TheGEEK.org offers a bad solution to a serious problem. The problem is, as the author puts it, the “IE-ification” of the the Web. There are more and more pages that just don’t work right in Netscape, and these pages can be a powerful incentive to move to IE, which is just what Microsoft would like. Some pages just adhere to published standards that Netscape doesn’t support, and that’s fine (but annoying). Other pages use Microsoft’s proprietary crap — these are the problem. The author suggests that a new browser should be created that hews as closely to IE as possible and runs on Unix. I think this is a bad idea, because it supports the idea that Microsoft dictates Web standards. We don’t want that. This is an interesting reflection of the problem we had a few years ago when Netscape dictated all the Web standards. That was a bad situation, too.
Salon has a story about an elaborate Joey Skaggs prank involving a death theme park, and the number of media outlets, government agencies, and Web sites that bought into it. Note to the author: they’re called paragraphs, you might try them out sometime.
Gamasutra has a postmortem on Asheron’s Call, the massively multiplayer game developed by Turbine and published by Microsoft. I love reading these articles, especially on projects that are interesting to me.
My Palm IIIx doesn’t like to sync with my computer at work. I think it’s because the poor little guy rejects Microsoft Outlook as being an utter pile of crap. I could be wrong.
OK, Network Solutions has reached a new low. This weekend, they sent an email to me for every domain that I hold with the word IMPORTANT at the beginning of the subject. You’d think that they mark messages as important because despite the fact that they’re major spammers, they do send messages that their customers actually need to read. Wrong. It was spam, too. Where do these guys get off? They’re a utility, for goodness sake. If the electric company sent me an advertisement disguised as a bill, I’d be dashing off a letter to the public utilities comission in a heartbeat.
Some thoughts on the Salon redesign apology: Jason Levine points out that most sites don’t, in fact, apologize for their pathetic redesigns, and that’s true. A few sites that did do that sprung to my mind yesterday, but I can think of lots of bad redesigns that didn’t involve apologies from the sites. This seems to happen an awful lot with newspaper sites, I don’t think the Washington Post or the LA Times ever apologized for their miserable redesigns, even though they should have. A friend also wrote to say that Yahoo does make changes to their interface gradually, so they’re not really a “never redesign” site. Yahoo is always adding links and features to their site, but the look and feel of their site is fundamentally unchanged since it was launched, or at least it feels that way to me (I’d like to see a screen shot of the original Yahoo). Perhaps that’s the hallmark of good stewardship of a Web site, changes to the site are small and helpful so that the users never have jarring experiences upon returning to the site.
One of the coolest features of SourceForge is the compiler farm that allows developers to compile their applications under several different Linux distributions. They recently added some computers with Intel Itanium (IA-64) processors to the mix so that Linux application developers can get a head start on developing applications that work with the new processor. This is an incredibly cool service for small developers who don’t have time or money to set up multiple development environments for compiling and testing.
It seems like every time a major site redesigns, I read an apology like this. Maybe the Yahoo “never redesign” philosophy is better, or perhaps the Amazon.com incremental redesign philosophy works better for users.
Digital Creations is working with ActiveState to add Perl support to Zope, the critically acclaimed but somewhat obscure open source content management system.
Newt Gingrich and his bride to be have their wedding registry available online if you’d like to pick something out for them. I guess his previous wives got all of the china and crystal in the divorce settlements.