Google starts the “anti-IE6 crusade”. Let’s hope it works

Google has taken the torch in the anti-IE6 crusade, as reported on Slashdot.

“Google is now urging Gmail users to drop Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) in favor of Firefox or Chrome. Google recently removed Firefox from the Google Pack bundle, replaced it with Chrome, then added a direct download link for Chrome on Google and YouTube. Google’s decision to list IE6 as an unsupported Gmail browser does not affect just consumers: Tens of thousands of small- and mid-sized businesses that run Google Apps hosted services may dump IE6 as well. What’s especially interesting is the fact that Mozilla is picking up two out of three browser users that Microsoft surrenders.”

All I can say is, “It’s about time!” Internet Explorer 6  was first released on August 27, 2001 – over seven years ago. Upgrades are free (in the forms of IE7+, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.) and can easily give a much richer Internet experience.

Despite that, many users have not upgraded beyond IE6. According to W3Schools, IE6 use is down to 20%., but that’s a tech-heavy site. W3Counter reports the IE6 market share at 28%.

Perhaps it’s too many people running old computers, or too many people lacking the savvy to upgrade. Either way, Google is taking a good step forward in solving a nagging problem for all web developers.

Over the past two years, use of 800×600 has dropped to about 5%, which makes it much more practical to develop web sites optimized for at least 1024-pixel wide resolutions. That is a big step forward. Let’s hope the same can be said for IE6 before it’s tenth birthday.

Update @ 11:43AM: Seems Ajaxian is talking up the cause as well. Despite this, Dion’s take matches mine: “Still far too high a percentage and enough to make you grown [sic]”. I think he meant “groan”, but I digress.

Sometimes, search results bring unexpected surprises

While working on a project today, I needed to incorporate an animated AJAX spinner image. I knew there was a web site that had lots of them, but I couldn’t remember the domain name, so I did what most people do: I turned to Google.

Here’s a screenshot of Google’s search results for the terms ajax load image.

Granted, the first item in the search resultswas the site I was looking for, What I didn’t expect to see is a woman in a bikini coming up in the image search results. The image comes from a blog post tutorial, How to Make a Brazilian Bikini Photo Gallery With Drupal and AJAX.

OK, maybe Google’s results weren’t too far off, but they certainly were surprising!

A financial look at windfall profits and oil companies

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about U.S. political leaders calling for a windfall profits tax on oil companies. Apparently, these oil conglomerates, like ExxonMobil, are making too much money, and the government should take more of it than they already do to use as they wish.

Are oil companies, like ExxonMobil, making obscene amounts of money at the expense of the American taxpayer? To determine the answer to that question, you have to do some research.

Let’s take two hypothetical companies — one we’ll call XOM, and the other we’ll call GOOG — and compare their hypothetical financials. However, XOM is a much larger company than GOOG — about 25 times larger. So, instead of comparing actual numbers, we’ll normalize them. (That’s a fancy way to say we’ll adjust the numbers as if both companies were the same size.)
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