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IE-only sites 'useful as chocolate teapot'

Reg readers give forth on browser accessibility

Letters This week you have mostly been getting upset about web designers and their occasional reluctance to design browser independent sites. The particular site that has you up in arms is a new IT brokerage site, which says it aims to put contractors in touch with contracts. All you need to do is register. Except that it turns out that you can't, unless you are using IE:

I'm sure that the Resource Broker will provide a useful service. But, yet again I find a site that requires MS Internet Explorer. See here.

I can't help feeling that, for a site that purports to offer services to the IT industry, this indicates a weak service, or at least a lazy approach to preparing the web site.

IE is definitely not the only popular browser, and, considering the recent news about Firefox gaining market share and worries over IE security (groundless or not), I would think there are good reasons for making sure a site is compatible with many browsers.

I can't think of any reason why the service described your article should require a web site that will only work with a particular browser. Even if IE were the browser of choice on all platforms, I'd wonder about what kind of content would require a particular browser.


Perhaps they need a consultant's help to write a browser-independent site. An excerpt from the front page, as seen through Firefox:

Mozilla FireFox Users We are pleased to announce that The Resource Broker will soon support Mozilla FireFox. Kindly use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later until the site is fully updated.

...and they're kind enough to point Mac users to the Apple site, to download IE.

Oh, and there's *no way* to get past that front page to the rest of the site unless you're using IE. No "my browser hasn't been anointed by Microsoft, but I still want to help you make money from me" button.

I tried it with both IE 5.5 (Mac) and Firefox with the UserAgent switched. Of course, if they hadn't commented-out the JavaScript function in the registration page that allows you to submit the details and move onto the next page, it might have been possible for new registrants to join up...

They might have opened their doors, but they didn't remove the crowd barriers!


The resource broker isn't going to get much usage by anyone who isn't a Microsoft user as the site only supports IE5.5 and above. About as useful as a chocolate teapot!!!


10% For doing almost nothing? He's having a laugh. Why pay 10% for someone who can't even get a website to work on a decent browser.

My agent is cheaper and they take me out to lunch!


What a tragedy. Your headline should read "Online marketplace for computer contractors closes doors". Unless you're stupid enough to use IE...

If this organization is supposed to be representing the computer industry, how come you can only use the service with IE?



This is a site for technical people.......and they only support Microsoft IE?

Quite laughable. How not to make an impression on technical resources to join.


"We are pleased to announce that The Resource Broker will soon support Mozilla FireFox. Kindly use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later until the site is fully updated."

Now how pants is that?

What kind of self respecting modern website is coded in such a way as to only support one browser ... nnngh!


Is this a shameless plug by The Register?

I say this as there are already many sites (for example,,, claiming to link the contractor (me) and the contract/resource requirement, so how is this one different?

Well I'll tell you, this one wants you to use IE.

"Mozilla FireFox Users We are pleased to announce that The Resource Broker will soon support Mozilla FireFox. Kindly use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later until the site is fully updated."

Anyone who claims to be in touch with IT in any way should never let a site go live without full browser support. Especially if it is aimed at IT people...

I only use IE to test a site in safe environment. Using it in the open web is like playing Russian roulette with one empty chamber, rather than all but one!

Come on, these are just amateurs who bribed you with a couple pints aren't they.


John would like to make it known that he is no shill, and that it takes at least three pints for him to be persuaded of a story's merit.

Update: Resource Broker has since contacted us and would like to make it known that their site is now fully compatible with Mozilla Firefox, and has been since two weeks from launch.

eBay launched in Poland this week. But rather than loud fanfares of welcome for the online auctioneers, the Polish section of El Reg's readership counts itself particularly unimpressed:

about ebay's entry in Poland, it was (is?) disastrous. For the first few days web page was almost inaccessible because of load. Then because of free registration process not requiring any "real life" confirmation thousands of fake/illegal/only for reputation auctions followed.

Currently site lacks many important features we grew to use in other auction sites (

I hope they get better but it currently looks like they took "there in communist country they'll be glad to get any service, they do all their trading on flea-markets to this date" :)



NASA has again delayed the Shuttle's return to flight, saying that it needs to carry out further safety checks and tests. Fair enough, you might say, given that Shuttle was grounded after the loss of the Shuttle Columbia. But the shuttle programme has its critics too:

I've seen NASA go from one extreme to the other.

From the first John Glenn launch on a Atlas rocket that had failed more than it had worked, to a total halt in manned space flight, twice, on a system that was outdated the day of its first launch. NASA, as associated with the man in space initiative, has been treading water for over 25 years.

Making something that was hamstrung by congress from the get-go better, but it has never met its original criteria; that being a inexpensive, reusable, and dependable manned craft; has never been met by the "shuttle", but has continually siphoned funds from any possible replacement.

The death of less than 100 people over a period of over 55 years is more important than the death of a couple or few thousand in the Iraq War, or even the number of highway deaths in a year. It's even more sad when you take into account how the "engineers" and "astronauts" feel about it.


Google got a few backs up with its proposed library indexing project. The French, in particular, have been critical. You are also less than impressed with some of Google's non-search exploits:

Ooh ! Google are going to put some books online, sometime, maybe, real soon now. If it's as fast as the Gmail roll out, or as spiffy as Google maps, I won't be getting any more excited.

In the meantime, the French actually have a non-vapourware, functioning, online National library thingy. Clearly anti-American though, it's nearly all in French. The bastards!

It's at


Some of you didn't like the reference to the Library of Babel in our original piece:

You said: "In The Library Of Babel Argentinean erudite Jorge Luis Borges proposed the idea of a boundless athenaeum, where man could find any book at will."

What? That wasn't it at all. In the story the library consists of a collection of books representing every possible combination of characters within books of a certain size, apparently arranged randomly.

Aside from being a fascinating illustration of some principles of combinatorics, the story dealt with the relationship between the author and the reader, like so many Borges tales. In this case, the author is essentially lacking, the books and the library thus are meaningless, leaving the readers (the librarians in the story) to supply the meaning themselves. In particular, a person in this world cannot find any book at will; he has to examine the books presented to him and decide whether they have meaning, in his language or anybody else's. The story also had some interesting insights on publishing aspects such as typographical errors.

Instant location of particular books didn't enter in to it at all.


A mixed response to the not-for-profit plans of Ndiyo to use ultra-thin-clients to bridge the ol' digital divide:

What a damn fine idea. About time thin clients really were thin clients.

Single chip in a TV or Monitor? Superb plan! 10/100/1000Mbit to the home isn't too far in the future (relatively speaking) - we won't have PC's at home, we'll run apps centrally at our ISP's.

For those who just email or surf (I'm thinking my parents fit quite nicely into that demographic) what's the point in sticking several hundred pounds worth of gear on a desk at home when you can spend under a hundred and do the same thing without the pain of the "there's a box on the screen says something about a hard drive - what should I do?" phone calls at 10 o'clock at night when the damn thing goes wrong.

Vive la thin client!

I'll keep a full PC myself, of course ... ahem ...



Call me long in the tooth, but isn't all this thin client stuff just harking back to the days of X terminals? Isn't this basically just re-inventing all that "old fashioned" stuff and adding a couple of whistles? Just why did X terminals fall out of favour anyway? After all, the requisite hardware/software for an X terminal can't amount to more than £70's worth these days.

Yours, living in the past,


Last week we reported on Swedish research that claimed moderate amounts of alcohol could actually improve, rather than impair brain function. Some of you roused yourselves from celebratory hangovers and managed to put fingers to keyboards to give us your tuppence's worth on this idea:


Following on from your news story that booze makes you clever

This is something I've known all along. According to the 'Survival of the fittest' theory, the most unfit, slowest, or otherwise incapacitated member of any group will be first to meet its maker in a life or death situation (as in the lions chasing gazelles documentary footage etc).

Therefore it stands to reason that since Alcohol kills brain cells, it's the rubbish slow ones that die off first. Therefore, the more you drink, the cleverer you get (or so it seems at the time)!

So there it is. Quid Pro Quo (or something)

Now it all makes sense.

Well I'm off now to do some serious I mean.. thinking!



Last one, now. We had a cracking flame last week accusing our very own Lester Haines of racism, on the grounds that he'd used the word Cholo, we think. Or was it because he thought the company had named itself after an old game. We've never been 100 per cent sure.

The story was prompted by the discovery of an IT outfit in Bristol calling itself Cholo Consultancy, and the amusement generated when the Urban dictionary revealed Cholo to be slang for a particular type of hispanic gang member. We just liked the mental image, OK?

Well, this week Chaz from the Cholo Consultancy writes:

No idea why your reader is so sure how we came to be named, I would have thought we'd have a better idea about that!

Well, we loved the article ourselves. Sadly it's a bit more Nathan Barley-esque around here than Mexican wife-beating gangsters.

You got that mofos? I don't wanna have t'come around there and open a can o' whoop-ass on y'all.

Adios amigos!


Splendid. And with that, we leave you, only to return on Friday with more of your musings. ®

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