Browser Support, Policy, and Other Changes

Although I have been (again) neglecting to publish posts regularly, there are things going on here on Off on a Tangent. I promise.

Part of why the posts have slowed down is because I have several long, in-depth articles and essays that I am working on and I got sort of ‘backed up’ with those. I am hoping that at least one or two of them will be finished and ready for publication soon. Also, I have been working behind the scenes on a number of other projects . . . including supporting No-Nonsense Weather and moving forward with development there, and some ‘continuing learning’ efforts.

But I did want to take a moment and describe some of the things that have been happening here on the site, though you might not have noticed.

  • Browser and OS Support: I’m continuing to keep pace with major releases of the main browsers and operating systems for PCs, tablets, and phones. Off on a Tangent is officially supported on the leading platforms and browsers, as well as some smaller players, as listed on the ‘About the Site’ page. Notable recent changes are that I now offer limited (lofi) support for QupZilla, I no longer officially support BlackBerry Browser (although the site probably still works fine in it), and I have initiated support for Microsoft Windows 10 and its new Edge browser. Edge is being treated as the equivalent of a new version of Internet Explorer, so following my ‘last two versions’ standard, IE 11 is now the only supported version if IE. Following the first major update to Edge, I will drop IE support entirely for desktop and tablet platforms.
  • More Holiday Images: Here on Off on a Tangent, I commemorate a number of religious, civil, and cultural holidays with a highlight image at the top-right and a short ‘blurb’ about the holiday. These include major Christian holidays (including all Holy Days of Obligation recognized by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington), all Virginia and U.S. federal holidays, and more. I was over-using the American flag and the Virginia flag for government-recognized holidays, but I have now added holiday-specific images for each holiday I recognize. You can see the full list on the ‘Policies & Rules’ page.
  • Legal Jurisdiction: The Internet is a strange and wonderful place, but it has opened all kinds of questions about legal jurisdiction that have not yet been satisfactorily resolved. If my web site is accessible in China (as I assume it is), does that mean that I must comply with Chinese law? If I write a post while I am visiting Canada, am I subject to Canadian law? If the physical server where the site is hosted is physically sitting in a data center in California, does that make me subject to California law? It’s all very unclear. I am now asserting that Off on a Tangent is published in Loudoun County, Virginia, and is subject only to laws that are effective in Loudoun County (thus, those of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia). A jurisdiction statement is now present on the ‘About the Site’ page.
  • Security and Privacy: In addition to serving all content over secure HTTPS connection, a practice I began in June 2014, I have taken some further steps to protect reader security and privacy. First, in light of the chilling effect of subpoenas recently served against, I have decided to turn off all comment and user registration functions. Comments were rarely used anyway, and I just don’t want to have to deal with the new legal risks involved. If I am the only person able to publish on this site, then I am the only person at risk. I still welcome feedback via the contact form. Second, I am now publishing a ‘warrant canary’ so that my readers have the opportunity to find out if Off on a Tangent has been subject to any legal process, and to infer whether I have been subject to any gag orders. The fact that I have to do this in the United States of America terrifies me.
  • Candidate Ordering: I have long had a policy of listing candidates for public office alphabetically by last name in news-style reporting of election results. This policy remains in-place, but I have now established a separate policy for the order of evaluation of candidates in political endorsement articles. That order is: (1) any incumbent seeking reelection; (2) Democratic and Republican Party candidates, alphabetized by last name; (3) other party and independent candidates, alphabetized by last name. This is now included in the style rules on the ‘Policies & Rules’ page.
  • Weights and Measures: I have established a policy for weights and measures . . . because I’m just that kind of nerd. In short, Off on a Tangent will use the weights and measures defined under U.S. law or by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This permits the use of both the International System of Units (SI or metric system) and the U.S. Customary Unit System (imperial), but prefers the SI system. Here on the site, I will use SI units in most cases, except in those cases where the imperial system is better suited or more commonly accepted (like aircraft altitude in feet, air or sea distance in nautical miles and knots, etc.). A weights and measures statement is now present on the ‘Policies & Rules’ page.
  • Education and Training: I have made an effort (mainly for my own benefit) to document all of my formal education, independent learning, relevant reading, courses, seminars, events, and so on. This list is organized by subject and can be found on the new ‘Education and Training’ page.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.