* Posts by Bryan Sylvester

10 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Aug 2008

Opera chief: Microsoft's IE 8 ‘undermines’ web standards

Bryan Sylvester

Why should Microsoft not support old websites?

"The fundamental problem is Microsoft's decision to allow users to continue to view billions of old pages optimized for non-compliant IE 6 and 7 that would otherwise be scrambled in IE 8."

This is a good thing, not bad. Why on earth should Microsoft intentionally break those old websites when they can maintain compatibility with those websites? Even Firefox and Safari can degrade gracefully and render those websites (which in high probability has already been abandoned by its developers). A browser that cannot render HTML3 standard websites cannot called itself a standard-compliant browser, even if that standard is depreciated.

Daft list names Firefox, Adobe and VMWare as top threats

Bryan Sylvester
Jobs Horns

Not exactly totally wrong though.

With poster childs for insecurity like Adobe Flash, Java JRE, Quicktime and Messenger, the list is not exactly wrong. Exclusion of IE is damning though.

Adobe cites bad blood for closed Flash

Bryan Sylvester

@mark and everyone else that say codec patents are invalid in your country

Patents on software (math) may be not universal, but it is valid in United States, thus if your country is a signatory of the Berne Convention, WTO, TRIPS and GATTS, those USA patents that cover codecs is valid in your country. Your country may ban software patents, but I bet it only bans people from registering software patents on your country. Your country will have to recognize those software patents from USA (and other signatory countries that also recognize software patents) or else if the problem is big enough, USA trade representatives may make a complaint to WTO and retaliate in many ways, such as imposing tariffs barriers or worse, not recognizing your country non-software patents.

Bryan Sylvester

@Anonymous Coward

The FFMPEG project implements patent-encumbered codecs, so your point is moot. Just because there is an open-source implementation of a codec, does not mean it is legal to use it.

Windows Live third wave washes up

Bryan Sylvester


Only Windows Live Messenger 9 (which is better than 8.5 anytime) has advertising and are locked with a single service.

Windows Live Writer is the best WYSIWYG/code desktop blogging software at its price point, and do not have any vendor tie-in (you can use it with a lot of blogging services like wordpress, typepad, blogger and of course live spaces and can upload videos straight to YouTube and Soapbox without visiting either sites). If you can suggest another alternative that is free and has as many features as Writer, feel free to write about it here. It is safe too, never heard about a remotely-exploitable priviledge escalation exploit bug that can be associated with this software.

Windows Live Mail allows you to use Hotmail without all those ads. Plus Gmail without those ads, Yahoo! Mail! if! you! are! insane! enough! to! pay! or any other POP/IMAP/NNTP accounts. Has calendaring too but Microsoft is smart enough not to allow this to connect to an AD server.

Then there is Live Gallery which is not that good compared to IrfanView of FastStone Image Viewer. But this software allows you to upload to Flickr and Live Spaces so not exactly vendor-locked to Microsoft services.

Live Toolbar is just as useful (or useless) as Google Toolbar/Yahoo Toolbar/Megaupload Toolbar etc. thus even I avoid installing it.

OMFG, what have you done?

Bryan Sylvester
Paris Hilton

Too many grey space at the sides of this website. Anyway....

...I can now remove theregister.co.uk from IE8b2 compatibility list. All I have to do now is to get used to the slimmed down design that does not look good on my 22" widescreen LCD.

Can we get the older comment icons too?

Microsoft breaks IE8 interoperability promise

Bryan Sylvester


There are no competition for Internet Explorer when it comes to corporate networks. For a long time, many IT and network administrators has pleaded at Mozilla/Opera to make their browsers to be easily administered with Group Policy and has updates to be easily adiminstrered via centralized server like WSUS (the last thing I need is when a Firefox update comes out is the whole 500 machines in the network will go out and do self-updating).

So unless Mozilla/Apple/Opera makes their browsers more management-friendly, Internet Explorer will rule the corporate world.

Bryan Sylvester


With security and data transfer concerns are less of a headache, you can have a more 'feature-filled' intranet webpages that can do 'safe' thing like automated unsigned ActiveX executions etc. combined with HTML 3.xx standard pages. I know that isn't safe at all, but these kind of crufty websites are way too prevalent in company networks across the world, and more often than not, works fine in IE6-only browser. This kind of browser-based applications will not just be upgraded like that especially in conservative IT environment, just like what motherboard makers tell you about BIOS upgrades (do not upgrade if nothing is broken). HTML/CSS of those old applications can't just be treated the same way Internet HTML/CSS do, because it will certainly break. Now, if those Intranet webpages are standard-compliant in the first place, there there is no problem switching on standard-compliant mode in Intranet zone, but it seems that Microsoft think that there are many intranet pages out there that are not upgraded yet (and I do share the same opinion), thus compatibility mode is set to default.

For Internet websites, there are incentives for webmasters to follow W3C recommendations, as it allows them to reach more people with different browsers. Intranet websites, there are no such incentives in a highly-controlled environment, where IT/HR departments can simply tell the workers to use IE.

Plus, more importantly, Intranet zone can use standard mode anyway. Microsoft probably could have defaulted Intranet pages to use standard mode (after all, changing to compatibility mode for Intranet zone seems to be as easy as flipping a switch in Group Policy). You have to consider that unlike home users (who mostly have no use for Intranet zone - thus Microsoft can force), browsers in enterprise networks are tightly controlled and settings can be pretty brutal. So, in the unlikeliest chance that the companies actually upgrade those Intranet webpages to be standard-compliant, the drones at IT department can easily turn on standard mode later.

Bryan Sylvester

@ Lie

First thing first, yes Intranet and Internet should be treated differently. The former operates in a secure environment, while the latter operates in a hostile world. For your information, with these differences, you can do a lot of things within an intranet that you should or cannot do on the internet. Treating all network packets as hostile will only thwart usability, compatibility and innovation. That's why IE has multiple security zones feature since times memorial.

Secondly, Microsoft did render all Internet websites in standard-compliant mode. If you did not see the icon when visiting a website, it is even better, because the webmaster has gone out of their way to tell IE to use standard or quirks mode exclusively (I just coded my website to tell IE8 to use compatibility mode by default and the icon did not appear anymore - apparently Microsoft does this too to Hotmail). So, your claim that they broke the promiose is misleading. Stop spreading FUD, it will only make you (and Opera) look bad.

McCain: Keep Shuttle flying, don't trust Russia

Bryan Sylvester

@rodrigo Andrade

Georgia did not start the war, nor that it tries to commit genocide against Ossetians. Russia started the war in August 6th by letting Chechens cracktroopers firing banned weapons against Georgian peacekeepers. Russia doesn't even have any rights to annex a territory outside its borders.

Read http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/08/the-truth-about-1.php for more information.