Wal-Mart Don’t Support Firefox or Safari

Last week I wrote about the total screw up that Wal-Mart made in coding their new service for buying and downloading movies on-line. I went back today to see if they have fixed the problem with the coding and what I found I am even more surprised at than the original.

Rather than fix the code they have decided that they will not support Firefox. End of story.

Instead I find this bit of advice on the page. I might add that it is correctly rendered so it isn’t like they can’t do it when they want to…

“We’re sorry …
Our website requires the browser Internet Explorer version 6 or higher. It appears that you are using Firefox, Safari, or another browser that Wal-Mart Video Downloads doesn’t currently support. Click here to get Internet Explorer for free from Microsoft.

Thank You ”

Wal-Mart Unsupported Browser Page

I would refer to the comments that I made previously in that who the heck are they expecting to buy movies on-line? Mum and Dad? I don’t think so, they don’t trust this type of medium at the best of times let alone spending money for zeros and ones. The early adopters are going to be buying movies and most of them are not stupid enough to use Internet Explorer. Boom goes the bulk of their target audience. Oh and by the way Safari and therefore Mac users they don’t support your browser either. What! Wait… It gets worse, correct me if I am wrong but I thought Internet Explorer would not install on a Mac machine…

I can understand that Microsoft might make some services only accessible through Internet Explorer. Although that is changing. However, for an eCommerce site to not support a browser that a significant number of people have and use is just plain stupid. I am not sure about the percentage of Safari users, can anyone throw a figure in the comments? What Firefox and Safari users that might have purchased from your site you have just excluded by choice. I am no marketer or have any sort of education in business but I am sure they are breaking so many fundamental rules of business that they deserve to crash and burn.

Stupidity in the extreme. I intend to boycott Wal-Mart for everything and I don’t blame other Firefox and Safari users for feeling the same way. Yes we tend to hold a grudge.

Related Link: Nice Job Wal-Mart

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Changing the World

I have had the most amazing conversation today. It turns out that one of my fellow hosts on The Podcast Network is a Registered Nurse, Molly Carlile. Her area of expertise is Palliative Care. The podcast is called Dead Serious. Molly has heaps of bits of paper but most importantly to me she gets the whole Internet thing and the huge impact that it can and will have as a platform for media delivery and communication. Especially in relation to healthcare and professionals alike. Plus she believes that one person can change the world. That is the thing that blew me away. We have things in common, we are vastly different practitioners yet this technology drives us together. Now that is why I am so passionate about what I do, and why I think nursing and related professionals, leaders, managers and everyone else that might keep the healthcare ball rolling should stop and take notice!

I make a point of not crossing the boundaries between my professional career and what I do online. I rarely touch on what I do or have done as far as work goes in my blog or the podcast. The reasons are many and I have blogged about it before. But this time the two worlds have collided and I feel that it is okay to meld the two. Because that is what I really have a passion for, that is for the medical industry and associated fields to embrace new technology and methods of communicating and apply them.

So Molly and I had a great discussion and we shared some great ideas for some projects that might eventuate next year. I’ll add it to the pile! But this is something that may have a huge influence on nursing and the way that we do things. Not to mention the turns my life may take as a result. That is hugely exciting and frightening for me. It is starting to look more and more like I am never going to be able to win people over by trying to convince them. So what about showing them how it is done? Lead by example and demonstration; showing the effectiveness of new mediums to convey concepts, ideas and access to information.

Molly has some great insights into quantum physics, spirituality and personal existence in the universe. Although she has found it difficult to get a show out lately there are regular blog entries on the Dead Serious Homepage. I am now off to check out some the shows that are available. Keep up the great work Molly and a pleasure to have meet you. Our introduction is a perfect example of the power of this medium.

About Dead Serious:

“Molly produces and hosts a weekly program on The Podcast Network called Dead Serious which addresses issues of spirituality, life, death and how we make meaning in an increasingly isolated social world.”

From Molly’s About page

Dead Serious Homepage

Zune and Podcasting

Zune LogoIt appears that the new portable player Zune™, will support podcasting. However, podcasting functionality will not be ready at launch. In other words it will not ship supporting podcasting. I am not sure what not ready means but iTunes and iPods have been doing it for a while and Microsoft seem to be a bit slow on the uptake.

I see the Zune and it’s failure to support podcasting as a real drawback to the purchase of one on release. Sure I host and produce a podcast so I might be a tad peeved that the medium has been neglected and not made a priority. But that said the Zune has been on the drawing board for quite some time. In addition the fact that iTunes supports subscribing to podcasts, I thought would be a motivator for the Zune developers to ship with podcasting support. That addition would certainly make the Zune more attractive to the early adopter who already subscribes to podcasts.

Within the current technological and web climate I think that podcasting should have been a consideration. I do not buy the;

“it’s that podcasting wasn’t done in time.”

line that was given by David Caulton on his blog Zunester.

They have indeed had time to make ready podcasting support, had they made it something to ensure was ready. So that leaves a couple of conclusions that can be made. Did they purposely neglect podcasting support in order to promote the “Zune Marketplace“? Most podcasts are free. Sure that is speculation as well. But what better way to promote your new player than having the feature of being able to play free, quality content.

Perhaps Microsoft thought that there was not the interest in podcasts for it to be included. However, I am somewhat of a geek and I have next to no music on my mp3 player. What do I have? 99% podcasts. Who is it then that might consider purchasing a Zune? I would argure that the demographic will be early adopters, traditionally geeks (most of my work-mates have never heard of a Zune). What does the average geek listen to as well as music? Podcasts. I want a bloody mp3 player that supports podcasting, otherwise as far as I am concerned what is going to be the point? It seems very straightforward to me that they needed to support podcasting on release. Otherwise the Zune offers nothing to me that I don’t already have.

Or is it just the fact that Microsoft just don’t get podcasting as Scoble states in his summary of the Zune Vs the iPod:

“Podcasting. Apple gets this trend, Microsoft doesn’t.”

Microsoft are demonstrating by their actions that they don’t get it in my opinion. You only have to go as far as the newly released Windows Media Player 11 to see that; no it does not support podcasting. If Microsoft “gets” podcasting it would have been an included feature in their new player. A very short look at iTunes and Winamp tells you what the trends are, both support podcasting. I do not understand why Microsoft are saying they get it when by their exclusion they are doing something totally different to the most of the major offerings out there and therefore essentially creating an “un-feature”. I am no businessman but I know what I would have been doing.

It has been voiced that aversion to podcasting is the fact that podcasting has “pod” in the name. While I too had the brief thought that podcasts required an iPod in order to listen to them, it did not last long. In addition I think that this type of thinking has somewhat turned around recently. I did get into podcasting early, when it was new to most people. This line of thinking has been debunked by a comment made on Zunester by the author David Caulton who states:

“We’ll ship podcasting, and we’ll call it “Podcasting” when we do.”

Authors Comment on the Post: “Scoble’s Post

What I find the most remarkable is the response to the response that the developers of the Zune have made in response to not having podcasting support:

“… it’s important to separate things we don’t have at launch from comments about Zune’s long term prospects.”

So, what, we don’t have podcast support at the moment but don’t worry it will be in the future? That is like selling a house and saying, “Oh, yeah… no walls… don’t worry they will be there after you buy the house.”. In my opinion that then means that they are shipping an unfinished product. Why do I want an unfinished product? I don’t, that means that I will wait to purchase. If ever. With rock solid and massive support for iTunes and the iPod would you not want a finished product that was able to compete on equal footing with the competition? At present how is that possible when the two products do not compare?

This does damage the long term prospects of the Zune. When launching a new product you want a mass uptake of that product that creates a loyal user base for the long term. You want people to choose your product over the competition. I am standing in the shop confronted with a Zune and an iPod, one supports podcasts and one does not. No brainer, I am going to choose the one that has the best features, regardless of cost. I am also going to think that the salesman saying, “don’t worry it will have “X” feature later” is full of shit. That may not be true for all users but it most certainly is for me.

This is not about playing .mp3 files. An mp3 player should be .mp3 compatible and the Zune is. Sure you can download and transfer your podcasts to a Zune or an iPod.

This is about making technology and media more accessible to the user. As I have said many times before podcasting is not an easy concept for new users to grasp. They do not understand RSS feeds or what an enclosure is. How then are they to make sense of podcasting unless software and hardware developers make it easier for them to access and enjoy? I will continue to struggle to market our podcast. Right after that I will attempt to explain to people how to get it.

Not everybody has or wants iTunes. Sure it is a “one click” process given you have iTunes and the right link. But that is not choice. I do not have iTunes or an iPod, It should be a one click process with Windows Media Player (or other software) and a Zune to synchronise with. Mind you I don’t use Windows Media Player either. Microsoft really need to take a look at what they doing and how they are doing it in order to be a competitive market leader in portable media solutions, that is not to say their new offering won’t be successful, it probably will be but the uptake would be quicker had they looked at the big picture.

Cameron Reilly Heads to San Fransisco

TPN LogoSo I was talking to the Cameron Reilly CEO of The Podcast Network very breifly this morning and I find out that Cam is heading off to San Fransisco later this month. I was gob-smacked, then by coincidence heard the podcast where he speaks about it on the way to town after I spoke to him. Came out a few days ago so I guess he expected that I had heard it… sorry Cam been busy, but I have now!G’day World Logo

Cam talks about his reasons for the move in his own special way on the latest edition of G’day World. Great show and worth the listen.

What I find the most depressing about the whole saga is the fact that Cam has to “out-source” investment in The Podcast Network. What a load of crap to think that Australian investors have their heads so far up their own arses that they either A will not or B can not invest in quality Australian Internet start-ups. In addition to this it would be investing in what is the future of media, the rest of the bloody world can see that. Why do you think PodShow received 15 million. Ignorant fools. This is just typical of investment in Australia, period. So many of our great inventions and ideas are lost overseas due to this very thing, when will it stop?

I would dare anyone to doubt Cams commitment to the podcasting medium. Cameron is leaving his partner and kids here in Australia while living in San Francisco. He is leaving his much beloved Melbourne for the bigger smoke and a forign country to live in one of the “Tech Mecca’s” of the world… hang on… Bastard!

Seriously though this is a sacrifice for him and in that he has my 100% support and trust and even greater respect. I have every faith that Cam will succeed, why?… Because if there is one thing I have learned about Cam it is that he gets what he is after and if you are not on board then see you later. He grabs life by the throat and chokes what he wants out of it. He believes passionately in what he is doing and feels he has a responsibility to further podcasting and citizen media. Bloody minded.

So Cam The Rooster wishes you the best fortunes in the world mate. I am sure your job will be easy, The Podcast Network is a quality company with class. I am proud to be a part of The Podcast Network as a host and sharing the ride with you all.

Just don’t go all American on us OK. Mind you he is calling himself:

“… the Steve Irwin of podcasting”

Apparently he is going to sport an Akubra, Driza-Bone and get RM Williams as a sponsor. So no, not much hope of “Americanizing” the Cam.

Submit Your Best Posts

Don’t forget WordPress.com users that you can submit what you think is your best stuff to the FanPop WordPress.com spot.

For that matter if any visitor to WordPress sees a great post then submit it to FanPop. Someone might not think to do it or underestimates their work. Visitors to WordPress; feel free to head over and cast your rank for the stories there.

FanPop Logo for Blog Posts

To make life easier for WordPress.com users I created a small logo for linking to the FanPop page for WordPress, it you want it then please feel free to download it and place it in your posts. You will need to link it to the page or wherever you like – it is just an image. Or you may find some other use for it, perhaps in the sidebar or something. I got the original from the FanPop Blog, if you want to have a bigger one.

It is good to see that there are more of us getting into the FanPop page. Plus after having a poke around the FanPop site it is actually a very good site I am glad that I joined. Keep it up and we will have a nice way to see some of the best posts on WordPress.com. Also please visit //engtech who’s idea it was.

I think that it is also an extension of the great community here at WordPress. It would be good to think in the long term that a good solution is found “in-house”. But I don’t think that is going to happen in a hurry. This is a great alternative until then and lets the admins know what WordPress users would like to see.

Just so you know, I am going into the quiet part of the week. This is the few days where the podcast is prepared for, recorded, edited and all the other stuff that goes with it. So the blog is a tad quiet over this time. But that means that you have to keep an eye out for the next installment of The Global Geek Podcast!

Odeo Respond, Download Link Returns!

As posted yesterday it appeared Odeo had decreased it's functionality of the "send me an Odeo message" by not allowing users to download the mp3 of the left message. Well there has been a great response from Odeo with emails and even a blog comment. All is restored in the Odeo universe.

Odeo Download LinkBiz Stone who works for Odeo left a comment on the Rail yesterday that indicated that the omission of the Download link on the web page was a bug and implied that they were unaware of the problem until I had blogged about it. So great I found a bug! The emails that were recieved were also prompt and promised a resolution. The action by Odeo to resolve the issue has been excellent. When I logged onto my inbox this afternoon, the download link is now present and accounted for. Everyone breath a sigh of relief. I am yet to see if the enclosure in the RSS feed from the "inbox" has been fixed as well but I am assuming that it has.

I commend Odeo staff on their excellent response time and the fact that they responded at all. They could have easily just resolved the problem and pretended that it did not happen. Great work Odeo, we still love you 😉 (In a nice blokey type of way…).

In fact I am not really sure how Biz found my humble blog, and if he is reading this then I wouldn't mind knowing. The other thing that I was curious about was if the staffers at Odeo patrol the BlogOsphere looking for tags and posts regarding Odeo, to see what people are saying and suggesting. I know that one suggestion that I made in the past was implemented, so that was cool.

Thanks Odeo keep up the good work.

Eight Bucks Worth of Advice

Not very happy today. I went to the doctor and it turns out I have infected sinuses. In addition to that I went to the music shop to try to return an audio cord that was faulty. In addition to that I thought I had found a solution to record Skype which worked yesterday and does not work today! In addition to that I had a weird thing on my back biopsied cause the doctor was concerned it might be something "nasty". In addition to that my Line Out on the computer is stuffed.

So I feel like crap. The doctor put me onto some antibiotics to clear up the infected sinuses. Still copious volumes of what can only be described as primordial ooze continues to inhabit my sinuses which refuses to budge. This in turn is causing a headache from hell that is immune to paracetamol. I sincerely hope that it improves by tomorrow. The results on the suspicious thing is pending pathology.

So today I went looking for some digital speakers (I have SPDIF on the sound card as well) and I check the shop that I got my audio gear from. They like every other shop in Cairns does not have Digital Speakers. The guy in the shop did suggest a couple of things I could do to fix the plug in the computer. But while I was there I tried to return a cable.

When I bought my mixer, a Behringer UB 1002FX, I also bought a stereo to RCA cable. When I got it home I noticed that where the two cables can be pulled apart to reach connections the insulation had split. So I took it back to the place that I got it from and showed him what had happened. When I got this cable there were none on the shelf but the guy that served me managed to find a used one out the back that he gave me a 10% discount on. So today this other guy in the shop says:

"… ahhh well we probably sold you that cable with a discount to boot"

So I guess that means that because I got it at a discount it is okay that it is faulty, which is pretty much what I said to him. He then said that even though the wires were showing the cable would work fine. So I guess that means that it is okay that it is faulty because it still works… So then I said that I thought he should take it back and give me a refund due to the fact that the product was not right and that it was not acceptable. I also said that I was actually charged about full price for it. To that he dropped the clanger:

"Well I reckon that you have had about eight bucks of advice this afternoon"

I just walked out. What a wanker. This is no way at all to treat a customer, at least one that you want to come back. I was so shocked at this reply. I will never return to that shop. I am not going to spend any more time blogging about a looser.

So the other thing that I have been doing is trying to find a better way of recording Skype. So I had this brainwave yesterday. I will have to do this in point form:

  1. Connect the speaker out on the computer to the mixer CD/TAPE in.
  2. Connect the headphones to the PHONES socket (so I can hear everything)
  3. Press the CD/TAPE TO MIX button

Without pressing the CD/TAPE TO MIX button I can hear the other person and myself by turning up the volume on the mixer for the phones. But I have to press the "TO MIX" button to record both people in the conversation.

This indeed works, by recording the audio in Audacity. Well it worked yesterday. Today for no apparent reason the other person can hear themselves like you can when you select the stereo mix button. This makes no sense at all. As far as the computer is concerned all the audio is coming from the mixer to the line in as one signal. But for some reason I am getting a stereo mix as the result. Yesterday on the other hand it worked, perfectly. I have no idea why it worked yesterday and not today.

Back to Hot Recorder. And my infected sinuses and a buggered socket on the computer and a computer that acts as it computers do. Without logic that is, so condition normal.