Software Summit

Have we reached a software summit?

I’m having two old computers being checked over, one’s Vista and the other is even a Windows 98 machine. They are old, slow and lack hard-disc space, but they do run Adobe Premiere 5.1. I bought Adobe Premiere Elements 10, the all singing, all dancing version of the video editing software and it is unusable. You used to i) add footage to your project, ii) place it on the timeline, iii) fiddle with it, and finally iv) export the finished footage. Now you i) get media to add to the project, ii) delete it off the timeline because rarely do you want the clips in alphabetical order, iii) add clips to the timeline, iv) fiddle with them and v) undo the ‘helpful’ automatic adjustments that the program feels it wants to do, vi) swear, viii) repeat step v and vi until you’ve lost the will to live and finally… but ‘export’ is greyed out on the drop down menu. Where is it? Why won’t it work? Repeating step vi doesn’t help, searching every single drop down menu doesn’t help? Searching every single drop down menu while simultaneously doing step vi doesn’t help. Until, after spending hours trying to work it out, you discover that in this age of social media you now longer export files (so why is the option there!!!), but instead you ix) ‘share’ your video with others.
To justify a new version, they’ve added bells and whistles, but you can no longer cycle on it.

Borland Delphi is another one. I learnt to program in Pascal, so Borland Pascal was my choice for my own setup. My freelance programming uses it. When Delphi came out, the rather brilliant Windows programming environment, I embraced that. It was so quick, easy and powerful. Delphi 4.0 was marvellous. Of course, they then started to improve it, add features, until eventually it was a) very expensive and b) impossible to use. A whole community sprung up to create Lazarus, an open-source Delphi 4.0 clone. OK, the slider component is upside down and other oddities, but it works, you can program in it, if you get stuck, the forum sorts it really quickly.

Word is another that tends to be improved so that you have to spend hours relearning it. It updates and then, where is everything and how do you turn various options off? I can’t imagine anything that it’s lacking (other than clarity in the menu structure), so any ‘improvements’ won’t be. It does all the word processing I, or anyone else, need: words, paragraphs, spell checking, undo, tables, pictures, etc… OK, I’d like a feature that counts the number of words added today, which Scrivener will do apparently. But basically, it’s job done, isn’t it?

Adobe Premiere 5.1 worked. Borland Delphi 4.0 worked. Word works. OK, a little faster loading up perhaps, that occasional crash in the former sorting and all the stupidities in the latter need removing, but basically that’s video editing, programming and writing covered. Spotify plays music, so stop creating later versions: I really don’t need the ‘discover’ button hiding again.

All sorted.

Or would be, if it worked on the 64-bit machine.

No Hal or Skynet-like computing improvements are needed. In fact, lunacy beyond lunacy, I have to go backwards to previous hardware to use software that hasn’t been improved to worthlessness. To beat the Terminator, all you have to do is wait for it to be ungraded.

Why can’t they leave it alone? I’d pay good money to have them leave it alone.

Or am I a luddite? Or a ‘Cyberluddite’? I like the sound of that.

Latest: I found the installation kit for my digitising card and it comes on several floppy discs!!! Extraordinary, a real blast from the past.

Extra latest: but it won’t run on Windows 7 and needs Windows XP.

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