The issue of Flash Player bundling: A matter of trust

It’s great to know that Macromedia monitors these humble blog sites, sale and it’s even better to know that they’re concerned about what we have to say. I just received a comment from John Dowdell of Macromedia Support asking me to help clarify my recent post regarding Macromedia’s packaging of the Yahoo! Toolbar with the Flash player for certain Web visitors.

After responding to his post, capsule I realized others may not quite understand my position, either (It was classified under “rant” after all), so I figured I’d post his message and my response here. So here we go:

Hi, I’d like to be able to clearly present your concern to my partners, could you check me here, please? How would you rank the following concerns which I could synthesize out of your post?
— Don’t like Yahoo
— Gives Java or C++ arguments some ammo
— Not clear of future scope of ways to shift Flash costs from authoring tools to corporations
— Not sure of spyware/malware risks or implications
— Other

(The FAQ on the site advises that the only people who see this must (a) surf IE/Win (b) must click “GetFlash” link instead of the normal ActiveX (c) must not already have Yahoo Toolbar installed. Web search term of “ yahoo toolbar” brings up more.)

Could you help me to relay your core concerns most effectively? Thanks!

John Dowdell
Macromedia Support

And my response, which still may or may not be coherent:

Thanks for the comment, John! It’s great to see Macromedia is monitoring the blogs and fielding our questions. In return, I’ll do my best to answer yours, too. Hopefully, I’ll speak sensibly on each of your points:

How would you rank the following concerns which I could synthesize out of your post?

Don’t like Yahoo

This is not an issue at all. In fact, I feel rather sorry for Yahoo in this; I truly wish them no harm, and in fact, I use and enjoy many of their services.

I do wish them good luck with their toolbar, but I hope they’ll find better ways of marketing it than packaging it with other company’s software. In my mind at least, such arrangements always seem to cheapen my view of both party’s wares, as if neither could stand on it’s own.

Gives Java or C++ arguments some ammo

It rather does, don’t you think? If I can download the Java Virtual Machine WITHOUT the fear of installing “something extra,” then, as a business, I’d rather search for Web apps built on THAT technology than attempt to find ones built on something that now seems to be a marketing ploy.

It’s the proverbial “slippery slope:” First, the flash player comes bundled with something I’m not interested in otherwise. Why should I not expect the next version to have even more “marketing potential” built in? Will Flash Player 8 feature content-sensitive ad delivery built in?

And no I’m not saying this is the inevitable outcome, but I think you might understand the reason for suspicion. Just about everybody on the Web has faced unwanted advertising, and anything we can do to nip it in the bud is welcome. Once I’ve paid for Flash MX 2004 Studio Professional and spent time and money developing an application it it, I don’t want my potential clients to see MY work as being associated with third-party advertisers.

Not clear of future scope of ways to shift Flash costs from authoring tools to corporations

I’m not sure I understand this, but I think I may have addressed it above. In short, I see the Flash player as the means to deliver new software to the public: a Runtime or Virtual Machine, to be specific. If the runtime itself is being used for marketing purposes, I’ll look for one that doesn’t.

Not sure of spyware/malware risks or implications

This is probably the main reason for my concern, but it’s also the CAUSE of the other concerns listed here.

It’s not so much the existence of spyware, but the POTENTIAL of spyware that is raised by this packaging. Until now, I never even entertained the idea that Macromedia would do such a thing. This was naive perhaps, but now I have a hard time imagining that the company WOULDN’T entertain the idea if a “partner” with deep enough pockets came knocking.

In essence, it’s a matter of trust between Macromedia, the developers who create apps with its products, and the companies who will rely on both.


As you can see, the problem I have is not with Yahoo or the idea that Macromedia needs to make money, too. But when I develop an application for a client and tell him he’ll need to download the latest Flash player from your Web site, I don’t want to feel like I’m sending him to or some other “GET YOUR FREE GIFT FOR FILLING OUT THIS SURVEY” site. Macromedia is better than that, and I hope it’ll stay that way. (Promote Yahoo Toolbar like crazy all over the Macromedia site if you need to, but just don’t make my clients feel like they’re being asked to download something they wouldn’t otherwise.)

Hope this helps, John, and again, thanks for asking!


Hope this helps others, too!

ActionScript Poetry contest is on! // or, trace (contest[poetry].annual[0]);

In the time-honored tradition of Perl poetry contests, anaemia we’re introducing the first-of-its-kind (that we know of, stuff anyway) ActionScript Poetry Contest.

The rules are simple: Translate your favorite poem (any poem, see but remember: “Nantucket” is not an accepted ActionScript keyword), and post it here in the comments section of this article before March 21 (which is UNESCO’s official World Poetry Day (Who knew?)). Once the deadline has passed, the judging wil begin.

Judging will be based on several factors, including public reaction to the poem (as noted in comments here), its poetic appeal, creativity and the ungodly whims of our nameles, faceless panel of judges. Extra credit will no doubt be given if the “poem” actually does something in ActionScript.

Keep in mind, this is not a call for Flash interpretations of literary works (See for that sort of thing), but a real, honest-to-goodness, geek-fest in which the code itself becomes the poetry. (See the ActionScript Jabberwocky for an example of what we’re looking for.)

As for prizes: What would a geek contest be without the almost-obligatory grand-prize of a free iPod up for grabs? Well, it would be a Turdhead contest. How about a free T-shirt?

Let the games begin:

NOTE:The submission window is closed now. Judging shall now commence.

So far, owes me $27,000 now has a new advertising policy that we hope will better serve our friends in the spamming community. In the past, tadalafil we’ve simply deleted unsolicited advertising from our comments section, website like this but apparently, this has not hampered the spamming community from keeping us busy, regardless. Thus, beginning today, we will glady store and publish ALL commercial messages submitted to our comments board for the reasonable fee of $1,000 per message per day.

Keep in mind that submission of unsolicited commercial advertising constitutes acceptance of this new policy, and billing will commence upon acceptance — NOT upon publication, which will commence only once payment is recieved.

To protect our readers from such nuisance advertising, we will also make every effort to collect on this debt, as we cannot afford to provide storage space for unsolicited ads or provide a free advertising service for cheap, unscrupulous and/or ass-brained Web spam operators (such as those submitting spam for, and several other companies).

Happy holidays, and we look forward to servicing you hard!

–The management

(Of course, valid non-commercial comments are always free and welcome!)

ADDENDUM: This new system works great! Apparently, the folks at have decided it’s worth more than $40,000 for them to advertise on As soon as they pay their bill, we look forward to “unhiding” their important messages, too!

ADDENDUM x 2: To see how this spam crap is affecting others, too, take a look at the following blogs as well:

LordAlex ‘s MX Blog

Vote for Li’l Johnny!!!

Dunno how, website like this but somehow Li’l Johnny’s Aquarium Adventure wound up as a nominee for the 2004 Office Attachments Awards presented by Yahoo! UK & Ireland. I’ll admit I don’t know what this means exactly, pilule but I’d sure appreciate it if everybody would go here and vote for Aquarium Adventure!

The competition is stiff, I’ll admit, and I’m just honored to be listed… But winning would kinda rock, too.

Thanks again, everybody, and remember, help save Li’l Johnny!.

Li’l Johnny’s Aquarium Adventure

Yahoo’s voting booth

The ActionScript Jabberwocky

It may not be apparent from many of the random postings I’ve made here, adiposity but one of the main reasons for the existence of is to provide a space for creative Web-based art, writing, animation and of course, lens flare effects. A turdhead is, after all, not only a geek (of which the internet is full), but also a generally well-read, cultured and sociable sort — a geek that occasionally makes it out into the real world, not only by accident but occasionally even under their own free will.

With that in mind, I have decided to revel in my geekdom and admit that the following sort of thing actually DOES provide me with some sick sense of nerd amusement. It will probably appeal only to fellow Flash programmers, and even then perhaps, only to the true Actionscript aficionado, but regardless, we (i.e., I) hope you enjoy the following:
Continue reading The ActionScript Jabberwocky