Anne van Kesteren

The IE weblog makes me laugh

In IE in Windows XP SP2 they write:

We give users more control over their browsing experience in a few ways. First, we block most things from coming up without some user action; for instance, pages can no longer automatically start a download unless the user clicks a link or accepts the download via our new Information Bar UI. We also came up with a very original idea – popup blocking. J Sites can now no longer open windows except when the user clicks a link or button to initiate it. Similarly, sites cannot change your home page without a user click as well.

There are a whole lot of other changes around reliability, Group Policy support, and a myriad of others, but those are the big themes for our work in Windows XP SP2. IE in XP SP2 stops all currently known critical exploits, so it's a heck of a lot more secure than pretty much any other browser. We're really excited about it, and hope you will be too.

I would like to thank pastapappie.NET for sharing this.


  1. Hehe. As if popup blocking is a new idea, and that Internet Explorer ever can be more secure than either Opera or Mozilla. Bull. Shit.

    Posted by Asbjørn Ulsberg at

  2. Btw, right after "...original idea – popup blocking." there was a smiley. :) It was a joke.

    Posted by Milan Negovan at

  3. We also came up with a very original idea – popup blocking

    I think's thats a joke, at least I hope it is :D

    Posted by Switch at

  4. As it appears, you have to browse with Internet Explorer, since that is the only browser that supports the font 'Wingdings' in such a way that the character 'J' becomes a smiley. (There was something wrong with this if I read the relevant bugs in bugzilla correctly, otherwise other browsers would have implemented it the same way.)

    Oh, and it looks like some people just mentioned their browser of choice...

    Posted by Anne at

  5. A long-standing irritation of mine: smileys in Outlook appear as the letter 'J' in Mozilla Mail/Thunderbird because of this behavior in Mozilla.

    You wouldn't think this is that big a deal, but I can't tell you how many times I got angry at someone when it wasn't clear they were being sarcastic because I didn't see the smiley.

    Posted by Keith at

  6. Just to clarify, I'm not saying that Mozilla is wrong. dbaron has explained about a million times why he's right and everyone else is just being backward compatible. But one could raise the argument that this is one situation where being compatible is better than being "right". (I'd certainly get into fewer email fights this way.)

    Posted by Keith at

  7. He's right. Microsoft should use Unicode.

    Posted by Anne at

  8. He's right. The letter 'J' is the letter 'J'. No amount of styling should change the fact that it is a letter 'J'.

    Supplying the wrong character, depending on a certain font being on a client, and depending on that font being used to render your character with the wrong glyph to hide the fact that you used the wrong character in the first place is simply broken, brain-dead behaviour.

    Posted by Jim Dabell at

  9. Similarly, sites cannot change your home page without a user click as well.

    Seems a bit odd to be as well, should they instead Similarly, sites can no longer change your home page at all. It must be user initiated.??

    Posted by Justin Wood (Callek) at

  10. Since M$FT is claiming they invented popup blocking and since my browser, Juice has had it for a year and a half, maybe I can sue for $500 million.

    Posted by Randy Charles Morin at

  11. Randy, that is probably an option for people who live in the United States :-) (Heavily biased, I know.)

    Posted by Anne at

  12. I suspect next they'll say tabbed browsing was a Micro$oft idea which Opera borrowed from them.

    Posted by Robert Wellock at

  13. Incidently an appropriately configured IE will also show that smiley as a Letter J (it does in mine!) - it's another example of the disappointing Blog software being used, IE copes with unicode smileys just fine.

    As to the security fact, if there are no known exploits against IE6+Win XP SP2 then it is more secure than pretty much any other browser, as there are known exploits against those. Of course even if that statement is true today, I doubt it will be next week.

    Posted by Jim Ley at

  14. Example: ☺. (Hexadecimal character reference would be: ☺.)

    Posted by Anne at

  15. The comment about popup blocking being an original idea was a joke. The author was just trying to wind people up.

    Of course, I still wouldn't touch it with a bargepole...

    Incidentally, the J shows as a smiley in my standard installation of Firefox 0.9.3 on Linux (OK, I've got a load of MS fonts on there, but doesn't everybody?).

    Posted by Richard at

  16. Anne, awesome, maybe I should move there. I could be rich :)

    Posted by Randy Charles Morin at

  17. all currently known critical exploits - I guess critical is highly subjective; whatever couldn't be fixed in time isn't marked critical (anymore)... Besides, even if that isn't the case IE can have dozens non-critical security flaws more waiting to be fixed, than any other browser out there.

    Posted by Robbert Broersma at

  18. The smiley shows up as a J in Safari as well, so I had no idea he was joking either.

    Posted by Roger at

  19. Well, what more can you expect from supporters of The War on Web Standards ;) ?

    Posted by Jim Amos at

  20. Incidentally, I was inspired to look around for a "workaround" (notice quotes) to this rendering issue in Mozilla/Firefox. I discovered one in one of the related bugzilla issues. If you're like me and get annoyed by this, and don't expect all your Outlook-using friends to start typing in a Unicode string, I found no adverse side effects to applying this hack.

    By adding a line to, you can tell Mozilla to treat certain fonts (like wingdings or webdings) as Symbol Fonts, and thus use the backward compatible map-by-ASCII method of displaying a glyph.

    The exact lines I added were :

    encoding.wingdings.ttf = windows-1252 encoding.webdings.ttf = windows-1252

    After that, the 'J' would show up as a smiley in my emails.

    Posted by Keith at