WARNING: THIS ONE'S L O N G
Thanks to the rapid development of technology, specifically computer
hardware and software, I'm forced to (kicking and screaming) "upgrade"
both my hardware AND software, in order to maintain three web sites
which I intentionally built to be as simple, and therefore compatible
with even 10 year old computers and web browsers, as possible.
Now I'll grant you that the hardware upgrade was a no brainer - an order
of maginitude or more improvement in power and speed with a
corresponding size reduction relative to my previous computer. Oh - and
the price is about 75 percent of the cost of my previous computer - not
even adjusting for inflation.
The software, on the other hand, is where the nightmares begin.
Let's begin with the Operating System - and from a user's perspective,
the far more important User Interface. Seems that if you skip a few
"upgrades" to the OS - and it's User Interface - the transition from
version to version suddenly becomes significant. The "Look and Feel"
can change from familiar with a few changes to adapt to, to HUH!? The
Learning Curve slope doesn't quite go vertical, but the increased slope
one faces can seem as though a vigorous cardio-vascular work out will be
But that's minor compared to the fun and games of "upgrading" software
I've been using since version 1.0 (ok so some of the stuff I use I
started with version 3.0 - though I still have Mosaic, which was
Netscape version 0.1).
So I need to upgrade a simple CAD/"paint" application from the one I've
been using since 1989 - it's LAST update was 1993. That company, Aldus,
was bought out by Adobe and the product was shelved and therefore no
longer available. Still haven't found the NEW product that'll do what I
"could" do with the OLD product, but I've found a few that sort of MIGHT
do the job.
And I need an image processing application that does what PhotoShop
does. And since I've been upgrading Adobe PhotoShop from version 3.0 to
version 7.0, and since the NEWEST version of PhotoShop is actually V
9.0, though, just to muddy the waters, Adobe switched to calling it
Adobe PhotoShop CS3 (apparently the CS does not stand for Chicken Shit,
but Creative Suite, which implies more than one "room" / graphics
application - but in fact is only ONE application - the application
"formerly known as" PhotoShop. Are you noticing how muddied the waters
have become?). SO - there is no "upgrade" available. If I want The
Real PhotoShop, the one I'm familiar with, I have to pay the Full List
Price someone who hasn't been using PhotoShop, and upgrading for the
last 10+ years must pay. So much for the value of "customer loyalty".
BUT - for ONLY $299, I CAN get PhotoShop-Lite. I'm hoping "Lite" as
I've come to know it from other products doesn't mean "Won't Do What You
Have Been Doing - BUT - It's Low In Saturated Fats and Carbohydrates -
AND - Good For Your Heart").
Now the third leg of my Triad is a website building and maintaining
application. Because I was a loyal Adobe PhotoShop customer, I of
course bought Adobe GoLive and bought the intervening "upgrades". So I
WAS intending to get the Newest Upgrade that IS compatible with my NEW
computer's NEW Operating System.
SURPRISE! Adobe discontinued GoLive.
BUT - just as they did earlier with Aldus, they bought the competition -
and this time saw that their product (MacroMedia's Dreamweaver) was
BETTER than GoLive so they kept it and IT is compatible with my New
Computer's Operating System! Oh Joy! and another
AH SH*T! Here comes another Learning Curve and a month or more just to
get back to what I already CAN do on my Old Computer. The plus side is
that it only cost me another $200 and not $599.99.
Now here's where the Globalization thing comes in.
I live in Silcon Valley - the heart of technology and the headquarters
for both Apple, Intel, AMD - and Adobe Systems and a TON of other
"hi-tech" companies. Surely the software I need is available anywhere
computers and software are sold - right?
But I live about 5 miles from Adobe Systems World Headquarters. Surely
I can just drive over there, hand them my debit card, get my software
and come home and start climbing The Learning Curve.
OK - so why not just go to Adobe's website, get a phone number and phone
in my order? Simple right?
IF you have the latest and greatest version of the latest and greatest
web browsers it's probably easy as can be. BUT - IF YOU DON'T - well
their site probably is wonderful and easy to navigate - but not with the
web browsers I HAVE.
So I "retroed" and got out the Yellow Pages to find Adobe's phone
number. A half an hour of "If you'd like to _____, please press ONE -
or say ONE - now" phone tree climbing and I EVENTUALLY get to a human
being - in Bremerton Washington. He patiently explained - that I was
SCREWED. However, they had a Special Deal for previous owners of GoLive
which meant I could get the GoLive successor DreamWeaver - for ONLY
$199.99! PhotoShop on the other hand would run me $699.99 since I only
had version 7.0 and not version 8.0. HOWEVER, they did have a product
called LightRoom 1 - for ONLY $299.99!
Now if you've been playing with computers for very long, you know that
any Version 1.0 of ANYTHING usually means you're getting what should be
called Beta - as in "we think this will work - and we need YOU, as a
Beta Tester, to tell US what's wrong with this thing - and maybe even
suggest a solution.". Bells and Whistles and Klaxtons are going off in
my head and a little voice is SHOUTING - DON'T DO IT!
But hey - he told me I was screwed early on in our conversation.
So I Bite The Bullet, give him my debit card number and place an order -
which the guy in Bremerton - that's Washington State - tells me might be
delivered by Friday -4 days later - and he sends me an e-mail confirming
my order. Of course the e-mail is actually an Attachment - a PDF
version of my confirmation. IT doesn't contain a Fed Ex Tracking Number
Friday I check the mail. Nothing, zip, nada. And Saturday again,
nothing, zip nada.
This morning I consider taking a Valium before picking up the phone but
I dial The Number and get "Welcome to Adobe Systems - and the equivalent
of my Family Tree list of Phone Tree options. When I hear one that
sounds like it might work I press that number. Two chirps, a beep and a
click later - I've got Muzak and eventually - a dial tone!
I hit the Redial Button, listen to "Welcome to Adobe Systems" - and I
press "1", hoping to eventually get to a human being. Two chirps, a beep
and a click later - I've got Muzak and eventually - a dial tone!
OK - let's try What's Behind Door Number Two!
Two chirps, a beep and a click later - I've got Muzak and eventually - a
How about What's Behind Door Number Four! (I already knew what was
behind Door Number Three).
Two chirps, a beep and a click later - I've got - a human being!
Hu-Phreakin-Ray! BOB listens to my saga and then says - "I don't know
why someone would create the expectation you'd get your product by
Friday - we FedEX "5 to 7 BUSINESS DAYS" (read Slow Boat To China) -
unless the customer wants Two Day Delivery - which is significantly more
money than "5 to 7 BUSINESS Day". Could you please give me your Account
Number, Order Number, Date of Order (your paternal grandmother's
birthdate, maiden name and color of eyes) - and I'll get a FedEx
Tracking Number for you. I open the PDF file with the info I got from
Adobe when I ordered the "products" - but only after closing one of the
applications I was working in (I have four applications open when I'm
working on one of my websites - two if which are Adobe "products").
"I'm gonna put you on hold - for just a second - while I get you your
FedEx Tracking Number".
Two chirps, a beep and a click later - I've got Muzak - again!
Five minutes later the Muzak stops - there's a moment of silence - then
- a DIAL TONE!
Where the hell is the VALIUM!?
Son- of-a-BIT<H! - I'm out of VALIUM!
I resort to breathing deeply - in through the nose - out through pursed
lips while I mentally do my OMMMMMM thing trying desperately to get to
My Happy Place. I would've gone out to the shop and gotten In The Zone
- but anger and frustration should never be mixed with power tools and
sharp spinning carbide.
When the knot in my stomach began to loosen, and I'd restored the top of
my skull to its proper place - Once More Into The Breech (or is it
When I get to Adobe's Phone Tree I wait semi-patiently for them to get
to "please press FOUR.".
I press the "4" button on my portable touchtone phone and cross my
fingers, while trying to unlock my clenched teeth.
Two chirps, a beep and a click later - I've got Muzak - again!
Thankfully it wasn't one of Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits.
And then - a voice - a human voice! I almost shouted with joy.
Then I tried to understand the language the voice was speaking.
I was listening to a guy - in INDIA! - Mumbai (I think that's what the
city formerly known as Bombay is now called)! I was to discover. We
both agreed to speak VERY SLOWLY and eventually this kind and patient
soul was prepared to give me the FedEX Tracking Number and walk me
through going to the FedEx.com site to find the status of my order.
After I asked that he just give me the phreakin' FedEx Tracking Number
he finally relented and gave it to me. I thanked him very much and
asked to speak to his supervisor.
Two chirps, a beep and a click later - I've got a pleasant sounding lady
- who asked for my name, home address and e-mail address - before she
could answer ANY questions - or hear anything else I wanted to say to
There HAS TO BE some VALIUM around here somewhere! Where's my BONG?
"If you'd like to e-mail your Customer Feed Back (apparently nobody has
a Complaint Department anymore) please go to www.adobe.com ...
I jump in RIGHT THERE. I've tried getting to Adobe's website and I
do anything there - with EITHER of my web browsers - which is WHY I
CALLED YOU FOLKS!
"Well did YOU try _________?"
Lady - GIVE ME A REAL WORLD STREET, CITY, STATE AND ZIP CODE ADDRESS!
AND IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT'S HOLY - D O N O T PUT ME ON HOLD!
(puff - toke - puff - blow smoke rings for their calming effect)
Wisely, she gave me the mailing address - which is ONE zip code away
from MY zip code.
Having the FedEx Tracking Number I find that the order I placed with a
guy in Bremerton Washington before Noon on Tuesday May 27th was prepared
for sending to FedEX at 12:47 pm on May 28th - from Kennesaw, GEORGIA!
It arrived at the FedEx location - in GEORGIA a bit over 7 hours later,
but didn't leave there 'til 6:14 AM the next day - May 29th, arriving in
Salt Lake City - UTAH the next afternoon, May 30th. I was told to
expect delivery of my "products" on Wednesady - which will be June 4th.
Now I've ordered a 125 pound electric potters wheel and gotten it in TWO
days. And my son's company - with HQ in FRANCE - can put an expensive
road bicycle on my doorstep in a day, two days tops. But TWO CDs - from
a company with its World Headquarters "just up the road"?
Nitro glycerin tablets - where the hell did I put them . . .
"I'm going to wake up now because this nightmare has gone on way to long
and has gotten too insane."
Two chirps, a beep and a click -THUD -----------------------------