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RIP Internet Explorer: South Korean engineer’s browser ‘grave’ goes viral

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RIP Internet Explorer: South Korean engineer's browser 'grave' goes viral

South Korea, which has some of the world’s fastest average internet speeds, remained bizarrely wedded to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer – © Courtesy of Kiyoung Jung/AFP Kiyoung Jung

Claire LEE

A South Korean engineer who built a grave for Internet Explorer — photos of which quickly went viral — told AFP Friday that the now-defunct web browser had made his life a misery.

South Korea, which has some of the world’s fastest average internet speeds, remained bizarrely wedded to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which was retired by the company earlier this week after 27 years.

In honour of the browser’s “death”, a gravestone marked with its signature “e” logo was set up on the rooftop of a cafe in South Korea’s southern city of Gyeongju by engineer Kiyoung Jung, 38.

“He was a good tool to use to download other browsers,” the gravestone’s inscription reads. 

Images of Jung’s joke tombstone quickly spread online, with users of social media site Reddit upvoting it tens of thousands of times.

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Once dominant globally, Internet Explorer was widely reviled in recent years due to its slowness and glitches.

But in South Korea, it was mandatory for online banking and shopping until about 2014, as all such online activities required sites to use ActiveX — a plugin created by Microsoft. 

It remained the default browser for many Seoul government sites until very recently, local reports said.

The websites of the Korea Water Resources Corporation and the Korea Expressway Corporation only functioned properly in IE until at least June 10, according to a report by the Maeil Economic Daily.

– ‘Suffering’ for IE –

As a software engineer and web developer, Jung told AFP he constantly “suffered” at work because of compatibility issues involving the now-defunct browser. 

“In South Korea, when you are doing web development work, the expectation was always that it should look good in Internet Explorer, rather than Chrome,” he said.

Websites that look good in other browsers, such as Safari or Chrome, can look very wrong in IE, which often forced him to spend many extra hours working to ensure compatibility.

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Jung said that he was “overjoyed” by IE’s retirement.

But he also said he felt genuinely nostalgic and emotional about the browser’s demise, as he remembers its heyday — one of the reasons he was inspired to erect the grave stone.

He quoted Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki: “People are often relieved that machines don’t have souls, but we as human beings actually give our hearts to them,” Jung told AFP, explaining his feelings for IE.

He said he was pleased by the response to his joke grave and that he and his brother — who owns the cafe — plan to leave the monument on the rooftop in Gyeongju indefinitely.

“It’s been very exciting to make others laugh,” he said.

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LinkedIn Shares Marketing Industry Insights and Tips in Latest ‘Big Thinking’ Digital Magazine

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LinkedIn Shares Marketing Industry Insights and Tips in Latest 'Big Thinking' Digital Magazine

Looking for a marketing-related read for the long weekend?

LinkedIn has published the second edition of its ‘Big Thinking’ digital magazine, which includes a range of interviews, insights, tips and notes on various marketing-related subjects and trends.

The 36-page magazine includes expert notes on sustainable marketing practices, evolving messaging processes, and creative tips – from Disney no less.

There’s also a section which looks at how marketers can mitigate the loss of cookie tracking data, and how to build an employer brand (and why you should).

LinkedIn Big Thinking magazine

LinkedIn has also included expert interviews on customer experience, digital transformation and creative B2B strategies, among other elements.

There are some good notes, which could help you formulate a more effective marketing approach for your brand, in line with the latest trends, while it’s also handy to stay up to date with the latest trend insights and tips to keep your market knowledge fresh.

And it’s free. If nothing else, it’s a quick overview of some of the key trends that are playing on the minds of the top industry professionals, which will likely trigger at least inspiration in your own efforts.

You can download LinkedIn’s latest ‘Big Thinking’ digital magazine here.

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