Google Search now Views IBM as a Nazi Titanic
Google Search now Views IBM as a Nazi Titanic

Internet Expklorer users now constitute about 5% of the visitors to this site, and half of those are still on IE8 So here are some thoughts, both technical and general.

1. Coping with Internet Explorer

As this site now uses HTML5, I added some code so that half the users on IE could still see the site: Then, blithely, I made the following conditional header code in each page head:

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  1. <!--if IE lt 9-->
  2. <script src="">'</script>
  3. &lt;!--endif--&gt;

But it still does not work quite right, because IE8 cannot handle the new extensions for responsive layout on phones. And it transpires there has not been an agreement on how to report what kind of device is viewing a page. The only reliable method is to parse the user agent string. Well, no problem, I thought, that's just a few more lines of PHP:

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  1. $user_agent=strtolower($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT']); 
  2. if(preg_match('/msie/',$user_agent))
  3.     $ie=1;else $ie=0;
  4. if(preg_match('/ alcatel|amoi|android|avantgo|blackberry|benq|cell|cricket|docomo|elaine|htc|iemobile|iphone|ipad|ipaq|ipod|j2me|java|midp|mini|mmp|mobi|motorola|nec-|nokia|palm|panasonic|philips|phone|playbook|sagem|sharp|sie-|silk|smartphone|sony|symbian|t-mobile|telus|up\.browser|up\.link|vodafone|wap|webos|wireless|xda|xoom|zte/i',$user_agent))
  5.     $phone=1;else $phone=0;
  6. if($ie)$buffer.='&lt;![if gt IE 8]>';
  7. if($phone){$buffer.='<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="handheld,screen" href="'.$tmpl.'/css/phone3.css">';
  8. }else{$buffer.='<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="handheld,screen" href="'.$tmpl.'/css/pc3.css">';}
  9. if($ie)$buffer.='&lt;![endif]-->&lt;!--[if lt IE 9]><script src="">'
  10.     .'</script>&lt;![endif]-->';

Only to discover conditional HTML comments, which Microsoft once touted as the solution for all Web compatibility ailments, are no longer supported in newer versions of IE 10 and later. So, obediently, I followed the advice of the Microsoft developer article here,after plumbing through its hefty description of what no longer works, to find out how to do something else which does:" ~ "About conditional Comments"

Despite this having been last updated September 2012, there were innumerable articles on the Web elsewhere since then still describing how to use them, so probably many people have been as puzzled as me about why it doesnt work. Anyway, down in its bowels I found the recommended solution and added the following tag to the html head element:

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  1. &lt;meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="EmulateIE9"/&gt;

2. So Much for Microsoft 'Enhancing' the Web

So that the conditional comments would still work, Microsoft itself advised to force Internet Explorer to behave like an older version. So much for Microso\ft's 'enhancements.' This seemed particularly ironic, as the X-UA-Compatible property is a Microsoft-only extension, and Microsoft went through a great deal of effort to get it accepted in the World-Wide-Web Consortia (W3C). Originally this was to force the browser to support its novel custom enhancements by setting the content attribute to a value of "IEedge"., but now Microsoft advises to use an emulate' value instead of conditonal HTML comments.

So now I am using the same META tag which Microsoft created to prove it knew better, in order to force IE to behave like an older browser. After restructuring my PHP and CSS code a third time for Microsoft compatibility since I abandoned life in Silicon Valley, I submitted it to the result to the W3C validation validation. The W3C service then stated:

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  1. A meta element with an http-equiv attribute whose value is X-UA-Compatible must have a content attribute with the value IE=edge.

I had been suportive of Microsoft'sefforts to enhance browsers in th epast. I actually did agree with Bill Gates when he was on trial (something about making IE part of the Windows OS with non-conformant features in violation of trade agreements) that he was just trying to make a better product. But when Microsoft reversed direction on this technicality yet again, that just about did me in for good, With some real annoyance I wrote a blistering note on a Microsoft help

page saying'this is why no one uses your browsers any more. People are fed up with old page not working because of all this adding and removing of features."

3. Wot? Renaming Internet Explorer?

A couple of days passed while I wondered if my Windows 7 computer would suddenly die because I had bene honestly rude. During this time news appeared that Microsoft would not promise that its user agent string would remain unchanged. Then there was a news yesterday that Microsoft has decided to rename 'Internet Explorer.'

Renaming is an act of desperation. I renamed this site because I was being attacked venomously by cyber pirates. There was a time when Microsoft was so powerful, it could do what it wanted regardless of anyone else's opinion, but since Bill Gates retired, that has been slowly changing. The new commanders at Microsoft's helm sem more interested in the cloud than the client, but like every one else, they are struggling to find a revenue module that works in it. Microsoft Office was the secret powerhouse of the old empire, but now it is apparently looking for something else.Or is it?

4. Once IBM seemed Invincible Too

When I was 5 years old, my parent s left me with a hotel secretary in Spain so they could go sightseeing (in those days being a secretary in Europe was not considered so demeaning). In her office was this enormous clay-colored metal object with red, white, and blue ribbons, and a spinning metal ball in it, which I could make move by lightly pressing on rows of shiny buttons. It was the most fascinating contraption I had ever seen: an electric typewriter.

She kindly let me play with it for several hours, and I pressed the various buttons enthralled, watching the ball spin around to a different letter, changing the color of the typed letters from blue to red, and erasing characters with the white ribbon.>/p>

These days the youth, complacent of the high-tech which surrounds them from their birth, could not know the wonder of that giant clay-colored machine. And when I asked what it was, I was not told it was an electric typewriter. I was told it was 'an IBM.' Europeans long had called objects by their trade names (vacuum cleaners are hoovers, and ball-point pens were biros). And it was a sign of invincibility: the companies that made such things were never meant to disappear. They were as monolithic and unmovable as the rocks on which Europe built its castles and palaces. The people in them came and went, but the rocks just stayed there.

Then IBM slowly disappeared. The company that had built itself by hiring high=school dropouts with higher IQs than everyone else just could not compete in the free-for-all personal-computer marketplace it had created. While telling everyone there was nothing to worry about, it slowly sold off all its assets and fired every one until there was nothing left.

5. So is Microsoft about to Take the Same Exit?

Is its era of massive control and expansion ending, and it is about to start divesting itself of divisions that are no longer profitable? Does it seem so impossible that it could follow the path of IBM? If so, what will be the first to go? The beloved Xbox of its last President? or its Office? And how long it will be? This was a company with an internal economy that was once larger than that of Spain. It could take many years for its hallowed halls to fall into the hands of its jealous rivals on the Pacific Rim; but for sure, Sony, Samsung, et al. are waiting with great hope.