When will Internet Explorer 6 die?
Oh how I wish Internet Explorer 6 would die. Maybe Microsoft putting a gun to the head of WindowsXP and pulling the trigger will do it. According to Net Applications Market Share stats for the quarter ended March, 2007, IE 6 still commands a 48% browser share.
Why do I long for its demise? Let’s take this blog for instance. I’ve horsed around with the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to get the blog container to have the white space in the body and the overall look-n-feel I want. I also extended the width of it past the 900 pixels typically found in Typepad’s CSS to 1,000 pixels. The header image you see above fits within that 1,000 pixel space perfectly and looks great on Firefox, Safari, Mozilla, Opera…but if you’re viewing this blog on IE6 you’ll see that there is a single pixel line of white space on the right side of the header graphic that sticks out like a sore thumb. There’s probably a workaround, but it’s an ancient (in Internet terms) IE6 problem that I’m unwilling to expend much effort to correct.
When I created Rise of the Participation Culture as a Web and PDF-based report, our Web tools generated PNG images that, unfortunately, IE6 can’t render! We had to export each image separately as a JPG as well as request that my template producer create a JPG version of the template itself. What a pain in the butt.
Most people can turn on their computer and do a few things but downloading Firefox or even IE7 apparently isn’t in their skill sets (those links, by the way, take you right to the download sites for those browsers in case you’re reading this in IE6 and want to join the 52% of the computing world that’s up-to-date). This newbie nature is one reason that — even though propellerheads like me can get all goosey and enthusiastic about the latest-n-greatest technology — the average person could either care less or needs a lot of handholding to get and stay current.
Of course, this mass, functional technical illiteracy is one reason why our friends at Best Buy bought the Geek Squad and why it’s unlikely there will be significant push to sell the Macintosh’s they allegedly are rolling out to 200 stores. To do so would cut off the easy money the Geek Squad gets from a complex Windows operating system that newbies struggle with daily (and people that support their family would have with experiences like I did with my Dad).
Phew! That sounds like a huge rant and comes across really negative and dismissive of those in need of the kind of help I provide. It’s not intended to be such and I didn’t even get into all the security problems that still exist with IE6. I understand how hard this stuff is for people just wanting to do their job — instead of fool with the tool — and I empathize.
When I walk into companies or my local school district I realize that there are good reasons why upgrading — which costs money in hardware, software or the time to perform the upgrading — isn’t done routinely or what some of us think is even a modestly fast timetable. But upgrading a browser is such a drop-dead-simple thing to do (and it’s FREE) that pointing out to people why they should do so seems straightforward.
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.