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February 14, 2006 08:47 AM

Broken: incompatibility

Spotted on Yahoo News, U.S. Grant Web Site Doesn't Work With Macs - Yahoo! News.

A government Web site that aims to serve as a one-stop shopping point for scholars and others in search of federal grants is creating headaches for users of Macintosh computers.

The site's electronic forms for would-be applicants aren't Mac-compatible.

What is thinking?


First! Broken, especially considering nearly every college professor I've ever met uses a Mac.

Posted by: Ron Mexico at February 14, 2006 08:53 AM

I wonder if it would work with virtual PC?

Posted by: john russell at February 14, 2006 09:25 AM

or even linux

Posted by: john russell at February 14, 2006 10:04 AM

Obviously the gov't doesn't want to grant money to people who think different.

Posted by: Tug at February 14, 2006 10:47 AM

What I find is broken is that the web site was designed by a Canadian firm.

Posted by: Dennis at February 14, 2006 11:44 AM

It was? I just got a memo yesterday about staff in my company who received an "excellence award" for this site. They must've been responsible for the backend, not the front.

Posted by: John at February 14, 2006 11:52 AM

Get ready for the 'you're broken if you use a Mac' posts...ugh.

Posted by: mmcwatters at February 14, 2006 11:58 AM

Maybe Steve Jobs will fly in and redesign a version of the site called Are all Macs affected or will the new Mactels be able to handle the site?

Posted by: Confused Shopper at February 14, 2006 12:07 PM

Totally broken; the government thinks like windows; simple, obvious and so preemptive it prohibits free thought and usability; actually for the government this isnt broken; for the world it is- Too bad!

Posted by: smartypants at February 14, 2006 12:39 PM

Interesting :) -- the RSS feed for this site, with this article first, appeared just below the MacResearch feed in my menu -- with an article about third party solution for this problem right at the top.

Posted by: squawky at February 14, 2006 12:42 PM

Working for an institution that does plenty of grant submissions, I see plenty of news on these matters. And the situation is way funnier than the article lets on.

From an email in late December... " is pleased to announce that the Citrix server is now available for non-Windows users!"

Word doc with instructions

Posted by: Brian at February 14, 2006 01:11 PM

The US government paid twentey-two BILLION dollars to develop the website.

Is this a new record for the most expensive web site ever?

That it doesn't work on 50% of its clients computers (some study showed that 50% of academics use macs) is just icing on the cake of goverment spending.


Posted by: J. Scott at February 14, 2006 02:55 PM

sqwaky, that third party solution you posted is MSIE for Windows and a Windows emulator all bundled together in a single package. I don't know that that is much of a solution.

Posted by: J. Scott at February 14, 2006 02:59 PM

iThink it is iNot iBroken. Since iMost iScholars use iMacs, whyi make iThings iEasy? iAnyone iCapable of iConnecting to this iSite is iProbably iSmart.


Posted by: steve h at February 14, 2006 03:29 PM

What's particularly funny and ironic about this is that the Federal government has accused Microsoft of being an illegal monopoly...

Posted by: Gene Cowan at February 14, 2006 09:43 PM

I don't generally leap to the defense of Mac users, but even I think this is broken. One of the great strengths of the Internet is that it connects different platforms -- there is no excuse for writing a Web app that excludes a significant portion of your target audience.

Your tax dollars at work.

Posted by: E.T. at February 15, 2006 10:45 AM

Screw the Macs! Windows rules!

Posted by: Anthony at February 15, 2006 02:08 PM

"the choice of PureEdge was logical given that the contract demanded full implementation within seven months and because more than 90 percent of computer users nationwide use PCs."

I don't think that means that it is excluding over 50 percent of their audience, there J. Scott


Posted by: shuddupa urface at February 15, 2006 05:34 PM

I think it's true that more than 90 percent of computer users nationwide use PCs... because PC stands for "Personal Computer", which includes Mac. I'm sure that fewer than 10% of computer users are using mainframes.

Perhaps the writing at the Washington Post is broken, as well.

In fact, it is almost impossible to determine the percentage of Mac users vs. PC users. There's market share, which only tells us how many of each are being sold; the Mac market share has been growing of late. However, because Macs generally have a far longer life than Windows boxes, the actual percentage of Macs in use is far higher than the market share.

The percentage in use in universities is also much higher than in, say, accountants offices.

I'd hazard a guess that the percentage of users locked out in university settings is rather high, but still probably not 50%.

It's also interesting to note that PureEdge required seven months to implement their system, and a university took just a couple of days to create a software solution so that Macs can now access it. Perhaps the government should have given the contract to that university, instead.

Posted by: Gene Cowan at February 15, 2006 10:21 PM

"Screw the Macs! Windows rules!"

_@_v - if you mean "rules" to be the cold clammy grip of an ossified and increasingly ineffectual and out of touch oligarchy then yes windows does indeed "rule"...

Posted by: shesnailie_@_v at February 16, 2006 04:14 AM

Gene, don't be inane. It's clear from the context of the article that the writer is using "PCs" to mean "Windows PCs" as contrasted with Macs, not as contrasted with mainframes.

As for the relative proportion of Windows vs. Mac vs. all other users, the 90% Windows number is probably pretty close to correct for the general population (it used to be more like 95%).

But for PureEdge to use that as an excuse is still specious, because (a) their target user group is not the general population, but the academic world, which is said to have a much lower proportion of Windows users, so they oviously didn't do their research; and (b) even at 90%, they are still excluding 1 out of every 10 possible users -- that's a lot!

Perhaps if their contract had specified that they be paid based on the number of successful applications through the system, they might have had different priorities.

Posted by: E.T. at February 16, 2006 01:55 PM

Maybe they figure if you can afford a Mac you don't need a grant.

Posted by: Rob at February 20, 2006 12:20 AM

Wow! Windows AND governement bashing at the same time! TIB is more efficient than most companies! :)

Posted by: The Pondermatic at February 20, 2006 09:09 AM


Posted by: Alvin R. at February 21, 2006 05:18 PM

HA! Welcome to my world! I promise you the grant website isn't the only one that doesn't bother with mac compatibility! PS- affording a mac and having a mac are two very different things! Also here in Oregon nearly all schools use only macs in their computer labs (including the colleges)

Posted by: beth at February 26, 2006 01:03 PM

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