The good, the bad and the cheap

Chris Macgregor’s Running from Bears Suggests that “with the release of Flash MX, Flash Remoting and the Flash […]

Chris Macgregor’s Running from Bears Suggests that “with the release of Flash MX, Flash Remoting and the Flash Communications Server we can offer users:
an experience that is better than HTML
an experience that is faster than HTML
an experience that is cheaper than HTML ”

It’s an interesting article, and pretty controversial, I’d say, being from the school of context (a.k.a. “it depends”) but interesting.

My own thoughts were pretty off topic… flash and html aside, what is the price at Walmart? How is Walmart “fast, good, and cheap” Perhaps by bad labor practices and shoddy goods? Walmartwatch’s news clippings show the other side of Walmart, with their “Wal of shame” being particularly illuminating. There is always a price.


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  1. 2

    I am not totally convinced that Flash actually brings something to the table that wasn’t already in there with Java. People are excited that the they can create applications for the web with Flash, which is a program that they feel that they know. But as Flash becomes more and more advanced people will find out that they actually have to know how to program computers in order to use it.

    In addition there is the problem that Flash is a proprietary system. It is a de facto proprietary system anyway. The fact that it costs money is not the problem but that Macromedia controls the only useful way of creating Flash applications is a problem.

    The web used to be free. Flash MX is probably good news for the users, but it is not good news for developers who care about protecting their freedom.

    Flash MX makes in the web a little bit less free (as in freedom)

    For the record; i’m sitting here writing a flash application right now — but I’m not sure it is the right thing to do.

  2. 5

    “How is Walmart “fast, good, and cheap” Perhaps by bad labor practices and shoddy goods?”

    The ethical arguments against Wal-Mart were something I didn’t address in the article, although I did consider it. I felt that because I was looking at a Wal-Mart store from the viewpoint of the user’s experience issues like the way that Wal-Mart treats (enslaves) it’s employees didn’t really apply.

    JEH, the main problems with Java in terms of creating applications on the Internet are the stability and browser compatability issues. If Java delivered on its promise of write once, run anywhere then there would be a stronger argument for using it. The deployments of Java on the web these days do not offer the same cross-browser/platform benefits that Flash offers.

    You raise a good point about Flash being proprietary. Sure it would be nice if Flash was opensource, or atleast an official standard, but it is not. Developers concerned with this fact always have SVG or HTML based languages to deliver content in.

  3. 6

    I am sorry, but I didn’t actually read the article before commenting on it. And the reason I commented on it was mostly that I was doing some winter cleaning in my mailbox and read something Christina wrote on chi-web this summer, where she basically said something along the line that Flash is the future of the web. My comment about the proprietary nature of Flash makes more sense in that context than in the context of your article.

    What you write makes a lot of sense, except for the fact that Wal-Mart is evil, so they’re not really a great example. You should have chosen something uncontroversial like a car maker in instead. it all depends on how you look at it, but I’m not sure everybody enjoys having their CDs, videos and magazines censored because censoring art is simply one of several services Wal-Mart provide to their family oriented customers, like smiling faces and low prices. Midwestern values is part of the experience they provide, and your main point was of course not that the experience of Wal-Mart was in good, but that they really care about the experience. Which is a point that makes sense on the web as well .

    And I agree that programming Java applets was a bitch. Flash makes things a lot easier.

  4. 7

    I removed that post at Nick’s request. Strangley enough despite this being my site, I often leave things up that show me in a bad light. Ask yourself why your comment is still up.

    As for Walmart, I’ve got nothing to say beyond the link I pointed to. make up your own mind… that is always the best. I didn’t say they were evil, simply there is evidence they do things that are less than heroic. I’m trying to break the habit of using “good” and “evil” these days. It’s used too glibbly.

    As for walmart being “good” as it was lauded in the post… recently (after this post) i went into a walmart to buy an electric fryer– it was the only place I thought I could get it. I havent’ been in one in years, and I was just horrified. i don’t know what your walmart is like, but the one I went to was crowded, unorganized, filthy, full of goods that had been torn open and pieces were missing, mislabeled shelves, mislabeled sections and full of employees who didn’t know where anything was and didn’t mind letting you know they didn’t much care. And everything there is amazingly cheap. amazingly cheap.

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