Monday, January 18, 2010

Dealing another blow to bad headlines

This article/blog on my Google News feed caught my eye today. Now, I should mention upfront that I generally dislike PC World, at least online (I've never read the print edition). Their articles and especially their headlines tend to have, to my eye, a disappointingly negative, skeptical, and argumentative tone. I can best describe it as having a sort of tabloid-y feel. Or maybe a FOX News feel. Like these headlines: "Windows 7: No Application Compatibility Woes ... Yet". Or "Lower PC Prices Pit Microsoft Against PC Makers". Or "Hey, Microsoft: Please Stop Trying So Hard". I admit, the tone issue may not be the rule, but it's certainly not the exception. I also frequently detect some pro-Apple bias, but that might just be me being sensitive. Still, I like to imagine that the Macworld editors were forced by some monkey-suit to come up with PC World and continue to be subversive about it.



My other issues with PC World notwithstanding, this article caught my eye particularly because its headline stuck out as being a bit... off. "IE6 Dealt Another Blow". I'm sorry, I know it's a little nitpicky, but that's a pretty terrible headline. Not only is it a clich├ęd phrase, which I know these journalists are fond of, but it makes no sense. IE6 simply hasn't been 'dealt another blow'. That's like beating a dead horse. Or hitting a guy while he's down. A kick in the shins - or maybe the nuts.

That headline implies that IE6's reputation has been bludgeoned, and that this is going to further its withdrawal from the marketplace, as if we're supposed to feel sorry for it. Ars Technica's browser stats articles indicate that it's already receding rather steadily. They even call IE6 "the most hated version of Microsoft's browser". And maybe it has been 'dealt another blow' in the sense that more reasons for abandoning it like the pla - no, really, that's enough of that - have cropped up. But my point is that it damn well should be dying. We shouldn't feel sorry for it. It's two versions old, full of security holes and no one likes it. The only reason anyone uses it anymore is because they're forced to, either by a disinterested IT department at work or by their own illiteracy in these matters.

And then you get to the article itself. The infuriating thing is, the article kind of makes the same point as I do, in that sort of respectable journalistic way that's so at odds with the headline. It's really about how reviled the browser is, why its abandonment is being urged, and even suggests that users "have an early retirement" from it. Like it's a good thing to leave it behind.

Seems a bit contradictory to me, that's all.

A comment on the article in question makes a good point, though. Milez5858 says, "IE 6 is how old now? Oh oh guess what! Windows 3.1 for Workgroups has some security flaws as well. Do you suppose Firfox 2 [sic] might have some problems?" It's not surprising that a 9-year-old browser is causing problems; it really is about time people (and especially corporations) moved on.

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