You Are About To Open 16 Tabs or I Have Decided AI Is Too Stupid To Be Feared, Yet

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22833 – 983

Here’s the haps:

I got this new journal from Amazon the other day because I really liked the cover. It was one of those things that just jumped right off the page and said, “BUY ME!”

I worked for a big-name insurance company in the late nineteen-nineties. One day, they began to issue us new “personal” computers in exchange for our mainframe terminals. Among many new and useful features they also had a mildly interesting research feature called Internet Explorer. A year or so later they wound up having to sell them off and get stronger ones that could use both the mainframe and the PC components so I got to buy one of the old ones. My son put up the two hundred dollars to buy the brand new operating system we needed to actually make it work, Windows 95. It came on fifteen or sixteen 3.5 floppy disks. After a lot of work and trial and error, we wound up with internet capability using a dial-up connection and Internet Explorer.

One of the issues I had with this new tool was that if you were looking something up but also wanted to look something else up you either had to bookmark where you were and then go back or open another instance of the browser program which really used your limited resources. As new browser companies came along like Netscape Navigator, AOL, Mozilla, and others it was still kind of the same story. You could open a different browser at the same time if you had the connection and RAM for it.

Then sometime in the late nineties or early oughts, someone finally invented “tabbed browsing.” This was the thing for me! I could save a bunch of sites that I wanted to read every day and right-click and open them all up. I open the news pages I want to read in this manner. I open a copious amount of blogs in this manner as well as comics websites. I try to visit people’s blogs “in person” rather than in the WordPress reader but the reader is useful as well. Anyway, I just right-click a folder, say, Blogs 01, and then select “open all (16).” Invariably over the last twenty years, I have gotten:

It’s a similar message on other browsers as well. For the last couple of years, I have been using Chrome, Firefox, and Edge for the largest part with a smattering of others occasionally. When I used to spend more time putzing with making websites I would use a couple others just to see how they looked. It seems to me that at some point over the years that one of them allowed you to change a setting to decide what this number should be but I can’t find it anymore. I’m sure there are a couple of Registry hacks you could do, too, if you’re up to it. And really, that’s not the point that I have in mind.

My point is, if computers are so smart, they ought to be able to learn this innate behavior of mine. After twenty years of doing the exact same thing, the computers ought to go, “Oh. It’s him again. Just open all the tabs.” “But if we give in to the demands of the multi-tabbists, the multi-tabbists win! I’ll ask nicely.” “He opened them all anyway, didn’t he?”

But they never figure me out. Not that it really matters. I just click the little button, although, if I’m getting my first cup of coffee, I right-click to open it but forget the message will pop up and when I come to sit back down the error message is still there, waiting for me to click it. Oh, well. You’d think after twenty years I would know better.

30 Comments

  1. Progress is such fun in the tech world. I recall Microsoft saying Windows 10 would be their last operating system and yet, I now run Windows 11. The multi tab and accessible bookmark tabs are the best for adults of a certain life experience (myself included). Cheers Herb. Allan

  2. My latest computer is a gaming one. I’m not a gamer, but I had to buy that to get enough power to allow me to have dozens of tabs open at once.

    I understand this well.

    • That’s a good choice. I’m not a heavy gamer, probably not a gamer at all by some standards but I do like having the power at my disposal. I have a couple of games I play once in a while, though.

  3. Like you, I have used most versions of Windows over the years. I like the Windows 10 that I am using right now, but every time it does an update it messes up something that was working fine. Human error might always mean AI isn’t always so bright!

  4. I used to open my hotmail account with another email as the ‘go-to’ for two-step verification. After switching to using my iPhone for the two-step, hotmail would still give me the other email option as #1, a couple other options (including some type of CODE that I was supposed to have??) and my phone would be #4.
    It took the AI almost a YEAR to figure out I was going to use my phone every time; either that, or whoever was watching and had to authorize the legitimate access got tired of the steps he/she had to follow to allow me to open my hotmail.
    Last week, the phone number came up as #1! Someday, I expect hotmail to go the way of the dinosaurs and I will have to use Outlook, whatever THAT is! 🙄
    ❤️& 🙏, c.a.

  5. I used to spend a lot of internet time visiting a huge number of sites regularly, and my browser would have a hard time loading them all. I’ve backed off considerably, and now kind of wonder what I was visiting so urgently.

    • Well, I know for me, over the years, there have been people I followed regularly for a long time but they quit blogging. My memory has gotten bad and so when I’m looking something up for a post I will leave the sites up until I finish. Besides, when I open a bunch of blogs I feel like I’ve done something as I close each one.

  6. You know so much more about computers that I ever thought of knowing. I can always tell that any time you write about some computer situation. I’m always impressed.

  7. You remind me that I am too much a creature of habit when it comes to browsing the web. With AI on the horizon (or here) I need to start changing things up to keep it off balance. So now I’m off to check out some websites on popular soups in Spain and industrial augers.

    • If you use the WP reader it gives you suggestions for searches which are usually pretty off the wall from what you look up.
      Mine just now were: “Suggestions: Iceland, Beach, Yoga. ” None of which I read about or searched.

  8. That’s a beautiful history of internet. I still remember the dialing up days, which feels like a thousand years ago, although it is only 1990s. I really liked the dialing sound–it was very urgent, very noisy, very ear piercing. Some people didn’t like it, but I liked it for some strange reason. And it was really slow by today’s standard, but I enjoyed those online forums. And I have to say some people could be very rude online even back then when internet was still a newborn baby.

      • Yes, even at the beginning of internet, some people were so rude in those forums. I mean it only takes one or two rude or bad remarks to ruin a whole panel of polite discussion.

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