Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, December 19, 2021

It’s been a technological orphan for more than two years, but now it’s finally all over: Microsoft is officially pulling the plug on the Mac version of Internet Explorer.

Geeks like to characterize this as irrelevent, since they wouldn’t be caught dead using anything but a tricked-out version of Firefox (or else something even more obscure, like Opera). And Macs are still a clear minority of the mainstream computing universe.

But of course, it’s a little trickier than that. Plenty of ecommerce, banking, and governmental sites are mis-designed to work properly only on Internet Explorer. Even if that’s a small percentage of all sites out there — and, presumably, isn’t going to grow much as more website professionals adhere to non-IE standards — it’s the kind of thing that could put enough of a scare into consumers who would otherwise go with a Mac for their home computers.

It’ll ultimately come down to the cessation of cut-rate Web programmers who don’t know better than to construct IE-optimized sites. But with Microsoft’s continued dominance of the browser market (which is never going to change, despite the hype, unless the whole world suddenly stops using the Windows platform that makes IE most people’s only consideration for browsing), that’s an extremely iffy prospect.

One thing to consider: The coming conversion of Macintoshes to Intel chips could turn the possibility of loading Windows side-by-side with the Mac OS from an option to a near-necessity. Remember, regular Firefox users on Windows can still switch over to IE for their bill-paying sites. For Apple customers, a comparable backup needs to be built-in, and having Windows at a backup OS — simply for IE accessibility — could be vital from a consumer angle.

The only other thing I can think of as a remedy is the IE View extension for Firefox, although I don’t know if that would really work — it seems like more of a cosmetic utility than an IE emulator.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/19/2005 10:41:24 PM
Category: Internet, Tech
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The yin was the unusually sluggish ad sales ABC is facing for this season’s Super Bowl. So the yang, as intimated before, is brisk business for the 2006 Winter Olympics, as NBC reports selling 90 percent of its ad inventory for the Turin Games, well on its way to a record-setting $900 million in sales for the event.

It’s like I said: As popular as the NFL is, and as built-up as Super Bowl Sunday has become, it’s still perceived to have a narrower audience appeal than the Olympics. Head-to-head, as it is this year (for large-scale advertising campaign purposes), the international arena wins.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/19/2005 10:17:03 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Sports
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If you’re noticing more bare-wristed kids who are compulsively looking at their cellphone displays, there’s a reason: As wireless phones become more ubiquitous and individually indispensable, more users are using them as their personal timepieces, leading to a decline in watches as always-worn accessories.

Yet another societal trend that indicates that I’m either way ahead of the curve, or else hopelessly stuck in mental/behavioral adolescence. Fact is, I’ve used my mobile phone as my timepiece ever since I first started carrying a wireless, some eight years ago. And before that, I never wore a watch, and didn’t own one for long stretches (right now, I don’t have one, aside from some giveaway trinket or two stuffed into a junk drawer). So, at 34 years old, I’m with the youngsters on this one.

I think the last watch I wore with any regularity was a “Six Million Dollar Man” model, circa third or fourth grade. When it expired, so did my use for an everyday personal timepiece (until the cellular networks were up).

I guess I’ve always eschewed watches, even while growing up. I’m not completely sure why. I guess it was just one more thing to have to put on and take off, plus have to worry about losing or breaking. I also figured that I’d be compulsively looking at my wrist every two minutes to check for the time, even when it absolutely didn’t matter whether or not I knew it at that exact second. In fact, I tend to do that every so often with my current phone — made more maddening in that I’ll often check three or four times in a row, because I manage to forget the time the instant I put the phone back into my pocket (one of my more annoying habits, at least to me).

The other factor in going watch-less is that, indeed, unless you’re going hiking or something, it’s hard to find an environment where you don’t have a clock on hand. Right now, where I sit, I’ve got my computer monitor displaying the ever-present time of day in the lower-right corner; and beyond that but well within my line of sight, there are two traditional clocks (wall and table models) that clearly show the time. It’s probably the same for most people: In the office, in the car, or in the mall, there’s pretty much always a clock around.

That covers the practical use. There’s also the fashion function of a watch, with gold and silver and bejeweled models worn more for showy purposes than anything else. This probably influenced me too: I don’t wear any jewelry, and a watch pretty much qualifies as an accoutrement in this instance as well. However, this also influences the choice of cellphone, too: Lots of people pick out their phones on the basis of how it looks (including, to a degree, me).

But the article I referenced (which, frankly, is a little weak overall) indicates that this usage is a generational thing: Younger people who have mostly grown up with their mobile phones practically fused to their hands are more likely to forego watches, while older folks are more accustomed to go with their wristwear. I can see that, and also see why watch manufacturers might start worrying and start counteracting this trend now, before their products become relics.

I’d like to get a better idea of how common or uncommon this is. I think I have a fairly broad cross-section of visitors here. So tell me, in the Feedback box below: Do you use your phone or your watch to check the time? (Or do you already know what time it is?)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/19/2005 12:22:35 PM
Category: Question Time!, Society, Tech
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Just spied on the streets of Tampa (on Waters Avenue near the intersection with Dale Mabry, in case that matters):

An Empanadas To Go delivery van.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s about time.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/19/2005 11:26:24 AM
Category: Florida Livin', Food
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