side-effect of tabbed browsing

Subject: side-effect of tabbed browsing
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 09:47:19 -0400

This is from one of my "duh" or perhaps "doh!" moments, but maybe some
of you would have occasion to mention it as a caution in a customer

Ever since browsers began offering tabbed browsing, some years ago, I've
been operating with lots and lots of tabs open. In fact, I often make it
a point to shut down my computer with Firefox still open - closing the
program manually closes all the tabs, whereas letting Windows or Liinux
force it closed causes it to remember all the tabbed connections and
give you/me the option to just resume all the same sessions/connections
when next you start the browser. Yes, there are other ways to get back
to where you were, but this one is minimal fuss for me.

Now, another thing that I do is to buy stuff online. Most shopping-cart
services complete a sale by showing you a summary of what you have just
spent and where it's going to be sent, giving a transaction number in
case you need to make inquiries, and stating that an e-mail will be sent
to you with the detailed transaction record. Because I can be forgetful
when a lot of things are going on, and because such e-mails can
sometimes take a while to arrive in my inbox, or fail to arrive at all,
I leave the final summarizing web-page open in my browser until I
receive the equivalent e-mail.

Are some of y'all already seeing where this is going?

I bought some stuff. I did my usual thing. I got my summary e-mail. A
few days later I got my package. Done.

A week later I got another summary e-mail, dated that day, thanking me
for buying the same stuff all over again, and telling me to watch for my
package delivery.

Hmm. I'll have to watch the credit-card statement to be sure I'm not
being double-billed.

A little later, I get _another_ summary e-mail thanking me yet again,
for purchasing the same stuff yet again.

Dammit, what are these idiots DOING??

Finally, I clued in.

I had left the summary web-page open in a browser tab, moved on to other
things, shut down and restarted the computer a few times over the course
of a week or two, and so the browser had obediently re-connected and
re-populated all my open tabs each time I revived it... including the
purchase summary page that I had forgotten to close. Every time that
page was revisited, the shopping-cart machinery had happily generated
another e-mail, thanking me for my purchase yet again and telling me
that it would arrive in just a few days... yet again.

The moral of this story? I dunno. There's one in there somewhere.
Maybe: If you are going to do things the lazy way, try to be aware of
the implications. ??

- Kevin

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