Progress Report 2011-11-09

A little progress report and a complaint.

The next story in the Pa’adhe series of short stories is coming along nicely. It’s now in the hands of some of my Beta readers. A bit more feedback and some possible tweaks and I should be posting the building of Pa’adhe. As it stands, this will likely become the first in the series, time-wise. Since the series revolves around the ship, it’s not likely that I’ll go earlier into the history of the Captain unless it’s brought out in successive stories in the series. We’ll see how that plays out.

In addition to that, I’ve also got 1,210 words invested in the Pa’adhe story coming after the above. I’ve not yet given it a title, but obviously to be able to work on it the way I do (FocusWriter and RTF) I had to give it a file name at least. Typically I have the file name and title identical so as a teaser for my few readers the next one has a working title of Flight.

I still plan to gather all these short stories together into an omnibus in the correct order time-wise and I’ve already found the picture I want for the cover. I put it away safe and when I do that, that usually means safe from me, too. The only question is whether I can find it again or not.

Now for a complaint…

<mini-rant begin>

In this case, I’m ranting about a 32 GB thumb drive. I can understand a company like SanDisk including their SecureAccess software with their products. I have no problems there. What I do have issues with is why the heck do they set it up to run as soon as it’s inserted into the USB port?

If I want to install it, I will. If I don’t, I don’t want to and I resent it when the manufacturer arrogantly assumes that I need that software of theirs and installs it for me as soon as I turn on the device by plugging it into the USB port. That’s arrogance of a type that will eventually cause me to go to other products rather than even look at SanDisk products. I already warn people about this.

Their packaging states the software is included, obviously on the thumb drive itself. Having been bit by this once and had to spend an hour and half cleaning their crap from my system and forcing a reformat of the thumb drive, I’m not about to fall for that again. So this time I put it in my Linux box first. That let me go in and wipe out their software so I can use this 32 GB thumb drive for what I wanted to, not what SanDisk thinks I want to use it for.

It’s not about the 40 MB their software takes up. That’s only 0.125% of the entire storage area. Oh, no, it’s definitely not that…with what I need the 32 GB thumb drive for their software was going to get wiped out anyway. No, it’s their arrogance of not giving the customer a choice that’s pissing me off. They have a good product, one that I’m happy to use, except for this little bit of “we know what you want better than you do” attitude.

I tell everyone I know about this and warn them that while yes, I’ll currently recommend SanDIsk, I also tell them they won’t be getting all the memory they pay for and SanDisk will try to put their own software on the system whether you want it or not. If they ask, I will tell them it’s really not that much of the memory and explain it.  Knowing me, they usually do ask.  I know at least four people that have bought other manufacturer’s stuff after telling them that. And others have asked me to wipe clean what they bought before they use it.

Sure, not everyone is a geek or nerd. That’s obvious by the widespread use of Windows. Ok, so that’s a lame poke, but still…all those security holes and everything? C’mon. Anyway, back to the geek/nerd thing…a large number of people still don’t know how to avoid installing the software if they don’t want it. So they just put up with it. I’ll bet SanDisk points to all those people and says, “See, people do want it or they wouldn’t install it and we make it easy for them to install automatically.” They just ignore the fact the customers they’re pointing at don’t have a clue how to avoid installing their unwanted software.

People, quit putting software on storage devices that autoinstalls. I don’t mind you putting the software on there, that’s your right. However, it’s my right to have a choice whether I want to install it or not. So, why don’t you shape up and go ahead and put the software on there, but include instructions how to install it rather than automatically pushing it on everyone, including those that don’t want it? You sure include enough packaging to do that easily enough.

Look at the kids growing up now. They’re computer savvy. You think they’ll just sit there and accept you shoving your software down their throats? Some might, but enough probably won’t. Better start thinking about that.

</mini-rant end>

Back to FocusWriter for a bit…I see they just released a new version today. I can really recommend this writing software. It allows me to write and save RTF as well as plain text. That gives me all the formatting I really need and I’m quite happy with that. It also quietly auto-saves my work at regular periods I’ve specified, allowing me to focus on the writing rather than the software. Being a couple versions behind, I’ve just grabbed the latest version and hope it’s fixing a small problem I’ve encountered lately. So far, it’s seamlessly merged my stories into the new version, except for having to redo some centering I’d done.

I love having the entire screen dedicated to the words I type (customized in yellow text on a black background) and nothing else. That gets Twitter, email, all those distractions out of sight and so out of mind, allowing me to focus on my writing. It’s truly the writing software of choice for me. There are some options offered by other software that I’d like to learn to use, but right now with my focus on these short stories FocusWriter is eminently suitable for this task. When I return to my novel writing, then I might need to look at something else.

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