About Us

If you ever need to know anything about us, organizationally, this is where we will put it. Until then, we will use this space to review some technical details of this site that may be relevant from the perspective of our guests – especially guests with older browsers or javascript disabled.

Browser Support

This site is best viewed through a modern browser. Our browser support policy is similar to that of Google for its “G Suite” products. More specifically, we support the current stable release of Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge (Chromium-based). Each time a new version of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the new release and drop support of the previously supported version.

This policy is not as draconian as it may seem. We don’t go out of our way to break previously supported browsers. Rather, we just quit testing changes to the site on the older products. Typically, many older versions of Safari, Chrome, and Firefox work quite well with this site.

The same statement does not hold for the MS Edge Legacy product and Internet Explorer. We don’t specifically test Internet Explorer 11, but it supports encyption algortihms that are capable of accessing the site on Windows 7 and Windows 10. Earlier versions of Internet Explorer do not support modern cipher suites and can not access the site. If you still run Windows XP and neeed to access the site your best bet is to try Chrome 49 or Firefox 49 (or more recent versions of these browsers) for XP SP3.

A note for Opera users. Although not formally supported, we do inspect the site through Opera from time to time. We are not aware of any glaring issues when viewing the site with recent versions of Opera – since recent versions are based on the Chromium project and share a common infrastructure with Google Chrome.

Mobile Device Support

We have expended effort to provide a pleasant experience when viewing this site on mobile devices. However, we must constrain that statement by the word Apple. We don’t have a philosophical objection to Android or Windows mobile devices. We are just an Apple shop and don’t purchase other vendors' devices for testing. That being said, we aren’t aware of any theoretical difficulties to viewing our content with recent non-Apple mobile browsers. No Apple specific techniques were used when coding this site.

Early versions of Android (prior to 4.4.2) and iOS (prior to 9.0) do not provide adequate cryptographic facilities for accessing this site. Similarly, Windows phones prior to 8.1 lack adequate cryptographic support.

Math Publication

Mathematical content on this site is encoded using presentation MathML.

If you are browsing this site with a recent version of any major browser, you should have a pretty good math viewing experience. We use MathJax to publish mathematics. MathJax renders mathematical content through javascript served to your browser. MathJax also provides web fonts for rendering mathematics, so no font installation is required on the browsing device.

Javascript Requirements

JavaScript is used throughout this site – think menu navigation, traffic cameras, historical atlases, formal documents, and interactive maps. So things will go more smoothly if JavaScript is enabled in your browser. Furthermore, we have not expended much effort to gracefully degrade pages when JavaScript is not available. If you routinely disable JavaScript, we suspect this is a familiar scenario.

Per the preceding section, the mathematical content of this site is rendered via MathJax which is implemented in JavaScript. Hence, math rendering is problematic when JavaScript is disabled.

Practically speaking, JavaScript is required to view this site.

HtTMlL Standards Compliance

This site is served as HTML5. We previously served our content as xml/xhtml to browsers that provide xml support. We changed our policy since it seemed that was not the direction the internet was heading.

Network Technology

By, default, we serve this site via HTTP/2 over TLS 1.3. For older browsers, we still support HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2 over TLS 1.2. Ancient browers with subpar encryption are not able to access this site.

We provide dual certification: ECHDSA and RSA. By default, the site serves an ECDSA certificate, uses X25519 key exchange, and the TLS 1.3 cipher suite AES-256-GCM-SHA384, i.e. TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384. An RSA certificate is available for older browsers. For TLS 1.2, the preferred cipher suite is ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384. The minimun strength cipher suite that is accepted is the TLS 1.2 algorithm ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256 (used by old Android phones). The server’s basic cipher preferences are ECDSA over RSA for key exchange and AES-256-GCM > CHACHA20 > AES-128-GCM for block ciphers.

Practically, this implies all modern browsers provide adequate encryption support. Some pertinent browser version minima follow:

The TLS 1.3 standard, RFC8446, was published by the IETF on August 9, 2018. TLS 1.3 is supported and enabled by default in recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari (macOS, iOS), MS Edge (as well as other Chromium derived products), Android, Java, and OpenSSL.

Support for HTTP/2 is available “out of the box” from all but the most ancient of browsers with adequate encryption algorithms.