And is this post just about browsers, or is the WC trying to make a larger, wine-related point?
What better way to combine two of the Wine Curmudgeon’s favorite pastimes, wine and computers, than a browser war? Which application loads the WC’s website the fastest?
(And, for those of you who think there is more going on here than just browsers, you’re correct.)
I tested five desktop browsers, cutting and pasting the site’s URL into the browser’s address bar and clicking my phone’s stopwatch. I didn’t test Safari, since I don’t own Apple products. I tested Microsoft’s Edge on Windows 10, while I ran the others on Xubuntu 18.04, my Linux box.
• Opera 67: 3.11 seconds.
• Chromium 80 (the open-source version of Chrome): 2.99 seconds.
• Firefox 75: 3.73 seconds.
• Brave 1.5 (a new, tres chic, “privacy-oriented” browser): 2.42 seconds
• Microsoft Edge: 4.4 seconds.
So does this mean, as we look to enhance the WC site surfing experience, that everyone should switch to Chrome?
Of course not. The test, though well-intentioned, was hardly scientific. I didn’t include a key browser. I didn’t test the browsers on the same platform. And why should load time for the blog’s website matter in testing browser efficiency?
Which brings us to the larger point here – wine scores, since scores are as unreliable as my browser test. Are scores well-intentioned? Maybe. But that’s far from enough.
If you don’t like California merlot, what difference does it make if the wine gets 88 points? You still wouldn’t drink it. Because, even if Firefox had been the fastest browser, I wouldn’t use it because I don’t like the changes Firefox has made over the past several years. I’m still annoyed I can’t move the menu button from the right to upper left side.
In addition, scores have the same inherent bias that my test did by using Linux and Windows, instead of one or the other. If every wine critic who gave scores had the same palate, then we would know that an 88 was an 88 was an 88. But the platforms are different: Is the Wine Spectator’s 88 the same as the Wine Advocate’s? Is James Suckling’s 88 the same as Antonio Galloni’s?
And finally, how can I test browsers and leave out Safari because I don’t like Apple? That’s a lot like our red wine study, which showed a bias in favor of red wines. How can we depend on scores when the facts show us white wines don’t matter as much to the people giving scores?
So trust your palate. Drink what you like, but be willing to try different wines. Because using scores to figure out what to drink is as silly as wasting a morning running the WC browser wars.