Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where there’s a will, there might be a way:

I shall not name the website, but we needed to use it to print some tax forms about our savings. In Firefox, I clicked on a line that was supposed to run a Java Script to display the printable forms, and nothing happened. I could find nothing wrong, so I called the company and talked to their web people for a while. They had me loosen my security settings and load a different version of Adobe Reader, to no avail.

All through this trial, I had my own suspicion of what was wrong. Our Anti-Virus company (which I shall also not name) does not coexist with Firefox very well. I was certain that IE8 would be able to display these forms, but I could not use IE8 with this website.

I’m not blaming IE at all. When we set up the login to this financial website, we supplied security questions and answers that they could use to verify us. Like many banks, the website uses the security questions in addition to (not instead of) our password to verify us. Firefox already had a verification cookie, so that we could just enter the password and get to the forms page. But IE required me to answer a verification question. And I couldn’t remember the answers. (Why can’t browsers on the same computer share cookies and remember each other’s remembered passwords, by the way?)

After struggling with Firefox and Adobe for over an hour, I had a brainstorm. You’ll probably wonder why I didn’t think of this fifty minutes sooner. I logged in to the website with Firefox and changed all the security questions and answers. Then I used my knowledge of the changed security questions to log in with IE8, and of course I was able to print the forms. Whee!
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