Sunday, July 15, 2007

Companies that don't Get It

While visiting his mom in New Jersey with Erika, Steve bought a Kodak disposable camera to take pictures of the child gallivanting about New Jersey beaches and such. Back in Austin he got the film developed at HEB and pictures put on a CD. I stuck the CD in my computer to get the pictures off. That's all I wanted: to get the pictures off the CD and onto my hard drive. It may come as a shock to Kodak that I did NOT want to sign up for Kodak's online photo gallery, and that I was perfectly capable of viewing and copying pictures using the good ole Windows Explorer -- I did NOT special software for that! Most emphatically, though, I did not want to install the said software.

Yet that's what I was forced to do if I wanted to see the pictures. Clicking on the CD gave me only one option, to install Kodak Easy Share software. It took half an hour to install. As is typical of Windows programs, the installation required to reboot the computer. All so that I could take a peek at 20-odd pictures. Because you know, as an average user, I'm so dumb that if you give me a CD with a folder of pictures in it, I won't know what to do with it. ;-) No, Kodak had to waste half an hour of my time installing software that lets me do nothing I can't already do by double-clicking or drag-and-dropping folders and files! Never mind that my hard drive is creaking at the seams with all the software I have on it, including several image manipulation programs. And wouldn't you know, Easy Share installed itself in the system tray, slowing down my already slow computer even more.

What I found the most presumptuous is that it also asked me to create an account for its online photo sharing site. Why did it assume I don't already use photo-sharing sites of my own choice, such as Flickr? This attitude is so patronizing. And the software did not really give me an option to NOT create an account. The most you can get away with is "Remind me later".

So I gritted my teeth, went through the install, copied the pictures onto my hard drive, and uninstalled the damn thing. Only then I realized I could have bypassed this by booting my computer into Linux, sticking the CD in, and getting the pictures off. Since the Easy Share program wouldn't run on Linux, it would not launch itself when I click on the CD, so I may be able to see directly into the image directory hidden somewhere in the Easy Share directory structure. So I did that, just for the heck of it. And of course, Linux was able to see the picture directory on the CD right away. Should have thought of it earlier. I'm glad to know -- attention, flame bait! -- that Linux is useful for something. :-) Kodak -- less so. I'll try to remember not to buy Kodak disposable cameras again. (Because I'm pretty sure it wasn't HEB's idea to stick the Easy Share software on the CD: it must be part of an agreement it has with Kodak about developing pictures from their disposable cameras.)

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