No such thing as an “Obsolete” OS or browser – Part III

Well, it’s been two years since I did one of these and it’s always good to look back and see how things have changed. I ended up being taken aback by how little it had, once again proving the point; you can’t force people to upgrade or change if they don’t want to or can’t.

Let’s see what happened last month…

OS Stats for November, 2011 on eksith.com

I have a sneaking suspicion that “Windows NT” includes Windows 7 hits considering the percentage, but I can’t be sure. Vista is no where near Windows XP, as expected, and there’s still one straggler on Windows 3.xx. I’m a little surprised to see no RedHat or Suse hits last month.

Browser Stats for November, 2011 on eksith.com

Firefox is showing the full spectrum of versions once again (except 1.x) from ancient to bleeding edge and, rather worryingly, IE 2.0 hits actually increased from the last time. These were probably from ancient PCs used by people who are only now getting accustomed to the Internet. This would also explain why there are so many zombie PCs as part of botnets.

The last time I did this, I linked the FOSS.lk Conferences page in the comments and I was hopeful that this would be a new trend toward the expansion of Open Source awareness in Sri Lanka. I’m a bit worried that the site hasn’t changed in over three years now and I hope the momentum hasn’t slowed.

Open Source software would go a long way to alleviate budget and security woes and, as a side benefit, would make the rampant software piracy in the country a thing of the past. You know… reputation and all.

Hopefully, the next time I visit Sri Lanka, I won’t have to do tech support at each house I visit that has a computer.

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No such thing as an “Obsolete” OS – Part II

A few suprises this month, almost as surprising as the last time I did this tally. Some things, though, haven’t changed in a year. Looks like Vista took a back seat to XP this round. I wonder why…

OS Stats for August, 2009 on eksith.com

OS Stats for August, 2009 on eksith.com

And a lot more Linux users this year. That’s a plesant surprise.

Last time, I didn’t do browsers mostly because there weren’t much variety and nothing that grabbed my attention. This year, there are a whole lot of people using Firefox, almost all versions.

Browser Stats for August, 2009 on eksith.com

Browser Stats for August, 2009 on eksith.com

And that’s a very disturbing cluster close to the top.

Developer drama queens present:

“This web site does not supply identity information”…

…Which is by far one of the most vague and most easily misunderstood tooltip notices you could present to any user; Even an experienced one.  And I’m quite surprised this little gem went unnoticed by me all this time in Firefox, if it weren’t for the my accidental hover over the icon left of the URL bar after I upgraded to 3.5 recently.

Normally, this sort of wording problem goes unnoticed until pointed out and then fixed quickly. Alas, I found an amusing discourse on mozillaZine (that started March of last year) which prove once again, some people may also need Midol along with their antacids before accepting a seemingly obvious point.

The notice serves no worthwhile purpose for the vast majority of web users unless they’re submitting a form or need secure access for another purpose. And it shows a lack of foresight when it comes to user interactions as they could have easily worded this in a far more intuitive way.

Back to that forum thread…
The original post was :  “So how should a server admin provide this information?”

A fair and reasonable question.

Unfortunately it all degenerates into SSL vs EV SSL, the domain “shortcomings” at not providing encryption (I didn’t realise this was a prerequisite for all connections and form fields),  there was an argument about one thing, but there isn’t an argument something else… etc… etc…  All of which have no bearing  whatsoever on the above poorly worded notification, but of course, the drama queens arrive crying foul at any arguments to the contrary. Relabel an analogy as being a straw-man argument. That always works.

How this all ended this way is a good example of why Firefox community branches could use a good pruning… And some neutering too, perhaps.  In fact most of the open source community use a good helping of humble pie on occasion. Is how you’re personally perceived as a developer more important than getting a quality product out? And when pointed out an obvious shortcoming, is ignoring, or worse yet, nagging the messenger really the appropriate reaction?

Well that’s all well and good, but here’s my suggestion :

When submitting user data, it’s helpful to have a notification in the URL bar on whether the connection is secure. Particularly when submitting form fields. However, the notification must be unambiguous or at least be as clear as possible for the average user with no knowledge of secure connections, encryption and such.

And your definition of “clear” doesn’t apply to everyone else. Be aware that you’re creating a product for the masses so it’s the masses’ opinion that counts.

There’s no such thing as an obsolete browser

In what seems to be a continuing trend here, a significant number of users seem to be unwilling or unable to upgrade their browsers.

Here’s what February of 2009 brought to eksith.com.

Be afraid! Be very afraid!!

Be afraid! Be very afraid!!

Makes me question the whole purpose of designing sites with the latest browser in mind anyway. All this time, I’ve been thinking about users who have a browser with full CSS/XHTML capability and those with none. It seems there’s a whole multitude of them within a gray area between.

I’m mainly concerned with the Firefox 2.x and IE 6 groups, of which IE 6 causes the greatest concern as they present the largest group using an obsolete browser. Even the old Firefox renders pages to an acceptable degree. IE 6 presents no incentive whatsoever to design pages with semantics in mind. I have to use some kind of hack or other proprietary markup in the HTML or CSS to get it to work as it should. At least with IE 7, they’ve fixed some of the more egregious rendering issues.

And a little update on the OS stats from last year

Downgrades?

Downgrades?

People are abandoning Vista at a dramatic rate or there was simply a jump in XP visitors. Either way, Vista is at a minority this year. And, a bit of a plesant surprise, the number of Linux users have jumped dramatically as well. This would explain why there are a few K-Meleon and Mozilla users in the browser list.

Turn off Firefox3 address bar bookmark search.

Firefox address bar Bookmarks = Incredibly Annoying!

I’m sure there are some users who find this useful, but considering I have, literally, a hundred+ bookmarks and I get to see this every time I enter in any character, it’s really annoying.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about…

Well intentioned, but annoying for me

Well intentioned, but annoying for me

I keep all of them organized into folders so I always find what I’m looking for. This was really unnecessary for me.

So how to turn it off?

Go to your about config > search for urlbar > select browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped and set it to true.

config, find browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped and set it to true

In about:config, find browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped and set it to true

There… Problem solved!

Like I said before, there are plenty of people who would find this useful. But I’m not one of them. I’m sure a lot of others out there aren’t either.

Update

On second thought, that number of a hundred+ bookmarks may be slightly off…

Here is a list of those folders..

I didn't really take a moment to glance at this

I didn’t really take a moment to glance at this

And a few samples within… Yes, there are folders within folders

Design related bookmarks

Design related bookmarks


Electronics related bookmarks

Electronics related bookmarks

Upon closer inspection, the actual number may be several hundred to a thousand bookmarks.
Each folder has about the same number of links in them… Yikes!