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back to article End of an era as Firefox bins 'blink' tag

The "blink"* element, a feature of early web browsers that made text blink on and off, has been banished in the latest version of Firefox. The element had already been removed from Internet Explorer, was never implemented in Chrome and was ignored by most browser-makers because it never made it into a W3C HTML spec. The W3C even …

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Firefox 32.0?

Pah. Wake me when we get to Firefox 187. In a couple of months.

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Terminator

Re: Firefox 32.0?

Ah - I get it. The old Firefox versioning joke. That used to be funny - never.

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FAIL

Re: Firefox 32.0?

*facepalm*

Joking aside, (and slightly off-topic) the version number incrementation is insignificant to the majority of people involved with Firefox, except developers who track features and changes.

So I do wish that people will stop banging on about how quickly the version numbers are going up (not you specifically DanceMan). Does it really matter?

That said, I also wish that Mozilla would drop the focus on version numbers in the same way that Google have (in other words don't use it in marketing or promotion). Although a cursory glance on their website seems to suggest that they're finally heeding this advice.

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Flame

Re: Firefox 32.0?

I don't care about the version numbers, it would just be nice if there weren't so many bloody versions. Seriously, who wants to update their browser every other week, and then waste a day trying to restore the features that changed/broke?

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Coat

Re: Firefox 32.0?

Or maybe 69.whoah?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Firefox 32.0?

On the contrary, it was very funny about 2 weeks ago. With Firefox 16.

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Re: Firefox 32.0?

on the contrary, I don't care if they feel like emphasizing the version, if they could just make it update seamlessly without harassing me.

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Re: Firefox 32.0?

Quantitative easing means inflation... the power of your major version number is eroding in your pocket.

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Re: Firefox 32.0?

"Ah - I get it. The old Firefox versioning joke. That used to be funny - never."

I thought it was funny when I first heard it, around the time of version 12 or 13.

But that was months ago.

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Anonymous Coward

As a Firefox user

do I get to say that I look forward to v132?

Hopefully by then they will get a FUNCTIONAL UI, where reasonable settings like browser.cache.check_doc_frequency are not buried in an obtuse about:config page, as well as stop making user experience changes just because you think you can.

There. Got that off my chest. Because the self-important twits at Mozilla simply don't listen to feedback from anyone but themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As a Firefox user

> Because the self-important twits at Mozilla simply don't listen to feedback from anyone but themselves.

Well said that man.

And yes, I used to report bugs and contribute to their Bugzilla, until I could no longer stand their level of Wikipedians-like twattery.

Sorry, I don't normally post aggro comments like this, but in this case I find they're deserved.

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Happy

Futurefox

'Mozilla has also listed other, far more important, changes to Firefox 32.0'

Now THAT'S what I call planning ahead.

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WTF?

Re: Futurefox

"Now THAT'S what I call planning ahead."

At the current rate of progress, that might well be less than a year away, certainly not much more. (+1 per release, a release every 6 weeks, only 10 releases to go, that gives 60 weeks or a bit less, unless they up the rate again...)

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"Such criticism isn't wide of the mark, but does ignore the fact that in the mid-90s web pages were rather dull. Fonts didn't display at all, ActiveX didn't exist, inline multimedia was in its infancy and Java was still a new kid on the block."

You couldn't use web sites as platforms for displaying what a clever coder or brilliant graphic designer you were, so you had to rely on content.

The world was so much better then.

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"you had to rely on content"

you'd think that would be the important bit - I've found when you display the content simply, logically, cleanly and accessibly then everyone is happy but sales or graphics dept.

They're happy when they've had their 'consultation process' but most everyone else isn’t. But I must say they do do a good job of providing a 200Meg video of how to fill in the last 2k form before they demanded a few changes to make their video redundant.

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It was, except for the blasted animated GIFs that the marketing department thought were worthwhile and not at all a vile irritation that caused most users to turn of images (bandwidth were limited then to).

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Windows

You couldn't use web sites as platforms for displaying what a clever coder or brilliant graphic designer you were, so you had to rely on content.

On the contrary, you just had to actually be a clever coder or brilliant designer back then.

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Coffee/keyboard

Flash

I have fond memories of Flash animations back in the day (Yes ok Flash is evil now but it gave us Weebl and Bob and Adventures of the Blode!)

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Anonymous Coward

Plus the web wasn't filled with hoardes of dumbass kids posting crap on social media (I really hate that phrase) sites because they didn't know about the internet as it wasn't available on mobile phones and facebook/twitter etc. didn't bloody exist.

We had usenet and mailing lists with no stupid crap graphical icons or crap graphical smileys or crap oversized picture sigs, we made do with using text characters and sigs that were no longer than 4 lines.

LOL actually meant you lauged out loud at something, not just just posted it because it seemed appropriate. Further more the acronym ROFL used to be ROTFLMAO, but even kids today are too goddamn lazy to type out the whole acronym.

P.S. Get off my fucking lawn!

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Anonymous Coward

we had usenet, and my god, wasn't it fully as bad as anything today.

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Windows

Yup.

The only good one I ever used was uk.adverts.computer. Most were just full of spam, or self-appointed usenet police uttering threats (and even some death threats) to get me banned by my ISP for not following the formatting guidelines to the letter - on my first attempt at posting (guideline revision 32c available intermittently on someone's private university webspace).

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?we had usenet, and my god, wasn't it fully as bad as anything today.

Or as good?

Loved usenet.. Still use it a bit..

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Unhappy

Re: we had usenet,

I went back and visited an old usenet forum a few years back. It was a tragic mistake. I've seen more useful email in my spam box.

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Anonymous Coward

"We had usenet and mailing lists with no stupid crap graphical icons or crap graphical smileys or crap oversized picture sigs"

And we had alt.binaries.* for any and all of our... entertainment needs.

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kids today are too goddamn lazy to type out the whole acronym....

KTATGL2TOTWFA !!!

(I add added the F for ya because I felt you meant that ...)

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Anonymous Coward

And we had alt.binaries.* for any and all of our... entertainment needs.

We still do!

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Couldn't agree more...

...and I'm a graphic designer.

Around 1994 or '95 -- a scary long time ago, now that I think of it -- I'd been doing print design for about 15 years (and print design on computers for about 10), and was the first designer in my department to dive into the Web and start exploring "new media" design to any extent, and was responsible for training the other designers in how to design for the Web. One of the first things I impressed on them that they were designing layouts for users who were on 14.4 and perhaps 28.8k links, not interactive CD-ROM presentations (a common mistake back then).

I can still remember some twentysomething clown from the Marketing department, one of the account execs, coming down to Publications/Design and complaining that our designs for his clients' Web sites wasn't "interactive" enough. In an attempt to pin him down on just what he meant by "interactive", he proceeded to show us a bunch of Web pages with buttons that wiggled and hopped when you rolled over them, big-ass animated .gif banner ads, embedded auto-playing sound and video, ridiculously large bandwidth-sucking Flash displays (Flash was brand-new then, most of us were still on 28.8k dialup, and Flash already had a really bad reputation), and generally more blinking, wiggling, wobbling, undulating crap than you could shake a stick at.

Christ, what an asshat. He's probably head of Marketing at that company by now.

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Facepalm

Blinking Never Worked With Printers

I used on screen blinking text for warnings to users, shame was no printer could ever make blinking text on the page so the point was lost!

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Re: Blinking Never Worked With Printers

Nor did the marquee tag.

Most infuriating.

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Megaphone

Re: Blinking Never Worked With Printers

Now marquee is a *real* tag of action that blink only wishes it was.

Where's the love for it eh?

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Re: Blinking Never Worked With Printers

Make sure you hit the print key while the text is visible otherwise the page will be blank!

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Happy

Re: Blinking Never Worked With Printers

<Blah> Beat me to it!

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Re: Blinking Never Worked With Printers

Now marquee is a *real* tag of action that blink only wishes it was. Where's the love for it eh?

If you'd like to see some (measured and tempered) affection for <blink> and <marquee>, check out Bob Whipple's chapter, "The Evil Tags", in Dilger & Rice's From A to < A>.1 It's a nice retrospective of how some folks in the mid-90s received the introduction of these elements.

1Bradley Dilger mentioned once - this was at Michigan State, around the time the book was published - how much they had come to regret this title, because of all the production problems they ran into trying to have what looked like an HTML tag in the title. I note that it's still not possible to search for this book by title on Amazon.com, and Amazon doesn't display the title correctly either, when you do find it. Good job, Amazon developers!

On the other hand, the Reg doesn't do much better. It can't handle left-angle-bracket, capital-A, right-angle-bracket, because it thinks it's "malformed HTML"; but it doesn't recognize the &lt; entity either. Thus the extraneous space in the title above. Try again, gents.

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>*We would have loved to honour HTML syntax and surround the word "blink" with angle brackets, but doing so risked making the story unreadable

So little has changed then.

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I'm confused by this... what browser can't handle &gt; and &lt;?

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Holmes

What's really going on here?

"Updated Firefox Logo"

Oh, dear. Does Mozilla have "new headquarters" envy? If you can't build a spaceship, hack up the logo?

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Pint

Not all is lost ;-)

We still have our trusty CSS3 animation ;-)

<style>

@keyframes blink {

from {color: black; }

to {color: white; }

}

</style>

Now all that's left is using animation and referring to this keyframe section:

<p style="animation:blink .5s infinite">This is now blinking!</p>

Takes a little more code than one tag, but looks so much better, sorta ;-)

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Unhappy

Re: Not all is lost ;-)

But you'll have to use both methods to support old browsers.

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There's only one valid use that I'm aware of for the blink tag:

Schrödinger's cat is <blink>not</blink> dead.

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Mushroom

mandatory downvote for mentioning schroedinger's cat

that is all.

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Mushroom

Funny but wrong.

Schrödinger's cat is <blink>not</blink> dead.

No, the cat's state doesn't alternate, it can only go from living to dead.

The point of the gedanken experiment is that without opening the box and examing the cat the system can only be described by including both the waveform of a dead cat and the waveform of a live cat (with appropriate probabilities ascribed to each).

Schrödinger's cat is <font color=gray>not</font> dead.

would be nearer the mark (but still wrong because the probability of the cat still being alive diminishes with time so the colour should really fade).

Sheesh, you'd think quantum mechanics was Hard Science or something ... Oh, wait ...

Icon because hydrogen bombs may kill cats, too.

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actually..

The possible states of the cat are : alive, dead, Greebo...

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Joke

Meeeoooww Meeeeooowwwww *claw claw claw* MEEEOOOWWWW!

Schrodinger what the eff are you on about? That cat is definitely alive!

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Headmaster

Re: Funny but wrong.

Actually the point of the thought experiment is that applying quantum mechanics to a cat leads to silly things like this so you shouldn't do it. Therefore I deem blink acceptable in this context.

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Re: Funny but wrong.

>Actually the point of the thought experiment is...

Actually, actually, as usual the puny humans have it the wrong way around.

I was reminded of the following recently, cats once were worshipped as gods, they haven't forgotten this.

The cat is the one running this experiment, fooling a scientist to actually try it out. The whole 'is the cat dead and alive at the same time' thing is where the flawed perception gives us one-life players rise for confusion. See, the cat during the closed box period of the experiment is in the dual state of having lost another of its nine lives and not losing one. Once the cat has more than one to spare before the experiment (which it ensures by only ever taking part in this exercise eight times) then the true purpose of the experiment is achieved. I.e. the lifting of the cat from the box and the application of something resembling sawdust and silicon gel with an aroma of fish or chicken.

Cats over many millenia have devised many ingenious methods for being fed by their pets, which is odd considering how lethal they are as killing machines...

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Headmaster

Re: Funny but wrong.

both the waveform of a dead cat and the waveform of a live cat

No, it's just a single "wavefunction", i.e. a complex-valued probability assignment to all considered states, in this case "DEAD" (dimension #1), and "ALIVE" (dimension #2), a so-called qbit.

Incidentally, this function can be described by a three-dimensional real-valued vector constrained to the unit sphere (the Bloch sphere). Thus there are actually only two real dimensions.

Totally uncalled for but linked to just because: Aperture Science Time: Schrödinger's Cat

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: actually..

Grikath, have an upvote from me for working in a Pratchett reference.

Strictly speaking though, I think you'll find that there would be 3 states the cat would be in.

Alive, dead and bloody furious.

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TC1
Go

Now all they need to do is...

Get rid of scrolling marquees.

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Fonts didn't display at all?

I'm pretty sure they did, because I clearly remember being able to read text on web pages.

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Re: Fonts didn't display at all?

Well spotted, but I'm pretty sure the text between blink tags was only readable about half the time.

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