Friday, 4 November 2011

Google and Microsoft need to talk. For the kids' sake, at least.

Am I the only one who loves mini Google presentations but is now struggling actually to show them to anyone in Internet Explorer? I have them in iframes all over the place: on blog pages, moodle VLE pages and wherever else they might come in handy should I need to make a quick summary of something in class.

This is how one of them should look:

Since when they first appeared clunkily on the scene many e-learning years ago I've been telling everyone how brilliant they are. Now I feel a fool and probably look a bit stupid too when I'm there at the front of the class or a conference somewhere where IE rules (usually an academic institution of some sort) and behind me is a message announcing to everyone that 'This content cannot be displayed in an iframe' next to a large red cross symbol. No not the ambulance one - the Access Denied type.

Luckily my blog viewers are also now unable to see how stupid I really am as my new Google+ profile image is just a little box with the red x that we all were once so familiar with in the 90s days of web image upload mistakes or sheer sluggishness of connections.

Then there's the problem with Google's lovely new charts that simply don't appear at all! Now, in a way, this is slightly less embarrassing than the message as my class or audience may not actually see that they're missing, just conclude that I've hit the return key a few too many times or that my text had been hijacked by Microsoft's other missile in the software wars, Word's default spacing in 2007 on.

The post should look like this:

So where have the charts gone? Why can't IE display them, or, at least try.

Back to my presentation problem. Internet Explorer offers the choice of opening the aforementioned presentation in a new window. OK, I'll give that a try...

Oh boy. What on earth are we supposed to make of this message? 

It really does take a minute or two to figure out what on earth that means. You try. (And I think I'm someone who is fairly quick too so Lord help some of my colleagues!)

It turns out that it doesn't matter in the slightest which you click...

Because the window stays black. Completely black. I gave up trying to make any sense of the Help window too.

Unless I am being very, very stupid indeed I am sure there must be others out there who are getting as confused as I am and, no doubt, wondering what on earth to do. We should be told, don't you think. If all this is due to Google advancing at a rate of knots with which Microsoft can't keep up, or, more worryingly, a deliberate refusal by Microsoft to facilitate Google display in a pleasant an efficient manner so that users may be obliged to blow the dust of their 365 documentation then it is, perhaps encumbent upon both to talk to each other. For the sake of the kids. At a conference I can usually demand Chrome in advance or, if stuck in IE, get some laughs and sympathy and think of something else to keep them occupied. I can't do that with an Ofsted inspector gazing at me from a corner of the room as will be the case on umpteen occasions next week. Heeeelllpp!!

[I am hoping someone will see this and tell me I have been stupid and a simple change here or there will fix it. If so, then I will instantly publish the news and apologise to both G and Big Blue.]

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