I have already posted an elaborate list of the top annoyances plaguing the Israeli Internet*, but wherever my mouse takes me I encounter more and more prototypical examples:
Let’s say you want to check out the official website of the Israeli Ministry of Transportation. You skip Google, as you can distinctly recall the easy to remember URL from a radio spot, and so you type in: mot.gov.il – only to receive this disappointing page:
[singlepic id=90 w=500 h=441 float=center]
No, 404 is not the serial number of a new form you need to fill out, but the error message you get as someone was not clever enough to define the DNS settings properly.
Now, I should point out that the world can be divided into two groups:
- One group is made up of those who believe that, similar to Dorothy clicking her heels three times, their typing the letter W three times magically charges the Internet, thus allowing it to flow smoothly and deliver data to their computer. Individuals within that group tend to utter phrases like ‘I clicked on the Internet’ or ‘the Internet is broken’.
- The second group is made up of those who actually know what FTP, gopher or telnet mean, thus knowing WWW was an arbitrarily chosen name for the server that delivers HTML pages. Individuals in this group tend to skip the unnecessary typing of www in domain names, but will always say ‘double-you double-you double-you’ when dictating web addresses to acquaintances they do not consider particularly sharp.
Okay, back to the Ministry of Transportation:
Upon receiving the 404 error, you enter the same address with the WWW prefix, and lo and behold, you get the government website:
[singlepic id=89 w=500 h=441 float=center]
Now take a close look at the web address in the right-hand corner:
That’s right! No www!
Now, as I pointed out in a previous post, aside from the obvious disaster of not showing your reader the requested website, there are two additional mistakes the MOT webmasters made:
- They failed to define a human-readable 404 error page, with some helpful links
- They failed to define a reporting mechanism that would raise a flag at the webmasters side
Related browser trick:
Clicking Ctrl-Enter instead of Enter in your address bar, results in the auto completion of the URL with a ‘www’ prefix and a ‘.com’ suffix.
* For a lack of a better term, ‘Israeli Internet’ is what I call the ad-hoc collection of websites run by Israelis.
** As with my previous posts, all the information was checked, double checked, and was correct at the time of its publishing.