Amazing as it may seem, over 17,000 visitors arrived here last month by way of Internet Explorer 6 or worse. I'm not amazed that there are 17,000 people still using crappy old browsers, but it is astonishing that any of them looked at more than one page here.
You see, this website doesn't give a damn about old browsers. It's "broken" from their point of view. Pages can be jumbled, text can be obscured... actually nothing is broken here, it's their old junk Microsoft browsers that are (and always have been) defective. But the users probably don't know that, right?
So anyway, a few weeks back someone asked me a question and I sent him to an article here. He immediately wrote back complaining that he couldn't read it. Yep, IE 6. I told him that he needed to upgrade, not just so that he can read the web pages of stubborn jerks like me, but also for his own safety and for his own browsing pleasure and convenience. Note that I said "upgrade", meaning IE7 or IE8 - I knew better than to suggest Firefox!
In the meantime, I told him to use the "Printer Friendy" link. That's plain Jane enough to work with anything. Some people (my wife is one of these) want to print everything anyway - that drives me crazy because it wastes so much paper, but these people just don't like to read on-screen. I can partially understand that; I can read a piece of paper faster than a web page, but on the other hand you have to wait for the printing. Makes no sense to me overall, but that link does let you read a page as simple, bare-bones text.
Stubborn as I am, every now and then I still do get the itch to do something about the "old browser" problem. Because I have mostly separated content from presentation, I can re-write 99% of this website to a new format in an hour or less. All I need is to figure out what I want it to look like. Unfortunately, that's the hard part, and summoning the will for that effort isn't easy for a few thousand net-illiterates.
Well, maybe someday. Certainly not today.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence
What do such machines really do? They increase the number of things we can do without thinking. Things we do without thinking — there's the real danger. (Frank Herbert)