging software is supposed to do this kinda stuff, of course, but even on-the-ball people like Blogger.com are still a bit behind in this area.
Don't forget, even if you don't use Firefox, many other people do, and might see the problem :)
Justin, I want to belatedly thank you for your comment, which I must have missed in 2007. Firefox 3 has solved these issues, which is good; and thank you for being a customer of ours!Post a Comment
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