BOL 1070: Windows 7 cuddle party

Microsoft shows "Pink" (sort of), MMS disaster, er, feature about to launch on iPhone, Wii gets price cut, Archos new Win7 tablet looks great (too bad nobody will notice), and MIT has a synthetic eyeball on the way that amazes us. Oh yeah... and about tha

Microsoft shows "Pink" (sort of), MMS disaster, er, feature about to launch on iPhone, Wii gets price cut, Archos new Win7 tablet looks great (too bad nobody will notice), and MIT has a synthetic eyeball on the way that amazes us. Oh yeah...and about that cuddle party...

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EPISODE 1070

Microsoft’s “Pink” project emerges, sort of
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10360516-56.html

AppleInsider claims to have details on new iMacs
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/09/24/apple_ready_and_waiting_with_redesigned_imac_line.html

2009 PC sales way better than expected, thanks to notebooks, Netbooks
http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-10359945-260.html

Intel LightPeak tries to minimize — but not eliminate — computer cables
http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-10360047-264.html

Intel shows Larabee graphics technology, putting it in direct competition with Nvidia and AMD
http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/processors/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=220100672

Report: AT&T is girding for a rocky launch of iPhone MMS
http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/ATT-Nervous-About-Smooth-iPhone-MMS-Launch-104606
http://www.facebook.com/ATT?v=feed&story_fbid=138625780868

PS3 Motion Controller details
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10360590-52.html

Wii price cut
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10360550-1.html

Microsoft not going to buy EA
http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE58N1EK20090924

Twitter direct message bot
http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-10360158-245.html

Bank sues Google for its own stupidity
http://mashable.com/2009/09/24/bank-sues-google-identity/

Archos tablet due out Oct 22
http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/09/24/archos-9-tablet-due-october-22-for-499/

MIT eyeball chip is way better than eye patch
http://dvice.com/archives/2009/09/mits-eyeball-ch.php

ie8 runs 10 times faster with Chrome plug-in
http://www.infoworld.com/d/applications/ie8-runs-10-times-faster-google-plug-in-115

VOICEMAIL
Joe – panasonic licensed game machine dvd hybrid

E-MAIL
Hey Buzz Crew,

I am frustrated! I was hearing all the reports of people getting their Windows 7 Launch Party approvals and I was waiting for mine.

Well, I finally got my response on the morning of September 24. And you know what? They rejected me! They finally must have reached that mystery cap when they finally read my application.

Just thought you might like to know there is not an unlimited number of these party packs going around. :-(

Chris

PS, if any of your listeners want to invite me and some friends to their launch party, let me know what is going on in north-central WV!

**********

Hey Buzzers,

I’m a long time listener to the show (since the 300s) and a professional web developer. On occasion, Internet Explorer-related stories come up and, from how you report them, it seems like you don’t quite understand how bad the Internet Explorer (IE) problem really is. Below I’ll provide some info on that and also how that has to do with Google Chrome Frame.

History of IE and why it’s crap:

On the web, primarily three programming languages are used to present sites: HTML for the content, CSS for the styles, and Javascript for interactivity.

HTML (until recently) has been fairly stagnant and is well supported -- even in IE. Javascript, though inconsistent across browsers and not particularly fast, isn’t all that relevant to web developers yet, since the vast majority of web pages only use of small amounts of it and because new libraries make writing cross-browser Javascript fairly easy. Although faster, better javascript will become much more important as the web shifts from web pages to web apps, it’s not a big issue right now.

The most important thing right now is good CSS support, as styles, unlike scripts, are essential to any website.

A good measure of this support is the Acid 2 test, a test put out by the Web Standards Project in 2005. Safari and Opera have passed the test since 2006 and, although Firefox didn’t pass until 2008, it was always pretty good. Chrome has passed since its release. Internet Explorer, however, did not pass until earlier this year with version 8, and versions 6 and 7 failed MISERABLY (see screenshot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid2#Non-compliant_applications).

This has been a huge source of developer outcry and a big pain because, not only are IE6 and 7 bugs so numerous, but they’re often totally random. A good (but incomplete) list is at: http://www.positioniseverything.net/explorer.html. Please take a quick look and you’ll see just how ridiculous some of the bugs are.

Even worse than how bad older versions of IE are, is the speed (or total lack thereof) of its upgrade cycle. This is largely due to corporate applications depending on IE6. Many of these apps were built when IE6 market share was at 90% and corporations figured that they could take advantage of rendering flaws in IE to speed development time and then simply mandate that employees use it. Therefore, even 8 years after IE6 was released, it is still one of the most popular browsers online, despite various campaigns to bring it down (http://www.bringdownie6.com/, http://www.ie6nomore.com/).

Since it has a 15-25% user base, developers are still frequently required to support IE6. In a recent project I worked on, a complex, flexible grid-based layout was required. Although I was able to create this in about 6 hours for Opera, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, adding IE support took an additional 25!!

To Microsoft’s credit, they’ve improved IE dramatically in versions 7 and 8, largely due, I believe, to competition from Firefox. However, the slow upgrade cycle has largely nullified these changes from a developer point of view.

The bottom line:

IE6 is total crap, version 7 is better but not good, and version 8 is solid, but all of them are way behind browsers like Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome. However, due to the slow upgrade cycle and dependent corporate applications, developers must continue to support even IE6, the lowest common denominator.

Google Chrome Frame, unlike how you guys described it, doesn’t make IE into Chrome under the hood. Rather, it installs the Chrome rendering engines along side IE’s. Developers can then specify, through a tag in their site, whether to use the Chrome engine, but all sites will render with IE’s engine by default (this is how the backwards compatibility is maintained). This is a fantastic solution since most users on IE either can’t switch or like the IE interface, but many of them would be willing to install a plugin, especially if the site won’t work without it (comparable to Flash).

Even if Chrome Frame doesn’t solve the problem all together, it creates one more case in which web developers don’t have to worry about IE (6 in particular) and hopefully makes convincing clients to ditch it a bit easier.

Keep on Buzzing,

Ethan Resnick

P.S. The Acid 3 test is out now, and it tests a wider array of features. Chrome, Safari (Desktop and Mobile) and Opera get a 100%; Firefox gets a 94%; and Internet Explorer 8 gets a 20%. Unfortunately for Natali, the “huevos” browser only gets a 1%, while the Android browser gets a 93%.

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About the author

Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!

 

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