OT: Canadian Census 2006

Stephen Mirowski spmirowski at shaw.ca
Tue May 2 21:00:58 UTC 2006

Canada now allows the Census to be done online.  I tried to login and 
got the current
version of the browser not supported error.   It recommended using 
Firefox, Mozilla,
IE, Netscape, or Safari (also mentioning to use JRE > 1.4.x).   Funny, I 
was using Firefox.
So, next I tried Mozilla Suite, then Seamonkey, then Opera.  No good.  
BTW, I am running
JRE 1.5.0_06.

Time to call the help line (going to try to submit a bug report to the 
poor call centre =).
Well, big lineup, I stayed on the line since I wasn't going anywhere.  
It did recommend
me to phone back at non peak hours and gave some times.  1st problem, it 
didn't give time
zones with the times.  Canada has enough timezones that that can be 
slight problem.
Staying on the line ...

After what seemed to be 30 mins, I got to speak to a rep.  I mentioned 
my browser wasn't
supported, he said I could download Firefox, etc.  I said I tried that.  
Asked what my OS
was.  Linux.   There followed some Ums and Ahs.   Paper shuffling.  Well 
it supports
Windows and and and Um.  NEways, I held for a moment while he found the 
OS lists.  When he got back, he started asking about browsers, so I 
listed what I had tried
and my Java version.  Again the question what OS?  Linux - Fedora Core 
5.  Oh, that's the
problem.  It supports the majority of Windows version and Mac.  Okay, 

What could have saved me a heap of time?  Well, the browser detection 
could have used
some novice JavaScript to detect my OS version and say NAE, you aren't 
Instead there's code to say your browser isn't supported so go download 
a supported browser
which is the very one you are using right now.

What is the point of advising people to use multi-platform browsers and 
basing it on Java
which is also multi-platform, yet only have it work with Windows and 
Mac?  Why has
every other Gov't Ca. website I have been to work with Firefox and 

The Census is to find out who I am, and put me in the Stats.  
Thankfully, when I finish
filling out my paper Census, I will be able to fill in Comments section, 
submit some
bug reports and give them a freebee stat that isn't in the 
questionnaire:  I am one of the
Canadians whom doesn't have Mac or Windows on his computer.

Stephen Mirowski

More information about the users mailing list