Archive | May, 2005

Another Sale Lost Because of Internet Explorer

I was shopping for some printing services, and started on the Staples web site. It redirected me to their partner, “Mark The World.” I clicked on the product I was interested in, and was greeted with the message:

The web browser you are using is incompatible

We are sorry for the inconvenience. Our site currently supports only Internet Explorer version 4.0 and 5.0. This is due to the advanced features used in the real-time designer.

We are working to support Netscape in the very near future. If you do not have Internet Explorer, it may be downloaded for free at Microsoft’s website here.

How incredibly ignorant! My web browser is not incompatible. Mark the World’s web site is incompatible with industry standard browsers. What a terrible way to treat a potential customer! Kicking out customers running Safari, FireFox, Camino, Konqueror, Opera or Nautilus because Mark The World choose to go with the least secure web browser is such poor customer service. Blame the customer. Get a clue, MTW. It’s about choice. At the least, they should gracefully offer alternative services for those who prefer not to use their recommendation of browsers. I’ll take my business elsewhere.

Capture the Broadcast Flag game — a win for consumers!

CNet reports “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to prohibit the manufacture of computer and video hardware that doesn’t have copy protection technology known as the “broadcast flag.”

Great news. Now just keep an eye on the legislature to make sure they don’t re-implement this infringement on our rights to record for private use, time-shift or space-shift our consumption of the media. Next, seat belts that won’t unlock during commercials!

OS X Spotlight doesn’t search OpenOffice documents

Shame on Apple for shipping their Spotlight desktop search engine with support for MS Office, but no support for searching documents. Oo.o documents are ZIPped-up sets of XML documents, and should be a piece of cake to fix.

The Open Source community to the rescue again, with NeoLight, an early beta product now, but planned to be included in future versions of Oo.o, which will add the search capabilities into Spotlight.

With the Oo.o 2.0 document format forming the basis for the OASIS document format I mentioned yesterday, let’s hope we see a pickup in the support for this format around the office automation software industry.

Is agreeing to give something away for free price-fixing?

OSNews points to an article GPL Under “Price Fixing” Legal Attack. “The suit claims that the “Free Software Foundation has entered into contracts and otherwise conspired and agreed with individual software authors and commercial distributors of commodity software products such as Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. to artificially fix the prices charged for computer software programs through the promotion and use of an adhesion contract that was created, used and promoted since at least the year 1991 by the Free Software Foundation”

Groklaw responds with a pretty clear interpretation that this is nonsense.

Open Document Format Approved

Slashdot posts “An anonymous reader writes “The OASIS Group announces that the third Committee Draft [PDF] of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 Specification has been approved as an OASIS Standard. The submission of the approved standard can be found at here. The OpenDocument format is intended to provide an open alternative to proprietary document formats including the popular DOC, XLS, and PPT formats used by Microsoft Office. Organizations and individuals that store their data in an open format avoid being locked in to a single software vendor, leaving them free to switch software if their current vendor goes out of business or changes their software or licensing terms to something less favorable.”

That’s great news! I was recently cleaning up some loose ends on my web site, and noticed that the oldest of my whitepapers at were exported from MS Office 95 (I think) with the awful HTML that’s hostile to most browsers. I went to open up the original documents in and found they could not be read. Just as predicted in “The Long Now,” I have data locked up in a proprietary format I cannot read. I’m sure I can find a machine around here somewhere with the correct translators (and if I don’t, in this case, it’s no great loss) but it’s disturbing to see bits on disks turned from information into random noise.

Okay, so it Just Works, only maybe with a few glitches

Still delighted with all of the new toys that Tiger has brought to my iMac. However, I’ve had a chance to run more of the apps I have installed and have run into a couple of glitches: Fugu, a free SCP client I mentioned here needed an upgrade to run under Tiger. Note that Apple seems to keep a pretty tight rein on their beta sites with NDAs until the product has actually shipped. NetNewsWire 1.0.8’s preference page seems to be broken, but I haven’t chased that one down yet, and think it’s time I ought to get on the 2.0 beta, anyway. And Radio Userland is reporting that my web backup is failing to back up my May posts, for some reason. Also pursuing that with the Radio staff. Whether or not these are Tiger related or messed up because I “fixed file permissions” or because we had a thunderstorm two days ago is still to be determined. Still, no major glitches – mail, Safari and NeoOffice/J are rocking along. More as I figure it out…

Apple announces new iMacs

Computerworld News reports Apple delivers 2.0GHz iMac G5, cuts top model’s price. “Continuing a recent string of announcements, Apple today updated its iMac G5 computer line, bumping up the processor speed in the mid-range and top-end models to 2.0GHz and adding AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless networking to all three versions.”

In addition to getting faster G5 processors, the iMac now includes an ATI Radeon 9600 video card that features 128MB video memory — twice the video RAM available before — a new 8X SuperDrive that provides double-layer burn support, built-in Gigabit Ethernet and 512MB of RAM across the line.

Oof. Those are rockin’ machines.

Happy Birthday, Dave!

I read Scripting News for a while before I knew what a blog was, nor that there was an entire software field that had blossomed around the idea of journals and RSS. I read it because I enjoyed Dave’s opinions and insight, and I still do. Happy 50th, Dave. What’s the plan for the next half-century?

FireFox to include native SVG support

Slashdot posts “Firefox 1.1 Plans Native SVG Support. Spy Hunter writes “The Scalable Vector Graphics format has yet to take off on the web, perhaps due to a small installed base of SVG-enabled browsers. That could soon change as the latest Firefox 1.1 nightly builds have started coming with native SVG support compiled in and enabled by default. If this feature makes into the Firefox 1.1 release (which is not certain, but likely, as the developers want it to happen) it will increase the number of web users who have an SVG renderer installed. But perhaps more interesting than that is the possibility of mixing SVG graphic elements directly into the markup of regular XHTML pages, freeing vector graphics from the small rectangle of a browser plugin and opening up a host of exciting new possibilities for web developers. This is enabled by the integration of SVG directly into the Gecko rendering engine, instead of as a browser plugin. With such a useful web developer feature available only in Firefox, could we soon start seeing websites asking their users to download Firefox to get the best browsing experience?”

Exciting news! I’ve always been a fan of using graphs for presenting information, and SVG has a lot of nice features. Lauren Clarke has a presentation on using SVG with Visual FoxPro here

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.