Tag Archives: microsoft

Troubleshot in the Wallet

Microsoft’s idea of help has always been questionable, but you can rely upon the focus of someone getting paid for something. That’s not inherently wrong, but it does come across as sneaky and underhanded, especially the way Microsoft presents it.

For instance: Adobe Photoshop, once worth $700-$1200 now ships under the guise of a service entitled “Creative Cloud”. For a nominal monthly fee you get access to the unfettered, full version of Photoshop, or any other single program they ship via this model.

Even $260 a year doesn’t sound that bad for a single program, unlimited support and handy extras like stock photos, cloud storage and a bunch of other stuff. Frankly it’s a good ideal and probably more than most people need.

Which brings me to the alternatives. You can pick up Paint.net for the glorious price of free, or grab Photoshop CS2 which grants you 90% of the greatness that otherwise costs so dang much. CS2 is free because its unsupported, so if you’re in need of a full, legit version of Photoshop, you can hardly go wrong with this.

(Adobe’s links are now behind an Adobe ID sign in blockade. They’re obviously not pleased with the adoption rate of Creative Cloud…) Adobe Suite CS2 was developed for use Windows XP and glitches a little on newer versions of Windows. The last patch brings it up to version 9.0.2 but doesn’t address any of these issues, and they have no plans to do so.

Microsoft knows this and has tailored the Compatibility Troubleshooter to pitch you the retail solution if you’re unsatisfied with the glitches, which are minor and entirely tolerable. Specifically, after roughly a half hour the floating menus begin to disappear, not to mention your photo windows. Clicking on them brings them back from … whereever it is they jaunted off to.

I tried setting the compatibility setting to Windows XP Service Pack 2, and this solved the issue of the floating windows going away, but upon exiting Photoshop I was greeted with a question. You know the one: “Did this program run correctly?” Auotmatically I selected no, because I wanted to try another setting. Instead it popped up this window:Troubleshot_in_the_back

A what is who now? Excuse me? How does it know? Oh wait … I mean, I turned off Siri—um, Cortana. All of those advertising options and sharing nonsense are also switched off.

I don’t trust Microsoft, that’s all. Ultimately this isn’t hard to understand, Adobe’s a big company and have a vested interest in making sure depreciated versions of their software are broken… I mean, that new software runs great on the latest Operating Systems.

Am I suggesting sabotage? Perhaps by inaction. Adobe isn’t required to patch their old software, but it would encourage me to invest in the Creative Cloud for new features that overshadowed the old software. Except of course that none of the CC “apps” do that. We’re talking about a value proposition that can be difficult to substantiate when so many other pieces of software give you a high percentage of the functionality for free.

Yes, I can use Gimp, and it does more, but it also turns filters into a ridiculous guessing game. Anyone determined to become proficient with Gimp has too much time on their hands, and that doesn’t represent most of us.  Photoshop just works and is still more user friendly than Gimp.

I know that’s like saying building a house is easier than baking a cake.

The strangeness didn’t end with Microsoft’s retail pitch. Curious, I clicked on the link to take me to the “paid software upgrade”. Here’s where I landed:

Er_What-Adobe_in_Spanish

Er … um. Hey, what? In Canada our national languages are English and Canadian French. Not … Spanish. I think that’s Spanish. Truly impressive. Why do I think that this was something simple they should have gotten right but still managed to screw up?

Because I know Microsoft. This is what they’ve been doing for over thirty years.

Stay on your toes folks, because I don’t expect that to change.

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Filed under marketing, opinion, sale

Useful Misdirection(s)

NYTimes recently informed the world (not just New York, if you catch my drift) that employers are stymied by budget concerns and playing with prospective employees as though they were cat toys. Between hoops, unreasonable expectations and the perfect employee, they just aren’t hiring. Continue reading

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Filed under article, economics, my view, news media, social media, technology, television media, unvarnished

New Ways To Cannibalize Customers

First there was Sony’s announcement of the PlayStation 4, due in November. Then Nintendo promised that we’d be seeing the arrival Wii Mini in the UK. Microsoft has ‘let slip’ precarious details about the ridiculously named XBox 720, which they’ll be discussing come April.

I have to ask myself if I really care. Continue reading

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Filed under article, gaming, my view, technology

Calculations Underperformed

The heavy hitters of the gaming personal computing industry have been striking out lately, and they don’t appear to know why. Blogphilofilms has a good take on the epic failure of Windows 8. Watch it. He put the nail on the head better than I could have, though I have to say he reminds me of Vizzini, the Sicilian from Princess Bride. Continue reading

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Filed under article, economics, gaming, my view, technology, unvarnished