(S)crapware

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 16:36
igrowing: (клавиатура)
[personal profile] igrowing
(S)crapware is a program that comes "for free" with bought hardware and implements a part of great idea.
In other words, even good idea and great hardware impression can be easily demolished by bad implementation of attached software.

The crappiness of such sotware may appears in many ways:
- Overkilled system requirements that actually aren't required for designated task running;
- Low stability of program - often faults;
- Inconsistent work;
- Unwarranted dependency of other software products;
- Bad GUI, bad comfort of use;
- Lack of (basic) features implementation.

Example:
ContourGPS is a great camera. Indeed it's great.
But it comes with Contour StoryTeller. The idea is great - take video during activity, review it in a free time, chose "awesome" parts, and post it immediately to the community (share with friends). Cool, no?

What actually happens:
- StoryTeller requires QuickTime. Neither QuickTime Lite nor Alternative. Why? Just to play and cut parts of MOV-file...
- The QuickTime has to be installed BEFORE StoryTeller. And you know this after installation, of course.
- Each time you close StoryTeller it will complain "QuickTime is required" on next startup. Although you installed all this (s)crap as they required.
- Most of times StoryTeller will recognize your camera. But sometimes it won't. The way to read camera data is pull out the battery from camera and push it in again. Take to consideration that only when you download video from camera using StoryTeller the GPS data is exracted from MOV-file.
- If you upgraded Camera firmware the current version of StoryTeller won't read it. You have to upgrade the StoryTeller as well.
- When you're trying to share "awesome" part of your video the preprocessing takes too long time. Then video is uploaded non-compressed that takes long time as well. During this time you are locked. An attempt to mark other "awesome" part removes the previous one. Why it's impossible to extract and sequence few parts from one file into one movie? It's trivial, no?
- Well... Drilling down to lack of features can go on endlessly...

More (s)crapware examples:
- Dirvers for cheap noname videocards, webcams, etc.
- Default calculator in any smartphone.
- Basic programs in windows (Notepad, Hyperterminal, Outlook Express, IE...)
I.e. both cheap and expensive devices/solutions/packages suffer the same problem of (s)crapware.

Solution:
Look for alternative software that does the job for you.
In case of ContourGPS:
- MOV-files are accessible in the camera as USB-drive - use any file manager.
- Extract GPS data from MOV-files - use CGPSTrackXtracT X4.
- Extracted GPS data can be parsed visually with GPSVisualizer.
- For movie cut and share - use any video editor and video hosting appropriately.

All these parts make whole the idea broken. But this is a way to get reliable solution even it is not the best. To be fair, Contour doesn't make problems for developers. The company even slowly enters so necessary implementation in the StoryTeller. But this happens too slowly...

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