I AM OBSOLETE. AGAIN.

PhotoshopWhen I got my new computer, I decided to try Adobe’s 30-day free trial for photographers. Find out first-hand how I feel about their subscription service.

It was everything I expected it to be, nothing I hoped it might be. Which means I hated it. Because it’s online, it takes significantly longer to open and close than your own software.

It didn’t work with my NIK filters (though the NIK people assure me they are working on a solution to that), so I felt as if half my tools were missing. The software would not remember my library locations, no matter how many times I opened it.

And of course, without a WiFi connection, your tools don’t exist. Vapor-ware has finally come of age.

The third day after signing on, I signed off. Adobe has the absolutely worst, most inept customer service I’ve yet to experience — and that’s saying a lot. Long telephone wait times (“Your business is so important to us that we have put you on hold and play merry tunes to keep you grinding your teeth”) combined with operators who don’t know anything about the products they are supposed to service.

Nothing. At all. “How can I help you?” is a trick question. No matter how simple the question, they have to go ask someone, leaving you on hold. Again. It took hours to cancel the contract with me giving them every possible identifying detail of the contract. It doesn’t bode well for customer support should you decide to subscribe long-term.

It’s all part of the plot to make repairable equipment obsolete … probably to make us obsolete too.

A year ago, ZDNet declared:

The repairable PC is dead

… Amazon … launched their Workspaces offering yesterday. (It) provides a remote Windows environment … to run all your business-critical and personal applications in EC2.

Amazon is certainly not the first service provider to do this, but its endorsement of the technology speaks volumes about where we as an industry are going.

You don’t need an expandable, serviceable PC to get to that desktop and the applications that are hosted there. Indeed, Windows still serves a very key role in that scenario, but within the datacenter and public clouds. —  From ZDNet, November 15, 2013

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They keep telling us we are obsolete. So far, they’ve been wrong, but they’ll keep at it until eventually, they will make it true. Now that subscription is the “way to go” in the software biz, those of us who can’t afford subscriptions will inevitably fall behind. There will be no place for us in the new scheme of things.

I don’t mind old versions of applications if my tools get the job done. I have gone for years without upgrading. But corporations don’t make big money selling software to folks like me.

Enter subscriptions. No more nasty upgrades. We’ll always have “the latest version” (assuming this is a good thing, which I doubt) because we will rent software, not own it.

If you are one of millions of computer users living on a fixed income — or merely poor — this is terrible news.

If you’re barely surviving, subscribing isn’t an option.

When my PCs stop working, as one of them recently did, before replacing it, I call Jeremy, the computer fix-it guy.  He comes to the house. Replaces the broken bits. Cleans out viruses and generally tunes it up. I give him a hundred bucks, he gives me a card with his number on it so if the problems come back, he will come back too, no charge.

I don’t quickly decide to dump my equipment. There has to be a problem that can’t be worked around or fixed. I can’t afford to replace things only because I want something new and shiny. The computer that was not working for me has been re-homed with my granddaughter. Eventually it will need to be reloaded, but if she treats it gently, it will last for years. Despite its inadequate graphics card.

Aside from not having money to replace things on a whim, I hate the whole idea of disposing of stuff so casually. I deplore our throwaway society and its mindset. It’s destroying our planet, trashing the environment. Polluting landfills. Making a profligate society even more wasteful.

It’s the definition of how we’ve gone wrong.

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Does no one in the computer industry look at the effects of their business in a social context? Does no one recognize a moral parameter to business at all? Do they not realize what a dangerous path we are treading?

If one thing is going to doom our world, throwing stuff away rather than fixing it will put us on the fast track to doom.

Long time ago when Garry and I were working a ridiculous number of hours, we started using paper plates to avoid washing dishes. After a while, I found myself washing the paper plates. I couldn’t bear to throw them out.

That was when I rediscovered the concept of reusability. I remembered I had real dishes in my cupboard. I could wash and use them again! Revelation!

We are turning into a world of paper plate users. Everything, from your car to your computer, to your kitchen appliances is junk. If it stops working, dump it. Don’t even think about fixing it.

Change your cell phone every six months. Toss the old one. When in doubt, throw it out.

Because we hold fast to the myth that somewhere on our planet, there is a giant, bottomless hole into which the trash goes. It will never fill up, so we don’t have to worry about conserving resources. If only it were true.



Categories: Computers, Customer Service, Ecology, Economics, Software, Technology

Tags: , , , , ,

28 replies

  1. I’m one of those people who hangs on to things until their parts can’t be stuck together anymore, or my hard drive burns out (which they eventually do). I had to upgrade to Win7, a while back, which was incompatible with a lot of the software I used daily – MS Office, Photoshop CS3… so, I remembered Open Source and downloaded Open Office and Libre Office – they both serve my Office needs just as well as MS Office and are free. Insofar as Photoshop, I downloaded Gimp, another open source program. Some people find it’s learning curve rough, but, for me, I was an advanced Photoshop user, so I am quite happy with it and not having to deal with Adobe and their friggin’ subscription crap.

    I just cannot imagine what this world is going to be like in 100 years. These days, today, will definitely be the “good old days.” :\

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    • You notice when people talk about time travel, hardly anyone wants to see the future? We have enough trouble coping with now, much less whatever will be. I figure I’ll cross that bridge should I actually live long enough. I use Open Office. Have not checked out Libre, but I got a look at it on a friend’s machine and decided Open Office would do it for me. Don’t need two apps for that job. I absolutely will NOT pay for the crap MS is putting out these days. There was a time when Office was actually worth it, but it has been “fixed to death.”

      I admit to being a primitive Photoshop user. I know enough to get what I want to do, done. I downloaded GIMP, but so far, it has proved impenetrable. But to be fair, I can’t figure out Lightroom, either. I have a trial version of onOne and it’s interesting. Just not sure it’s worth the money. For me, anyway.

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  2. Been there and done it all. No-one is interested in repairing anything today and a computer? – joke of the year. If you want it repaired the job costs about 10% more than the original price. Because apple Yosemite was not compatible with my bluewin mail server, I phone customer help at bluewin. It was a nice sort of bloke on the phone, but he had to tell me that for further help CHF 25.0. Ok, I decided it would be worth it. He passed me on to bloke No. 2 who was more in the picture I suppose. “OH yes, I know it is a big problem, but we are working on it. In the meanwhile I would download Thunderstorm from Firefox Mozilla. Safari mail system is in any case not so good, Thunderstorm is free of charge. It can go a long while until Bluewin find the solution with Apple”. Great and for that I pay 25.00 Swiss Francs. I have never used plastic plates at home (just for picknick) and I only run my dish washer and washing machine after 9.00 in the evening (electricity half price until 6 in the morning). But it’s fun, we housewives and golden oldies have a new pastime. Pinching and saving – Every penny helps. sometimes I feel like one of those immigrants in New York at the beginning of the 20th century where they had about 20 recipes for preparing dishes with old bread. In England my mum made a bread pudding and now I know why. The only difference is that they now call it progress and we called it saving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny about that. They call it “going green” and recycling, but it’s the same old thing our moms did. It’s called being economical, saving money, pinching pennies. Living on a budget. I guess we are lucky we have a local guy who fixes computers. He is reasonable, though not cheap. I keep everything as long as it can be fixed and will do the job. I don’t understand why everyone is so eager to throw everything away. Often, what they throw away is better quality than the stuff with which they replace it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That’s why I have kept Mr. Swiss so long. I know what I have and he makes a super apple flan and can iron shirts so well. I have a folder at home with all my guarantees. Now that is organisation.I don’t go a bundle on all this green stuff either. My chickens and cows did not have a happier death because they were fed on “green” food. They had to go all the same, although I like to see the chickens and cows run free but that goes into another dimension. I am not vegetarian, I help to keep the balance of nature.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have decided to keep Garry too. He is a ironer of shirts. He irons his blue jeans too. He likes things tidy. I’m not happy about animals dying to feed me, but there is a food chain and they didn’t die for me in particular. I always wished tofu made me happy, but it doesn’t.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Im lucky, I married a man who can Fix Things, hand him something with a whirry sound and he can make it stop whirring unless it needs to whir but in a different way. He can fix computers, or rebuild an old engine. Every girl should have one of those (the engine fixer, not the engine). I grew up reasonably poor, and have never gotten over it. I save, I reuse until even the rags beg for mercy, I recycle anything that doesn’t move; I shop at thrift shops because I like to, and at my age I look silly in skinny jeans and crop tops and most dress shops favor such horrors. And we both take great if unreasonable pride in owning/using things that belonged to our parents, grandparents, and possibly great grandparents.

        One of our neighbors keeps telling us, with great glee, that we are still living in the 19th century. Some day I shall put down my bonnet and lacy gloves and beat him senseless with my parasol.

        We are not obsolete, but folks want us to think we are so they can sell us shiny, and sexy black and aluminum, and gee whiz in a box we need help to get opened, as well as instructions too small to read and carefully planted in white on white caps and grey on black labels. They make us feel obsolete by making things we cant lift, fix, read or open, without help.

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        • I have a son who fixes things. I fix things too, though not so much these days as I did when I was younger and more agile. Let them laugh and let them spend their money buying and re-buying junk. We’re smarter than your arrogant neighbor. Can I help you beat him senseless? I’ll bring my own parasol 🙂

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  3. Well, I’m trying to help with my 5 year old computer and laptop, my 16 year old car, my 8 year old cellphone, a secondhand washer and dryer my sister was gonna toss out that I’ve milked for another 5 years…. my furniture is all stuff I got for free that was otherwise gonna be tossed out….

    Even the plastic spoon I use for when I make shaved ice treats is 10 years old (I am not making that up, by the way!)

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    • We only got new furniture (finally) 3 years ago when the stench of old incontinent dogs had really made life overwhelmingly smelly. Out TV is 13 years old and still (crossed fingers) doing fine. Our originaly washer and dryer finally died, but the “new” ones are 5 years old. Garry’s car is a 2002. Our “new” car is 2009 — and FINALLY paid off. Of course, as I write they are fixing the well which has gone for more than 40 years without any help. Hopefully it will go another 40 without assistance. Garry has 40 year old suits in his closet and they still fit him and look good. I don’t have a cell phone any more. Garry’s is a couple of years old. Much of our furniture is donated or adopted, as are several of our dogs. We seem to be a default location for stuff no one else wants. But I’m good with that 🙂 Nice we aren’t the only ones!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paper plates analogy? Try TV News.

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  5. The idea of subscription software makes me shudder. I have far too many payments coming out of my poor little bank account as it is.
    As for technology, I hang on to stuff long after it’s considered “obsolete”. I admit I’ve just recently decided that I like new cars, but the old car gets bought by someone else, so it’s not really “thrown out” 🙂

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    • Subscription software is particularly perilous for those of us who live in rural or semi-rural areas and have unstable wifi. I gave it a try and I hated it. Finally, I now have Photoshop CS6 updated, installed, running. A lot of us are unhappy with the concept of living in the cloud … a very dodgy cloud. I am hoping by the time my software is totally obsolete, they’ll either have come to the senses or there will be an alternative.

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  6. I’m using Photoshop 7.0. 😀 Gah, reading through this post just made me queasy.

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  7. On a different note, I’m reminded of The Rolling Stones’ “Get Off Of My Cloud”.

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  8. We just need to care a bit. Is it too much to ask for? Of course, it is. We live in a Junkian world (terrible, terrible pun that but I like to get all that vile stuff out and Friday’s a good day for that). Like I mentioned elsewhere on your blog, I almost junked my computer but then the better part of me prevailed. A small injection of memory and a little tweak is all that was needed to get it going. I usually revamp printers or computers that I have used for a while and give them away to schools that are short on resources and funding.

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    • I try to re-home used equipment if it is at all usable by anyone. They only things that are truly dead are monitors. Especially old CRTs. No one wants them, not even for free. Our TV is 13 years old. It’s huge, a 50″ first version hi-def flat screen. Not as good as newer ones — MUCH bigger and heavier — but getting rid of it is dicey. So, until it dies, it’s ours.

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  9. The only plug-ins I had to update for Photoshop CC 2014 were from OnOne Software because I had the older version 6. They just came out with version 9 so I upgraded for $89. for the whole suite that works great with that latest Photoshop CC version. I lost Topaz deNoise because I couldn’t find the install PKG on my iMac. The Clarity module was there and I reinstalled it for Photoshop CC 2014 and it works fine. I googled the nik software fix and once I copied that folder to the new Photoshop CC 2014 version all my NIK filters popped up and are working great. Wishing you the best on getting your system up and working.

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  10. Sorry Marilyn, this should get your NIK plugins working with Photoshop CC 2014. Copy the Google folder (containing the NIK plugins) from the PS CS6 plugin folder to the PS CC plugin folder. PS CC recognizes all (Windows 7 64 bit).

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    • Oh, I already dis-enrolled. I didn’t like the version they had, I didn’t like that I couldn’t use it without being connected. It was slower than my own installed software effectively defeating the point of having a really fast computer.

      OnOne are selling their whole set of filters for $139. Does this sound like a good deal? Input appreciated!

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      • If you don’t already have them it’s a bargain. I did have the older version 6.0 suite so I got the new version 9.0 for $89. They are really, really great people at OnOne, located here in Portland, OR. Their customer service is super. I highly recommend them.

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  11. STEP 1: Navigate to the Photoshop CC folder in APPLICATIONS
    STEP 2: Double Click to Open the PLUG-INS Folder to reveal all those installed and simply highlight them all and EDIT – COPY (Right Click + Copy)
    STEP 3: Navigate to the Photoshop CC 2014 folder in APPLICATIONS
    STEP 4: Double Click to Open the PLUG-INS Folder and then EDIT – PASTE (Right Click + Paste)
    STEP 5: Close and Re-Open Photoshop CC 2014

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  12. I remember, I’m not sure how many years ago, I heard the term “thin client.” If I recall correctly, it meant that corporations would not need to provide their employees with powerful laptop computers loaded with application software and large hard drives. All of the applications would exist in the cloud (or maybe on company servers). All work product would exist in the cloud (or on those servers), rather than on a local hard drive. It would save corporations millions — maybe billions for large corporations — in both hardware and software costs. Again, I don’t remember how long ago that the “thin client” concept was the vision of the future, but, at least at the very large (55,000 employees) company I work for, we each still have our own powerful laptops with large hard drives and tons of applications software loaded on them. And I like it that way.

    On an entirely different note, I had to call Comcast the other night because my cable TV decided to just stop working. For about 90 minutes I heard, over and over again, “Your call is important to us. Please hold on for the next available service representative.” Finally, when someone came on the line, I was told there is an outage in my area and “technicians are working hard to resolve the issue.” When I asked if they had any estimate for when it would be resolved, I was told, “If it’s still not working when you wake up in the morning, please call back.”

    Now that’s customer service.

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    • I remember “thin clients” and I remember how the idea was universally abandoned when everyone discovered how slow using centralized servers was … and how vulnerable it was. Out went “thin” and in came “distributed.”

      Now “thin” is “cloud,” but it has the same issues as the thin client. It’s slow. Vulnerable. Not to mention you never know when your cloud is going to stop being free, cheap, or even existing at all. I’ve been dubious about this all along and every experience I have confirms my fears.

      I have heard that Comcast sucks. But basically — ALL the cable companies suck. Charter is pretty much exactly the same. Right down to “if it isn’t working in the morning, call back.” And Comcast is trying to take over Charter. I think maybe the FCC won’t let them, but who knows what January will bring?

      Liked by 1 person

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