Springfield and MDot
>> Somewhere in Vermont...
Geneve and I are en route from spending Thanksgiving at her Aunt Joan's place in Springfield, Vermont, and then spending the rest of the weekend in Montreal. We have been driving for 7 hours so far (this is normally a 5.5 hour trip) and we've got about 45 minutes to go. A 1.5 hour wait at the border and a sidetrip to pick up Geneve's anti-peeing drugs from her Aunt's place in Vermont (wouldn't want to bring those over the border) has made this trip much longer than usual.
Thanksgiving dinner was traditionally American. That is to say, turkey with all the fixin's, followed by a struggle to stave off the Tryptophan to stay awake and watch the football game.
The time spent in Montreal was low-key as our numbers of collective peeps in town are dwindling. I did see a couple of familiar faces that I did not expect to see, including a chance encounter on the street with Amir, one of the guys that lives in my old Clark St. digs. With his encouragement, G and I stopped by to stop by the place. We met Amir's cousin, who seems like a cool guy, is in med school and plans on staying in the place for four more years. The neighbourhood is becoming gentrified, too: the crack house across the street is now a legit halfway house, the empty lot at the corner of Clark and Sherbrooke is being turned into a boutique hotel, and the empty warehouse on Ontario and Clark is being turned into luxury condos. This gentrification is a sample of the development occuring throughout Montreal. The city is on the cusp of a serious boom. Real estate prices are currently very reasonable but are poised to skyrocket due to high demand, a stable political situation, and a thriving economy.
Montreal got its first snow on Saturday afternoon, followed by its first bitingly cold weather and ankle-snappingly slipperly sidewalks on Saturday night. Time was spent with Brian at Champs, watching the Leafs beat Ottawa (you would expect a different outcome?) in an entertaining contest, and the Raptors get pummelled by Miami (ditto, sigh) in a less-than-watchable match. We capped off the evening at the now-classic Bifteck (Brian has been going there for *10* years now).
One highlight of the weekend included this paraphrased gem from my Brian:
"People care more about the garbage bags they use than their browser. You've got these idealogues talking about how Mozilla is the best browser because it renders faster, is DOM-compliant, etc. The majority of people don't care about DOM compliance; they want the browser to work and that's it."
As an aside for those not geekily inclined, the Document Object Model (or DOM) is a standard that allows a web developer to ensure web pages behave the same across many browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, etc.) and Operating Systems (Windows 98/2000, Apple's OS X, etc.) Because the web is a very young medium, the guys who make Netscape have only recently begun to pay attention to supporting standards so that a guy like me can make a web page that looks and functions the same in both browsers. While this development will go a long way to making web development less tedious, Microsoft has not entirely bought in to the idea of supporting non-proprietary standards. Microsoft's lack of full support for open standards, coupled with many older browsers out there on peoples' computers, makes developing web sites more difficult than in needs to be.
Brian is spot-on with his observation about users not caring what browser they use. Content accessibility should not be dictated by whether you use Netscape or IE--that's like saying you can only watch certain channels if you have a Sony television. The ideal is to be able to write one version of a webpage and have it behave the same on all browsers, and the way to do this (as a web developer) is to support open standards like DOM compliance. While some web surfers will suffer in the short term--like the 2% of users who were denied access to ESPN.com when we relaunched the site in February 2003 because they did not have DOM-compliant browsers--in the long term, support for standards will benefit both web developers and web surfers alike.