Archive for November, 2006


I use FireFox as my primary Web browser and really like it. That said, I also use Internet Explorer (especially for Microsoft sites), and occasionally Opera too. I test Web sites I work on with all the browsers to ensure as much compatibility as possible. That said, I am not in the business of beta testing any of them. I just don’t have the time. I have been reading about the “enhancements” of both IE7 and FireFox 2.0 as much as I can to stay on top of things, but I am not doing as well with this and anticipate a few surprises in my future.

A couple of weeks ago at Southwest Fox I learned a bunch of things about IE7 from Rick Borup. His session got me excited about some of the changes and new features. So I have been looking forward to the automatic update about to hit my machine. Then I accidentally ran across a blog from one of my technical partners about how IE7 breaks QuickBooks Pro. No email from Intuit (they hit me up with lots of offers to upgrade, but I guess this little detail was not that important, or I seriously overlooked it).

I use QuickBooks Pro to manage the accounting books here at White Light Computing. I have used this product for years to keep track of the hours I bill, invoicing, tracking accounts receivables, printing checks to my vendors and subcontractors, and reporting the financials to my wife and our accountant. I use this program all the time. It is almost as important to me on the administrative side of the business as Visual FoxPro is to the technical side of the business.

So I was surprised to read how it is broken with IE7. I know it uses the Internet Explorer control inside of it, but for some reason it did not even cross my mind that the Internet Explorer update would break it. All it does is render HTML for cripes sake. I have read how it is going to “break”, or better said, is not going to be as forgiving as it has been in the past. Cool, but not cool.

Fortunately I can upgrade to the latest version of QuickBooks. I have not done this in a couple of years and really have not been compelled to upgrade based on features. So now Intuit is going to make a ton of money because Microsoft “broke” their application. Not a good business model from my perspective, but I see how they cannot be expected to upgrade me for free. This is a perfect example of DLL Hell, or ActiveX versioning hell. I am sure there are Web developers who are rejoicing on all the new business they will have because they did not respect standards when creating the sites.

I cannot upgrade for another couple of weeks because I am speaking at the German DevCon in a week and have this no new software upgrade policy two weeks before the conference. So now I have to be extra careful not load the Microsoft update about to hit my machine.

One of my clients recently implemented the Microsoft IE7 Blocker Toolkit because IE7 breaks one of the Web apps purchased from another company. I talked to a network specialist today and he recommends it to everyone who cannot load IE7. It adds a registry entry that stops the Windows Update from installing IE7 if you have Automatic Updates turned on, or you select the “Express” setup when you start the updates that were downloaded for you. It does not stop you from installing IE7 on your own. Read the Microsoft site I linked above if you want more details.
I added the registry entry as an insurance policy and have decided to leave this machine IE7-free. I have a new laptop I am in the process of loading up (another series of future blog entries) and will put the new version of QuickBooks on it with IE7 and FireFox 2.0.

Maybe a few of my readers are in the same boat as I am, and you will be saved the grief dumped on us by innocently loading the latest and greatest version of Internet Explorer.


I was very happy to hear NASA is repairing and improving the Hubble Telescope. In 2008 they are sending up a shuttle mission to update the batteries and other components to extend the life of this amazing hardware. Not long ago the bean counters were winning the battle over the explorers, and a decision was made to let Hubble deteriorate in orbit, re-enter the atmosphere, and be destroyed. Safety was a concern since the shuttle will not be able to take safe harbor at the space station if something goes wrong, but NASA has addressed this issue and the mission is on.

Very good news to report on space exploration. This announcement made my day yesterday.