Friday, August 28, 2009

Windows Vista, How Do I Hate Thee?

Let me count the ways. No, wait, that'll take a couple years.

<-- begin techno-rant -- >

Since purchasing my new desktop computer, I have had problems with virtually every application I use daily. Most notably, iTunes and my Alphasmart Dana.

iTunes, I fixed, with the help of some really smart folks who knew how to rescue my MP3s from certain oblivion. My Dana is another matter. *sob*

I loved my Dana, but AlphaSmart has decided not to pursue a Windows Vista patch for this model, because they are pushing to get people to buy their new Neo. The Neo 2 has a smaller screen, however, and I don't feel it's fair that writers who use the Dana like me are SOL if they get a computer running Vista. My new desktop computer won't run HotSync either, which was a dandy little program that let you connect your Dana to your computer, and then electronically transfer all your writing files to your desktop PC, converting them as it went to .DOC or .RTF.

Can't do that in Vista. There's nothing out there yet that's capable of converting a file written on AlphaWord (they use WordSmart) from its native .PDB format to a .DOC or even .RTF. You can get an SD card (1 MB or less) and save all your files off the Dana to that, then plug it into your computer, but you'll still get a .PDB file that isn't properly readable by MS Word or Open Office. Does anybody recall that saying that your data is only good as long as you can read it?

You CAN right-click on the file once you've plopped it from the SD card into a folder on your desktop computer, and open it with a text editor like Notepad, but then you have to copy all that text to a new document in MS Word/OO and delete all the gibberish characters by hand. (It doesn't read the hard returns or italics or underlined text properly.) Then you can save the edited file as .DOC on your desktop PC. This is what I did, to rescue all my writing. Lucky for me, I didn't have much to edit because I updated so frequently and had backups I could just add the new text to. Still took me all night.

Any of this making sense? No? Just humor me, then. I'm always crabby when I have to waste good writing time making technology behave.

Anyway, I am eyeballing the HP Mini, or something similar, that will still give me a small and portable word processor, but play nice with my desktop PC when it comes time to transfer files. Too bad it will be so much more fragile than my Dana. I have dropped that sucker on a cement floor, picked it up, and continued writing with no ill effects.

I hold out hope that someday MS will release a Windows platform that doesn't require ten thousand patches, bug fixes, and updates the moment you get it. This could be a futile effort. Why has no one throttled MS for making Vista so unlivable? I miss XP. The more I know about Windows and Microsoft, the more I love open source software. Bleah.

<-- end techno-rant -- >

Hope your weekend goes better than mine! Heading off to the fridge now for a tiny bottle of Godiva liqueur ....

No comments:

Post a Comment