Friday, March 02, 2007

Adventures in Software

Remember the days when you purchased a computer and it came with all of these discs representative of all of the programs that were pre-installed on your computer? Remember when you could just buy new software for updated programs or for new one you wanted to put on your computer?

Ah, gone they are, along with the "safety" of SPF 15 sunblock and the assurance that a gallon of gas would indeed cost less than a value meal (chips and drink included) at Subway.

Upon receipt of my new computer, the first thing I noticed was that there was a minimal quantity of "useful" stuff that came along with it. Everything I identified as a CD-rom was an "upgrade" of a program already on the computer or something I didn't want to use anyway. In order for me to acquire the stacks of back-up discs I used to get, I have to perform a "back up" on the system myself. Oh, and with no indication of how many discs that may take, either.

Windows Vista? Yeah, technobabble blogs that will make the Blogs of Note list long before mine will have LOTS to say about it, and may even debate the pros and cons of it for you. However, the only difference I can see here is a bubble with a Microsoft flag in it where the Start button used to be. If you want to see all your programs, instead of a list that appears off to the side for you with all of them on the screen on the same time, you have to scroll through a list of them. The one disc included in the package with this laptop was to update Vista, and it came with a nifty little remote control that would fit right into a port in the computer. However, in order to use it, I had to upgrade from Windows Vista Home Basic--which does nothing more incredible than Windows XP--to Windows Vista Ultimate, which cost.....drumroll.....two hundred dollars.

Your computer needs two basic sets of programs (unless you fell for the chic commercials with the dorko versus the cool guy representative of a PC and a Mac computer respectively). One is your word processing/office program set--and we all need at least to be able to type and print a document. The other is virus protection/computer security. The makers of this software smartened up some time ago and had their programs installed on your computer with an ever-present (and ever-reminded) expiration date. Therefore, I can use the newest version of Microsoft Office--which only really includes the four basic programs--for sixty days.....oh, wait, not quite. Apparently, the Microsoft tekkies have done it again and after watching endless car ads that offered a warrantee that covered either a certain number of miles or a certain number of years--whichever expired first, they decided to offer their own "compromise." Instead of being able to access the Microsoft Office programs for the sixty days on the icon, I can only open each one of the programs a certain number of times. So, the "subscription" expires either in sixty days or after I open the programs the alotted number of times. upgrade to the "full, unlimited version"? Another 150.

I can say that Norton, the security software, was originally installed for sixty days as well, but they included a program key that without any additional cost, once entered, opened the program for a full year.

Oh, and I did receive a printer, and a pretty good model at that. Too bad the software included to install the printer on this computer wasn't compatible with Windows Vista. Way to go, HP.

*Disclaimer*: Unfortunately, I have just transferred to the new version of Blogger--well, I was more or less compelled to given as soon as I signed into old Blogger, I was immediately transferred to a page that would not allow me access to my Dashboard unless I did the upgrade. I am not sure if anyone else has had trouble recently, but this is the first time Blogger has allowed me to sign in in about a week, and I am not even at my home "port." Therefore, I apologize if I fall short of stopping by any and all sites of visiting Bloggers.

Has anyone else had trouble?


the superstar said...

yikes. i got my computer less than three years ago and none of that crap was going on. although i guess three computer years is like... 102 dog years. or something.

i never had problems switching to beta, but i'm betting that's why about 20 of your old entries showed up in my feed reader as unread today. i was wondering about that.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I'm glad you mentioned Vista. I had my new computer in December. I found I had to send off for Vista to get it free. It is can incredibly complex procedure and was told that all the XP programs I have installed will be wiped off. In other words, I'll be starting again!

By the way, Vista in the shops here in England cost more than twice as much than it does in the US.

Div√£ de Noiva said...

beautiful blog

MaureenE said...

Sorry for your techological woes. Yipes.

About Donne, I've read Mediation 17 but none of his other sermons. And I've read a number of his poems. He's definitely one of my all-time favorite poets.

Ms. Jenny said...

I've had my Dell for 2.5 years -- it's interesting how they do it; also like buying a car, you add more, you pay more. It's been a great computer, though it wasn't cheap by the time I was done with Windows & Acrobat, but I figure at this point it's just a matter of time before it dies with one last, groaning sigh. Maybe I've just been lucky so far.

ellesappelle said...

Ha, I enjoy your acid commentary on Windows Vista. I'll be sticking to the older version as long as poss, says I.

Passionate Eater said...

I agree. Sigh, it is so disheartening what little useful odds and ends they pack in with new computers nowadays. And Windows Vista for that price? I am not looking forward to paying that much for the upgrade.

anonymous jones said...

I really don't understand anything you said about Windows Vista because I am a techno-peasant but I got this impression: Vista-B-A-D.
So I will pass that on.
I have to sign in twice to the new blogger because my google account has the same password and they keep thinking I'm making a mistake! And they are basically IMPOSSIBLE to contact anymore.

booda baby said...

This is a great comparison of the titanic corporation and the sort-of-open source software gang.

Sometimes, programmers just drop the ball on how people use things. And frankly, it's getting easier and easier to shut off my loyalty. Bastards.

Matt said...

I'm glad you got that off your chest.

And I don't think that Mac guy is even THAT cool.... If no one told me, I wouldn't know which one is better looking.

gagknee said...

new windows software sucks, but on th ebright side the new blogger is much more reliable.