There are some real people in the world, and some who are pretend.


(a long time ago)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rapidfrustration version 3.6

A short protest note. I'm experiencing a sensation that I haven't felt for a while. Whilst trying to identify it, I'm recalling that I'm experiencing levels of computer type frustration that I haven't felt since the dark terrible days of Windows 98.

I try not to be a Mac fanatic. The important thing to remember is that quality is always relative. In deciding how good a product is, you always have to compare it with something else. So my general view is that all computers should really have been as good as Macs and the problem is that 90 odd percent of computer users only experience of computing is Windows, and that seems to set the standard that other computers are judged by. Windows has got a lot better since Windows 98, but the fact that any software company felt that such a dreadfully unreliable operating system was ready to go to market in 1998 is proof of Microsoft's distorting market dominance. A true "market failure" if I ever saw one. I have a Windows machine, a cheap Dell laptop, I bought it for the very rare task that a Mac can't do because the software is not available. XP is much more stable than '98, but I still find the user interface unnecessarily fussy and busy. I don't enjoy using it.

So I moved to the world of Mac in 2003 and never looked back. Having suffered around three or four system crashes a day on my old Windows 98 machine I really fancied taking it to the back garden and smashing it to pieces, but I thought better of it and finally sold it on eBay in 2005 for around 50 quid.

It's been pretty plain sailing when compared to the days of Win 98 ever since. No computer is ever perfect, but I use computers a lot and I suppose I really test them to destruction, and the Macs generally stand up well.

But of course a computer is only as good as it's software and it's the above software that's causing the Win 98 levels of frustration.

Rapidweaver is a website creation tool for Mac. I actually just paid $25 for the new release (V 3.6) in the hopes that this thing would improve, but no joy. I think the problem is that Rapidweaver lumps all the website content into one file. So every time you save a file the computer is handling a file the size of the whole website, so any system may be challenged by trying to save a 2 gig file for example. This bloody thing has crashed so often whilst saving today that I'm lost count, but I'd estimate it to be around fourteen times.

I'm just managed to update, but its taken forwever. I think this'll be the last update I'll do using Rapidweaver. There is nothing worse than hitting "save" not knowing if you will lose all the work you just did or not.

One of the guys from the Twist, featured on the Kirkcaldybands pages is a website designer and he's recommended Dreamweaver from Adobe. It was only it's $400 price tag and the thought of learning new software that put me off switching to it before now. Oh and of course, it'll be a bloody pain to have to recreate the website in new software. All that cutting and pasting of content and dragging and dropping image and sound files is not very interesting work and time is precious.

It's taken me four years of Mac use to find software written for that platform that is truly useless. There are loads of good free software out there for Macs, and Realmac actually charge money for this rubbish. "We make nice things for Apple Macs". Hmmm, I wonder what that is?

I'm off to watch "The Prestige" on DVD to cheer myself up, I heard David Bowie's accent in it is a laugh.


Ursula said...

the new roommate is a MAC guy and a web developer sort. He could talk intelligently to you about if the software is worth it. . .

Michael Laing said...

I built my web-site from scratch, writing the HTML code myself, and I've got so used to using HTML now that I can't see any great advantage in using Dreamweaver or suchlike. I had a shot of Dreamweaver on my photography course and as far as I could see, there was only a marginal time-saving/convenience factor, but with the disadvantage that you don't see the HTML code, so when something goes wrong - as it always does - you can't tell where the error is. I had the same problem with trying to work out which folders to save files to and stuff too. And that's to say nothing of the price!

It's so much easier to make a folder containing all the files for each page of your site as you go; I make sub-folders for images, pages and thumbnails, and it all seems to work fine. You could buy a paperback book for about £10 that would give you all the information you need to build a web-site like your Kirkcaldy Bands one in HTML. Basically, once you've constructed a page that looks how you want it, you simply duplicate it for all the pages on your site, making alterations as and where needed.

Tom said...

Ursula - thanks for the offer, I think I need the help. Are you all unpacked in your cool new place in the Haight?

Tom said...

Mike - that's a really interesting idea, I think I'll check it out. I was always a little intimidated by the HTML code, as I know no code at all, but they say all the GUI web creation tools have the problem that they are creating HTML code for you and they can over create the code, leading to longer page load times, etc. I think you can pick up free HTML web creation tools on the internet, so that'd be $400 cheaper than buying Dreamweaver.

Tom's blog about life in America as a Scottish person, appreciating and making music, politics, travel, my own philosophy and other stuff not easy to categorise.

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Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom
I'm a 40 something Scottish person who lives in the USA. I'm also an aspiring part time musician and songwriter.