February 17, 2009

Why don't websites work in Firefox?

I'll tell you why so many websites don't work with Firefox, Opera et all (more than a fifth of the people using my Canadian websites are using these). Because the webdesigners are too darn lazy to code for and test in any browser except Internet Explorer - you know the one that people use if you ask them WHAT they use and they haven't a clue. They don't even know there is a choice. For the rest of the world who have discovered better software, you're nearly out of luck unless you do a lot of legwork. Firefox at least offers an adddon "ietab" that allows you to mimic Internet Explorer. The bad news is that is exposes you to all the same security issues you were trying to get away from by NOT using Internet Explorer.

Here is a short list of sites I have embedded into "ietab". Some are surprising!

Web Services:
http://secunia.com/*
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/*
http://*.spaces.live.com

Financial, Utilities:
http://*.tdcanadatrust.com/*
http://www.ecare.bell.ca/*
https://secureq.bell.ca

Municipal:
http://webcam.city.ottawa.on.ca/*
Business:
http://marinasontario.com

February 06, 2009

Copyright, privacy, net neutrality & U.S. security

Warning: This is my collection of rants and pet peeves so read with an open mind!

Government Copyright

President Barack Obama brought a complete overhaul of the White House website. The public now has the right to use any information on Whitehouse.gov as they see fit. In Canada, you must obtain written permission to use anything on gc.ca. Why on earth is government information (paid for by our tax dollars) not available for our use?

President Obama is also linking trade policy and intellectual property protection with other countries. He shouldn't have any problem with Canada, since Prime Minister Harper supports legislation that would make it a crime for me to record my favorite TV shows (time-shifting) and listening to my music player as a copyright infringement. How on earth I can be infringing copyright for creative output I have already paid for is beyond me, but they may not stop there. I always thought Canada was way ahead in technology and innovation, but we are falling right off a cliff. I support small 'C' conservative principals, but can't see how this kind of reactionary policy would help anyone. Talk about 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water'...

Online Privacy

Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which manages the dot-ca domain revised their WHOIS framework with some restrictions on the public accessibility of domain name registrant information - such as my home address. Unlike the Pleasure craft registration registry at Transport Canada that lists registered pleasure craft, complete with the owner's name and address for anyone to see -- and thieves to use. My husband enquired by phone and was told they have to publish the "vessel registry" by law. It used to be published in paper form only, but now everything is online. Listing a company address is a huge difference to someone's home address in a searchable web directory. I sent a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner but never received a reply, so apparently the government doesn't care about online privacy.

Email Spam

What ever happened to a new policy to stop spam? We had the studies, the public consultations, the reports (which were very good), and then nothing. Canada's new government should get off their tory bottoms and pass some legislation with teeth (unlike the worthless do-not-call list). I can't tell you how much time I've wasted dealing with spam before ISP's started developing mail filters. The costs to ISP's and users must be in the billions. The time LOST to dealing with spam, throughout the Internet, ISP's, traffic volumes, computer time, human time, is also huge. The only winners are spammers and antivirus software sellers.

Net Neutrality

There was a fight over Net Neutrality at the CRTC between independent ISP's (providers) and Bell was followed by a noticeable improvement in my Skype connections using Rogers Internet - coincidence? I bought a 'Skype-out' credit that allows me to use Skype software on my computer to call regular phones. I would often get annoying 'drop-outs' that only I could hear. Recently I've had only one problem - a disconnection (first time). Hmmm...

Canada-U.S. Border Paranoia

The new The new United States Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is being pressured by a few members of Congress and Homeland Security for a review of the U.S.-Canada border situation. Canucks are so very dangerous, eh? For all the changes requiring passports (to enter their country), it's interesting to note that Canada has never changed it's regulations for entering Canada. I was hoping the American paranoia would subside a little, but U.S. drones will soon be flying along the 49th parallel. The War on Terror is right here, kids!