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HTMLfixIT Archive for March, 2005

Sunday, March 20th, 2005 by Franki

EDS has come out with a scathing review of Linux and it’s potential in enterprise business as part of the “EDS Agility Alliance” saying that it lacked the security, scalability and stability of other offerings and wasn’t really any cheaper to boot. Cracks start to appear however when you look back a little further to some of their other press releases where they tout running Linux and Open Source software themselves “to ensure stability and security while keeping costs low.” Apparently their new alliance with Microsoft and Sun has changed their minds about Open Source’s validity in the market place. Since both Microsoft and Sun are competitors of Linux, it makes sense that you probably wouldn’t get their support if you had a pro Linux stance. Read the EDS anti Linux report and ZDnet’s observations of EDS’s contradictory statements for more detail. It should be noted that EDS was apparently behind the massive outage of most of 80,000 UK government “Department for Work and Pensions” PC’s after a failed patching process late last year.

INSERT: EDS is now in a bit of a scrap with the UK government for failing to get their new systems working correctly on time or on budget and the government has apparently withheld some payments till EDS gets it’s act together. Apparently, the system has some issues that have brought staff to tears as well.

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Saturday, March 19th, 2005 by Franki

It seems that a new generation of hardware/game enthusiasts is learning the hard way what many of us in the IT industry have known for a long time. Microsoft makes some dodgy gear, be it software or hardware and then seemingly absolves itself of liability wherever possible. Early versions of the Xbox are said to have a dodgy connection between the power socket on the power supply and the PSU circuit board to which it is soldered. Rather then fix the real issue, which would be expensive and require people to deliver their Xboxes to repair centers, Microsoft has seemingly offered a band aid fix in the form of power cables with what is essentially a circuit breaker built in. As many have pointed out, that is likely to stop your Xbox burning your house down, but it isn’t going to stop your Xbox from failing. Read a new petition from users upset about the “cover up” and demanding action, and read TheRegisters account of the issue. If you own an old Xbox, head over to to find out if you need a replacement cable, and visit xbox-scene to see a pictures of what is apparently the underlying cause of the problem.

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Friday, March 18th, 2005 by Franki

Can you trust this company (Microsoft) to correctly decide what is and what isn’t spyware? I worry that they will be inclined to be more lenient on companies with whom they have deals and partnerships, and harder on companies competing with them or their partners. But that’s just me, they could be pillars of decency and integrity and I’m just paranoid. The final product isn’t even out yet, and they are already talking about “shades of grey”, I find that somewhat worrying. As far as I am concerned, spyware is any program or tracking method placed on my PC that I didn’t authorize. Pretty simple really, almost black and white you might say. Lets face it, Microsoft don’t have a great record of playing nice with others, they have twice been found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour, and their legal history makes Judge Judy look like Days of our lives. Read more at TheInquirer.

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Friday, March 18th, 2005 by Franki

It is well known that Google makes use of cut down Red Hat Linux servers to do the grunt work behind the search engines, but now they have taken it a step further and started giving code to the Open Source community. All the links and news can be found at

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Thursday, March 17th, 2005 by Franki

Google’s maps project is a pretty amazing demonstration of just want can be achieved with old school DHTML (Dynamic HTML).
With the big names in software trying to convince everyone of the need for languages like XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language), Google just worked with what they have available now, namely DHTML, and the result can be uniformly seen as a success. This brings up a new question, should we really be creating new frameworks for web enabled applications, or should we be fixing the tools we have now to be uniformly compatible and standards compliant? Internet Explorer 6 still doesn’t correctly support CSS standards that came out years ago, and apparently IE7 isn’t going to fix that. And these are the people trying to convince us all that their technology should be the one adopted to promote interoperability? They have not been able to be standards compliant on simple HTML, JavaScript and CSS, so I think we can safely judge at this point that they should definitely not lead the charge with XAML. IE7 most likely wouldn’t be coming now if not for Microsoft’s worry that Firefox will have eaten most of their market share before Longhorn arrives due to security concerns with IE. Microsoft is probably also worried that if they are not the monopoly online in the coming years, then they can’t make sure that the Windows Operating System is an integral part of it. If web applications (which many are proclaiming are the future) will run the same on Linux, Mac, Unix and Windows, why would anyone buy Windows anymore?
So there you have it folks, we could be having a much more interactive online experience right now if all the browsers equally supported the W3C standards, the fact that some don’t (I’m talking to you IE), is why developers have to spend so much time making sure their pages look OK in each browser. The result is that most developers go for the easy answer, sticking to those things they know work ok in all browsers (like nested table layouts) instead of using the far superior div/CSS route (for example). If you know anyone that works for Microsoft in IE development, slap them for me. Cnet has covered this in much more detail. My take on this, is that if any platform should be used to future interoperable web apps, it should be based on the Mozilla XUL framework which is owned by a not for profit group, rather then alternatives that are owned by huge multinational corporations who are after all answering more to their shareholders then to the public at large.

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Thursday, March 17th, 2005 by Franki

After recent speculation regarding a potential deal between Mozilla and Ask Jeeves, AJ has taken things to the next level by releasing a version of their browser toolbar for the Firefox web browser. It does all the usual things one expects from a browser toolbar and some interesting additions. Check it out if you’re in the market for another toolbar for your browser. My personal feeling here, is that the search engines have realised that Firefox provides them with something they haven’t had for some time. A popular browser that doesn’t send everyone to MSN by default and a browser for which MSN won’t release a toolbar (or anything else). The Microsoft monopoly doesn’t extend to alternative browsers. If IE is the only browser, then the non MSN search engines have to work twice as hard to get market penetration. Don’t believe me? Wait until Longhorn is released and see how much Microsoft search technology is built into it. Firefox is possibly the last real chance the search engines have of getting a fair playing field in the browser landscape and they all apparently know it, or at least Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves do, as they’ve all released Firefox toolbars in the past couple of months. Yahoo went so far as to pledge that all Yahoo services will be made compatible with Firefox. As far as I can tell, all of Google’s services already are.

INSERT (23/03/2005): Ask Jeeves has just been purchased by InterActiveCorp for 1.85 billion dollars.

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2005 by Franki

Sometimes you come across a page that explains something you really want to explain to people, in a much better manner then you ever could yourself. Today I found such a page. HowStuffWorks has written an introduction to Firefox that explains in simple terms what alternative browsers are, why we need them, what makes Firefox different, cool features it has, why it’s secure and much more. All done in simple language that even newbie’s can understand. Apart from the annoying pop-up that HowStuffWorks makes use of (which you won’t see if your using Firefox to view the page) the story is a must read if you don’t understand what people are going on about when they talk about alternative browsers.

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HTMLfixIT Site Stats.

Browser Statistics
Internet Explorer 85.88%
IE 717.63%
IE 62.3%
IE 50.00%
IE other8.6%
Moz Firefox 3.x3.03%
Moz Firefox 2.x0.18%
Moz Firefox 0.x/1.x26.65%
Netscape 8.x0.00%
NS 6+/Mozilla2.73%
Moz Seamonkey0.00%
Netscape 4.x0.00%
Opera 9.x0.00%
Opera 8.x0.00%
Opera 7.x0.42%
Opera 6.x0.00%
Opera other0.42%
Safari Mac/Intel5.21%
Safari Mac/PPC0.06%
Safari Windows25.2%
Google Chrome1.51%

Resolution Statistics
640 x 4800.25%
800 x 60026.14%
1024 x 76836.55%
1152 x 8640.25%
1280 x 80011.68%
1280 x 8540.00%
1280 x 102417.01%
1400 x 10500.00%
1600 x 12001.02%
1920 x 12007.11%
2560 x 10240.00%

OS Statistics
Windows 741.55%
Windows Vista2.4%
Windows 20033.91%
Windows XP20.86%
Windows 20000.36%
Windows NT40.05%
Windows 98/ME0.05%
Windows 950.00%
Mac OSX8.03%
Mac Classic0.00%

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