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You know, sometimes I'm amazed at the people who actually manage to stay in business despite their own stupidity.

I was browsing a Mustang parts retailer's website the other day (I can't reveal their name, but their initials are Mustang Depot) and noticed that half (or more) of their pictures didn't actually show up in my browser (which is Internet Exploder 5.1). This happens from time to time, and usually indicates a broken link or a badly formed picture. Sometimes, one browser will be picky about a given picture while another one won't, but in almost all cases there's something actually wrong with the picture.

Anyway, out of the goodness of my heart (why I even bother, I don't know) I decided to drop them a line to let them know they had a problem. I was courteous, told them what browser I was using, and offered future help if they wanted me to re-check after they'd made a change, since they almost certainly don't have my configuration handy.

This was the response I got:

Date: 7/25/02 8:57 AM
Received: 7/25/02 11:28 AM
From: Mustang Depot, [email protected]
To: zieroh

Hello zieroh

Thank you for the heads up.

We have had a couple of customers complain that the pictures, exactly the opposite .gif instead of .jpg are not viewable...

We do our best to be as broad in our scope as possible, but this appears to be more of a browser issue on whatever system you operate.

Thanks again

Robert
Admin Dept
www.MustangDepot.com


To which I responded with:

From: zieroh
To: Mustang Depot, [email protected]

The configuration is Microsoft Internet Explorer running on Mac OS X. The operating system may not be the dominant one, but the browser itself doesn't come any more standard.

I can view lots and lots of .jpg (and .gif) images everywhere else on the web. It's only your site that I have problems with. I think some of your files are not really what they appear to be.

Best Regards,
zieroh


...and this was their response:

Date: 7/25/02 9:45 PM
Received: 7/26/02 12:02 AM
From: Mustang Depot, [email protected]
To: zieroh

The browser can confict with the OS (ie MS - MAC)...


As it happens, I know a thing or two about software conflicts, and how to distinguish them from garden variety stupidity. Thus, my response got slightly more heated:

From: zieroh
To: Mustang Depot, [email protected]

As a software engineer who works for Apple (and has done so for the last decade), I can categorically state that this is not the problem. The problem is that the pictures aren't strictly legal, although I'm sure they show up just fine on some less strict browsers. This doesn't make them correct, however.

In any case, it's up to you. I'm not actually asking for a solution. I've done my duty by informing you about a problem YOUR site has because I thought you'd want to know. If you don't want to fix it, it's no skin off my nose.

Personally, I like to see the parts that I buy, and I suspect that others do as well. Your competitors' pictures show up just fine, and based on this experience (i.e. finger pointing and denial) I'm willing to wager that their customer service is better, too.

Adios,
zieroh


Like I said, it's no skin off of my nose. But I've learned something today. (1) This is what I get for using MicroSoft products, and (2) This is what I get for trying to help people. I guess I've learned my lesson on both counts.
 
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Discussion Starter #2
Moral of the story:
Never try to teach a pig to sing....it's a complete waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
 

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ewwwww.....apple!!!

couldnt resist....my wife likes apple computers; I told her she could get one, I just wont work on it!!!
 

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Well, you can't fully lay the blame on Microsoft's doorstep... I've found IE to be the MOST forgiving of bad HTML, even over my preferred browser (Netscape).

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. Doesn't sound like the person you spoke with had particular interest in helping, although it's possible there are other factors at work here, like a limited development budget.

Steve
 

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Z- Expect this sort of thing to become more and more common as the "standards" within the various browsers out there diverge. I read an article that said, because Microsoft and the other browser vendors cannot (or will not) agree on standards, sites and graphics that work fine on one, may not work well (or at all!) on others.

I'm also an MSIE user (on a PC) and find that about 1/4 of the time, I cannot see all the images on a panel.

It is probably true that some of this is sloppy coding, but alot is due to the fact that these vendors will not play nicely with one another.

No doubt, the images on the site in question work fine on the desktops of the MD staff. In their view, that means "no problem"...

Not sure if there is a solution.
 
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As a Network Admin and part time web devleoper I can tell you that the problem is on his site. I have the same problem in Netscape and MSIE version 4.0, 5.01 sp1, 5.5sp2 and 6. I keep some extra browsers around for testing out my sites. He needs to clean up his site. Personaly I hate the layout of most of the Mustang suppliers websites. They are harder to navagate than they should be. And you can not really tell what you are looking at.
 
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ewwwww.....apple!!!

couldnt resist....my wife likes apple computers; I told her she could get one, I just wont work on it!!!


That's okay, chances are high that you won't have to work on it. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
 

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I can tell you that their customer support is fine. My experiences with them have been very good; not always very fast, but good.

As for the website, it's no worse than most of the other Mustang vendors and better than some.

The thing that I find most interesting about man e-commerce sites is that they don't seem to care that their "face" has problems. If your site stinks you lose business. It's that simple.

oh well....
 

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Relax, ziero - It isn't you ! There's a lengthy epistle behind this, but the bottom line is that web sites are often not well-funded in terms of high-quality staff, and it can take a fair amount of technical horsepower (no pun intended - more or less !) to mount a good one (ouch - again with the puns !)

At any rate , you are no doubt right that something isn't working, but Mustang Depot may take a while to get it fixed. You did a good thing by telling them about it.
 
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Well, you can't fully lay the blame on Microsoft's doorstep... I've found IE to be the MOST forgiving of bad HTML, even over my preferred browser (Netscape).

Yeah, that pretty much sums up my experience as well. It really makes me wonder what browser they're using to look at their site and think it's perfect.

Regardless, I suspect that whatever photo editing software they're using is just butchering their photos with some malformed .jpg-save code.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
It is probably true that some of this is sloppy coding, but alot is due to the fact that these vendors will not play nicely with one another.

While it is true that vendors don't always play nice together, it's actually not particularly hard to write a jpg and read a jpg correctly, and in fact there is a standard for jpg images that everyone agrees on. It's one of the few things on the web that works and works well, which is why it's so surprising that these guys have managed to screw it up.
 
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I can tell you that their customer support is fine. My experiences with them have been very good; not always very fast, but good.

That's reassuring, although I'm still not going to buy anything from them if I can't even see the bulk of their website.

As for the website, it's no worse than most of the other Mustang vendors and better than some.

Indeed, you are correct, and it's curious that so many of the Mustang parts retailers have such an abonimable web presence. However, some (most?) of them are simply poorly designed, which is an intangible that can't really be directly addressed. Giving someone a path to an image which is bad or a link which is broken is something that can be directly addressed and isn't generally a matter of opinion.

I wish that I could call up (insert_name_of_Mustang_parts_retailer_here) and say "You know, your web site sucks, here's a simple thing you can do about it" but alas this is usually not the case.

The thing that I find most interesting about man e-commerce sites is that they don't seem to care that their "face" has problems. If your site stinks you lose business. It's that simple.

Amen. This was my real point. Thank you for stating it so succinctly. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
 
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Well, it gets even more interesting! I just got a response from Mustang Depot to my last email. It's short and to the point:

Date: 7/26/02 7:08 AM
Received: 7/26/02 8:13 AM
From: Mustang Depot, [email protected]
To: zieroh

Screw you


So, we've learned something else from this today: (1) Mustang Depot really doesn't give a sh*t what their web presence looks like, and is unwilling to take even basic steps to determine if there is a problem and what it might be, and (2) They really don't have any people skills or even the most basic grasp of diplomacy.

Ahh well, my money spends equally as well elsewhere.
 

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

Screw you

<hr></blockquote>
Are you sure that last bit was not out of context? I find it difficult to believe that any representative of any company would use those words in that manner.
 

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When I was working on Employee Self Service and Manager Self Service systems. we could never count on what the users were using. We always tested on Netscape because that was the most "challenging". If it worked on Netscape it would work on anything. Kind of bad that we had to develop to the lowest common denominator.
 
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Are you sure that last bit was not out of context? I find it difficult to believe that any representative of any company would use those words in that manner.

I was somewhat surprised too, but that was the entirety of the last message. For that matter, all of the messages here are copied faithfully in order and in their entirety, with the exception of my name and email address.
 
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we could never count on what the users were using. We always tested on Netscape because that was the most "challenging". If it worked on Netscape it would work on anything. Kind of bad that we had to develop to the lowest common denominator.

Agreed, I'm not a big fan of lowest common denominator either. However, it's not like we're talking about cascading style sheets or anything -- these are jpgs, for pete's sake. If they can't put a jpg on a web site and have everyone see it, they may as well give up now.
 
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