Today I discovered one of the weaknesses of badges, gadgets, and embeds. Users who are behind restrictive web filters may never correctly see a web page that contains an “include” from a blocked site.

On my XP machines at work, the Facebook Badge does not time out in a graceful manner. This has been the source of my thinking that my blog has not been working incorrectly. Today I installed firebug and yslow for firefox and noticed the following…

slow facebook badge

The site was stuck on waiting for the facebook badge — eternally. This is likely because of the websense restrictive filtering policy of the hospital. If I try to directly visit facebook, that never resolves either. I receive an eternal “Waiting for…” message in the tray in both IE6 and firefox.

Eventually, IE6 just quits waiting for the badge and never renders the rest of the page. After a minute or two, firefox gives up and does render the page; however, it is such a long delay most people would give up ship and move to another page.

Certainly, you can complain about the way the browsers handle timeouts on javascript. However, the more important point is the following:

How many users are we missing because we are using these embedded objects?

The huge spikes in internet traffic during the work portion of the week suggests that a large majority of internet traffic is from people at work. People at work often have some type of internet filter between them and the rest of the world. It makes sense to me, then, that these hot new embeddable objects may be making many web pages inaccessible to many users.

If a browser fails to load an image, it fails gracefully. If a browser fails to load a gadget, the rendering of your entire page may choke.

My favorite new read-for-pure-pleasure blog is FastAndLoud. The author, FFF, approached me a few months ago with the idea. He wanted to express his politically-incorrect views on our modern culture in a freeform, blogish format.

(Of course, doesn’t everybody?)

However, we gave him a little piece of server space and he has never looked back. His articles were quickly burning up digg and shoutwire. Here’s a few that you’ve probably heard about already:

Now, he’s selling a ton of his wit-based swag. No fair! We are not even selling tech-recipes swag yet!

Check out his site and subscribe to his feed–you’ll either be amused or offended on a routine basis. Isn’t that all that we can really ask for?