OT: Canadian Census 2006

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Canada now allows the Census to be done online. I tried to login and got the current version of the browser not supported error. It recommended using Firefox, Mozilla, IE, Netscape, or Safari (also mentioning to use JRE > 1.4.x). Funny, I was using Firefox. So, next I tried Mozilla Suite, then Seamonkey, then Opera. No good. BTW, I am running
JRE 1.5.0_06.

Time to call the help line (going to try to submit a bug report to the poor call centre =). Well, big lineup, I stayed on the line since I wasn't going anywhere. It did recommend me to phone back at non peak hours and gave some times. 1st problem, it didn't give time zones with the times. Canada has enough timezones that that can be slight problem.
Staying on the line ...

After what seemed to be 30 mins, I got to speak to a rep. I mentioned my browser wasn't supported, he said I could download Firefox, etc. I said I tried that. Asked what my OS was. Linux. There followed some Ums and Ahs. Paper shuffling. Well it supports Windows and and and Um. NEways, I held for a moment while he found the supported OS lists. When he got back, he started asking about browsers, so I listed what I had tried and my Java version. Again the question what OS? Linux - Fedora Core 5. Oh, that's the problem. It supports the majority of Windows version and Mac. Okay, thanks.
What could have saved me a heap of time? Well, the browser detection
could have used
some novice JavaScript to detect my OS version and say NAE, you aren't
supported.
Instead there's code to say your browser isn't supported so go download
a supported browser
which is the very one you are using right now.

What is the point of advising people to use multi-platform browsers and basing it on Java which is also multi-platform, yet only have it work with Windows and Mac? Why has every other Gov't Ca. website I have been to work with Firefox and Mozilla? The Census is to find out who I am, and put me in the Stats. Thankfully, when I finish filling out my paper Census, I will be able to fill in Comments section, submit some bug reports and give them a freebee stat that isn't in the questionnaire: I am one of the
Canadians whom doesn't have Mac or Windows on his computer.

Stephen Mirowski


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