:+: CSS and the History of Web Browsers :+:
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Links to specific sections:
Why some Web pages don't look right in crappy web browsers because they can't correctly interpret CSS.
What you can do about it: Find better Web browsers.
Web browsers history. The history of Web browsers.
Internet Explorer isn't safe.
Web browser easter eggs.
Why Web pages with CSS don't look right in certain Web browsers
Does this page and others look like something is wrong with it? You may not be seeing it the way that others do, or the way that it was meant to be seen.
Look closely at the two small pictures below and click them to view them full-sized in new browser windows (or tabs if you have yours set up that way). If the Web browser you are using does not show this page like it appears in the pictures, it is seriously out of date with Web standards.
| Left side links and background image
This picture shows what the background image should look like upon the page, as well as what should happen when you put your mouse over one of the links on the left side of the page.
| Site Menu drop-down links
This picture shows what should happen when you hover your mouse over the Site Menu near the top of the page without clicking, and move it down the list.
If you'd prefer to use a Web browser that can show you Web pages the way they were meant to be seen, because the Web browser is fully compliant with things like CSS, which this page uses, that has been standardized since the mid-1990's, read on, by all means! :-)
Besides, if it's an older version of Internet Explorer, do you really want to be Web-surfing with a Web browser that's tied into your operating system that's so out of date? How much faith do you really have in Microsoft's ability to create those high priority updates for Internet Explorer to keep it safe from security exploits which leave your system vulnerable that may have only been discovered in the last week or so?
Don't worry, CyberWoLfman is here! LOL Bill Gates and the rest of Micro$haft are really going to hate me for this . . . Well, okay, so they already hate me for some other things, but, most of the general public doesn't know about those, as of yet.
Er, Microsoft I mean. Yeah, that's what I meant. ;-)
What you can do about it
Get a better Web browser!
If you would like a free Web browser which can show you Web pages correctly, because it's up to date with the latest Web standards, I recommend that you get either Firefox, the stand-alone Web browser or the Mozilla Suite (AKA Seamonkey) which has not only a Web browser but also an e-mail, newsgroup, and IRC chat client included as well as a fairly simple HTML editor. Both programs are totally free, and available from the same Website here. That link opens in a new window (or tab) so you can go there and download while you continue to read this. You can also bookmark this page, or simply write down its location to come back to it, later.
Both Firefox and the Mozilla Suite are far more secure than Internet Explorer, are fully compliant with Web standards unlike Internet Explorer. They each are better at blocking pop-up ads, have tabbed browsing (heard that Internet Explorer finally got that, at least), so you don't have to open up seperate windows for each page, and you can select not to receive images from any site but the one you're on which nicely blocks many banner ads, and you can set it to block ads from other sites which may contain adult content (advisable if you have children at home using that computer) or are known for ads. And, they can be used by people that are using not only Windows and the Mac, but also various Linux operating systems.
If you don't want the free e-mail program, HTML editor, and all the rest, try the browser stand-alone product called Mozilla Firefox, the Web browser formerly known as Mozilla Firebird. ;-)
Web browser history
The first Web browsers could only display text on pages, and the links weren't really links as we know them now, but addresses / URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) / URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) written in text that you couldn't click on. The majority of the browsers were for Unix machines and they cost a lot of money, so generally speaking, only engineers and students could use them.
Then, in 1993, came "Mosaic", the first Web browser that could display images on Web pages, themselves, and not as separate files.
It was invented by a University of Illinois student with the name of Marc Andreessen (not Marc Andreeson, Mark Andreessen, Marc Andreesson, Marc Andreesen, Mark Anderson, or Mark Andreesson as some people misspell his name), with the help of Eric Bina. They both worked at the NCSA at the University of Illinois. Mosaic was also the first Web browser that had hyper-links, or hyperlinks aka links, as they're called, today. They allowed people to click on them to be taken to other files, which are what Web pages are, really, usually created with the file extension .htm or .html as well as other file types. The original version of Mosaic could only run on Unix, but Marc Andreessen and Bina, with the help of others, quickly created versions that could run on the PC and the Mac, and it became available by late spring of 1993. Marc Andreessen graduated in December of 1993 and left his job at the NCSA.
In 1994, Marc Andreessen and others who worked for Mosaic Communications Corp., which started up in the same year, created Mosaic Netscape from scratch, because the original Mosaic belonged to the University of Illinois. On October 13th, 1994, people could download Mosaic Netscape from the Internet. It was a far more advanced product than Mosaic, with new "tags" like the image tag that let Web site designers create new types of content.
Almost immediately after that, the University of Illinois tried to claim that Mosaic Netscape was stolen from Mosiac and that Mosaic Communications Corp. had to change their name and stop giving out copies of the Mosaic Netscape Web browser. Mosaic Communications Corp. did change their name to Netscape Communications Corporation, but kept giving out the software. They settled with the University of Illinois, giving them money provided they'd not try to claim any part of Netscape.
By the year 1996, 75% of the people who surfed the Web were using Netscape.
Then there was the big Web browser war between Netscape and Internet Explorer, with Microsoft putting Internet Explorer into their Windows operating systems. Most new users, not knowing that there were better products available for download that weren't tied in with their computer's operating system, simply used Internet Explorer because it was already pre-installed. Humans are generally sheep.
March 31st, 1998: Enter Mozilla, a project to continue Netscape Communicator (a later name for Netscape in its version 4 stage) as an open project. The Mozilla browser is a free Web browser created by a large number of coders, some of whom work for RedHat (one of the many versions of Linux), Netscape, and other companies, while other coders are from the Internet community who donate their time to work on improving the program without asking to be paid for their work. They don't do it because it's a job, but because they believe in the program. Also, Mozilla is open source, meaning that anybody can see what it's made of, and even use the source code to create other products.
In 1999, Netscape was bought by AOL for $10,000,000,000 (yes, that's ten billion US dollars) in stock. That's when it got much more bloated, meaning that it had a lot more stuff added to it, which meant that it needed more RAM and system resources to work. Which didn't make a lot of people very happy.
Here's where irony comes into play: Netscape, still owned by AOL, starts using the source code of Mozilla in their Netscape Web browser, beginning with Netscape version 6.0, adding their own junk to it, like the AOL Instant Messenger, AOL bookmarks, et cetera.
When you're good at something, other people and businesses imitate you. ;-)
In time, more people will realize that Mozilla Firefox is a superior product and start using it instead of Internet Explorer. There are already working Mozilla versions for Linux, MacOS, BeOS, FreeBSD, MacOS X, WinNT 4.0, IRIX, Digital Unix, NetBSD, BSDI, Hurd, and many more. Internet Explorer only works with the Windows and Mac operating systems. Yes, I was surprised when I found out they had one for Mac users. But then, why the heck would anybody want to use IE when they can use Firefox?
I like this idea better: A product that will work cross platform i.e., on more than one or two operating systems, rather than an almost total operating system monopoly, and all the software companies trying to make their programs work on only that operating system. Individuality should be more appreciated. It's better than conformity, where everybody tries to be the same. The world would be a very boring place with no individuality!
The big Web browser war isn't over, yet, and it looks like Mozilla may end up the winner! Or, at least, until something better comes along... I'm still hoping for a Johnny Mnemonic type of interface, using VRD, myself. ;-)
I'm one of those people who used Netscape in the early days, when only students and teachers could use it for free, and everybody else was supposed to pay for it after 90 days. They never enforced that, and sometimes I used the beta versions that came out pretty often, which I downloaded, hoping for something better. When Mozilla came out, and became fairly stable, I switched over to it.
But then, I'm not a sheep, nor do I like AOL and Micro$haft very much...
Internet Explorer isn't safe
Think about this: Doesn't it make sense to use a Web browser that does what it's supposed to?
It's a frightening thought, that Internet Explorer cannot handle CSS, which this page uses for both the Site Menu thing and other parts of this page, when CSS has been standardized and recommended by several Internet organizations like the W3C since the mid 1990's.
Micro$haft... er, I mean Microsoft can't handle something that's been around for that long, then how much trust should we have in them creating a "high priority update" patch for a flaw in their operating system which can be exploited to take control of a person's computer that was only discovered a few weeks ago?
Linux is starting to look better all the time to more and more users... Hee hee hee
Web browser easter eggs
If you've read this far, I'm going to give you a little reward. There are "easter eggs", which are little surprises coded into virtually every program made. Trust me, coders get bored, too. What? You didn't notice? Obviously, you haven't been to very many pages on this site, yet. ;-) Netscape and Mozilla are no exceptions to easter eggs. With these, it comes in the form of quotes from "The Book of Mozilla". To see the easter eggs hidden within these programs, type into the location bar (without the quotes) where you usually type in a URL "about:mozilla", then hit the Enter or Return key, and you'll see what I mean. Every few versions they create a different message. Usually to mark big events.
Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox are using the same one. Here's the one from Mozilla Firefox 0.9.3, which you can click on to see full-sized:
Here's the one from Mozilla Firefox 3:
Mozilla Firefox 3 robots easter egg
If you're bored, and want to see a cool easter egg in Mozilla Firefox 3, hit Ctrl+T to open a new browser tab, then, type this into the location bar and hit the Enter key: about:robots
You should then see this:
For those who don't get the references in that, I'll give you some more datafeed:
Gort (mentioned in the title of the page, that you see at the top of the program window) was the robot from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
Klaatu barada nikto (also mentioned in the title of the page, that you see at the top of the program window) was a phrase from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). It's also been in many other movies either in whole or in part as well as in television shows, comic books, songs (including Alice Cooper's song My Stars), video games, and books, but, it originated in the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.
The line "welcome humans!" is from the movie Logan's Run (1976), as it's spoken by the character Box in the movie, who was probably named after an icebox, since he seemed to be living in a really huge freezer, and he was freezing all the life that had come into his area, until they stopped coming in and the humans started. The exact quote is: "Welcome, humans! I am ready for you! Fish, plankton, sea greens and protein from the sea. Fresh as harvest day. Overwhelming, am I not? Are you, too, startled? Am I too removed from your kin?"
The line "We have come to visit you in peace and goodwill!" is from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and it's spoken by Klaatu, the alien, upon leaving his spaceship to greet the people of planet Earth. Of course, the humans shot him on sight. :-(
The line "Robots may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." is the first law of robotics from Isaac Asimov's sci-fi books about robots, that originated in the short story he wrote in 1942 called Runaround.
The line "Robots have seen things you people wouldn't believe." is a reference to a line in the movie Blade Runner (1982), which was spoken by one of the androids (called replicants in the movie, and sometimes called skin jobs), Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer). The exact quote was "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
The line "Robots are Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun To Be With." is a reference to a line in Douglas Adams' book (and later, movie) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where there's a fictional company called Sirius Cybernetics Corporation which produces robots (among other things) that have had a GPP (Genuine People Personalities) installed in them, and says in their ad that a robot's "your plastic pal who's fun to be with". That might be true for some of them, but, not for Marvin, who, for some reason, is desribed as an android, even though he can't be confused with a human physically, and he's called paranoid, even though he's really just very depressed . . .
The line "Robots have shiny metal posteriors which should not be bitten." is paraphrasing Bender's first line in the television series Futurama, during the first pilot episode called Space Pilot 3000 (a television show on the Fox network that originally aired on March 28, 1999). The exact quote would be "Bite my shiny metal ass." LOL
The line "And they have a plan." is a quote from the television series Battlestar Galactica that started back in 2004, that was a re-make of sorts of the series of the same name that first aired on television back in 1978. Oddly enough, in this series as well as in the Blade Runner movie, the androids (robots who look and act like humans) are sometimes called "skin jobs" by some of the people in the Battlestar Galactica show.
Strangely missing are some of the better quotes from movies like Forbidden Planet (1956), The Questor Tapes (1974), Short Circuit (1986), Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) or several other good movies involving robots and androids. *Sighs*
Unfortunately, there are no good easter eggs left in Internet Explorer's latest versions. The last ones they had were in IE 5. Rather shows Microsoft's lack of imagination and determination to stamp out anything that isn't uptight and boring. :-P In other words, Microsoft and Bill Gates do not have much of a sense of humor.
Again, please feel free to share the location of this page with other people. Maybe, in time, we can wean some of them off of Internet Explorer. Hee hee hee And, please remember to tell others about us. :-)
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