Showing posts with label microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label microsoft. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Record Collections

Ever know someone who's a collector? These are guys (and trust me, they're always guys) who relish the hunt, not the plunder. Of their approximately 978 record albums, they probably play five, tops.

That's how it is with collections. I'm guilty. I've collected thousands of individual tracks and full CD's through the years, but I mostly surf over to SiriusXM to be surprised. I recently retrieved my personal PC after months of working on a loaned company computer (thanks, COVID), and today I decided to remind myself of all the tracks I'd ripped.

After hours of deleting duplicates (one of the joys of retirement is infinite time), I decided to bestow stars upon the songs I like The dilemma is choosing between three and four stars. "I really like this track, but does it deserve a superior ranking?"

Five stars can be intimidating as well. Do I go with songs that are classic or just honor my gut and choose the ones I love? I went with love.

The interesting outcome of this experiment is the number of really mediocre tracks I ripped. I think I just wanted to own them. In case. In case a nuclear incident transpired and all I was left with (remarkably) was my personal computer. In the ragged aftermath I might have a hankering to hear Barbara Fairchild.

I own hundreds of physical CD's, but if I ever chose to pop one into my disc drive, I would need to be suffering from one-song withdrawals.

Instead I rely on my uploads.

My Windows Media Player is a really fun app -- it no longer allows me to rip CD's, so if I don't have something on my computer I really really need, I am forced to purchase it from Amazon, even though it's here, sitting on my shelf. Microsoft rocks. Today, in fact, I purchased "Dreaming My Dreams" by Waylon. I have no cognizance of why I never ripped it when my WMP worked, but clearly I did not. However, it was vital that I added it to my collection, because it is a five-star single.

The results of my star ratings? Well, there are approximately three Beatle tracks that merit five stars, although not the ones anyone but me would pick. Elton, too, represents. California Girls shows up as first on the list. Otherwise, I'm stone country.  George Strait has at least three; Gene Watson is a treasure. Then it's an eclectic mix, demonstrating my superior musical taste. Jerry Lee, Gordon Lightfoot, Johnny Bush, Highway 101, Mark Chesnutt, Marty Robbins, Ray Price. Roy Orbison.

Face it, it doesn't get much better than this:

I'm feeling good that I chose wisely.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Damn You, Microsoft

I do not understand why a company that has a good product suddenly decides to discontinue it. Windows Movie Maker was so intuitive. I created countless videos using that software. Then suddenly it was gone. I had a light bulb idea last night as I was falling asleep for a new video -- with a specific song as the backdrop. I'd forgotten that Windows 10 didn't include Movie Maker, and in searching, I found that Microsoft no longer supports it, and doesn't even offer it without support.

I subsequently downloaded and uninstalled various "alternatives" that were awful. I love how they all tout their "ease of use". Okay. No. The wondrous thing about Movie Maker was that it was drag and drop. How difficult is that to recreate? Apparently really difficult. I spent hours today adding photos and (sometimes) music, if the program would let me; only to find that the damn thing didn't work. As for effects? These programs claimed to have them. They didn't. The "fade" was imperceptible.

And either the audio track would start and stop -- hiccup -- or the app didn't hold the approximately eighty photos I had painstakingly added. (A three minute song requires a lot of pictures -- trust me. I've been down this road before.)

Clicking on a plethora of icons is a pain in the ass, hoping to find the one I need. And getting more and more pissed.

Trust me; I've done tons of videos for Red River. Granted, some of them weren't done well, but I learned. The creative process is difficult enough without having to deal with a dodgy program.

Tonight I found a YouTube video touting a way to get Movie Maker. And so I downloaded the program from a (hopefully) Microsoft site. We'll see. I've already wasted my entire day adding photos to sundry apps and then throwing up my hands and deleting the programs all together. And now the day is done.

I'll try again tomorrow.

In the meantime, just to demonstrate how easy Window Movie Maker was, here are a few of my favorite Red River videos:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Computer Tip From Me

DO NOT use Internet Explorer!

I've been making some cosmetic changes to this blog, so as I was working in one browser, I wanted to take a look to see how things were coming.  So, I opened up IE.  OMG, it is so dreadfully slow!  What the hell is wrong with Microsoft?  They were once on the cutting edge, or maybe they were just the only game in town.  I can't remember which.

Have they just given up completely? 

I did recently, by the way, upgrade to the latest version of IE, so there should be no problem in that regard.

As a test, I also tried viewing some of my posts that contain embedded YouTube videos.  As you know, I make prodigious use of music videos here, and I have noticed, on some of my older posts, that the videos have subsequently been removed from YouTube, and thus, I just look like an utter fool, pointing you toward a ghost video. 

I checked out one of my newer posts on IE, and thought, really?  They've removed these videos already?  Well, they hadn't.  It was just that Explorer was falsely showing me a blank white square on the page.

I can't speak for other browsers, but I use Firefox.  And don't just take it from me.  Here is a portion of an article I found tonight:

Firefox is Faster

Most people who switch to Firefox notice a significant speed boost right away. Once you get used to pages popping right up you may get frustrated when forced to use Internet Explorer even for short amounts of time.


So, if you're still clinging to the dark ages of Microsoft IE, make the switch!  You will not regret it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Writing Again

It seems like I've spent all my time lately trying to get a (any) computer to work.

It's been a QUEST. As Clark W. Griswold would say. Not a quest to find Marty Moose, but nevertheless a quest to just get things to WORK.

My "main" computer died. I haven't buried it yet, but I'm seriously thinking of taking a hammer to it, because that would make me feel a whole lot better.

My backup computer, well, it's a backup computer. What can I say? I got dang tired of the limitations of Windows ME (yes, Windows ME; that's how old the computer is), so I thought, hey, I've still got my installation disk for Windows XP. Let's try that! Surprisingly, after clicking through countless error messages, I actually got it to load!

Then, unfortunately, my computer didn't recognize my sound card. What the heck was I going to do without being able to listen to audio? So, I did a Google search and found a program that repairs stuff such as this, and again I was pleasantly surprised, because it worked.

Now, however, it won't read my external hard drive, so I'm faced with the dauntless task of re-adding all my music back onto my computer (yea, like THAT'S going to happen). It kind of makes one a bit more picky about their music. I'm currently loading Merle Haggard.

While I was messing with all this (because it tends to be time-consuming), I worked on a few songs. Four, to be exact.

I'm a gal who likes to multi-task, so why go with one song when you can work on FOUR?

The sad part (to me) is, they're sitting somewhere on my external hard drive, which my current computer doesn't seem to recognize, but I think I've got them seared into my memory anyway, so I haven't actually lost them.

And, it seems, I'm working my way through the middle part of the alphabet, because here are my current songs:

F - Fireworks Stand
G - Get Back To It
H - Hello, Old Friend
I - I Will Never Forget You

This whole computer mess has somehow allowed me to be more creative. Maybe it's because when one part of the brain is severely irritated, another part of the brain takes over. I think it keeps one from going insane. It's a defense mechanism.

I wonder what people in the olden days (before computers) did to become enraged. Surely, there must have been something. Maybe the old wringer washing machine broke down.

If the new millenium teaches us anything, it's that life is a series of frustrations. Just when you think things are going good, life smacks you upside the head, to let you know who's actually in charge.

But I've got the last laugh. Because I've got FOUR, count 'em, FOUR new songs. And, if only two of them turn out to be keepers, well, there you go. That's two more than I had before. So, Bill Gates, thanks for everything.

I am now loading George Strait onto my computer. Dwight will be next.

Starting from scratch is actually kind of liberating. It's like a do-over. I have now purged all the extraneous songs from my computer that I sort of, kind of time. And now I can be a bit more selective.

And it has definitely liberated my creativity. So, the glass is half-full. Unfortunately, not half-full with wine, which I could really use right now.

And then I could drink a toast to creativity (yea, that's the excuse!).


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thanks, Microsoft......for, uh, nothing?

Recently (last Saturday evening, to be exact), I was working on a lovely video project for Red River's song, Ghost Town. I used Windows Moviemaker, because, well, that was really the only option available to me.

Everything was going well, until Windows Moviemaker froze up my system.

I had no choice but to shut my PC off, wait the requisite 60 seconds, then turn it back on again.

Which I did.

I got back into good old Moviemaker and continued to edit my project (it was turning out extremely well, by the way.)

But alas. It froze up my system again!

I repeated the previous steps, hoping that I could finish editing two simple frames and be done with it, never to click on the Moviemaker icon again.

This time, however, my PC told me that it needed to "check my disc for instability". Okay. Go ahead. I waited, and waited. I went downstairs, fixed a snack, ate it. Came back. Still checking my disc!

After what seemed like the turn of the seasons, it finished checking. However, now my PC told me that it was shutting down (not fatally ~ at least it didn't tell me it was fatal). Just that it was shutting down, because "something" was definitely wrong.

Well, I guess! I could never boot up windows again! Aha! So, it was fatal! I think my PC was trying to let me down gently.

After a long day Sunday of sitting around flipping through the channels on my TV, since I had nothing else to do, I packed up the stupid PC and lugged it into work with me Monday morning, because there is an IT guy who fixes computers (PC's, no doubt) on the side.

That was five days ago. I'm still waiting. He tells me that my disc is corrupted. Hey, I was kind of anticipating that! He may or may not be able to back up my files. My tens of thousands of precious files (I know; I know ~ back up your files! Oh, like we all do it every day. We don't.)

Either way, I need a new hard drive.

So, from work, I thought, hey, why not contact Microsoft and provide them with some feedback regarding their lovely, high-performing Moviemaker software?

Herewith is my communications log with Microsoft:

Subject : Windows Moviemaker

Message: Hi, I'm wondering if you are doing anything to make this product more stable. It managed to freeze up my computer twice in one day, and eventually led to not being able to boot my computer at all. I downloaded it from your site, so it should have been safe. Hopefully, my computer is fixable and it doesn't break the bank to pay for the repairs, but I'm really disappointed in the whole experience. Thank you.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Customer Service.

I am sorry that your experience with Windows Movie Maker was less than acceptable.

I appreciate you providing us the feedback. It will be instrumental in helping us to improve our products and services. Microsoft is committed to listening to its customers and improving its products and services based upon customer feedback.

However, for further assistance I request you to contact a Microsoft Support Professional via e-mail, telephone or chat by visiting the following web link and selecting the appropriate edition of Windows XP to resolve your issue:

Please note that the support for Windows Movie maker is tied with Windows.

I hope the above information is helpful.

Thank you,
Microsoft Customer Service Representative

Monday - Friday 5:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Saturday - Sunday 6:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Up to 8 hours

Call Microsoft
Monday - Friday 5:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Saturday - Sunday 6:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Subject : Windows Moviemaker

Hi and thank you for responding to my complaint regarding the instability of Windows Movie Maker, and the way it caused my computer to crash, resulting in, I am assuming, several dollars out of my pocket to repair my PC, if it is even possible to fix at this point.

My quibble is that the link you provided in your response shows that I actually have to PAY to obtain assistance from you regarding one of YOUR software applications. I really think that Microsoft should stand behind its products, and not expect the buyer to pay for what is essentially YOUR issue. I have read several internet comments regarding the instability of Movie Maker, so it obviously is not just me.

I don't expect anything from you at this point, but I think the issue that I raise is valid. Thank you. I'll be going with a Mac next time.
Hello Michelle,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Customer Service.

I apologize that you are not satisfied with your experience with Microsoft.

Your feedback is very important to us. Microsoft is committed to customer satisfaction, and it is only with the help of our valued customers that we can achieve this goal.

Thank you,
Microsoft Customer Service
You may think the above communications are worthless. I, however, learned some very valuable facts:

First of all, Karabi isn't the friendliest guy in the world. Note how he just said, "Hello". No personalized greeting for Karabi. Karabi is too busy reprimanding people for not using the correct link. He's also busy stating the obvious; "Moviemaker is tied with Windows". No sh*t, Sherlock! I was wondering why they both contained the word, "windows"!

Karabi also hopes that the information he provided was helpful. But I know he doesn't really mean that. Karabi is just putting in his 20-hour workday, saving up his Rupees, and hoping to one day emigrate to the US, where he can get another Customer Service job, in which hostility and high-handedness is the expected norm.

Anil, on the other hand, is a friendly sort. "Hello Michelle". Now that's more like it. I like Anil better. Unfortunately, Anil has just washed his hands of the whole matter, and doesn't even try to offer a solution. He just apologizes and reiterates Karabi's lie about Microsoft being committed to its customers. In what way? I'm sensing a real lack of commitment, personally.

And really. $59.00 to call them? What are they going to say if/when I finally get someone on the line? "Microsoft is very committed to its customers"? Uh, thanks?

$59.00 for an email response? Hey, I got two email responses in two days for free, and they were as helpful, I'm sure, as my $59.00 payout would be.

And finally, I learned more about Microsoft than I already unfortunately knew. Microsoft doesn't care about its customers. And it sure doesn't care about the buggy software it "invents". In fact, I'm wondering if the "developers" sit around laughing, saying, "Hey, wait 'til people try to use this!"

If they're truly committed to their customers, then how about offering to pay the cost of fixing my computer? I'm currently hooked up to an old (and I do mean old) PC that's running Windows ME, for pete's sake. And the fonts and displays are GIANT SIZED, which is really messing with my head. I have to scroll up to actually see what I've written above. Because it doesn't all fit on my screen.

And they get paid really well!

I, on the other hand, don't. Thus, I can hardly afford to get my computer fixed. But I will. That's just how they suck you in.