Tuesday, March 23, 2010

[Wednesday] Kill IE6

I was particularly interested in Anne's discussion of the perpetual present and the constantly renewed promise of the upgrade. One example that particularly comes to mind is a recent Internet campaign known as "Kill IE6." The mission of this campaign is to eliminate usage of the browser, Internet Explorer 6. Those behind the campaign see upgrading to another browser as an imperative. One site's slogan reads, "IE6 Must Die for the Web to Move On." Yet, the ironic part of this statement is that IE6 is not even part of the Web or Internet. It is the browser, the interface through which users access the online network. Relating this back to Gitelman's analysis of errors, we might call this an error of misrecognition, in which the browser is misrecognized as the Internet itself. It is a semantic collapse. The code is the same, regardless of the browser, but the interpretation of the code through the browser varies.

This campaign also hints a certain relationship between the compulsory need to upgrade and those who fail to upgrade A campaign such as "Kill IE6" can only arise when the need to upgrade and keep in step with the constant culture of change is not followed. When the campaign launched, there were an estimated 15-25% of Internet users using IE6. This mass of IE6 users occurs as a kind of block and the campaign manifests as a kind of widespread error message in response to the block.


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