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For the first time in my life I’ve joined a gym: specifically Zest. Despite the fact that friends, girlfriends, family, and workmates have always raved about their workouts and how much fun they have at the gym, it never caught on until now. I’ve never been particularly unhappy with my body —I’d say I’ve been lazy but lucky— but I appreciate there are only so many years you can push the “I’m tall and I have a high metabolism” card before you lose the proportions you took for granted in high school. To look at your father, your uncles, and your grandfathers and see right into your future is a real kick in the pants.

The more I think about it, though, the more I realize this was as much socially-motivated as health: with all my old friends starting new jobs and new stages in their lives, contact is obviously going to become harder to maintain. Hitting the gym four times a week with the same group of guys and girls is guaranteed contact with some of my best buddies — something I couldn’t ensure whilst sitting in front of a computer terminal. At the same time as we chat and catch up on gossip, we get exercise and/or a good half hour in a hot spa. As an added bonus, Lee is a qualified personal trainer; it pretty much guarantees results when one of your best friends is writing you an appraisal and generating a custom workout for you. Poor bastard. Oh well, I guess I’ve always been the first port of call for computer troubles… now he gets his time in the fitness department.

Man my arms hurt, though.

History repeating

Remember back to the days when Internet Explorer was rising to prominence? They were the days when we obstreperous Netscape lovers would code our sites with a bird-flipping “Looks best in Netscape Navigator” badge placed prominently on our then–all-the-rage Flash intro pages… despite the sad fact that our preferred browser was on its way out the door, and we’d become IE coders soon.

It happened again when IE reached its peak at the turn of the century, on pages all around the web where obstinate or lazy programmers ‘recommended’ Internet Explorer for viewing their sites. Quite often this recommendation amounted to absolutely nothing —the site looked and operated perfectly in any other browser on the market— and the badge simply told you the developer didn’t even test in another browser; the “I can satisfy 97% of the market with this design, what do those other 3% expect of me?” mentality that caused such stagnation in our sphere. It wasn’t proactive, it wasn’t rebellious, it was just crap.

And now, finally, it’s come back around. That 97% is dropping steadily, the Get Firefox badges are out in full force, and that class of web designer that doesn’t give a damn about the status quo is all but ignoring Internet Explorer’s rendering of his sites. On a bad day, I’m one of them. Client sites are still hacked out the wazoo, obviously, but I sincerely doubt decaf has ever rendered ‘properly’ in Internet Explorer at all. With a few more personal projects in the pipeline, I can’t see that attitude changing.

My thinking, warped and selfish as it may be, is that an Internet Explorer user who sees a site as being ‘broken’ in his browser has all the more reason to cross over. “More features”, “more secure”, and “extensible” aren’t compelling enough arguments to the user who just doesn’t care (and I know a lot of them, sadly), but the difference between a broken web and a beautiful web just might be. And thankfully, the technically ignorant of the world always ask the advice of the technically savvy — and the savvy are uniting on this one.