Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

Scott E. Preece (
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 11:06:20 -0500

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 11:06:20 -0500
Message-Id: <>
From: "Scott E. Preece" <>
In-reply-to:'s message of Fri, 18 Oct 1996 11:43:44 -0500
Subject: Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

 From: (Murray Altheim)

| "Scott E. Preece" <> writes:
| [...]

| >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.

There are qualitative differences between browsers and there will
continue to be until the net has matured and innovation diminished.
It's perfectly reasonable for providers to take advantage of those
qualitative differences when they allow them to present their content
more effectively.  Some of the differences are useful, some aren't.
It's perfectly reasonable (and, I still believe, *desirable*) for
those providers to let their users know the best circumstances for
using their content.  It's in both the provider's and the user's best
interest that the user know when she is missing something.

| >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 think you're wrong about those embedded-browser devices - I think they
will fetch their browsers (or browser components) from the net and will
get current versions, and I expect they will have choices in what
browsers they support, eventually.  And I expect content negotiation to
come as the range of display devices makes the need for display-specific
optimization more obvious.

| 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...

Hmm.  I'll bet you buy Dolby-encoded cassettes, despite the glyph on the
ox that means "this will not sound as good on a device that doesn't
support Dolby noise reduction."  Would you prefer that videotape
producers *not* put the HiFi bug on tapes that support HiFi sound,
because it makes people with non-HiFi VCRs feel crunchy?  Should TV
networks not put the Stereo bug at the beginning of programs, lest they
offend users with mono TVs?
|     "This book best read...

Would you object to a note on the third book af a series saying "You'll
enjoy this book more if you have read the first two books first"?  Or a
note saying "This book is set in type that some people find hard to
read; for maximum enjoyment you may want to consider using reading

Part of an informed decision is knowledge of what your're giving up by
making a particular choice.  When the cost of a particular choice is
continually changing, that information has to be continually
renewed. It's information worth having.


scott preece
motorola/mcg urbana design center	1101 e. university, urbana, il   61801
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