What is AT&T doing? Or is it IE?

Any takers as to what is going on here?   Little things like this can be so frustrating and yet funny at the same time. 

So quick background:  cancel wife’s old cell phone, decide to get a new pay-as-you go plan because she never/rarely uses it.  Most carriers have a plan that for $100, you can add a bunch of minutes that expire after a year, so, it works out to be about $8/mo.   I already have an AT&T account, so decide to go through them. 

I go through checkout, yadda yadda:


Um, where’s North Carolina?  It has my zip code already and prepopulated the city.   For that matter, where is New York??   Now, remember, I already have service here, there’s plenty of coverage, stores all around, etc., so I know there is service here.  Clear everything (including cache), start over, same issue.

Next I load the site in Firefox:


Ah!  There we are.  And New York is back, too!  As best as I can tell, I followed the same procedure for selecting the plan.  Maybe a rendering issue?  Let’s look at the source…

First up, what is with all the white space in the document?  This is in both browsers (I highlighted part of the document to show the blank spaces):


Next is the state selection in IE8.  Why the gap(s)?  And why is Minnesota selected??  (NOTE: I’m not suggesting the gaps pose a problem other than wasting bandwidth … but it does seem to indicate some kind of processing change … server side code would tend to be more predictable):


And now in Firefox:


Weird, huh?   Because of the white space and layout, it seems something is going on during server side rendering. 

UPDATE:  Seems like it’s fixed.  I tried several times in IE8, clearing the cache, with the same result.  Then, I tried Firefox with the IE8 User Agent, and it worked – but then when I went _back_ to IE8 it seems to be working.   So for now, I guess it will remain a mystery.  I’ll venture a guess that it had nothing to do with the user agent and rather something else, such as hitting a different server or server farm altogether, despite having cleared the cache as I went back and forth. 

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