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Tech Company Reviews

I would like to take the opportunity to showcase my opinion on three companies. The first is ugly, the second is wilting, and the third is shining. May you find these reviews comical yet accurate.

Adobe Logo

  I hate Adobe. Work with me on a computer for 5 minutes, and you will experience it. The one thing about my job I don’t like is this office’s and school’s dependence on Adobe. I could bitch and bitch about Adobe, but let me make some key points.
  Photoshop is part of our lexicon now and is associated with photo editing. I said something once I thought was funny enough to repeat and remember – “Using photoshop is equivalent to trimming a toenail with a sawzall.” I challenge you to open photoshop and draw a blue square over someone’s face. Should be simple enough, Microsoft Paint can do it. No, instead, you need to select brushes, shades, all kinds of shit! I use Paint Shop Pro 8 for all my needs, it’s like 8 years old. And it still can touch up a photo with no problem. I can’t understand how Adobe can ethically release a program that you have to take a series of classes in to use reasonably, and even then make you buy Illustrator and Fireworks to even draw or make vector graphics!
  Additionally, let’s talk about the adobe program lineup. I love the CS3 series and it’s icons, they’re little elements with two letters like in the periodic table. This is so when you buy the whole suite, it actually makes up the periodic table. My office has CS3 complete web premium, and the install disc comes with 34 programs! That’s for 1500 dollars! WHY??? Use photoshop, illustrator and fireworks for more than 5 minutes and you’ll figure out what I did: they all can do pretty much the same thing if you know what you’re doing, just a different set of tools are accessible right from the beginning. But each still costs me 300 fucking dollars. Adobe is wonderful at taking a piece of software, adding something a little different, adding a new name, and charging you 300 bucks for it. And the worst thing ever is when they bought Macromedia and killed tools like dreamweaver and flash. Mark my words, in 2 years Flash won’t exist and all that will be left is Adobe AIR.
  And another thing: the proprietary formats. I know microsoft does the same thing, but they make it pretty easy to just save as something else. Everyone knows what a PDF is, and that it’s an adobe only tool. Ever try to save something in fireworks? It’s an AI file, and then if you want to even copy it into Word, you have to select a whole other option on the File menu, “Export to Microsoft Office.” Stupid. They build a program which makes it as inconvenient as possible to save as anything except a format that can only be opened by their own program, yet Microsoft gets sued for giving away Internet Explorer which opens web pages made in things other than Frontpage.
  Speaking of frontpage, WYSIWYG sucks. WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get, meaning “Arrange shit on the screen and we’ll make a website out of it.” I taught myself to code by reading the source of web pages and copying and inferring. Ever look at the source of a page made in Dreamweaver? It’s an unorganized disaster with 90% open space. I know people who got jobs over me in web programming who can’t read a line of html. Go to my work site at http://www.uncg.edu/oas and view the source. That’s what a web developer’s code should look like, and if I was learning I’d be giddy to see a site like that. And as someone who learned off source code, I am happy to provide commented source to help someone else learn. It sucks to look at the source of Amazon and have no idea what you’re looking at. Dreamweaver has created web programmers out of nothings that make inefficient code and freeze up when the letters “php” or “asp” occur.
  And the laggy overhead! To have acrobat reader on your computer (instead of Foxit Reader) you have to have a thousand little programs which start up and run in the background of your computer, wasting precious cycles. My favorite example of this useless overhead is this image.
  But the real reason I hate them most right now? My office paid 1500 for CS3 web premium, and I go to install it on the computer which will be mine, and the damn installer fails. It fails spectacularly, before the GUI even comes up. And when I google the problem, which is my normal first step in resolving issues? So many issues installing this product come up I can’t even find someone else with my problem. I’ve even heard people postulate that Adobe never once tested the installer. And I can’t get through to customer support, not even for a 1500 price tag. I’ve spent 2 weeks trying to resolve this problem, which I would ignore except that EVERY IMAGE IN THIS OFFICE IS AN AI OR PSD FILE. I’m going to tear my hair out over this.
  Adobe: I used to love pagemaker, and Macromedia products were awesome, but you’ve taken all the good, raised the price and added so much untestead and heavy overhead bullshit that not a single one of your tools is useful, and unfortunately until a better alternative comes out you have us by the balls over your shitty PDF format. PDF creator and Foxit are saving me now, but one day I hope to watch you burn in hell.

Microsoft Logo

  Microsoft is an example of a company that is truly great, but is slipping quickly in my favor. First of all, do not forget that if it weren’t for Microsoft Windows, the computer would not be as commonplace an item as it is today. They made it accessible to everyone, and the whole world has them to thank for that. Microsoft has two major competitors in their flagship windows product, Mac and Unix/Linux. Let’s look at what people feel are the advantages: Macs are clean, simple, user friendly, and sleek in their hardware and their software. Linux/Unix machines are powerful, user-customizable, and barebones to allow for as much user-input as possible. For a system trying to cater to the widest audience, they cannot achieve both sleek magic and an open, accessible hood. But they do. If you don’t want to see how things work, just install it and use it and it works 90% of the time. And with a little work (far less work than it takes to get used to linux, and I know, Surfrock66_White is linux) you can learn registry editing and tweak the crap out of windows, including custom shell replacements and overhauls of built in utilities, like file explorer and disk defragmenter. Of course, Microsoft offers many replacements off their website for free, like powercalc, which is important to remember later. For people wanting a slicker piece of hardware, I don’t understand why one would prefer Mac, sure their stuff is nice, but you’re at their mercy for repair and upgrades, whereas you can put windows on any of the cool machines made by alienware, dell, and sony (the viao’s are slick as hell!) One of the biggest complaints about Microsoft is that they’re expensive, offering 20 different versions of things and mkaing you pay for upgrades.
Yes, this is true, but remember, you get mad at the expense but when they try to give away internet explorer with windows they get thier pants sued off. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. I hate that Mac fanboys “ooh” and “ahh” at the indexing in OSX, when windows has had the indexing service since 98, turned off of course since back then no one wanted to waste the CPU cycles or time in figuring it out. Point is, MS did it first, but when Mac does it it’s amazing? Also, to any linux user, if you really need to satisfy your Command Line Hard On (CLHO) when sitting at a windows machine, hit Windows Key+R. Run rocks. “Calc” or “iexplore www.google.com” of course, or if you’re like me, “control userpasswords2” or “msconfig” or “regedit” or “services.msc.” Or, just type “cmd” and get over it. Windows is built off of DOS, the original and best command line interface.
  But, Microsoft is slipping in my opinion. There’s two major issues here. First, Genuine Advantage. I’ll be the first to admit that I pirated Windows and MS products forever. I don’t feel bad at all. First, every office I’ve been to uses MS products that they wouldn’t dare pirate, accounting for huge pockets of revenue. Second, between MSN, MSNBC, Zune, Xbox, and corporate liscenses, isn’t the home user the least of their profit losing concerns? Most people who buy a computer to use windows have it on there OEM, so they’re paying for it, and the people who install their own OS are usually modders/geeks like myself. Microsoft should be pining for our good will. Everyone knows I’m a computer guy, and 20 times a day people come to me and say “can you fix this?” If they’re on a Mac, I say “No.” I’ve pulled people to different OS’s before, and I’m the leader of my community when it comes to tech advice and support. Why would MS want to alienate me, especially when the hope is once I have money I’d be happy to buy their product??? With genuine advantage, my computer was crippled by stupid messages and errors, so much so that I had to finally break out the legal copy of XP I won at a tech talk at UCSD. Knowing MS only lets you activate so many times, I had been saving it for just this reason. Lame. MS will never win a cat and mouse game with hackers, and as time goes on the fixes will be more inconvenient than just paying, at which point many people (myself included) will switch to something truly free. It’s why I made White a linux box. And I show it to people like Jenn, and she’s surprised how useable it is. And so MS begins losing market share. It sucks, but it’s their own fault.
  Second is their whole new generation of products. In my humble opinion, we’ve reached the point in computing where power doesn’t matter anymore. The programs, internet, e-mail and media are all fast enough that no one notices 2.2 ghz vs. 3.2 ghz. We’ve reached a time where you don’t need to buy a new computer every year; mine is 4 years old and I have no plans to upgrade. Hell, white is a 400 mhz junker I pulled together to test crap on. Software makers need to know that no one cares to upgrade from a 2.2ghz machine to a 3.2 quad core machine unless they game or render 3d graphics, which is not most people. Needless to say, Vista and Office 2007 are designed for the top of the world. I used Office 2007 for a while, and it was so slow I reverted. I have never reverted anything as I like to be cutting edge, but I can’t use 2007 on my computer. My computer can do everything I want it to do except run 2007. Now, MS has a terrible track record with backwards compatible file formats, and if 2007 goes widespread I’ll eventually have to upgrade, but that’s another topic all together. Vista is 90% of the pretty interface of Mac with 0% of the sleek, hidden mechanics. It’s no secret they had huge plans all of which got dropped to accelerate the release. And what they have is XP 2.0 which requires a supercomputer to run. I won’t be switching any time soon.
  I’ve confidantly sacrificed many geek points in defense of MS. I love using all their programs: when you have XP Media Center, IE7, WMP 11, Windows Movie Maker, PowerShell, Synctoy, Office 3003 and Activesync working together, there’s nothing you can’t do. But they’re taking this wonderful lineup of products that work really well together if you sit down for 5 minutes, kicking off the geeks who can’t afford it and rushing into new systems which use too many resources. I love MS, but I’ve begun using White to familiarize myself with Ubuntu and DSL (Damn Small Linux) for when I walk my own Trail of Tears over to the other side.

Logitech Logo

  Finally, a company that makes me happy that they exist. Logitech is so brilliant at what they do that it’s amazing they even have competition. You’ve used a logitech product before, you probably just don’t know it. Let’s list some I’ve used and love:
  Wireless keyboards and mice. They usually come with 80 extra buttons, all programmable, can work on RF from anywhere in the room, and require very few batteries (I say that since I’m using mine from 5 years ago before they put rechargeable batteries in there). And if you don’t care about the complicated stuff, you just plug it in and it works, end of story. You can install the logitech driver and utility and customize everything…or you can just use it. You can just use the volume wheel, just like any other keyboard, but you can also use the scroll wheel and back button on the left side of the keyboard. They just work. Mind you, mine is 5 years old, and it still works fine. I’m sure the one I started eyeing the other day that has the LCD which shows mp3 ID3 info just works too. THeir products are simple, yet customizeable, efficient and durable, and overall worth the somewhat high price.
  Game controllers – their work best, last longest, and cost the same as anything else. That is all.
  The webcams are simple, plug them in and they work. At the risk of being lazy of typing more html code, their speakers, headphones and headsets rock too.
  Finally, though, we get to that which I covet so deeply. The Logitech Harmony. I’ve wanted one of these for so long I can’t stand it (and Jenn tells me I can’t buy it when I see it online for $50, that instead I should be patient…hint taken). If you’re like me and in your living room you have a reciever, DVD Player, VCR, Tivo, TV, Xbox and PS2, you know how much universal remotes suck. The buttons never program right and even then you forget what you mapped them to half the time. The harmony is my solution, I actually tried to build one with my palm pilot, a free program that used the touch screen interface as an unlimited universal remote, but the IR range sucked. The harmony is basically a palm pilot for your TV remote. It has fucking firmware. FIRMWARE. Between the ultimate PC link programmability and the macro functions visible on the SCREEN, this product has given me hope that one day I can sit in my living room with my feet on the coffee table fighting for space among only one remote.

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