Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Next Year's Version

I received this pamphlet in the mail yesterday, advertising the next version of Finale, my music-writing software. The cover looks like a badly-designed reading primer from the 80s and comes with a nonsensical-if-you-stop-and-think-about-it slogan, "In the silence before the music begins, anticipation lingers." What does that even mean, and how does it relate to notation software? I don't have any solid proof, but I think they just copied the poster from next year's horror movie, Dark Alley.

Flipping through the pamphlet, I didn't really see any features to get excited about. Just a few additional formatting techniques that will make every part you print an unintentionally unique snowflake and a bunch of musical sounds that still don't sound like the real deal. Honestly, I haven't used any new features in the Finale programs since the 2002 version, but somehow I'm supposed to believe that it's a bargain to upgrade to 2007 for a mere $99. I probably won't think it's a bargain until they invent a cap I can wear that converts the music I'm thinking in my brain into picture-perfect scores and MIDI files. Brahms ain't got nothin' on the symphonies I store in my brain, but sadly no one will ever get to experience my unadulterated musical genius because I don't feel like transcribing the score onto paper (this is the world's loss).

It's one thing to change the year or version number on your product to separate it from previous versions. It's another matter entirely to repackage and SELL it as a slick upgrade when not much is different at all (see also Madden NFL '94, Madden NFL '95, Madden NFL '96, Madden NFL '97, Madden NFL '98, Madden NFL '99, Madden NFL '00, Madden NFL '01, Madden NFL '02, Madden NFL '03, Madden NFL '04, Madden NFL '05, and Madden NFL '06).

Here are some other signs that I don't always need the latest and greatest to survive:

AIM 5.1.3: The last version before they added all the useless ads, sounds, and streaming video, cluttering up my buddy list. I also pair it with DeadAIM 3.2.1 for tabbed browsing and hiding of all the useless AOL gimmicks.
SUPER Notetab v2.63e: This fine text editor is circa 1996 and is what I use for ALL of my web site and much of my daily work as well.
WordPerfect 12: Another 1996 fossil -- I would use WordPerfect 5 if they made a version that still worked in Windows. I could go off on a tangent here about how much I dislike Microsoft Word and how it tries to anticipate your every action and usually gets your intentions wrong, but that's enough for a whole update on its own.

Sign stealer saves the world from corruption
Strangely enough, no one found the taco sauce joke particularly funny.
Baltimore man has "Islam Sucks" signs

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