Posted on February 4th, 2020
That was the Golden Age of software.
We are now degrading to the Rusty Fork Age of software, and it's all because of The Subscription Model.
Instead of outright buying a program... or app, as they are now known... you purchase a subscription to the app. The license to use the app is renewed month-to-month or year-to-year and said app will cease to function if you stop paying for it.
I fucking hate this shit. And let me tell you why...
It's because it leaves you with nothing when you can no longer pay. Nothing!
In most cases when somebody moves to The Subscription Model I just say "fuck you" and take my business elsewhere. A classic example is an app called TextExpander which went subscription in 2016. It's an app that will automatically expand abbreviations you specify to an un-abbreviation you set. Tired of typing "With Best Regards," over and over? Just set "wbr" as a shortcut and it will expand to the full phrase instantly. TextExpander went from an app you could buy for $35 and use for years to an app you had to rent at $8 a month... or $48 a year. That was absurd, I told them to kiss my ass, and switched to a competitor.
Just this past week Flexibits took their app called Fantastical to a subscription model. This is a really great calendar app that is far better than Apple's Calendar, and I've been using it for years on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. I paid for the upgrade from version 1 to version 2 because the features they offered were worth the money to me. Now, with version 3, you rent the full program for $5 a month ($60 a year) or $40 a year renewed annually. They went to subscriptions because they didn't want to "worry about the 'every few years' upgrade old school nonsense" to which I say, excuse me? That was never a worry for me... your customer. I GOT TO DECIDE if I wanted to upgrade every few years. It was my choice. I think it's safe to say that there is no feature they could ever add to a fucking calendar app that will make it worth $40 to $60 a year. None. That's the real "nonsense" here, and I would go back to Apple's free Calendar before I'd pay that kind of outrageously stupid money. And, with that in mind, get this... one of the benefits they say that comes out of charging you $40 to $60 every fucking year is that they can offer a free, feature-restricted version of the calendar. How the fuck is it a benefit to paying customers that they offer a free version to non-paying customers? What kind of horse shit "nonsense" is that? I was ready to tell Flexibits to go fuck themselves and that they can shove Fantastical up their collective asses, but apparently they anticipated that. Existing Fantastical 2 users get upgraded to the Fantastical 3 app and get to keep the version 2 upgrade features they paid for plus get the "free" features they added to version 3. But for how long, they don't say. I'm sure when Fantastical 4 rolls around they will say that they are no longer supporting version 2 features and you have to subscribe or stop using the app. At which point I will tell them to shove Fantastical up their collective asses. Because unless they add a feature where their app can blow me, I am not paying $40 to $60 a year for a fucking calendar.
But at least with TextExpander and Fantastical I have options. There are competitors selling apps which do much of the same thing. Perhaps not as feature-packed or elegant, but there are alternatives.
What happens when you don't have alternatives?
"Creativity for All"... well, not "all"... only if you can afford $53 a month.
Adobe's "Creative Suite" is a pile of bloated, bug-ridden shit that constantly changes established tools and alters the way the program works for no fucking logical reason. Even worse, usually you can't even set a preference so that it goes back to working the original way something has worked for decades. All of which cost people money. I fucking hate HATE HATE Adobe for screwing everything up with each new "upgrade," but am forced to deal with their shitty apps because there's really no other choice... and they know that. I especially love paying a huge chunk of money every month for a massive bundle that includes dozens of apps I will never use. And that's not hyperbole. A "Creative Suite" subscription is $53 a month! There's no way to pay for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat Pro only for a more reasonable $10 a month... I am forced to pay for dozens of apps even if they never get installed.
Which makes Adobe the new cable/satellite TV provider of the modern age... charging people money to subsidize shit they will never use, just like cable/satellite companies charged you money for channels you would never watch.
But there is hope.
A company called Affinity is coming out with their own "suite" of creative apps. As an alternative to Adobe Photoshop they offer Affinity Photo. As an alternative to Adobe Illustrator they offer Affinity Designer. As an alternative to Adobe InDesign they offer Affinity Publisher. And they are not stupid-ass subscriptions... they are $50 each. Period. Not $636 a year. $150 total. Until you choose to upgrade.
Now, make no mistake, the Affinity apps are most definitely not feature-equatable to the Adobe apps. But they are good, and getting better every day. And believe you me, I am most definitely looking forward to the day I can tell Adobe to fuck off and take their shitty apps with them.
At which point Adobe will buy out Affinity, I'm sure. Adobe's monopoly gives them billions of dollars for just such an occasion, and it's all thanks to The Subscription Model.
If Apple were smart, they'd buy out Affinity first, discontinue the Windows versions, and include the apps with MacOS. Heaven only knows they have the billion dollars to make it happen. Alas, they seem woefully short on smarts lately, so I'm not holding my breath.
Posted on April 29th, 2013
Odds are, you've heard of "Google Glass"... the computer you wear like a busted pair of sunglasses that can take photos, shoot videos, and do much of the stuff you can do with regular Google (such as search, get directions, send an email, check the weather, etc.). All in all, it's an impressive use of tech that could be a hint at how computers will even further integrate into our lives in the future.
If you haven't seen it, here's a first-person promo piece...
The problem most people have with GooGlass (as I call it) is twofold. First of all are the privacy concerns. Somebody wearing a unit could be filming you as you're having lunch or something. Second of all are the rudeness concerns. Somebody wearing a unit could be ignoring you as you're talking to them and instead concentrating on a video of kittens playing on the Glass screen.
I admit these are valid concerns.
But my problem with GooGlass is much bigger...
Photo courtesy of Google... because, well... you know...
Is there any way of wearing this crap on your face that doesn't make you look like a complete douchebag? (doucheborg?)
I only ask because I honestly don't think there is.
Maybe GooGlass will prove so compelling that people won't care.
It's like parachute pants are happening all over again.
Posted on April 29th, 2012
Time to check your bandwidth, because a special All Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Punisher! President Obama once again killed it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I didn't think he could top his awesome performance last year, but he came really close. Except... was I the only one who kept seeing a skull shape when his shirt was eclipsed by the microphones? At first I thought that it was proof positive that he was, in fact, not a Secret Muslim... but instead a Secret Satan Worshipper! And then... then... it came to me. it's not Satan... it's The Punisher!
I may not always agree with his politics, but I really do like our president. He's a good guy doing a tough job the best way he knows how... all while under constant attack by people who have no respect for his office or our country. If you haven't seen his speech, it's pretty damn funny and well worth watching...
• Election! I don't think there's any question that Mitt Romney will most definitely not be getting my vote. What is in question is whether or not President Obama will get my vote. Right now, I honestly don't know. If he starts caving on things like CISPA and equality, I have no problem with a write-in vote like I've done before when both candidates suck. Otherwise, it's kind of his vote to lose. All that being said, I am kind of enjoying Obama's latest round of ads: "Mitt Romney vs. Reality" where he takes his old footage to address Romney's bullshit pandering. Genius. Romney comes off looking either uninformed or a liar, while Obama dings him without going negative...
It will be interesting to see where Romney's campaign goes now that he's running for president instead of candidacy. Because, I gotta say, his ads always seem more embarrassing than informative or compelling. The guy is so awkward and detached that his every appearance seems to be a reason why he shouldn't be president. He needs an ad team that can work this out... fast.
• Houdini! I stopped watching MTV a long time ago. They used to be all about music, but now all they give a crap about is stupid shit like Jersey Shore which I wouldn't watch if my life depended on it. The upshot being that I don't see many music videos anymore. Not that it's a big loss... most music videos suck ass these days. But I do follow Foster the People, and their latest video for my favorite song (Houdini) off their last album (Torches) is really good...
Creative, funny, well-executed, and fitting to the song. Doesn't get much better than that.
• Old! A year ago, somebody asked a question that has been burning up the internet this past week... "What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?" Since I was around when computers went consumer mainstream, I remember all too well about things like modems, data cassettes, BBSs, and yes... floppy disks for your A: and/or B: drive. I also remember VHS tape, Pong, record players, and... heaven help me... rotary telephones...>
It's not that I feel particularly old over it all... the technological advances over the past 30 years have been astoundingly fast... it's what we're in for over the next 30 years. Just as the iPhone bears -zero- resemblance to the rotary phone, I'd imagine the "phone" of the future will be an even bigger departure from iPhone. It's at that point that I really start to feel my age. Oh well. I honestly think that the limitations that my generation had to put up with from technology made it more fun than the sheer magic we get from technology today, so there's that*.
• Ridley! When it comes to movies this year, I'd have thought it would be impossible to top my excitement for The Avengers, but Ridley Scott's offering, Prometheus, does exactly that. The new international trailer has me aching for a good science fiction movie...
June 8th can't get here fast enough.
And now I suppose it's time to put away YouTube so I can get some real work done.
*Oh who am I kidding? I would have killed to have had an iPhone back in the 80's, and everybody knows it.