As a Comcast broadband subscriber, I’m supposed to get a free copy of the McAfee anti-virus and firewall software for my Windows machine. But McAfee requires ActiveX for its downloads, so I have to use Internet Explorer. Fine, I thought. I use Internet Explorer only to test the look of web pages, but for a quick couple of downloads I can turn ActiveX back on temporarily. But there’s another problem: the McAfee web site sniffs out browsers, and it doesn’t recognize Internet Explorer 7, telling me that I’m using “Netscape.” Now I have to go through the complicated process of rolling IE back to a previous version, just because of McAfee’s web-design sins:
- Requiring ActiveX. What’s the point? There’s no reason McAfee couldn’t offer a straightforward download with a program that requires a unique activation key.
- Browser-sniffing. McAfee shouldn’t be trying to discern browsers (especially if it’s going to do it so badly); rather, if it must use ActiveX, it should be concerned only about whether a browser is using it.
If it weren’t free I wouldn’t even consider it. No doubt web design is in a separate department from the anti-virus and firewall development, but might this say something about the competence of the company overall?