Tag: <span>Great Britain</span>

Just visited the McAfee website and on one of the forms encountered a, shall we say, anomaly presented itself.

I am a patriotic kind of guy, and I’m not in any way anti-American (I’m well aware that the percentage of idiots over there matches the numbers we have here), and when you actually consider what I’m about to tell you isn’t really about patriotism, jingoism or somesuch.

Rather it’s a wonderful piece of bad programming that I’ve seen before, centred around the fact that (at least for the purposes of this discussion) the country I am identified with is known as both the United Kingdom (UK) and Great Britain (GB).

I’m Scottish, and my country is part of Great Britain (which is the main island mass which also includes Wales and England). Add in Northern Ireland and you have the United Kingdom. It confuses me but that isn’t really the issue here.

When selecting my nationality in an online form, invariably I have one option: United Kingdom. On some forms I am delighted to be able to select Scotland, and on others I have to hunt for Great Britain.

However, the McAfee form in question proved a little troubling.

On highlighting the Nationality list, and tapping the U key, I was taken down to Uganda. A few more taps of the DOWN arrow key is usually all that is required to get me to “United Kingdom”. Not this time though, so I clicked the list top expand it, just to make sure I hadn’t keyed too fast but no, there was no United Kingdom.

No problem, I think, I’ll just tap the G key to get me back up the list towards Great Britain. This time I expanded the list first and scrolled down to… hang on… no Great Britain either? Great! Must be an option for Scotland!


Somewhat puzzled now I double-checked that there was no entry for Scotland. There wasn’t. United Kingdom? Not listed amongst the rest of the nations of the world that begin with U. Must be Great Britain then?

And there it was, nestled away amongst the Gs. “United Kingdom”.

Now technically I can figure out what has happened, the label which is displayed to the user is “United Kingdom” but the value, on which the list being sorted, is set as “Great Britain”.

I have to wonder if this was tested at all and if so they have missed a fairly obvious set of test cases. If you are a global company then you need to consider these things.

OK, admittedly it is a tiny mistake amongst a large and complex website but it does serve to remind me to take the unhappy path through our own software now and then. I have a tendency to check through screens and processes presuming a lot of knowledge and taking the happy path.

Footnote: I worked for Dr. Solomons for a year before they were purchased by McAfee. One of the projects (ditched by McAfee) concerned a global company update system, during which many long design meetings centred around just this kind of “international” issue. But hey, I’m not bitter that they made me and 250-odd other people redundant almost immediately after they bought us, honest…


Clash of Globalizations
Bear with me, I don’t comment on political situations often but I’ve been meaning to note down something about this for a while now…

Under a backdrop of a war no-one outside the government seems to want, I’ve been trying to look at the bigger picture. One article that has helped me get to grips with the entire notion of ‘globalism’ and it’s effects, and one I’ve returned to a couple of times was written by Stanley Hoffman: Clash of Globalizations.

Ultimately the discussions will continue, but seems to flex around the following questions:

1. Does a nation protecting an ?open society? (US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, etc.) have ethical obligations to undemocratic, closed societies and people outside its borders that should constrain foreign policy?

2. Should the modern nation state be thought as an egoistic atom in global relations, ultimately unbound by international law (the ?realist? position), or as a world citizen, cooperating with other nations in a transnational system and abiding by common codes (the ?idealist? position)?

The inclusion and exclusion of ‘states’ from those questions, and their answers remains the issues. We cannot engage Al-Qaeda in discussion, so what options do we have?

And, at present, how does this really relate to the situation in Iraq? Mr.Blair issued a statement today stating that Britain could fall under attack from Al-Qaeda at any time, and we could spend billions and not stop or even accurately anticipate when and where those attacks would be, so if we must, then we will go to war with Iraq.

I have yet to see accurate links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. If you know someone who has them, please ask them to pass them on.

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