Technological Racism

Brian Kuhn recently described the real risk of technocentrism.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Maybe “technological discrimination” is a better term. Equating browsers with race may be pushing the analogy a bit too far, even if the point is a good one. I don’t want to see the “Martin Luther King” or “Malcolm X” analogies coming out next.

Unless I’m mistaken, Microsoft is going to start pushing IE7 through Windows Update, which will automatically ask millions of people if they want to upgrade. Probably a lot more effective than this nonsense.

I have a dream… that someday, all browsers are created equal.

There’s a website [deleted] that says “Please use firefox to view this page”. “This website has been designed for use with the FireFox browser. Please use FireFox to view this page”. No IE support. Nothing but that maddening message. Then, after the hassle of installing firefox (and dealing with a browser I’ve never used), the website still basically, well, sucks. I was looking for code to help with an issue in network programming. This site is examples from a book. Well, guess what? If you’re stupid enough to let me not even view the website in IE, then you’ve just ensured that I’m never going to buy this book. Was it the book author’s fault? I don’t know, I don’t know. I would send the site a message saying “enough with this silly firefox only”, but of course, clicking the “Contact us” link gets only… “Please use firefox to view this page”.


You may want to be a little less sensitive about Andy Clark’s use of colour. He is British and does not share ‘our cultural history’. Nor do many of your non-american readers.

Your well made point about technology zealotry is made unnecessarily emotive by your use of ‘jihad’, ‘racism’ and ‘segregation’. The difference between colour and BW is not about race… or was the introduction of colour television misunderstood? :slight_smile:

I believe all men are created equal, but to extend this tenet to browsers is a little far-fetched: particularly when there are published standards and all browsers are not created anywhere near equal.

BTW, I’m a long time lurker and really appreciate your blog.

J. Sheehy

When it comes to “stylin’” my website with CSS I follow my most favorite -ism: EGOISM. That is if it looks ok in my browser that it is ok. If it looks bad in someone else’s browser than I do not care.

I do not use any browser detection, nor do I use any CSS-hacks (not knowingly at least; I am not sure what my menu script does).

It’s my site.

Talking about [deleted URL], install firefox and then click on the Contact Us link. You stll get “Please use firefox to view this page”. Really funny!

Microsoft is going to start pushing IE7 through Windows Update

“Microsoft will distribute Internet Explorer 7 as a high-priority update via Automatic Updates and the Windows Update and Microsoft Update sites shortly after the final version of Internet Explorer 7 is released (planned for the 4th quarter of 2006).”

Yep. Good call on Microsoft’s part. We should see a pretty massive upswing in IE7 market share at the expense of IE6 market share. I don’t think anyone will cry any alligator tears about that…

And it will happen much more rapidly than the “natural” upgrade cycles of IE5, IE5.5, and IE6.

Wow. One more proof that this whole “Political correctness” is gone too far…
When the night comes, does it too evokes thoughts on racism and segregation?

zealotry is counter-productive, but campaigning and activism isn’t necessarily bad

And if only people realized when they were doing one instead of the other.

It helps to become more aware of your own technocentrism. Look at this one, for example:

Jason: “man working in windows is such a mess…the UI is just terrible…and all the apps UIs are terrible…the type is terrible…it’s amazing.”

Along similar lines, David pointed out this quote from Jaded Pixel: “Working with Windows makes me feel dead inside.”

Yes, working in Windows makes someone feel dead inside. There isn’t a big enough rolly-eyed incredulous emoticon in the world for this one. Puh-leez.

I work professionally building webapps. We have to suck it up and support IE. No bother, because it’s all added in the cost.

Personally? F**K NO! If you choose to use a has-been piece of software then that’s your choice. I choose to write css/html/script once for modern, non-buggy software thanks.

However, I also would not bother to go out of my way to make it “bad” for IE, it does that just fine on its own.

You get errors and render issues because IE doesn’t support addEventListener, etc.? Too bad.

My killer layout is a mess because IE doesn’t fully support the 10+ year old CSS1 spec? Piss off.

It’d be like someone complaining my app won’t run on their DOS 6.22 install. Get bent.

Jeff, I’m not sure that the usage of Andy Clarke’s website was a good one/good example:

  • He’s british, and therefore doesn’t have of the american issues with colors. I’ve read Andy’s blog for a very long time, I’ve seen his redesign and this is the first time I ever saw someone draw a parallel between his design and racism…
  • It’s more of a BlackWhite TV versus Color TV reference than anything else.
  • His IE6 blackwhite layout is still wonderful, just blackwhite…

You shouldn’t be in this business with that attitude, Firefox does not have the majority of users and it’s just a ridicolous unproductive view.

And it’s not THAT bad, and YES, Firefox have had some pretty serious bugs as well but they seem to just pass without any huge articles being written like when something is discovered in IE.

What ever happened to what I and most people learned when we first begin webdev: test on all browsers for max compatability! In other words: it’s about user choice. Even then we chose our personal favorite browser based on which we liked, but making the page work correctly for all was more important than worrying about, or dictating, which browser the viewer used.

I spend (far too much) time browsing and visiting popular sites. I also use IE. Every so often I come across one of these flash in the pan popular sites that will display nothing but this garbage for IE or even says their site won’t work for IE. If you can’t make your site work for IE, I wouldn’t be advertising that. You failed. The rendering capabilities are not so different that you shouldn’t easily be able to tweak your site to compansate. Especially with the plethora of sites out there (most by firefox advocates) which document how to make said adjustments.

Showing a certain page to firefox vs ie just doesn’t seem like a good idea, especially since at last count firefox has the same market share of browsers as macs do of desktops: only ~10%. Let’s assume I’m really out of the loop and that’s DOUBLED, you’re still intentionally insulting 4/5ths of your potential audiance. To those doing such things: cut the elitism, your site probably isn’t that great anyway.

—“Talking about [deleted URL], install firefox and then click on the Contact Us link. You stll get “Please use firefox to view this page”. Really funny!”----

And of course that means you can’t contact them to tell them it’s broken!

Chiding sites (and authors) for browser discrimination should go both directions. Zealots who “force” users to use firefox by actively breaking the site in IE6 are no worse than all those sites which “force” users to use IE6 by actively using IE-only proprietary hacks.

How many bank websites still tell us the site is “optimized for Internet Explorer”. Or “we’re so sorry, if you don’t use the Microsoft browser, we can’t take your money.” Fine. Bye.

PS. +1 to dinah

I think we forget sometimes that this is one of the casualties of the “browser wars.” Back in the pre IE 5 days, lots of sites were “best viewed with IE” or “best viewed with Netscape,” with uses admonished to “get a real browser.” Often the functionality wouldn’t work quite right – and often it would work fine but be blocked in some way.

Then Microsoft sort of took over, and everything was just IE. Mozilla was written in such a way that it worked with all those IE sites (and won me back because it was better), but there were still sites (like my bank) that wouldn’t support anything but IE.

Now we’re starting to see real competition again, and the loyalists (or the lazy) are back doing it again. I’m not particularly surprised, even though it just isn’t that hard to write cross-platform multi-browser html.

This is offtopic, but I would suggest that you change all links in your comments to be NOFOLLOW.
I saw someone posted a spammy comment with a link to [deleted URL] - it looks like the person is putting down this website, but I bet if you look at your logs, the IP of the person that posted it is the same that owns the website.