Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


The pointless debate about FEMA and IE-only browser support

As much as I like to talk about how blogging opens up new doors in citizen communication and how empowering all of us to be reporting on the news and analyzing the events of the day lets us take a significant step closer to an informed democracy and better world, it's distressing to see how frequently the blogosphere is sidetracked by the stupid, mundane or trivial. We're not just talking about not seeing the proverbial forest for the trees, we're talking about running headlong into the tree while watching the ants march along the floor of the forest.

The latest example of this is the meme buzzing around about how the area of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) where victims of Hurricane Katrina apply for aid and emergency loans apparently requires that the user have Microsoft's popular Internet Explorer Web browser.

From the rabid Apple fans who swear up and down that it should be Safari compatible to the open source groupies who insist that if it doesn't support Firefox that somehow the government is failing in its obligation to be "for the people", it's astonishing how much energy is being wasted on this debate.

Here, take a sec and click on this...