I’m starting to despise Intuit

I really am.

I use Quickbooks to pay my caregivers because it prints IRS-blessed W-2s. It’s a very expensive solution, but it has gotten the job done–until now. I just received a nice email from Intuit, creator of Quicken, Quckbooks, and a plethora of other financial software, warning that existing version of Quickbooks "may be adversely affected when used on a computer running Windows Vista."

<Expletive deleted> Why? Intuit’s explanation is that those Quickbooks versions were written before Vista and use technologies that may be incompatible. To translate that in real-world English: "Oh, we’ve been writing piss-poor software that broke many existing rules for Windows programs. Since Vista is less lax in enforcing those rules, we’re going to seize this opportunity to force you to buy yet another version of Quickbooks instead of fixing our code like most vendors do." You can imagine my reaction as a Windows applications developer. Why should we subsidize Intuit’s laziness and greed?

Yes, I am running Vista. The experience has thus far reminded me of Lilly, my service dog. Both are large, with a lot of fluff (at least when Lilly has her winter coat), and not especially fast. However, the biggest similarity is their behavior. At least one friend has described Lilly as "placid," very little upsets her. That also seems to apply to Vista, at least on my laptop. I’ve thrown a rather dizzying variety of programs at it, some over a decade old, and only one sound card driver has caused any issues. The migration has been surprisingly smooth. Xpress-It works on Vista. There’s a problem with Xpress-It’s copy protection under Vista, but that in no way affects the program’s functionality. I’ve already created a temporary solution,and will have to choose a permanent answer. Tell us again, Intuit, why you shouldn’t be expected to treat your customers with that same sort of respect?

At their heart, Quickbooks and Quicken are database programs just as Xpress-it is. Of course, additional features are layered over that, but it’s no mystery how these programs basically work. I’ve tested Quickbooks Pro 2006 under Vista, and the only issue I’ve seen is that the program gets confused about whether or not it needs to download updates. Otherwise, it appears to work. Intuit would do well to remember that Quickbooks isn’t just used by businesses, it’s also important to individuals who must do W-2s. Please don’t continue to make us buy new versions every year.

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Valentine & Kebartas

Sir,

I am being pointlessly harassed by one of your employees, a Mrs. Reilly. Of course I realize that harassment is pretty much the stock and trade of any collection agency such as yours. I suppose the operating theory is that, if a target is harried hard enough, they will do anything to appease your clients, including commit crimes. Unfortunately, that plan assumes the target has more than a subsistence income, and I sadly no longer do. Go ahead and “google” me on the Web so you can actually see who you’re dealing with. You can find my web site here and my blog here. Yes, I had a nice income back during my 14 years with Shell Oil. However, I haven’t even had a job interview since they started furloughing stateside information technology staff five years ago. Nobody else seems to have the courage to look beyond my wheelchair to my education and experience. The only personal income I have left is Social Security Disability, which doesn’t even cover all of my daily needs.

You may be surprised to learn that Mrs. Reilly and I haven’t actually conversed yet. All we’ve managed so far is to exchange voicemail. She claims to be unable to understand my synthesized voice. That may be, but I find it odd when high-intelligibility is the primary hallmark of Xpress-It, the program I wrote to enable me to function at Shell. In any case, I don’t definitively know which of your clients Mrs. Reilly is representing, but I imagine it’s Chase Cardservices since they are the only creditor of mine who hasn’t been cooperative. Yet, even they had no problems understanding me.

Long story short, I have nothing to help Mrs. Reilly with so she is only wasting her time and annoying me. Please call her off.

Scott Royall

The On-coming Train

Yes, it has been too long since my last entry. There’s really no excuse for that. If you’re going to blog, then blog. Don’t start things and not follow them through.

Of course that is not to say there was no reason for my silence. On the contrary, there were a couple. First, I am trying out Vista, Microsoft’s latest incarnation of Windows. Curiosity certainly plays a real part in my testing. I’m a self-confessed geek so new stuff appeals to me naturally. Yet, my interest has to go much further than that because of Xpress-It, the Assistive and Augmented Communication program I wrote. I had to find out what issues it would have with Vista. You can expect to see more on Vista and Xpress-It over the next few weeks.

The other reason for my relative silence has to do with the basic realities of blogging. People blog because they have something they think they should share. Well, you can only do that if people are willing to read your blog. Otherwise, you’re literally talking to yourself. That means, like it or not, what you say has to be interesting enough to read. The nature of my life lately makes it very easy to get negative and bitter. Things are difficult, and could get a lot more so after the first of the year unless the situation does a sharp U-turn. But, if I allow that to totally dominate my blog, I might as well quit writing because I won’t have any readers at all! I’ve said before that this silly blog could end up being my longest-lasting legacy simply due to the fact that things on the Internet tend to hang around forever. If I want people to actually read it, then I need to keep it worth reading. That’s not always easy to do.