Friday, May 4, 2012

When did even little things become so difficult?

Just when the *&#$  did everything become so *&#$@%! difficult? I'm thinking of both my life and the lives of my friends in general, as well as few specific things.

For instance, take something as simple as burning a CD. I'm not talking about copying a CD, I'm talking about making one from mp3 tracks I did not purchase, but which were created using 78rpm records and etc. Making a CD is easy. BUT don't try to print a CD cover or label for it. When I first started burning discs of music in 2001, one program - that came installed on the computer - handled burning the CD and imported all of the basic information (track name, artist, time) into the print program. And you could do all kinds of graphics work with the labels and CD case and inserts. Then one day I upgraded to Windows XP so I could use my "always on" high speed internet connection because the old operating system wouldn't load the software for the high speed modem. And the CD burning program? Oops. Old software wouldn't work with the new operating system, and one couldn't upgrade because the product line had been sold to a different company. The only option was to go out and buy the new version. Okay, grit one's teeth, pay the expense. Oops - new version won't open old version files. Sorry. At least the program worked. But after a year or two, changes in driver files rendered the printing portion of the program obsolete - it no longer worked. Desperate emails to support provided no answers or downloadable patches. The best advice? Purchase the new version! The nice little program had changed, however. Now it was a big bloated program that handled making DVDs as well. And did a ton of other stuff that served my purposes in no way whatsoever. And the price had gone way, way up. But there was thankfully a basic version available that did most everything one would want. Except run properly on an older computer system even though mine was well within the requirements listed on the software's packaging. There was only one way to print disc information, and that didn't include title, artist, time. Oh, you could get that - if you upgraded to the big full out program for another sizable fee. A bit over a year ago I finally afforded a new computer. It had mostly "basic" versions of software - i.e. want full features? Spend another $120+ please! Each. Now when I burn a disc - I still can't print a label. I can use a laser to etch the contents right onto the disc, though. As long as I only want the title. And as long as there are only about 6 songs. It won't handle more. If you try to pick any of the other options available (print CD case) all of the content information goes away. So, I then spend time reading about and downloading trial versions of software programs that will read the track information which gets burned into the CD along with the music, and print it. Except not the way I want it. ALL I *&#$@%! WANT IS TITLE, ARTIST, AND TIME, GODDAMMIT! I'm can't believe I actually consider spending $30.00 if a test program works just so I can do this easily, but nooooooooo can't do that, save the money. (And I tried several programs, none of which worked properly - they'll download all the info and graphics of  discs you illegally copy, though.) You can get swirls in color all around the text, and use all kinds of "templates" providing allegedly professional looking designs. But a simple list with title-artist-time? Forget that.

And speaking of templates... Used to be you wanted to, say, print note cards? Easy! (I used to use them to promote my radio show.)

Design your card using a program template that automatically set the area size you had to work with, put card stock in the printer, use your print program to select a form number printed on the card stock box and everything would line up and print at just the right size. Done in minutes. No more of that, though. You now have selections that look like they will work, but then don't print right (creating rejects whose sole function seems to be using up the horribly expensive ink). And there's no way to specify the design size anymore to manually set up what you need. That's probably another program upgrade costing another hundred plus dollars.

The first thought that comes to mind is to quote the Red Queen, "Off with their heads!"
Greedy bastids.

Oh, in case I don't get back here in time to post this for tomorrow: