30 September 2006

MS' sticky tentacles into auction site

I believe that the problems you are experiencing may be part of a current issue that we are experiencing on the site. I have included a work around, as well as a few suggestions that may be helpful in the future.

Then follows the workaround...

To clear your Cache and Cookies, please follow the steps that I have outlined below:
  1. Go to ‘Tools’ at the top of your browser
  2. Select ‘Internet Options’
  3. Then click on ‘Delete Cookies’ and ‘Delete Files’
Please make sure that you close all your Browser Windows, as you would need to do this in order for Deletion to take affect.

Note that the consultant has not asked what browser is in use, just presumed that it’s a particular version of Internet Explorer (on MS-Windows) & given instructions for that.

They ain’t gunner work in Mozilla Firefox, even under MS-Windows.

The presumption gets worse with the next paragraph:

I also suggest, that when using the eBay site, you use Internet Explorer 6.0 for your web browser. This version of Internet Explorer tends to be the most compatible with the site.

So say that Lucy is using something that’s not MS-Windows (as she isn’t), how is this going to help?

Next item: note that the problem is with the host site, yet the consultant is telling Lucy to change her behaviour to correct it. Uh... why not just fix the host site so it works with other things besides MSIE? That is, make it adhere to web standards?

The customer workshops I’ve lost to viruses have all been taken down by someone either browsing (with MSIE) a dud site, or reading a dud email (with LookOut; and no, not even good virus scanners will protect you against all of these), so I’m not too fond of recommending their use; besides which, it’s technically illegal to plug MSIE in under WINE and use it there, even given the massive reduction in damages which WINE typically brings to the virus party.

Yes, I could put virus scanners in those sites, but will any customers afford this? Unquestionably not. They’ve already got virus scanners running on “every” machine on their LAN, and won’t believe that’s insufficient. And, of course, some of the fatal delete-everything tricks aren’t actually viruses, either.

The point is, MS now have this auction site and their customers generally mesmerised to the “use MSIE, run virus scanners” mantra instead of taking responsibility for their own shortcomings.

Run Firefox! Run Seamonkey! Run Opera! Problems solved, no?

You’ll notice that absent from that list is “run Linux” or anything that exhorbitant?

But The Monopolist would not have you willing to step out of line by as much as a web browser.

In fact, they won’t even have support-people ask or hint at (ie, do basic research upon) the possibility that you might not be toeing their line.

OK, as a result /ME is making up a tools CD to take to customer sites for installation on their workstations. Firefox, Opera, OpenOffice, The GIMP, XMing, PuTTY, WinSCP, etc. Kind of like TheOpenCD only a little more specialised.

All new (and existing) customers will get a small but pointed speech on the virtues of ClamAV as seen through PostFix and Squid, and avoiding the embarassment of sending someone else a virus, too.

ClamAV is excellent; I’ve run a couple of sites with that & other very high quality commercial virus scanners in series, and ClamAV has let zero viruses through to the second detector. Perfection, with zero ongoing costs (the new defs come with the distribution’s updates, and/or can be picked up separately).

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