IE8 Beta 2: first experiences

My first experiences with IE8 beta 2 have been mixed. On the one hand, I like the fact that compatibility mode no longer requires restarting the browser. However, I’ve found it virtually impossible to tell when I have compatibility mode turned on or off. I’ve also found that once turned on, you do have to reload a page in order to turn it off again, because the button disappears.

Sam Ruby wrote about an improved namespace blurb that appeared about IE8 at a Microsoft site, which has since disappeared. In the post, Sam also mentioned that IE8 no longer supports CSS for elements it doesn’t recognize, also detailed in a bug Anne van Kesteren linked in comments.

I went to check out the bug at Microsoft’s LiveConnect with IE8 beta 2, but received an error in the page that I don’t have permission to view the page. Puzzled, I also noticed that the page asked if I wanted to sign out of LiveConnect.

I had originally obtained a LiveConnect login in order to report bugs about Expression Media, which I was testing for my Painting the Web book. I figured that somehow my old account was interacting with the page in such a way as to make it inaccessible. I tried to delete cookies, in fact every kind of storage associated with IE8, but I still received the same page: I don’t have permission to access the bug, would I like to sign out of LiveConnect.

I looked more closely at the IE8 Delete options, and noticed that there’s another option I missed, Preserve favorite website data, with the following explanation:

Keep cookies and temporary files that enable your favorite websites to retain preferences and display faster.

This checkbox overrides the cookie deletion option when login information is stored. *I’m not sure if this option was present with IE8 beta 1, and I’m not sure I like it—one could easily think they’ve cleared all personal information out of a browser by deleting cookies, only to forget to uncheck the favorite site option, and leave critical logins still active.

Hakon Lie wrote about Microsoft’s back stepping on standards mode. Microsoft had originally stated it would support standards mode by default with the first beta of IE8. Now, it supports standards mode by default on the internet, but supports the old IE7 non-standards mode by default for intranet accesses. The setting can be changed via a menu option, but the problem with this approach is that if you develop a web site internally and it works one way, it may break or work oddly once published externally, unless you remember to turn standards mode on when developing the page internally. This adds all new meaning to the term, quirks mode, as this really is quirky behavior.

IE8 does implement the new JSON object, though be forewarned: it treats single quotes as second class citizens. In other words if your application returns strings delimited with single quotes, your application will fail. The JSON with single quotes still works with eval, though, so you could end up with breaking behavior when you switch from one to the other. To be honest, I find this to be a flaw with the JSON “standard”—either JSON is JavaScript Object Notation, or it’s not, and single quotes can delimit strings in JavaScript.

One new feature, or at least another feature I don’t remember from IE8 beta 1 is that when you encounter a runtime error in JavaScript, IE8 now pops up a window with a note about a runtime error, and asks if you wish to debug it. I imagine this will only appear if you have developer tools enabled. The script debugger included with IE8 in beta 1 is still available in beta 2, and is one really nice feature in IE8.

Less nice, though, is Microsoft’s non-support for DOM Level 2 event handling. There’s also no need to go into details about how the browser doesn’t support XHTML and SVG and MathML—Microsoft will never support XHTML, which should be a disappointing given now. In fact, it’s unlikely Microsoft will ever support SVG, even if this gets included in HTML5. Some would say this will kill SVG. I disagree and believe that this will eventually kill IE. Not just the lack of SVG support: Microsoft’s refusal to deal effectively with the issue of XHTML support, DOM Level 2 event handling support, and so on. Too many gaping holes in standards support, and too little commitment on Microsoft’s part to truly be a standards-based browser.

On the other hand, IE8 does have improved support for CSS. It’s now about equivalent to Firefox 2 in CSS support.

Lastly, if you’re a Netflix Watch Now fan, be warned: IE8 beta 2 does not work with the Watch Now feature, no matter what mode you set. Do not install IE8 beta 2 if you use this feature.

All in all, beta 2 has the feel of being a rushed delivery. Not surprising when you consider beta 2 was released on the seventh anniversary of the release of IE6—a day some of us designated as IE6 EOL or Uninstall day.

*The Preserve favorite option is new with beta 2, but is not working as described. It’s preserving data for sites that are not on my favorites list. In addition, Microsoft puts its own sites on this list, automatically making data to them “saved” with this option.


Palin, in other words

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I don’t necessarily want to write much about politics, but I think that if we women don’t speak out about this presidential race, the menfolk will continue to assume that we focus on identity politics, rather than issues. In other words, we’ll vote for a candidate just because she’s a woman, and not because of the candidate’s position on issues.

I supported Hilary Clinton because she had one of the best platform positions on universal health care. In addition, I felt she had a good grasp on what it would take to turn this country’s economy around. I was also saddened, angered really, at the condescension shown towards her at times by the seemingly liberal males in the Democratic party. We have a long ways to go before the Democrats are truly a party based on “equality”.

Having said this, I find that in most issues, especially the important ones, Clinton and Obama share the same views—particulary the view that we need to focus on problems within this country, as compared to some seemingly never-ending threat elsewhere. Because of this shared viewpoint between Clinton and Obama, I am just as happy to vote for him, as President. His being black is an added bonus, but is not the reason I’m voting for him. Clinton being a woman was an added bonus, but not the reason I voted for her in the Primary.

Sarah Palin is no Hilary Clinton, and neither is she comparable to Joe Biden. Joe Biden may be a white male, but he and I share the same beliefs, interests, and concerns across the board. Palin and I are both women, and were both born in the Northwest; here the similarity ends. Ends abruptly, in fact.

If you line up all Americans and asked me to pick who I would want as a VP candidate—and potential president— Palin would be in the last few thousand: just before Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Phyllis Schlafly, that red neck with the confederate flag in the back of his truck window who cut me off on the freeway last week, and any remaining members of the Bush family.

I do think that McCain’s choice justifies our concerns about McCain’s age. You can’t look at Palin only as VP—you have to think of her as potential president. To be blunt, she doesn’t have the experience to be any kind of a good leader, and I’m not talking about foreign experience. All she knows is her little corner of Alaska. From all indications, she’s rarely visited the Lower 48. She certainly doesn’t understand the diversity that is America.

More importantly, she has no experience dealing with a government that isn’t lushly sponsored by a single resource: oil. As it is, her own government in Alaska is frustrated with her because she’s not taking care of business, even in a state with only 670,000 people.

Now, for other views:

  • Blogher has an interesting debate on Palin. The site has both conservative and liberal readers, so you’ll find a fairly even debate in the comments.
  • Editor & Publisher is publishing a series of articles on getting to know Palin, featuring editorials from, and interviews with, the Alaskan media. Parts III, and III.

Thinking of our neighbors in Cuba

There’s no denying that Gustav will be hitting Louisiana, and probably Texas, hard, next week. However, right at this moment, Gustav is really slamming Cuba.

According to Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground, Cuba will be hit with category 4 Hurricane winds, and with a storm surge of 18 to 23 feet.

With the US-based embargo of Cuba, it’s hard for countries to help Cuba. I don’t care for our embargo, and it’s past time to establish relations with a country with whom we’ve shared so much history. I’d like to think we would extend a helping hand to the Cubans, and they’d accept it. But that would mean dropping all the macho posturings with both countries.

All I can say is, as we worry about the impact of Gustav on the US (and rightfully so), spare a thought for our neighbors to the south.


Women as interchangeable parts

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I think that McCain has gone soft as a grape in his head. Why else would he pick an unknown from a state that’s already securely red? And one who is only going to appeal to people already voting for him?

Governor Sarah Palin has barely begun serving the second year as Alaskan Governor, and before that she was three-term mayor of a town of 6,000 people. She did serve for a time on the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, before quitting because of “ethics”. As for leadership experience being governor of Alaska: the state has 670,000 people. I wouldn’t say that she has experience with larger, diverse groups of people. In fact, she has had little exposure to a diverse population.

She’s primarily known for two things: cleaning up Alaskan politics because of all of the corruption, and getting more taxes against oil profits for the state of Alaska.

However, she has ethics issues of her own. She’s involved in an ethics investigation about using her office to get her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, after her sister and he had a messy divorce.

She was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, and later moved to Alaska, both areas having some of the most conservative of people in this country. The ultra-right will be happy with her, but I can’t see how she’ll appeal to the undecided.

Palin claims her husband is one-quarter native American, but the accuracy of this statement has been disputed. In addition, she’s not met with any of the indigenous people in her own state, yet, and in fact has supported groups who don’t have the best track record when it comes to the native Americans in Alaska.

As an environmentalist, Palin sucks, big time. Her husband works for BP, she wants to drill for oil everywhere, including ANWR, doesn’t believe polar bears should be listed as endangered, and she supported the pulling of wolf cubs from dens to be shot, in order to increase moose herds—probably so that the moose could be shot by hunters, like herself. She’s a card carrying member of the NRA, though there are few people in Alaska who aren’t.

Palin’s anti-choice, very conservative socially, and believes in teaching creationism in schools.

There’s speculation that McCain picked a woman in order to grab Clinton voters, as if we’re interchangeable parts, just swap one out for the other—an opinion I find to be rather offensive, as well as being ludicrous. The only thing Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin share is that they’re both women. Everything else, is different. Vastly, different. More than that, Palin has shown herself to be very unfriendly when it comes to issues specific to women, including women’s right to choose when it comes to our reproductive systems. Contrary to what the White Haired Dude may think, I and other women don’t vote for women just because they are women.

There has to be another reason McCain picked her, other than just her sex. For the life of me, though, I haven’t a clue what it is. Except that the man has gotten soft as a grape.


Comcast adding caps

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

According to DSLReports, Comcast is instituting a cap on its broadband customers. The cap will be 250GB a month, with one “freebie” month, where you can go over this amount without repercussion.

As caps go, this is one of the more reasonable. However, I expect to see other broadband companies following suit since one of the major players has now made a cap move. Eventually, this will most likely end up in front of the FCC, Congress, or court, as these companies will be forced to provide detailed operation information in order to assess whether they really have a congestion problem, or if their actions are anti-trust. This will also lead to questions about how much these companies reinvest profits back into infrastructure.

I also don’t see how caps are going to overcome problems with congestion, because people could use most of their bandwidth allotment during peak times. Wasn’t that the purpose of caps? To reduce congestion?