NRA; What’s up?

I’ve been seeing ads for the new NRA on-line national firearms museum, and I’ve also been working on building a period rifle.  I therefore thought it would be great to go and see if I could find some original examples of said period rifle at this new-fangled on-line museum, rather than having to, say, drive to Wyoming and visit the Cody Museum or pay 5 to 10 thousand dollars for an original rifle.  I tried it from home using my Mac G4 to no avail.  OK, I can forgive that.  The old G4 still has an old version of OS-X and Safari, and I sometimes have problems using other web sites.  Here at work I use XP Pro, IE 8, and a 700+ KBps ADSL connection.  I patiently try a few times from work and I’m redirected to which displays a black screen, this tiny little sentence in the middle, and a heap big helping of nothing else;

The full NRA experience requires a broadband connection.  Click here to go directly to the standard website.

From the standard website you can eventually find a link to the museum, which then gives you said black screen.  Repeat as needed to become convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you’re not going to see any museum, no matter what, in spite of the fact that said non-viewable museum is currently being advertized all over the NRA publications.  Denied.  I then tried “compatibility view” in IE 8, which made quite a difference– it put that sentence at the bottom of the black screen instead of the middle.  Double denied.

If my setup can’t work, who’s does?  I thought DSL was about as broad as broadband gets, while the only clue to the denial is a note telling me my connection speed is too low, with no indication of what they consider to be “broadband”.  Have I missed some new and wonderful breakthrough in IT that everyone else knows about and uses already?  Do I need a cable ISP?  Do I need to get Win 7 or what?  In any case I think that if your web site doesn’t work with the vast majority of existing computer setups, you’re doing something wrong.  That is, if you want the majority of people to see it, and you’re not just interested in being cutting-edge for the sake of it, being satisfied with catering to an exclusive audience.

Then again, maybe I’m doing something wrong that makes it impossible to see this web site, though all the others I visit seem to work OK.

Dear NRA; I’d write you directly about this, but a black screen with nothing on it includes, as an accompanying feature, the non existence of a “if you can’t view this page, please notify our web designer by clicking here” or anything like that.

Update Jan. 10; Without my having contected them directly, NRA Tech Support wrote me this morning and fixed my problem.  Wow.  That’s service.  More in comments.


7 thoughts on “NRA; What’s up?

  1. make certain you have the latest version of flash player installed. they did not really make the site small, and even on 10meg cable it takes a few seconds for the black screen to go away and the site to load.

  2. Ditto the above. I have flash turned off by default and I got a screen telling me that I had to enable flash. I enabled it and I got exactly the black screen you describe with the message you described for about 5 to 10 seconds while the flash content was loading, then it came up fine.

    Your problem sounds like the flash content just wasn’t loading for some reason.

  3. Obviously you have not sent them enough donations yet or declared your “prag” status.

  4. Just for laughs, I tried it from Oz.
    Exactly as Sailorcurt described – 10 to 15 seconds of apparently just that message.
    However, the “page loading” animation (a rotating circle of dots in the tab header in Firefox) showed that SOMETHING was happening, and the page eventually changed to a “flash loading” progress bar, then the actual page.

  5. NRA’s communications in general, and electronic presence in total, is horrible and the reason I dropped my membership. Their mailings, live and electronic, drove me and my wife away.

    We give that money to the SAF now.

  6. The NRA DEFINITELY needs somebody who can do a better job of organizing their outreach, electronic and otherwise. So many of us get irked by the multiple mailings, the lack of acknowledgement that yes, the yearly dues are paid, that we simply quit responding. I can’t be bothered if they can’t. I know it’s nice to have a large organization to rally the troops to prove how many of us exist that don’t like the way legislators are scurrying, but I can write my legislators directly much easier than I can be bothered with the NRA’s (dis)organizational communications.

  7. I did not intent to disparage the NRA as an organization. In fact I respect them quite a lot.

    I received a very nice, very detailed letter from NRA Technical Support this morning, which nailed the problem; I needed Flash Player 10 instead of the version 9 I was running. Some had seen this blog post, which was made last night, and I had the solution from them this morning, without even asking them directly. That’s as good as it gets. Hell, that’s better than it gets, or would have been before today. A new benchmark may well just have been established.

    Now about the museum site. It’s in development, and as such I don’t find the detailed photographs I was hoping for (nor would Flash Player necessarily be the ideal way to present them, but that’s an artistic/style decision). At the moment the site is basically a set of enticing trailers, or previews, of what’s coming. Assuming they intend to post multiple high-res photos of an example of every firearm they have in the museum, that would be truly gargantuan task. I don’t know their plans, but such a thing would certainly be a huge asset to anyone interested in firearms. I pointed them to Oleg Volk in case they need another photographer to help build a high-end photo library.

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