Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 29/9/2005It was the usual sort of call."Hello?

Thursday 29/9/2005

It was the usual sort of call.

"Hello? I'm Sarah from Lewis PR. Have you got a moment?"


"Er, yes…"

"Good! I have an opportunity for you…"

…uh-oh times two…

"… our client Pllr Data Systems is coming over to EMEA. They're funded by Larry Ellison and…"

"Sorry, how do you spell that?"

"What, Larry Ellison?"


"No, I know how to spell his name. The company name? I didn't quite catch it"

"Pillar Data Systems. As in pillar to post. Now, they're coming over for Storage Expo and the CEO may be available…" and on she went.

The reason I asked, y'see, is that it's frequently most efficient to work out whether you want to avail yourself of such wonderful opportunities by Googling while the PR is going through the spiel. Not this time.

Pillar Data Systems' Web site is a Rich Internet Application using Macromedia Flex. Version 7 of the Flash Player/plug-in is required to view this site and was not detected on your computer.

Click here to download the latest version of the Flash Player now.

If you feel you were directed to this page in error or you have already have Flash 7 installed, please click here to go directly to

If you experience problems with the Flash installation, try refreshing your browser. If that does not work, please go directly to Macromedia's Web site to download the latest version of the Flash player.

Some companies require Administrative privileges to download new software onto employee's desktops. If you continue to have problems after following the above directions, contact your IT Department's Systems Administrator.

If you do not wish to download Flash, please feel free to access Pillar's text-only site here

What impresses me the most isn't that people still think it's a good idea to have the default version of their Web site in Flash, nor that they felt it necessary to tell me about their development environment instead of just letting me read about their company.

It's that someone got as far as paragraph five of what is basically an error message — a paragraph that says you may need to involve your fricking sysadmin to bypass your company security protocols before we'll let you see our sales pitch — without a big warning klaxon going off. No realisation that somewhere someone had taken a very, very wrong turning. At no stage did the wet kipper of awareness get slapped across the stubbly cheeks of designer cluelessness, no, not even by paragraph five.

These guys could have saved all that 'Rich Internet Application' development money and a whole slew of intensive client/agency meetings by just writing a cheque for $30 to the nearest Internet registrar and asking for, please. And in case you think I'm being harsh, click on the link to see their text-only site. Marvel at my moderation.

All this went through my mind as I listened to the PR. For all I know, they could well have spent Larry's dosh on making the world's most exciting storage solutions — but they didn't do so well on the Web.