More Adobe WTF


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    So if you've ever come across a full install of Adobe Acrobat (Note: Adobe Reader is a pile of bloated shit. Full Acrobat is comparatively a dream despite sharing UIs and render engines. Don't ask how that works, I don't have an answer.), you've probably seen Adobe Distiller, which comes packed in with it.  What you probably don't know is what the fuck it actually is.

     

    Bottom line, Distiller is a PostScript engine. It interprets PostScript and spits out PDFs much in the same way a printer interprets PostScript and spits out paper. This makes it EXCEPTIONALLY handy for people who don't want to be walking back and forth to printers all day long, killing innumerable trees, not to mention the horror of inter-office mail.

    PostScript is a fully functional programming language - you can do things like disk IO to pull in additional PostScript or images or do general purpose output or whatever.  Up until Acrobat/Distiller 9.0, Adobe included a commandline argument (-F) which allows you to prevent it doing some "naughty" things like going out to UNC paths. My company's entire postscript environment is set up spread across the network (permanent, font and library resources over here, job-specific resources over here, client-specific resources over here). In Acrobat/Distiller 9.0.1 and later, the switch is reversed. You need to include it so that you can enable the "naughty" features. When that sub-minor release rolled out, all our tools had to be modified IMMEDIATELY to include support for both 9.0 and 9.0.1. 

    On top of that, the stupid switch is undocumented since 7.x.



  • @Weng said:

    In Acrobat/Distiller 9.0.1 and later, the switch is reversed.

    @Weng said:

    On top of that, the stupid switch is undocumented since 7.x.

    Perhaps that's why they felt entitled to arbitrarily change its meaning without fanfare.
    (Well no, they felt entitled because they're Adobe, but you know what I mean.)



  • Changing the default behavior: normal
    Changing the meaning of an existing switch instead of adding a new one: asking for trouble



  •  I've noticed there's a direct correlation between how popular a company's software is and how evil they become as they age.  Companies that fit this:  Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, and most recently, Google.



  • @henke37 said:

    Changing the default behavior: normal
    Changing the meaning of an existing switch instead of adding a new one: asking for trouble
    And changing an undocumented feature? I used to read address 0x34004234 in the process memory to get the size of the document, and with the new version this address not longer works, RAGE!



  • @Master Chief said:

     I've noticed there's a direct correlation between how popular a company's software is and how evil they become as they age.  Companies that fit this:  Microsoft, Adobe, IBMApple, and most recently, Google.

    FTFY. I can't think of any software by IBM that's actually popular.

    TRWTF is having to kill trees to get from your desk to your printer.



  • @boomzilla said:

    TRWTF is having to kill trees to get from your desk to your printer.
     

    The trees grow pretty fast.  Every employee is issued a machete when they are hired.

    Last July the entire accounting department was lost during an expedition to the photocopier and they were never heard from again.

     

     



  • @boomzilla said:


    FTFY. I can't think of any software by IBM that's actually popular.

     

    Lotus Notes

     



  • @The poop of DOOM said:

    @boomzilla said:
    FTFY. I can't think of any software by IBM that's actually popular.

    Lotus Notes

    Who likes Lotus Notes? Are these that same people who like SAP? I don't think that there aren't enough of them to actually call it popular, though I will grant that these beings are over represented in C level positions.



  • @The poop of DOOM said:

    @boomzilla said:


    FTFY. I can't think of any software by IBM that's actually popular.

     

    Lotus Notes

     

    Whoa hold on, Lotus Notes is popular?

    I think AIX or DB2 could be considered popular, or maybe even Websphere Application Server, but... Lotus Notes?



  • @Master Chief said:

    I've noticed there's a direct correlation between how popular a company's software is and how evil they become as they age.

    Well, it's just "monopolies are bad." When competition goes away, products become shit. Microsoft, IMO, has gotten over this hump by:

    1) getting more effective competition (OS X, Firefox/Chrome)

    2) entering/relsaunching in new fields with more competition (Bing, Xbox, WinMo 7)

    3) taking risks with products that have virtually zero competition (Office 2007's Ribbon)

    Now they have some good products, and some weirdly bad products, and some "bits of it are good but the core is rotten" products (I think both Excel and PowerPoint go into that category). But... eh it's better than it was 5 years ago.

    @Master Chief said:

    Companies that fit this: Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, and most recently, Google.

    If you want Adobe to improve, you need to compete with them. Right now, Photoshop's competition is... Gimp? Hahahahaha. The good news is that the HTML5 switch opens a huge door for someone to nail the coffin lid on Flash, but... uh... nobody's actually doing that, so shit.

    IBM's always been shit. Google's always been shit at anything other than search and email.



  • @LegacyCrono said:

    Whoa hold on, Lotus Notes is popular?

    It's hard to say, since IBM blatantly lies about its numbers. But Lotus Notes has something around 30-40% of the enterprise email market. It's especially strong in healthcare and government.



  • @LegacyCrono said:

    @The poop of DOOM said:
    @boomzilla said:
    FTFY. I can't think of any software by IBM that's actually popular.
    Lotus Notes

     

    Whoa hold on, Lotus Notes is popular?

    Lotus Notes is widely used.  But "popular" generally implies that people like something, and I don't know anyone who actually likes Lotus Notes.

     



  • @Weng said:

    So if you've ever come across a full install of Adobe Acrobat (Note: Adobe Reader is a pile of bloated shit. Full Acrobat is comparatively a dream despite sharing UIs and render engines. Don't ask how that works, I don't have an answer.),
    TRWTF is the installer.  Here's the very first thing you see when installing the full Adobe Acrobat:

    WTF?  Isn't this the same company that produces Photoshop, the undisputed master standard for graphics?  Did someone at Adobe actually look at that and say "Yeah, that looks fine."



  • Looks like you have Windows configured to magnify text by 25% (this also enlarges dialogs). It probably does look fine with the default setting.

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Daid said:

    @henke37 said:
    Changing the default behavior: normal
    Changing the meaning of an existing switch instead of adding a new one: asking for trouble
    And changing an undocumented feature? I used to read address 0x34004234 in the process memory to get the size of the document, and with the new version this address not longer works, RAGE!
    See, the thing is, the support techs would gladly tell you about the switch, both before and after the change. It just disappeared from the documentation (and took with it almost all the documentation, period). So I guess it's quasi-documented.



  • @Goplat said:

    Looks like you have Windows configured to magnify text by 25% .

    Yes I do.@Goplat said:
    (this also enlarges dialogs). It probably does look fine with the default setting.
    That screen shot was taken while re-installing a lot of programs.  Every one of them looked perfectly fine.  Adobe Acrobat is the only one that looked like shit.

    And that multi-colored splotch in the middle?  That's their idea of a logo?  Really?  Are the Acrobat guys not on speaking terms with the Photoshop guys?

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    WTF?  Isn't this the same company that produces Photoshop, the undisputed master standard for graphics?  Did someone at Adobe actually look at that and say "Yeah, that looks fine."
    No, no, no, no, no, this is clearly your fault for using Large Fonts. Who cares that they've been supported at least since Windows 3.1 - 18 years later there's still a lot of applications that can't handle them properly.



  • @Weng said:

    It just disappeared from the documentation
    Um? Your earlier posts indicated it was undocumented.



  • @ender said:

    No, no, no, no, no, this is clearly your fault for using Large Fonts. Who cares that they've been supported at least since Windows 3.1 - 18 years later there's still a lot of applications that can't handle them properly.

    TRWTF was that XP still expected to you install new fonts (and then it had to ask your permission to use the existing fonts that it already had, like the user would have any idea or care) and reboot when the OS clearly uses TrueType fonts for the UI. I think 7 is better here, but you can see that the pixel-snapping of Microsoft's font renderer doesn't like the idea of vertical strokes wanting to be 25% wider, so you get this weird spindly-looking text. (Never mind the fact that vertical strokes are always placed across pixel boundaries in ClearType even if they do want to be 1 px wide.)

    Otherwise, Windows 7 seems to do pretty well when it comes to increased DPI. I even toyed with lower DPI (set via the Registry) on my old 1024×768 laptop to get more screen space out of it, but it was too ugly, even though it did work.

    Laptops are and will always remain TRWTF for so many reasons – textured cases that stain with skin oil and sweat (even following earlier models with classic stain-free smooth cases), impossible to find LED indicators (e.g. at the front out of sight), dreadful keyboards, screens with so few pixel rows they're useless for anything whatsoever (because hey, everyone NEEDS widescreen at the cost of a usable display panel), washed out screens with less colour saturation than watercolour ...

    I'd love to know why Blakey hates HP, because they've made some really nice machines – saturated displays with good viewing angle (for TN, though they also do IPS) and good top-to-bottom backlight consistency (for laptops), good keyboard feel and layout, port labels on the top of the case so you can see at a glance where the ports are, colour-coded LEDs in clear view, repeater LEDs for when the lid is closed, and additional legends for them ...

    Oops, my rant quota for Q4 has been exceeded. See you in 2012, just before the world ends.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    TRWTF was that XP still expected to you install new fonts (and then it had to ask your permission to use the existing fonts that it already had, like the user would have any idea or care) and reboot when the OS clearly uses TrueType fonts for the UI. I think 7 is better here, but you can see that the pixel-snapping of Microsoft's font renderer doesn't like the idea of vertical strokes wanting to be 25% wider, so you get this weird spindly-looking text.
    Prior to Windows 7 the DPI setting was system-wide, and the reboot was needed for it to apply to everything (if you didn't reboot and ran a new program, it'd often show in a mix of old and new DPI). Windows 7 made the DPI setting per-user, and also introduced setting the DPI through remote desktop - if the (Windows 7 or 2008 R2) computer you're connecting to wasn't logged in yet, the new session will pick the DPI settings of the machine you're connecting from.@Daniel Beardsmore said:
    Laptops are and will always remain TRWTF for so many reasons – textured cases that stain with skin oil and sweat (even following earlier models with classic stain-free smooth cases), impossible to find LED indicators (e.g. at the front out of sight), dreadful keyboards, screens with so few pixel rows they're useless for anything whatsoever (because hey, everyone NEEDS widescreen at the cost of a usable display panel), washed out screens with less colour saturation than watercolour ...
    16:9 panels are apparently so much cheaper that even desktop displays are moving to them (try finding a cheap 16:10 24" LCD - if you're lucky, you'll find 2 models, next to 20 16:9 models)...



  • @ender said:

    16:9 panels are apparently so much cheaper that even desktop displays are moving to them (try finding a cheap 16:10 24" LCD - if you're lucky, you'll find 2 models, next to 20 16:9 models)...

    I want 4:3!



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    I want 4:3!


    So do I.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PJH said:

    @Weng said:
    It just disappeared from the documentation
    Um? Your earlier posts indicated it was undocumented.
     

    @Weng said:

    On top of that, the stupid switch is undocumented since 7.x. 
    So it's there in 7.x (when most of our tools and workflow were written), and gone in 8.x. That sounds like it disappeared to me.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    (grandpa ranting)

    When people introduce you at parties, do they often have trouble finding a way to describe your personality that doesn't involve the word "crotchety?"



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:
    (grandpa ranting)

    When people introduce you at parties, do they often have trouble finding a way to describe your personality that doesn't involve the word "crotchety?"

    Hehehe. Parties? I should be flattered that you suggested that I might somehow end up at such events. However, if I told you how much I hate the idea of parties, I would only be reinforcing your ideas of me ... Oh noes, too late.

    Besides, I think there's a touch of pot and kettle and a certain non-colour involved in your suggestions here ;-) Working in the IT industry takes its toll on all of us. It's not like anyone's going to come here to extoll the virtues of anything. That would be the Daily FTW.



  • Ok fine, you have demonstrated a sense of humor, I will respond to your post.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    TRWTF was that XP still expected to you install new fonts (and then it had to ask your permission to use the existing fonts that it already had, like the user would have any idea or care) and reboot when the OS clearly uses TrueType fonts for the UI.

    XP was released in 2001. Enough said.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    I think 7 is better here, but you can see that the pixel-snapping of Microsoft's font renderer doesn't like the idea of vertical strokes wanting to be 25% wider, so you get this weird spindly-looking text. (Never mind the fact that vertical strokes are always placed across pixel boundaries in ClearType even if they do want to be 1 px wide.)

    Which is weird, because Word (ostensibly also using ClearType) aligns characters to the pixel boundary.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    textured cases that stain with skin oil and sweat (even following earlier models with classic stain-free smooth cases),

    What laptop has a textured case? It's always smooth plastic... in any case, buy a nicer one. I really only look at laptops with metal cases at this point.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    impossible to find LED indicators (e.g. at the front out of sight),

    LED indicators are annoying as fuck. The real problem is that they exist at all.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    dreadful keyboards,

    True that. There are some "acceptable" laptop keyboards, but no "great" ones.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    screens with so few pixel rows they're useless for anything whatsoever (because hey, everyone NEEDS widescreen at the cost of a usable display panel),

    I like widescreen. And some laptops have pretty fucking high DPI, considering their screen size.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    I'd love to know why Blakey hates HP,

    Because I bought a HP, and it was a piece of shit? Or do you need more?

    Speaking of LEDs, it had an entire ENCIRCLING FORMATION of LEDs around the entire screen. (Sadly, you can't really see where the LEDs are in that image, but believe me, there were shitloads of them, they were all entirely useless, and they were all 300,000 candlepower blue LEDs. Brighter than the fucking backlight. And no way to turn them off.)

    The touchscreen was supposed to be usable with a finger if you didn't have the stylus-- lies! Sure, it would kind of slightly register your finger a tiny bit, if you slammed it down hard enough to snap the plastic, but... no. It just didn't work as advertised.

    Then there was HP's software loadout: shitloads piled atop shitloads of crap loaded onto the computer. Their crap even hijacked Windows Vista's installer in such a way that you had to fill out a form before you had calibrated the touchscreen!!! Nobody at HP even slightly tested this machine, they didn't even bother going through the setup ONCE to see if it worked. When I tried to clean out the crapware using the Windows disk, I found out that HP (unlike Dell) puts the crapware *on the install disk*. There's no way to get a crap-free install without buying a new copy of Windows.

    Fuck HP.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Ok fine, you have demonstrated a sense of humor, I will respond to your post.

    lol. Yes I do have a very, very strange sense of humour. I don't appear to convey myself well in writing though. And my only options are rant forever, or fall into complete silence. (Edit: I've cut out a lot of what I wrote here, as it got way too long. And yes Adobe products are annoying – the best one lately being the one where Photoshop Elements 9 disables the Escape key across all applications.)

    @blakeyrat said:

    XP was released in 2001. Enough said.

    That's why I wrote about it in the past tense.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Which is weird, because Word (ostensibly also using ClearType) aligns characters to the pixel boundary.

    Characters are aligned to the pixel grid, but, they're all shifted a fraction of a pixel across, so that every single vertical stroke is three pixels wide, one dark, two pale. Probably done to ensure an even tone, so that you don't have black vertical strokes, and colour-fringed diagonals. Since every single character is colour fringed from ClearType, why not take the opportunity to have proper fractional stroke widths and fractional positioning like RISC OS was doing in the early 90s?

    @blakeyrat said:

    What laptop has a textured case? It's always smooth plastic... in any case, buy a nicer one. I really only look at laptops with metal cases at this point.

    Dell Latitude D-series machines had a semi-gloss metallic paint plastic case that doesn't show stains, but at least some of the E-series Latitudes that followed it (the current range) had a black plastic case with a subtle but rough texture that would absorb sweat and skin oil around the trackpad and look manky within like twenty minutes of use. I don't know the E-series in detail, but I've seen at least one E-series with a smooth case again.

    @blakeyrat said:

    True that. There are some "acceptable" laptop keyboards, but no "great" ones.

    Latitude E-series machines have really decent keyboards in them – smooth, light, positive response. A tad wobbly, but I'm not really expecting Cherry ML switches. Latitude D-series keyboards though were some of the worst ever made, very short travel and a horrible gritty feel not all unlike their desktop keyboards.

    And in terms of keyboards, you may know I'm quite demanding, being primarily a Cherry MX user. I've got a very expensive Topre Realforce keyboard now as well, and it's really growing on me – full travel capacitive switches with a very smooth and positive feel, with most keys being 45 g weight, compared to the 60–65 g of a normal keyboard, making the keys light and effortless. If you can get over the absurd cost of the thing (£190 in Britain, $265 in the States), it's pretty much the ideal keyboard, as you get a cleaner feel than mechanical, with less sound than a cheap keyboard, and the soft sound is clean and slightly metallic (due to the conical springs used to sense the keys via capacitance) instead of the creaky, rattling clatter of a cheap keyboard (and the spongy feel you get with them). It's also NKRO, so it's suitable for gamers.

    Laptops have a much harder time due to having to find some way to make reduced travel work.

    @blakeyrat said:

    There's no way to get a crap-free install without buying a new copy of Windows.

    That's the major reason I like Dell: you get a genuine OEM Windows DVD with the computer.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    rant on manufacturer x's crap- and bloat-ware, fucked up hardware and that god-awful eyesore of using blue LEDs anywhere

    Wait, what? We have 76 HP laptops and over 300 desktops, and not a single one would fit your description. There is a small amount of crapware, but you can actually uninstall it easily and without issue. When rebuilding from the HP DVD you have to add the bloatware manually, from another DVD.

    So this leads me to believe that you... what, buy consumer grade laptops (upon which you very possibly could heap this derision upon, but I am not particularly familiar with those) and use them in your business? Caveat emptor, I guess.

    On another note, I like my touchpad quite a bit but it has the most bizarre autocorrection of anything I have experienced. Specifically, it continues to try to autocorrect the word "crapware" as "Delaware." Funny as shit.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    That's the major reason I like Dell: you get a genuine OEM Windows DVD with the computer.

    Ditto. But... a couple hours ago you were saying HPs are great, so...

    @mahlerrd said:

    So this leads me to believe that you... what, buy consumer grade laptops (upon which you very possibly could heap this derision upon, but I am not particularly familiar with those) and use them in your business? Caveat emptor, I guess.

    Who said anything about business?

    God forbid I bought a consumer-grade laptop as a consumer to use in my own home! Obviously the low quality of the product is thereby my fault, not HPs.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    God forbid I bought a consumer-grade laptop

    Actually, yes. That is TRWTF. At least if you complain about it. Were you unaware that the crapware is how they can be so cheap? At any point in time 3 out of 4 OEMs are filled with shit. And each quarter it shifts (it seems to be cyclic after complaints rise).

    God, though, I completely agree with the eye-searing blue fucking LEDs. Dim red, orange and green were nearly too much but did end up often being tolerable. That blue crap, though...

    The usual way those in the know handle the bloatware problem is of course abusing MSDN or your local MS enterprise agreement. Or just pirating. The geeky way is to remaster your DVD and rip out the slipstreamed crap.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    There's no way to get a crap-free install without buying a new copy of Windows.
    Sounds like you had one of their home laptops, in which case count yourself lucky to have gotten install DVDs at all. Their business laptops come with pretty normal installation DVDs (I say pretty normal because they're modified to not require activation on HP hardware), though you do have to remember to boot the install DVD and not the restore DVD (because the restore DVD will just put the crap back).
    @mahlerrd said:
    Wait, what? We have 76 HP laptops and over 300 desktops, and not a single one would fit your description.
    Sounds like he had a tablet (see the picture). Those did have LEDs all around the screen (but the single tablet that I used didn't have any problems registering finger touches).
    @blakeyrat said:
    God forbid I bought a consumer-grade laptop as a consumer to use in my own home! Obviously the low quality of the product is thereby my fault, not HPs.
    Stay away from any major manufacturer's consumer-grade stuff - it's crap. No other way to put it.
    @mahlerrd said:
    The usual way those in the know handle the bloatware problem is of course abusing MSDN or your local MS enterprise agreement.
    Since there's a CD key on the laptop, you can use any install DVD, and then just enter that code to activate (though it probably won't activate over the internet - you'll have to make a phonecall).



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:
    That's the major reason I like Dell: you get a genuine OEM Windows DVD with the computer.

    Ditto. But... a couple hours ago you were saying HPs are great, so...

    Their notebook hardware seems excellent, yes. Besides, logically, an appreciation for a Dell practice doesn't mean that I must automatically hate HP. I don't have any experience with what installation media you get with different HP notebook ranges, as some of those may indeed also ship with OEM Windows media that allow for clean reinstalls. I wasn't sure whether HP did anything else bad besides stuff machines with rubbish in the factory.

    @blakeyrat said:

    God forbid I bought a consumer-grade laptop as a consumer to use in my own home! Obviously the low quality of the product is thereby my fault, not HPs.

    I guess it's like Windows Me vs 2000 and XP Home vs XP Professional. The industry's unbounded contempt for consumers. There's a notion that consumers are all drooling morons who will never amount to anything, so screw ’em. Anything designed for consumers deserves a proportionally increased level of scepticism about who they have in mind as a target. (I don't know if Vista Home and 7 Home are still as ridiculously crippled.) People also forget that to be amateur means to do something for love, not someone who's incompetent. Now we have a the bizarre word "prosumer" to try to cover this. Prosumer is to consumer, as progresss is to Congress? Who knows.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    I don't know if Vista Home and 7 Home are still as ridiculously crippled.

    There are a lot of things that you don't get. Most of it I don't really care about, like integration with Active Domains. But the thing that really drives me nuts is that you can't Remote Desktop into a Home machine. I really really hate this. Like no one has multiple computers at home?



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Now we have a the bizarre word "prosumer" to try to cover this. Prosumer is to consumer, as progresss is to Congress? Who knows.
     

    Prosumer is to consumer as prostitution is to Constitution.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Now we have a the bizarre word "prosumer" to try to cover this. Prosumer is to consumer, as progresss is to Congress? Who knows.
    I do: Prosumer is to consumer, as progresss is to Congresss.

    @da Doctah said:

    Prosumer is to consumer as prosbreastution is to Consbreastution.

    CMTFY!




  • @DaveK said:

    I do: Prosumer is to consumer, as progresss is to Congresss.

    Congresss — full of snakes for some reason.



  • I think I need a catchy little phrase like, "pedantic dickweed", that I can apply to those people in this thread who:

    1) In a single post, say that products from company Foo are great, as long as you don't buy the products that are shit

    2) Imply that my bad experience is my own fault for buying the shit products from an otherwise great company

    3) Dispassionately discuss this as if they have absolutely no problem with the products being shit because, after-all, they know the "secret" to find the non-shit products, so it's not their problem, right?

    Because I've seen like 3 posters on this thread make those points. And it pisses me off, because those idiots are the reason we have shit products in the first place!!! Demand better, people, Christ! There's no excuse for the shoddy and poorly-designed convertible laptop I bought, none. Saying "it's aimed at consumers" does not justify the shittiness.

    Anyway.



  • I don't know that anyone was justifying poor-quality products, only recognising that anything bought cheaply that was aimed at the general populace is going to be highly suspect.

    How does one “demand” better products? Take all our business to the non-existent manufacturers of quality consumer products? Even Alienware are now part of Dell, so they're no longer independent, not that they counted as consumer (of course, it has been noted that hardware prices have been artificially lowered – there's not likely to be a cost-effective way out of this situation because good products cost). The danger of small manufacturers is that they can get swallowed up or go bankrupt, the latter being a particular pain if your expensive laptop fails and no-one is there to provide warranty cover.

    (I'd like to hope that before I die, I might convince perhaps one person to move to quality keyboards. This has only worked so far by me giving away a couple of keyboards. I've likewise never convinced anyone in the benefits of *VA and *IPS displays either.)



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @DaveK said:
    I do: Prosumer is to consumer, as progresss is to Congresss.

    Congresss — full of snakes for some reason.

    Congress(s) is full of snakes for much the same reason that a breadbox is full of bread.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    2) Imply that my bad experience is my own fault for buying the shit products from an otherwise great company
     

    Do tell.

    The O'Reilly people (the ones with black and white pictures of animals on the covers) generally put out great books for learning IT topics.  However, there are exceptions, and you almost have to go through each book to find out if it's a good one or not.

    For instance, their Learning PHP and MySQL manages to confuse and expose the beginning web programmer to a lot of topics that might have been better left for an advanced book instead.  You can go quite a distance without having to pick up PEAR and Smarty, but this book makes them mandatory.  And at least the edition I got stuck with is full of errors in the examples that prevent them from running even if all you do is type stuff in exactly as written.

    The superficially similar Learning PHP, MySQL and Javascript from the same publisher is actually a decent textbook.  But if someone tells you to go pick up some basic web concepts, and it's your first experience with the field, wouldn't your first impulse be to grab a book covering topics A and B before you get the one on A, B and C?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I've seen like 3 posters on this thread make those points. And it pisses me off, because those idiots are the reason we have shit products in the first place!!! Demand better, people, Christ! There's no excuse for the shoddy and poorly-designed convertible laptop I bought, none. Saying "it's aimed at consumers" does not justify the shittiness.

    Thank you! You have given me a new set of missions in life: to only buy products from companies that make no compromises ever on any product they have ever put up for sale, to buy software that has never had a bug and to only read books with no typos.

    Well, that probably won't work. How about I fully check my purchases before making them and skip products and product lines that are rather obviously substandard? I will use less buggy software, when given a chance, though sometimes I have little choice in it. And just learn to live with the fact that nearly every book I have ever read has at least one typo in it.

    Seriously, though, I agree with you. All the way up to the point where you bought that less-than-perfect tablet. I was with you until then...



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    How does one “demand” better products? Take all our business to the non-existent manufacturers of quality consumer products?
    And there's the problem.  I absolutely agree with the idea of "don't buy shitty products because it rewards people for making shit and only leads to more shit".  Unfortunately, reality is a little different.  In many cases there are no non-shitty products and your only choice is trying to figure out which one might be the least shitty.



  • GNU GhostScript is another program to run PostScript files.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    I'd love to know why Blakey hates HP, because they've made some
    really nice machines – saturated displays with good viewing angle (for
    TN, though they also do IPS) and good top-to-bottom backlight
    consistency (for laptops), good keyboard feel and layout, port labels on
    the top of the case so you can see at a glance where the ports are,
    colour-coded LEDs in clear view, repeater LEDs for when the lid is
    closed, and additional legends for them ...

     I had a HP laptop too, a Pavilion Dv7. Never ever ever shall I buy a HP laptop again! Here's a list of the problems with it:

    1. It gave me electrical shocks at the corners
    2. When the power supply wasn't plugged in, the thing'd lag ridiculously much and its battery'd last about 20 minutes, max.
    3. The thing'd overheat all the time. It actually melted its own legs off, did damage to the varnish of my table and managed to crash due to overheating while in sleep mode on the passenger seat of my car (support upon that, claims the overheating might be due to the powerplug. How the fuck do I use a powerplug when it's on the passenger seat of my car?)
    4. It burnt through its own damn battery! I'm not shitting you. It overheated so badly it broke its own damn battery

    So basically, it was a fire hazard that gave you electrical shocks. I filed a complaint, upon which some guy called me and said that yeah that's not supposed to happen and I should contact support cause they're competent (even though I told him they said it's the powerplug that's generating heat, even if it overheats without the powerplug in!). Aside from that, they filed it vertically.

    Never ever ever ever shall I buy a HP laptop anymore. They're friggen' deathtraps!



  • @The poop of DOOM said:

     I had a HP laptop too, a Pavilion Dv7.
    That's pretty much all you needed to say. There's a reason you can't buy 3-year warranty for these.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    In many cases there are no non-shitty products and your only choice is trying to figure out which one might be the least shitty.
     

    QFT



  • @zzo38 said:

    GNU GhostScript is another program to run PostScript files.

    Fortunately, Adobe do have a lot of competition as far as PDF is concerned.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @ender said:
    16:9 panels are apparently so much cheaper that even desktop displays are moving to them (try finding a cheap 16:10 24" LCD - if you're lucky, you'll find 2 models, next to 20 16:9 models)...

    I want 4:3!

     

    I want 1:1.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Which is weird, because Word (ostensibly also using ClearType) aligns characters to the pixel boundary.
     

    Word drops cleartype for anything above a certain size, in favour of shitty greyscale semi-hinted antialias. AAAAAAAAAAAH.


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