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HTMLfixIT Archive for June, 2005




Wednesday, June 29th, 2005 by Don

In a story yesterday we reported that the right click features in MSN were not working right in current versions of Firefox. A programmer at MSN immediately provided us information suggesting that the problem was really an issue in Firefox. To it’s credit, the MSN team immediately implemented a work-around so that right clicks are back.

The method used by them is very interesting. They essentially create an equalized version of Firefox and IE by adding an attachEvent method to every DOM element in Firefox. By doing this, they can later — site wide — avoid the typical browser detection and the corresponding repeat of scripts that say,
see if this is IE and if so, then this, but if it is FF, then do something else, or if Opera, then do the other, etc.
It avoids duplicative coding, and avoids the necessity of changing each of those scripts should there be a bug like arose here. Equally important, they don’t need to train each developer regarding the differences in API between browsers.

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Wednesday, June 29th, 2005 by Don

In a article yesterday we panned MSN for blocking right clicks in Firefox. The person who wrote the script, Scott Isaacs, says this was an unintended consequence and that it appears to be a firing problem with Firefox’s on-click implementation. You can read his comment here. In the meantime, given the defect, we do encourage MSN to try coding around it as soon as possible. We have been writing code to accomodate shortcomings in various versions of Internet Explorer for years, so some turn-about is of course fair-play as the old saying goes.

1 Comment »

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005 by Don

From time-to-time you will see similiar news articles on our site. That is because we may both be working on a similiar article unbeknownst to the other authors. Sometimes I start an article, get interrupted, and bring it back around to finish it later only to find that Franki or another guest author wrote something similiar. My conclusion is to publish anyway as we may each have a little different angle on the report. I hope that doesn’t cause any difficulties to our readers.

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Wednesday, June 29th, 2005 by Don

Franki reported on the MGM v Grokster case (official opinion on the Court’s website in pdf format) just decided by the Supreme Court. In that Opinion, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that peer-to-peer networks may be responsible for the illegal file sharing committed by users of the network if they intentionally encourage the sharing of copyrighted information. The specific language on the very first page of Justice Souter’s opinion for the Court says:

…”one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.”

Franki’s article has been criticized as “over the top” by a commentor for suggesting that this will shut down p2p services. One can certainly argue about the relative effects of the decision, but as the writer pointed out — and our prior article did NOT suggest to be the case — the decision did not address peer-to-peer sharing of non-copyrighted material by any stretch. The issue is, will peer-to-peer sharing be a successful business model absent the number of users there only for copyrighted material. The answer to that is unknown.

If you really want to be informed, don’t take our — or anyone elses – word for what the ruling means! Read it yourself on the Supreme Court site. But do not stop there, take the time to read the transcript of the hearing back in March to see the arguments made. (As an aside, I am amazed at the number of times the counsel for the Petitioner interrupted the Justices.) Anyway, the case presented these p2p networks as 90 illigitamate. If you take away 90 percent of the advertising revenue, would the system still make sense? Time will tell.

(more…)

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 by Franki

Google’s share price has just topped the $300 mark and is currently sitting pretty at $307.86. That’s good news for Google, but what amazes me is that this is well over double the price they suggested as their initial share price (around $130) when they floated last year and yet they were forced to reduce the initial price below $100. Anybody that bought at $100 or less has no doubt made a tidy profit by this time.

In other Google news, apparently their share of the search market has grown above 50% in the US for the first time ever. Combine that with the even higher market share they hold in most of Europe and you have an extremely popular search engine with well over twice it’s nearest competitors market share. You can read Websidestory’s press release on Google’s growing market share here.

This snippet from the above press release sums up the reason for both the above mentioned results in my humble opinion:

“Google has become a staple for any serious online marketing operation and this data shows why: They generate more than half of all online search referrals in the U.S. and as much as 90 percent in other countries. Google’s early decision to focus on quality of search results has clearly paid off.

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 by Franki

Update: Please see this article as it appears this may have been an unintentional consequence of a faulty implementation of the on-click event in Firefox

In what appears to be another attempt to dissuade users from using non IE browsers, Microsoft has blocked the right clicking of links on the MSN web site when using the Mozilla Firefox web browser. Clicking on such a link in Internet Explorer pops up the normal right click menu. Right clicking on a link in Firefox or Mozilla results in the same effect as left clicking a link. This may be an attempt to cause problems for people using the tabbing features of Firefox which is usually done by right clicking on a link and selecting “open in new tab” from the menu.

I can’t see how Microsoft can claim this was accidental because there is no valid reason I can think of to remap a browsers right click and also it only affects Firefox browser (IE’s biggest competitor) I’ve tested in both Netscape 8.x and Opera 8.x and neither are affected. Try it for yourself, go to http://msn.com In Firefox and try to right click on a link. Then try the exact same thing in Netscape or Opera (or Internet Explorer obviously). They apparently do this using a JavaScript file specifically targeted to the Mozilla browser. You can find it here: http://hp.msn.com/scr/home/msnmoz1021.js

If this is yet another case of Microsoft trying to block out products that successfully compete with them, then they should expect to find themselves in front of another judge for yet more anti-competitive charges. They’ve been found guilty twice already, (US and EU) what’s another guilty conviction? I’m really starting to reach the point where I may pop-up a DHTML warning message informing users of Internet Explorer of all the reasons why IE is a lousy browser, you know, the usual stuff. Lack of standards, lack of security, lack of modern user features, invites Spyware and Virus infection, promoted by a company guilty of monopoly practises who abandoned it’s development until it faced stiff competition from a competitor after which it suddenly became their flavour of the month again, that sort of thing.

In the mean time, If you really must browse MSN, you can either block that script using the Firefox AdBlock extension, or just hold down the control key while clicking links to open them in new tabs. Blocking the script with AdBlock doesn’t seem to cause any other problems and it does return control of your right mouse button to you.

Update: It has since been revealed by the gentleman apparently responsible for the MSN script causing the problem that it is an unintended effect and could possibly be a bug in Firefox 1.0.4. I should note that I did not state it WAS an intentional effort to block alternative browsers, I simply implied it might be. I believe that that is a reasonable theory in light of the fact that such things have happened at MSN before.

2 Comments »

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 by Franki

AMD has filed a 48 page complaint [PDF] in federal district court (Delaware) accusing Intel of all manner of anti-competitive behaviour. Among the charges are that Intel pays huge sums of money to companies to limit their purchases of AMD processors and that it withholds rebates and marketing subsidies from customers who break the rules.

As anyone that reads the articles here regularly may have noticed, I’ve never had a high opinion of Intel, they always appear to be lead around by the nose by their marketing department and they took a step sideways (at best) when they swapped from PIII to P4 mostly because they figured being able to clock ever higher MHZ would help marketing. Clock cycle to clock cycle the old PIII is still a close competitor of the P4 despite being out of development for years. The P4 was just an exercise in marketing as AMD proved by outperforming it in power usage, heat generation and general performance and doing so at significantly lower clock speeds. And most of us fell for the Intel “MHZ is everything” spiel hook line and sinker.
Innovation and pricing should be the two factors determining market share, and if that was the case, AMD would have a handy lead on Intel. As we all know, this isn’t the case and even though Intel have been playing catch up in the technical stakes for some time now, they have lost hardly any of their market share. We may be about to find out why in a public and probably messy court battle.

AMD have created a page specifically for the purpose of detailing the relevant information and link to the relevant documents and you can find it here.

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