Hello, Mr Australian Open – apparently there’s nowhere to tell you how dire your site is

Now, I recognise that I might only be a small subsection of a small subsection, but even so I get annoyed to go to sites like the Australian Open to try to see what’s happening, and click on the “scoreboard” , which would let you watch a live scoreboard, when I’m using Camino 1.1alpha-something, I get

The content selected requires features of Flash 8, at minimum, that are supported on the following browsers:
Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher
Netscape 8.0 and higher
Mozilla 1.7.5 and higher
Firefox 1.0 and higher
Safari 1.3 and higher
Please use one of these browsers to see this content.

at which I simply respond “I’m using Flash 9, you gizmos, and the version of Mozilla that this is built on is far beyond Firefox 1. What do you think I am, prehistoric?”

The problem though is that there’s absolutely nowhere on the site where you can point out this failing. IBM claims responsibility for building it, but isn’t entertaining any complaints either (although interestingly if one clicks on its “Technology” link at the bottom of the Open page, one gets a very busy advert all written in… Flash.

A site you can’t complain about? Which doesn’t want to listen to how it could improve? Which won’t let you use it in your favourite browser?

As I said, Camino may be one of a tiny minority, but we’re the ones who’ll find the big, gaping flaws in the system. Sure, I could hack it to pretend to be a different browser, but life’s too short.

But don’t you love the idea of all that money spent on the site, and nowhere to enter what you think of them? It really reminds me of the whole pro tennis culture.


  1. Sir Josmould Herringpole

    Tuesday 23 January 2007 at 9:09 am

    “But donít you love the idea of all that money spent on the site, and nowhere to enter what you think of them? It really reminds me of the whole pro tennis culture.”

    The web site becomes mere corporate masturbation instead of being useful, the emphasis on use.

    Not just pro tennis – F1, Premier League, etc. Money comes first, the sport element is almost a by-product. I’d sooner stick my head in a heap of sweaty Estate Agents and inhale deeply* than waste good money on supporting these industries.

    *Still not really recommended, unless under extreme circumstances. All of a sudden I feel I need a shower.

  2. Ho di ho. If on the other hand you ARE using Firefox 2.0 it lets you run up the scoreboard. Even if you don’t have Flash Player installed because they haven’t released Flash for AMD64 Linux yet (sigh).

    Browser sniffing is really, really dumb.

  3. Yeah, the scoreboard didn’t work in Firefox either. I had to load up the usually ignored IE.

    The depressing thing is that this is a longstanding problem with the Grand Slam sites, which are all desighned and provided by IBM. I complained to the Wimbledon crew about it personally a few years ago, and was told that they couldn’t accommodate every browser (Java script or whatever, doesn’t work the same in all of them). Hey, guys! You’re ***IBM***. I have friends who work in pairs developing web sites in their homes with eight cats, and they can manage cross-browser…(OK, I guess IBM needs more cats.)

    It seems clear they’re never going to bother fixing this problem. Several posters to r.s.t. this year noted that the AO site also crashed Firefox entirely. I didn’t, at least, have *that* experience.


  4. btw, in my experience the way to complain to IBM about the site is to post with an appropriate subject header to r.s.t. They monitor Usenet and various hacker boards looking for warnings of people who might try to hack the site. On that Wimbledon visit, they had a printout of the thread I’d started in r.s.t. (rec.sport.tennis) to collect everyone’s complaints for personal presentation.


  5. My pet hate is the sites that tell me I don’t have Flash or I have the wrong version of Flash because their cr@ppy sniffer script can’t tell that I have JavaScript turned off even though I have the Flash plugin installed and working. So few sites offer a non-JavaScript option in these days of pointless AJAX trendiness.

    Any site that refuses to work without Flash or JavaScript loses me forever and the so-called Webmaster gets a suitable snotogram telling him/her so and why.

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