The Lite Side

Seven Customized Browsers Reshape the Web Experience

- 2003.02.25

The recent release of the "Bork" version of Opera is intended to show users that not only can site hosts such as MSN can target users with discrimination. Browsers can discriminate, too. Opera's new browser (a version for Windows only) displays MSN in "Swedish Chef" dialect.* This leads to all sorts of customization potential for browsers of all types. We'd like to get the ball rolling here at the Lite Side with

* To translate almost any page on the Web into Swedish Chef, redneck, or other dialects, use The Dialectizer.

Customized Browser Options Inspired by Opera Bork

1. Wil Wheaton browser for Apple laptops running Linux: Presents three different versions of the same site in three separate windows. You pick another browser altogether and send the Wil browser away, promising to call its agent later.

2. "Resistance is futile" browser, based on Safari, detects when you visit a website hosted on a Microsoft IIS machine and runs an audio clip of the Borg inviting themselves to dinner prior to opening any window on the site.

3. Right wing Republican browser, based on Internet Explorer, inserts one of the terms "communist," "socialist," "left-wing," (and several others not suitable for a family site) in front of every noun it finds on the site before rendering. Thus "Protesters jam New York streets," becomes "Left wing Protestors jam socialist New York communist streets." Runs only on Windows 1950. Oddly, the effect does not get applied to users visiting Fox News, as it is redundant.

4. Elmo-cize your favorite kid sites with a new browser based on iCab. Visitors to any children's website get an animated Elmo who reads all the text in that annoying, cloying, 120 decibel voice that just pierces your brain like a hot stiletto through the ear. Luckily, the new Elmo version only runs when a plug-in you don't have is installed.

5. Educator's Politically Correct browser translates all text into educationalese. For example, "Handicapped students demand better access to school library to help them learn more" becomes "Physically challenged students request ADA-compliant entryway in the Media Center to provide access to standards-based resources necessary to perform at proficient levels on state assessment." Runs on both Mac and Windows. Based on Netscape Navigator 3.x, because as everyone knows schools are years behind the real world.

6. Ethically Correct Lynx browser for 68K Macs not only renders everything in black and white but also classifies each site as Good or Evil. Good is text compliant, and Evil requires some obnoxious plug-in just to read the site.

7. Lite Side Lurker browser links every computer news item you read to the corresponding article in the Lite Side archive and posts that in a banner at the top of every page. Since it is based on IE, it also sends your credit card information to Microsoft every time you buy something (but, hey, that's not my fault), where it will be subjected to Microsoft's secure computing battery of tests.

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