It’s 1994 All Over Again

So I try to log on to a training web site, one required for a commitment I have.

Mind you, I’m on an Intel-based MacBook Pro, OS X 10.4.9 — totally updated — and using both Safari 2 and Firefox 2.0.0.4 (remember Firefox? The next-generation Mozilla? Which, at one time, was Netscape?).

(Keep in mind that Internet Explorer 5.2.3/Mac does not work on an Intel-based Mac.)

Here’s the response:

Screenshot from earlier tonight

Sweet, huh? Just what you always wanted to see, right? Bet you thought this kind of stuff was a thing of the past, didn’t you?

Is that what’s getting you down — eh, bunky?

Well, I have a bad tooth (or a sinus infection — I’ll know later), I’m in pain, and I don’t want to see this shit (sorry).

Here’s my response to the “help” desk:

I’m using an Intel-based Macintosh (MacBook Pro), OS X 10.4.9 (updated to latest), cable Internet access (no AOL). Firefox 2.0.0.4 & Safari 2.0 — the latest available for both. (IE 5.2.3 for Mac does not work on an Intel-based Mac.)

Site tells me that my browser is not supported, then goes on to list IE 5.5+/Win, Netscape 7+/Win, and AOL 9.0/Win as alternatives. Identical result in both Firefox and Safari. Here’s your code (for some odd reason, I could not copy-paste your results page):

<td>
<h2> Invalid Browser. </h2>
<font size=-1 face=verdana></font>
You are not using a valid browser to run this application.<br>

It requires one of the following browsers:
<li> Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2 or higher
<li> Netscape Navigator 7.0 or higher
<li> AOL 9.0 or higher
<br><br>

If you are using an older version of AOL please minimize it by clicking <img src='repository/vlsapp/common/images/minimize.gif' width='16' height='14' alt='' border='0'/> in the top right corner.  Do not close your AOL connection.   Then open one of the above browsers and type in appropriate URL into the Address field.
<h2> Thank you. </h2>
<br><br>
Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv:1.8.1.4) Gecko/20070515 Firefox/2.0.0.4
</td>

I beg to differ: both Firefox 2.0.0.4 and Safari 2 are *more* than competent to run your application.

Of course, after seeing non-compliant HTML 3.2, table-based layout, spacer gifs, non-breaking spaces, break tags, unclosed elements, a horribly weak browser sniff, and your extensive, two-part CSS (followed by font tags!) placed *before* your document header, I can understand why you require bad browsers: you’re still living in 1994.

Instead of me “updating” my browser (or downgrading my computer), why don’t you update your code?

Sincerely,

(Me.)

Too strong? No.

Too strong to go to an employer (job #2)? Probably, and I don’t really care, either: if my job is to help people, and their job is to facilitate that, then they haven’t done their job, and that prevents me from doing mine.

The full page code is hideous at best. It’s everything I say it is in my response, and more. It’s really bad.

This is not about making pretty things: this is about making tools that work for people. This is not about looking good: it’s about helping people do their jobs. This is not about making life easy for me: it’s about making access for everyone.

I am not about to downgrade my computer, making it potentially vulnerable in the process, just so I can access a site that some lazy-assed jerk who thinks he’s a computer programmer can take money from unsuspecting, good-hearted people.

That’s unconscionable.

1 Comment

  • by Whysyn 02 Jul 2007 at 3:31 pm

    I understand your pain. I feel the same. There are even some state of Ohio pages that I cannot view due to pointless browser version checks. I wish they would allow their junk to render (potentially improperly) [rather] than have them tell me (wrongly) that I’m incapable of rendering it.

    In my line of work, unfortunately, I have to see these sites sometimes. When I have no choice other than to compromise my principles to pay my mortgage, this comes in very handy. It also more fully proves the point that my browser is capable of rendering their crummy code…

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/59

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