Well, it's no secret that the Angel of Death.... Most... EXALTED is more than a smidge familiar with the ol' computer doohickey. Self taught, too... Does that mean I'm smarter than those that aren't tripping the cyberlight fantastic? Nope. Well, that's not the ONLY reason... Heh. Now, kids, let me expound to you on something that's been bothering me a long time...
The Supreme Con.
Perhaps you're familiar with this? No? Well, let me elucidate for you... Say you're some multi-billionaire software magnate, and decide to release something to the public so you can add a few billions to the ol' ledger. Small problem, though... What you have doesn't exactly WORK in the truest of senses (at all), but you have enough code from your imported Hindu pieceworkers for it to play the first level or so on a few specialized rigs. Do you hold back the product until it's finished and working 100% so as to please the customers, even if it may mean missing the holiday season?
Hell no. We have to maintain the bottom line. And if a few (all) the customers are miffed that we released an incomplete title that's buggier than a baitshop, so what?
We HATE the customers... Don't believe it? Call tech support, and mail us with how much love you felt... Heh.
But back to business... I'll be the first one to tell you that without software, our spiffy computers would be VERY expensive doorstops. But, I just get the feeling that here lately the software industry hates us. Not a normal hate either, but a seething disdain that all but forces them to ream us at every turn until we die. Some examples:
Realplayer Plus. This one is from personal experience, so if it sounds extra caustic you'll know why... You like music, right? Sure, we all do. But we've made it so that if you use OUR stuff to make music, only OUR stuff can play it. So you go to the website and grab the free player, but that freebie just doesn't do all you need it to. You've got to plunk down for the Plus version. So you rush out to the software shack of your choice and lay hands on that shiny, shrink-wrapped, boxful of happiness and you carry it gleefully home to just make your life complete. Check the company website... Uh oh! You're out of the loop! But if you act now, you can download your ONE free update and be happy... Who cares if it's a beta, right? It's what all the cool dudes are doing... Oops... Looks like that update wasn't exactly complete, either... But, oh, you've used your free update on the beta, and now your serial number is no good anymore. Too bad, but don't worry... We'll sell you another ticket for that same ride.
Windows. Y'know, I could probably put out more text than you'd find in an unabridged encyclopedia on how THIS little wonder proves that the industry hates us. What kind of moron buys software that everyone knows doesn't work right, and probably never will? Us. And to make matters worse, we shell out dutifully for every 'upgrade' with a level of hope usually only possessed by regular lottery ticket buyers that THIS time they've got it right, and instead get a whole NEW set of problems... I've been with it since DOS 3.0, folks, and it's not gotten any better - just prettier.
Paint Shop Pro. Don't get me wrong, Bobo LOVES this program. He does all his artistic stuff with it. He'd even go so far as to ENDORSE this lovely item... But the thing is that he's bought a new one every year since version 3, and they've JUST added a feature called Overview Window which lets one see a tiny version of the image you're working on if you're in x10 Zoom so you're not playing 'Where's Waldo' with yourself while you work... The funny part is that this little innovation was a feature in MacPaint 1.0 back in the EIGHTY-FOUR. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I've been BEGGING for this feature forever, and they JUST added it. In BETA. Why? Did Apple somehow have a PATENT on a thumbnail view? They didn't. I checked.
Still think the software industry doesn't hate you? Let's examine the idea behind the update...
What the update is, in a nutshell, is the company TELLING YOU OUTRIGHT that they ROBBED YOU. What you just got CONNED into buying is a steaming truckload of CRAP, and now you HAVE to buy THIS OTHER THING to make it right... Maybe. Folks, it used to be that you could buy something and use it, but those days seems long gone... What they want is a steady income, and that means making YOU pay as much and as often as they can get you to. So how does one do this? Software isn't a sundry item that people 'run out' of, so how do you get them coming back for more? Ta-da. Update it. Bill Gates has made BILLIONS on this simple formula, and everyone's getting into the act...
And you can't complain, either, because you don't BUY software - you LICENSE it. If you BOUGHT something, you'd have RIGHTS. If it didn't do what it said on the box, you could get them PUNISHED for lying. If you bought it, you could do with it as you pleased, even giving it away to someone else who YOU hate so THEY can suffer as you have.
Sure, they word it prettier than that, but folks it's because they have to... They can't come right out and tell you what they want any moreso than your dad could just out and out say to your mom that he wanted to pound her one and maybe knock her up. For dad, it was corny poetry, candy, flowers and such. For the software industry it's multi-page ads made to look like magazine reviews, and thoroughly bribed 'pundits'.
In both examples, it's just using 100% pure bullshit to grease open the ol' legs for a nice plowing.
As people's needs are different, no one product can possibly suit everyone in every situation. But for some reason, everyone still TRIES and I get a gigantic download that takes forty minutes at DSL speed... Take, for example, an FTP client (file transfer protocol, in case you're new - a program that basically let's you upload to and download from a website, usually your own). Bobo uses a FINE product called Coffeecup DirectFTP, which has support for resuming interrupted downloads, multiple logins, and an integrated HTML editor. Bobo LOVES this thing... But you know what? Now EVERYONE'S doing an FTP thing with resumable downloads as part of the package! Internet Explorer calls it Web Folders, for example (your browser may vary). And for FREE, after I sank thirty bucks... Bummer.
Then we have the File Managers, which basically let you make sense of your system in a way that Windows Explorer just can't... For myself, I've used Mijenix's (now Ontrack's) Powerdesk, which has an integrated File Viewer, Folder Synchronizer, Zip Manager, and a pile of other spiffy features. You know what feature they just added? You guessed it! An FTP Client with Resumable Downloads...
Pretty much everyone has abandoned the concept of doing one thing exceptionally well, and instead seek to do EVERYTHING about as good as anyone else. Personally, I'm all for bundling software together into suites, but for Chrissakes make them a little more related to each other than just being from the same company, eh?
Still not convinced you're hated? Let's examine further...
Lately, the trend is to provide software ONLINE... Yes, that's right. It seems too many people are sticking to the versions they paid for and that means the steady income is drying up... The new model is no longer to 'license' software... It's to sell SERVICE by SUBSCRIPTION. That means that you'll soon look to the prospect of paying monthly for stuff that MIGHT be what you want... Someday. Kinda like cable TV, huh? McAfee is leading the way with that one, and where I wasn't much of a fan of their stuff before, I absolutely HATE it now.
And let's not even get into those suites that - after costing you $500 or more - are so complex and non-intuitive that you need to spend another $1000 on night-classes to learn how to USE it. And don't think the colleges aren't in on the deal, either... I got so much spam on 'online universities' after signing up for an 'Introduction to Adobe Illustrator' course that I cancelled the check to the college.
Of course, the more expensive stuff is that way for a reason... Adobe is the defacto 'standard' artsy-fartsy program amongst beret-wearing artfags in black turtlenecks (who are usually on Apples, and as such pretty pissed off and snippy to start with). These people charge around $500 an hour to make silly looking logos and other commercial endeavors, so the idea with charging that much is simply the ol' Drywall Knife Business Model. (DKBM)
Not aware of that one, eh? Well, here's the deal... Go to a hardware store and price, I dunno, a four-inch taping knife... Now look at the vinyl/fiberglass/wood handle... Look at the little piece of metal riveted into it... Now look at the price. $5-10, right? It's usually hovering around $8 for the fairly good ones... Weird, right? That little piece of nonsense couldn't POSSIBLY be worth that much money, correct? Well, it isn't... What you can DO WITH IT, however, IS worth all they can get. You're paying for the money you are LIKELY to MAKE (or save, if you're a do-it-yourselfer) using the tool rather than the worth of the tool itself.
That's why stuff like RealProducer costs $150... Why CorelDraw costs $350... Why Microsoft Office costs $450... Why Macromedia's Dreamweaver UltraDEV costs $600... Why Sonic Foundry doesn't MAKE a product that sells for less than $100 (Vegas Audio, for example, costs $500 - Vegas Video costs $700)...
Updates, of course, are extra.... Heh.
Now, folks, don't get it twisted... Bobo is no shill, and the inclusion of the links to the places where these files are is simply so you can see for yourself. I get no compensation for saying I like one product or hate another. In fact, if you think my opinion on something is the last word on any subject, well, turn off the computer and go make some friends...
You're welcome... See you SOON.