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ot bells and whistles

updated tue 11 nov 03


Janet Kaiser on tue 11 nov 03

>USER - "I use the original version of the 'Opera' browser, and I
have blocked all cookies, and Java script functions. Why can't I
view your site?"
>ME - "Why do you do these things to yourself?"

Well Gail, I can tell you that many of us are extremely reluctant
to have stuff happening which we have no control over! Call us
control freaks or paranoid if you will, but intrusive,
uncontrolled poking around on our PCs, reading/writing of files,
cookies, self-executing files, automatic opening of files in
installed programmes, etc. etc. is not our thing...

We have "nothing to hide" as it were, but do not enjoy the
concept of uncontrolled access to our hard-drives, especially
given the capacity of hidden or secret reading/writing by an
unknown person or persons, including Mr. Gates... So in a bid to
stop any "unauthorised" access we will use both appropriate and
inappropriate methods according to our understanding, skills and
knowledge levels.

For example, I was appalled that hitting a link to a M$.document
file on the internet using the M$ IE browser AUTOMATICALLY OPENS
that file in M$-Word!?! What a great way of accepting and
installing malicious code... Just one embedded macro and away we
go...! OK there are few sites which would have or tolerate
infected files, but I have enough problems without the mere
threat, never mind should I be unlucky enough to actually hit on
one of the exceptions =B0!=B0

I think you will find that most users have had problems with
"bells and whistles" sites. They can crash, freeze and do stuff
to one's PC/iMac even with the most up to date programmes
installed... Yes, most is not serious, being "harmless" and
repairable, but on the the other hand it is extremely irritating.
Most of us are in the "average user" category, so we do not have
the solutions you professionals have at your finger-tips.

Nor IMO should we as "honoured guests & visitors" be expected to
do so or have to put up with what the pros know perfectly well is
simply not universally accessible and user-friendly! I would say
that all web sites should be cross-platform and browser friendly
with the minimum of reliance on "extras" like the Macromedia
packages such as Flash, Shockwave, etc. Hell, it may be hard to
believe for those who have the newest kit available, but some
people still do not have a graphic cards or speakers, let alone
state-of-the-art hardware and software!

Office work is considered a tedious time-waster for many who
regard this medium as just another working tool or virtual
extension to their library, so ADDITIONAL frustrations caused by
some sites can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. IMO it
is the flashy sites, long download times and associated
frustrations that increasingly DISCOURAGE internet use, which is
really funny when you think about it... All the whizzo web
developers racing to make sites "interesting", "visually
exciting" and "interactive" are shooting themselves in the foot,
unless their target audience are into the same sort of thing.

I know, I know... I am an old codger and simpleton easily amused
by little animated gifs which are considered naff in many
circles... But when I go on-line, I am looking for INFORMATION,
not entertainment! I do not like jumping out of my skin at
unexpected noises and simply hate having to wait an age for
evidence of the site developers technical prowess. It is not that
I am impatient either... We pay for every nano-second on-line as
do many in Europe and elsewhere, so until I win the lottery,
sites which hold me up in any way will not be visited.

I realise that it is extremely exciting to use the many options
now available and increasing by the day, but think it is
important not to get too carried away by them. Just as you do not
understand concerns already voiced by others, I do not understand
why you do not appreciate their take on this whole issue?

I for one also take the cautions, warnings and advice from other
users, magazine articles, web sites, newsgroups, books,
newsletters, etc. to heart. For example, I avoid using M$ IE and
OE. At least Opera ASKS me whether I want to accept cookies and
tells me which are illegal or dubious. Any file which is not HTML
or HTM will prompt a question... What do I want to do with it...
Open or Save to file? And Calypso (now being marketed as Courier)
does not open ANY attachments without my express permission, nor
will it display HTM/HTML e-mail. Indeed it refuses to open .sci,
.pif and all the predesignated "banned" file extensions. I have
set it to be this way... Really neat features which have saved a
lot of hassle in recent weeks...

It is not being paranoid... As you know, I have an amazing
ability to attract disaster all the time, so why increase the
odds of it happening by "importing" potential problems? As long
as M$ cannot get its act together on security issues, I will
remain one of those who "do it to myself"... Indeed, like many
other disillusioned M$ users, the day I switch to Linux is
drawing closer all the time...


Janet Kaiser -- down to only 400 unread mails!?! You have all
been remarkably talkative over the past week... Interesting stuff
but now time for an "early" night.
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