Will the real English language please stand up?

Language Chooser DropdownI was just navigating the IBM web site to view the Lotusphere 2006 keynote presentation so as to see IBM Community Tools Sametime 7.5 in action (more on that later) and found myself having to negotiate all sorts of barriers to actually view this promotional material.

An interesting sidelight for me was encountering this lengthy list of languages to choose to receive marketing material in. I find it noteworthy because it makes the effort to distinguish “English” from “English,
Australian” and “English,
UK”. Apparently American english is now the “standard” English, because no one felt the need to label that form “English, US.” When did that happen?

I also noted the irony that a video in which the ability of various Lotus tools to run on Mac, Windows and Linux happens to be served by a video delivery platform that frowns upon anything but Internet Explorer 5+ or the 3+ year old Netscape 4.x, which certainly no one using a Mac or Linux can use (or would get caught dead using). Someone is sending mixed messages:

A browser version (Mozilla, Opera or Lynx) that does not support advanced features of IBM webcast presentations (e.g. synchronization of audio/video with slides) has been detected. To successfully view the fully enabled IBM webcast presentation, it is recommended that you close all open browser windows and re-launch the Webcast event page in Internet Explorer (version 5 or newer) or Netscape (version 4.x).

Good thing Firefox 1.5 and Windows Media player were able to come through for me.

I gave Yahoo the metaphorical wag of the finger for this, so IBM gets it too.

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