Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

Murray Altheim (murray@spyglass.com)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 11:43:44 -0500


Message-Id: <v02140b17ae8d5cf724be@[208.203.149.85]>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 11:43:44 -0500
To: "Scott E. Preece" <preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
From: murray@spyglass.com (Murray Altheim)
Subject: Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire
Cc: www-html@w3.org

"Scott E. Preece" <preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com> writes:
[...]
>I have to disagree.  The "looks best in..." and the "download ... now"
>buttons are useful.  They give people a way to know whether their choice
>of browser is getting in the way of their use of the information they
>use.  It's not an annoyance, it's a piece of advice.  Obviously, you
>have to design so those with other browsers are at least adequately
>supported, but it's good service to your users to let them know what
>they need to do to get the best value from your offerings.

Then maybe the presentation of the information is getting in the way of its
content. Sort of like WiReD magazine's printing yellow ink on silver pages.
Duh.

>And people *will* switch when they start seeing a lot of pages
>suggesting a different browser - especially if the suggested changes are
>simply to later versions of the browser they're already using.  Or,
>possibly more important, they'll start pushing the vendor of their
>preferred browser to incorporate the same new features as the ones
>suggested by the pages they use.

Yes, maybe some will switch. And some will follow any lemming off a cliff.
So what?  I can't stand loud carpet or automobile dealer advertisements. I
just switch channels. It's not worth my time. Etc.

>I think it's a very useful mechanism for the continuing development of
>the Web.

You seem to miss the point some are making. Not everyone HAS the choice.
And as we move to set-top boxes, small devices, kiosks, etc. there won't be
a choice at all. Wait until you're dealing with a Nokia 200 pixel wide
monochrome screen.
This isn't even mentioning the hard-of-site, deaf users, etc. who currently
are slighted by all this attention to glitz.

I find it insulting to be constantly told to get a new browser, change my
window size, change my font settings. Akin to opening a book and being told


    "This book best read while sitting in a dark coffee shop dressed in
     mod black clothes, drinking a short cappucino with a sprinkle of
     dark cocoa, sprig of mint, reading "The Horseman on the Roof" by
     Jean Giono. You should be interspersing the reading of this book
     with conversations about Derrida with a dark-eyed, mysterious
     woman from Borneo, who seems transfixed on the mole on your neck."

This assumes you are a man who wears black, likes strong coffee and Giono,
and give a rat's patootie about Derrida. And that you're not blind. And
that you speak English (or French, if you're reading Giono in the
original). And that you read books. And that you have lips to drink the
coffee... [Morning cappucino buzz now wearing off...]

Murray

```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
    Murray Altheim, Program Manager
    Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
    email: <mailto:murray@spyglass.com>
    http:  <http://www.cambridge.spyglass.com/murray/murray.html>
           "Give a monkey the tools and he'll eventually build a typewriter."