Monday, October 09, 2006

open letter to Toyota

When I visit the toyota.com.au web site it does not display any information on the new Camry, instead it displays a message saying "Unfortunately you do not have flash 8".

A well designed web site will display information for all users, including those who don't have flash installed.

The Toyota web site should be aimed at selling Toyota products, however it seems most effective at selling Macromedia products. Anyone who visits the Toyota site is forced to install a product from Macromedia (the Flash viewer) but is not forced to purchase anything from Toyota.

Are your web designers representing Toyota's best interests or the best interests of Macromedia?

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&c2coff=1&q=flash+security+cve&btnG=Search

If you visit the above URL you will see information on some of the security problems related to flash. Anyone who has security problems on their computer after being compelled to install Flash by the Toyota web site would have reason to blame Toyota for any damage or loss caused by such security problems.

Flash is often prohibited by corporate security requirements (the instructions on the Toyota web site could get a potential customer sacked - and therefore unable to purchase a car). It is not usable by many visually impaired people (while people with extreme vision problems are not able to drive a Toyota cars they should be able to read information about them). It is also disliked by people who want their computer to run all free software, which includes a large number of people who like the Prius.

17 comments:

Chemaja said...

Not to be a FSF zealot, but perhaps your use of the phrase "free software" would have been more meaningful if uppercased...

...perhaps not.

Chemaja said...

Er, I should have said titlecased, not uppercased.

ie. Free Software

:-$

Thumper said...

While title-casing is common, it's hardly universal. Stallman generally doesn't bother applying special casing, for instance.

- Chris

Anonymous said...

Btw. I'm using amd64, so I could not easily use Flash, even if I would not care about my freedom. Gnash and swfplayer are no alternative, as they do not work with most Flash content yet.

Jacobo said...

Even if blind people cannot drive Toyotas, they can still buy one and hire a chauffeur :-)

That's why it's not stupid that drive-in ATMs have Braille keyboards :-)

etbe said...

I usually use title-casing for Free Software, but the point of my article in question was not Free Software but web sites that suck...

I have one AMD64 machine so have all those problems in addition to security problems and freedom issues.

I doubt that there are many chauffeur driven Toyotas in this country.

The Lexus (the more Luxurious marque from Toyota which) web site however had the same issues as the Toyota one. The Lexus Hybrid pages have a set of links to flash content that don't even display a warning message, the browser just doesn't do anything when I click.

Shintaro said...

I can't buy another TOYOTA, but it had been pretty natural until recently that webmaster prepares two patterns of pages, with flash and without, and put link to macromedia to without. I used to suggest youngers to take heed on Netscape version differences. But young designers tend to ignore those differences and architectures. But I think xhtml would get rid of that.
My boss once pissed on MS OS and told me sonething to do. So I told him I will complain to Bill G. He looked relieved when he heard it...

etbe said...

Sorry Shintaro, I can't accept natural as a description of alienating customers.

Just imagine if someone ran a petrol station and started turning away Toyota owners and telling them to go buy a Ford before buying petrol. Toyota would set their lawyers on the petrol station instantly.

Yet this is precisely what Toyota is doing to it's customers.

Shintaro said...

Well,as you say, it's Toyota responsible for that. But I imagine nobody in Toyota recognize the problem that you face.
Toyota just throw commercial company to advertize and they use Bruce Wills or whoever the Movie Star whith nostalgic 80s melodius rock and web page would be thrown to desiners not familiar with computer techniques and they make big amount of money on advertising.
It is a problem of my country somewaht behind.
We are easily wraped by big blanket (I don't know how to say in English) and it should be fixed.
Somebody really should say no...

etbe said...

Hopefully my blog post will get this problem some visibility. I had actually written up a positive review of some of the technology that Toyota has introduced with the Prius and is introducing with the new Camry hybrid in the US. All I wanted was some information on what is happening in Australia to complete what would have been a positive article on Toyota. But then their web site refused to give me information and their sales people weren't particularly helpful.

I still don't know when the hybrid Camry will be released in Australia or even who to contact to discover this.

Shintaro said...

OK,I'm in my father's house and his win machine could surf.
Oh, now I understand what you said.
Flash all over not on top but almost every page...
Camry hybrid not on sale even in Japan only in US, it says.
These are the hybrids you can get here.
AlfaGuard,Crugar,Hurrier,Estima,Dyna,Prius,Crown-sedan,Toyo-ace.
If you want any information, you can rely on me pal.

Anonymous said...

@AMD64 users: install lib32* compat libraries, install firefox 32 bits (downloaded from mozilla) and then install the flash player for Linux in the firefox plugin dir. It took me 5 minutes to get it working on Kubuntu. (There's some forum that explains how to do it). If you have all compat libraries installed, just download the precompiled 32 bit version of the applications you want to use and you are done.

etbe said...

Of course if you use the 32bit version of Firefox then performance will be lower, which is a problem given how much of a CPU hog Firefox can be.

etbe said...

I just received the following email, it doesn't seem secret in any way to I'm publishing it.


From: Toyota Requests
To: russell@coker.com.au

Dear Mr Coker

Thank you for your internet enquiry, received through the Toyota website. We
have received your e-mail and your comment has been forwarded to the Toyota
website manager.

If you have any more queries please do not hesitate to contact this website
again.

Thanking you
Toyota Enquiries - Internet

max said...

It seems that at the end your enquiry had an effect -- right now I'm browsing through the Toyota (au) pages *without* having any flash plugin installed and I haven't noticed any problem so far.

etbe said...

No, my post has had no effect yet. The main page of www.toyota.com.au has two features, on the new Camry and on VVT, both of them require flash.

There has been no change.

John H said...

Well, once you get Flash working, it must be pretty racy stuff on that Toyota site - our internet filtering software here at work has it blocked for being in the "Adult" category...