Letters to Redmond

Readers Respond November 2004

Readers respond to the new </i>Redmond<i></i> name, about dumping IE and more.

A Welcome Surprise
Wow! This is a lot more than just a facelift of MCP Magazine!

You've got some serious content here: not just the normal techie stuff, but you've got some interesting peeks behind the walls at Redmond.

This is a welcome surprise for me. You didn't just reinvent the magazine, you evolved it to the next level.

Please convey my thanks to the people who made this happen.
—Eric Engler

I really like the new format with the wide range of different topics, especially with articles pertaining to Microsoft's business.

IE Rumblings
Nice objective article ("Time to Dump IE?" Don Jones, October 2004) and not full of biased commentary you read elsewhere—usually from Linux people. I totally agree with the move to other browsers, although I like having the ability to manage through GPO. One way to lock out regular users is through very strict NTFS permissions on Iexplore.exe on the file system. Thanks again, I will bookmark this one. If only more alternative-type articles were like this, maybe open source software would move even faster than it already is.

I use SUSE Linux and Mac OS X, and I completely dumped IE over a year ago. There are just too many better alternatives with tabbed browsing and other features. IE suffers from slow rendering times, and becomes unresponsive far too often.

One error I found in the article about dynamic HTML:

"You're obviously going to miss out on some functionality if you switch browsers. Anything ActiveX-based won't work, nor will sites that use client-side VBScript for dynamic HTML."

All the alternative browsers put forth support dynamic HTML, maybe not as loosely as IE, but if you are a good developer you should be creating your Web applications to be compatible with most browsers anyway. As for ActiveX, who the heck needs it?
Seattle, Wash.

In an intranet environment, however, developers don't typically need to worry as much about cross-browser issues because they can rely on the "company standard" browser. Dynamic HTML with JavaScript/ECMAScript is available on almost all browsers, true; companies who've made an investment—especially in their intranet—in VBScript may not have the resources to rewrite, though. Ditto with ActiveX: While I tend to agree with your assessment, many companies have intranet applications that rely on ActiveX, which will limit the degree to which they can get by without IE.
—Don Jones

I'm a Technology Manager for AdSense Partner Services at Google. I read through the "Time to Dump IE?" article and noted that you can't use the AdSense Front-End (ASFE) with Firefox. I found it a little strange, since I rely almost exclusively on Firefox to use the ASFE.
—Jeff Eddings

AdSense works fine on Firefox. I've switched to Firefox because it has more flexibility and it's easier to configure JavaScript controls (to prohibit resizing windows) and better pop-up blockers. I still use IE at work because it's the IT guy's job to worry about the viruses. If my machine gets one, it just means a day of rest for me. That's one benefit IE has that Firefox will never bring me.
—Ron M.
San Francisco, Calif.

When Firefox was in its .8 release, AdSense didn't work with it—you couldn't log in; the login button did nothing. AdSense customer support informed me that, "We cannot currently support your browser. We recommend using Microsoft Internet Explorer v5.5 or later." Now, at Firefox release .10PR, AdSense seems to work just fine.
—Don Jones

Wanted: Shared Disk
In reference to "Virtual Servers in the Real World" (Don Jones, October 2004), Virtual PC has a poor implementation of drag and drop between machines and the host PC. VMware may have implemented it later, but it implemented it better from a functionality standpoint. One thing seriously missing from Virtual PC is shared disk for setting up test clusters on a single machine. Until that's offered with Virtual PC, I will keep buying VMware.


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