Fire IE: trick Dragon and websites into thinking you’re using Internet Explorer (sometimes)

I noticed recently that some sites I used at work didn’t display properly in Firefox, whether I had Flash enabled or not. At home, I couldn’t read the comments on sites that used the Disqus commenting system. They worked fine in Internet Explorer, though, and I’m really not fond of switching browsers for switching tasks. So I remembered something I tried a long time ago and discarded because of the bugs: one of those add-ons that tricks Firefox into believing you’re using IE. Fortunately for me, the bugs appear to be worked out in the add-on I’m currently using: Fire IE. Extremely fortunately, there are side effects: Dragon usually thinks I’m using IE too, and sometimes I can watch content requiring Flash while the Firefox Flash plug-in is disabled. And so Dragon doesn’t crash!

Fire IE gives you the option of automatically opening sites with the IE engine. I’ve done this for YouTube, since a lot of videos still aren’t HTML 5 compatible. Be aware, however, that this makes some subtitles/captions unavailable. When that happens, I toggle it back to Firefox and hope the video is HTML 5 compliant. For the most part, though, I can watch pretty much anything. Be aware, however, that certain other video streaming websites won’t fall for this and will actually require Flash to be running in Firefox.

With Dragon, Fire IE lets you navigate better than it lets you dictate. A lot more links were vocally clickable, as were other elements. I could actually use commands like “click text field” and “click checkbox” as I was dictating this post.  Editing worked the way it’s supposed to, as far as I know. However, it’s not perfect; when I dictated periods, a random capital letter would appear–the last letter of the previous word. Sometimes this affected the auto capitalization. Also, using the “Spell <letters>” command forced the text cursor out of the text box for some reason.

Still, it’s a decent mitigating measure. If you depend on your voice and you want to watch YouTube, have at it. For everything else, you can toggle the add-on off and on when you need it. Thank god Firefox still lets us click toolbar buttons vocally.

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2 Responses to Fire IE: trick Dragon and websites into thinking you’re using Internet Explorer (sometimes)

  1. Elisabeth says:

    Thanks for the tip! I already passed this on to my tech support team for when we’re supporting students using Dragon!

  2. hand2mouth says:

    Welcome. :-) (Glad to see you’re blogging again! Hope you’re doing relatively well.)

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