Saturday, December 28, 1996

Installing Games

Computers are making me crazy.

No... it's trying to install games that is making me crazy.

I have been making my living from computers for more than two decades now. I have a master's degree in systems science. I have taught programming on a college level and I currently develop and teach software related courses for a major computer company. I have used PC's at work for more than a decade. I have had a PC at home for almost a decade. This is currently a three computer house (except when my wife brings her laptop home from work and make it four).

I do not claim to be the world's greatest expert on all things related to computers, but please accept that I probably have somewhat greater familiarity with them than the average American consumer.

So if I have trouble installing software and getting it to run... what happens to people who are new to computers? ...and how likely are they to want to run out and buy more software after a few nightmarish experiences?

There were at least a half dozen software boxes under our Christmas tree. Some were relatively easy to install, but some...

Okay, so lots of games designers prefer to work in DOS... So I faithfully follow their directions to make a boot disk. Only one problem... when I use this boot disk, their software needs to access my CD-ROM drive but it fails to recognize it as a valid drive.

Okay, so my son is interested in instead of buying the cheap $15 chess software, I go for three times that price to get the one with a 27,000 game database, etc., one that seems as if it could really teach him, help him to improve his game and have fun doing it. Follow the directions to execute the install routine. Okay, it's installed. Now start it up. Error message: DPLAY.DLL file not found. Uninstall the game. Install it again. Same error. Hey you idiots, it is your install routine...why are you selling stuff that is so filled with bugs? Yes, I know, because suckers like me pick it up off the shelf and buy it. Well, I am building a list of companies that I will avoid like the plague. Don't you know that an unhappy customer will tell nine times as many people about your product than a happy customer will?

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