Software sucks, Part III

I hate it, hate it, hate it. God damn it, consumer software sucks.

I am extremely frustrated right now. Apparently, Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8a has a bug, and no matter which codec you pick under the .mov or .avi exporting options, the aspect ratio always ends up being 4:3. Even if you tell it that your want the aspect ratio of your HDV 1440x1080i clip to be 1.333, it won’t take it into account during exporting. The only exporting dialog that DOES take it into account, is .wmv, but WMV is pretty useless to me because it is lossy and because other playback apps usually have an A/V sync issue when trying to play WMV (including YouTube).

More over, I can’t export as 1920×1080 in order to avoid the anamorphic mess (who came with the shitty anamorphic idea originally?) because the app prohibits exporting anything above HDV resolutions (only Vegas Pro allows that).

So, all I can hope to do is export as lossless 4:3 my HDV clip and then load it to the very popular MediaCoder to re-encode it with the right aspect ratio, right? Wrong. MediaCoder does not recognize any of the lossless formats offered by Vegas (I won’t bite to use plain uncompressed, sorry). And if that was not enough, after actually being forced to export to WMV and then load it to Mediacoder, it reveals a bug on Mediacoder where HDV and HD resolutions will error-out at the end of encoding with “can’t mux audio and video together” (no matter what encoder/backend/source you use).

I see it everyday, there is no question about this: as long as you want to do anything more complex than emailing, using a calculator and a text editor SOFTWARE DOES NOT WORK AS IT SHOULD. In fact, scratch that: emailing doesn’t really work either.

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Adam wrote on July 14th, 2007 at 9:28 AM PST:

Software doesn’t suck. You’re trying to do tremendously complex stuff – stuff that wasn’t available in consumer software until recently. The processes haven’t been worked out yet. There’s no clear-cut method to do this stuff yet. You’re way ahead of the curve.

There are solutions for your problems. With email, you could archive stuff to alternative formats and search the file system. Spotlight can do it, Google desktop can do it, Beagle can do it.

With video, you could sink serious cash into high end professional video equipment. You can’t expect your 89.99 software to do the same thing as pro software… yet. It’s just too new a practice.

If you want to be on the bleeding edge, I’m afraid you have to accept that in order to accomplish your goal, you may have to make sacrifices and live by the rules of the software.

I really don’t have problems with the software I use on a regular basis, and when I do, I ditch it and find something that works better.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 14th, 2007 at 9:59 AM PST:

You are mistaken. My $130 NLE is simply a dumbed-down version of the $500 professional version. It is the SAME code, minus a few pro features. The bug I am hitting is so EASY to find that gives them NO excuse. No excuse at all.

There is absolutely nothing that works better btw. Premiere Pro, which is a good app overall, has another bug that prevents it from working on my PC (it stops working if you update your XP with Microsoft’s monthly updates).

Avid Xpress is just not good. The other consumer NLEs are worse than Vegas. Final Cut Pro requires a new Mac.

And what I am trying to do IS NOT complex. Setting the aspect ratio on a video clip is a 30 year old technology. It is BASIC functionality of an exporter.

>You can’t expect your 89.99 software to do the same thing as pro software… yet.

This pisses me off Adam. How the heck do you manage this every time? I am NOT asking for a feature that does not exist on the application or didn’t exist or work since version 1 (remember, we are on version 8 ). I am talking about a well understood feature, a feature that EXISTS and is SUPPORTED in the software, but that is BUGGY. And given Sony’s lack of updates, I don’t hold my hopes high that it will ever get fixed. That’s what’s pisses me off. The BUGS of the EXISTING features. Not the lack of high-end features that I didn’t pay for.

Optimus wrote on July 14th, 2007 at 10:18 AM PST:

Hahaha!!! I enjoy your “software sucks” articles!

I don’t really want to imagine how it will be if you ever encounter my own commercial software in the future (In case I ever have a job in that field and getting lazy to actually right good code that works :)


Adam wrote on July 14th, 2007 at 10:54 AM PST:

Since any disagreement tends to “piss you off”, Eugenia, and you appear unable to accept *any* feedback I have for you, I will do you a favor and stop commenting on your blog altogether.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 14th, 2007 at 11:06 AM PST:

Adam, I want you to reply to my blog, but please be a bit more realistic. I am talking about a silly bug that prevents me from doing what I need (a bug easily found during normal testing), not some exotic feature found only on pro software. I mean, this bug is possibly similar to some bugs you and me have created during the years in PHP. A typo in the variable name or something. You see, the bug is just a variable (a combobox choice) not getting through to the next stage. It’s silly, but enough to completely ruin days of editing.

Trent J. Townsend wrote on July 15th, 2007 at 7:28 AM PST:

Bump for great justice… or something.

Have to agree, *all software* sucks.

(yes today is a slow day ;^)

Thom Holwerda wrote on July 15th, 2007 at 7:46 AM PST:

Not just software. Every product sucks. They all have inexplicable mistakes, bad design choices, and so on.

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