Useless Software

Imagine you were thinking about buying a car. It had a satnav, heated seats, electric windows, a hundred and one extras that you will probably never use. It is attractively coloured and pleasing to the eye. You can almost afford it.

But it won't turn right.

Would you buy it? Me neither. And yet people are happy to buy and use software that fails just as spectacularly. I mentioned some time back my torment at the hands of some software by HP which purported to let me create albums but actually just messed me around until I removed it from my disk.

Today I've been playing with Adobe Photoshop Elements. This lets you create similar albums and, after a while, I've managed to get the images I want.

But I can't print them. That is, I can get them onto paper but the size is always wrong. I've wasted a couple of pounds worth of paper and ink. As I type this program is randomly resizing the images behind Windows Live Writer in a way that does not inspire confidence. I've tried numerous combinations of printer and paper configuration, screen preview and all manner of settings to try and get what I want, which is pictures on paper the same size and shape as the ones on the screen.

This is insane. I'm supposed to be good at this stuff. How someone less well versed in printer configuration would get by I have no idea. What you really want is a big red button that says "put these on the paper how they look on the screen". What I have got is several buckets full of confusion. I hate this. I would never let software go out of the door with this mix of complexity and uselessness.

I've had this before with various printers and programs. I M Wright has some things to say about the way that programmers always want to work on the advanced features and leave out the boring stuff like making the program actually do what it is supposed to do. How right he is.