DailyDirt: Will This Problem Ever Go Away?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

A common complaint for closed source software-as-a-service is that it can just go away almost any minute — leaving users abandoned without any immediate backup solutions. There might be alternatives to switch to, but the alternatives are not exactly the same, and this is why people complained so much when [GeoCities, Google Reader, FormsCentral, etc.] shut down. Users get accustomed to certain features that may be unique. Some companies are better at handling service shutdowns than others, but in the end, it’s still really annoying.

After you’ve finished checking out those links, if you have some spare change (or more) and would like to support Techdirt, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Will This Problem Ever Go Away?”

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11 Comments
Spaceman Spiffsays:

This is why

This is why one should ONLY use open source software. When you are wedded to commercial closed-source software, you are at the mercy of they company that makes it. If they go out of business, or sell to another company, all bets are off and you may be left holding onto nothing while floating over the Grand Canyon!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: This is why

Completely agree. Even if you must use proprietary software, at least USE OPEN STANDARDS! Open standards are probably even more important than FOSS software because they make archival and conversion so much easier. Also, there is usually better software support for open standards vs closed standards.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Re: This is why

This is why one should ONLY use open source software. When you are wedded to commercial closed-source software, you are at the mercy of they company that makes it. If they go out of business, or sell to another company, all bets are off and you may be left holding onto nothing while floating over the Grand Canyon!

Unfortunately, there’s not an open source program for every need, or in some cases, the open source alternatives aren’t as good as the proprietary programs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of open source, free software, but sometimes the closed source, commercial programs are just better.

For example;

I wanted to edit the audio of a large video file to fix a bunch of dead spots by copying and pasting nearby data. Someone recommended Audacity so I tried it. Unfortunately it was slow and clunky. Each paste operation took several seconds during which time the program was unresponsive. Also, if I didn’t make sure to select EXACTLY the same length of data to be replaced when pasting my patch, it would change the length of the track and throw it out of sync with the video. With hundreds of dead spots to fix and sometimes needing to experiment with each one to get a flawless (or as close to it as possible) patch, it was going to take me several days to do the whole thing.

When I asked for alternatives, someone recommended Cool Edit Pro. Compared to Audacity, it was fast and responsive. Pasting data was nearly instantaneous and it had a handy paste/replace option that would overwrite the existing data without changing the length of the track. I’ve heard that it has problems running under Windows 7 or higher though.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is why

Given the large number of OSS tools available that can do what you wanted, the fact that Audacity in particular didn’t meet your needs is not an indictment of open source offerings.

Audacity is the only audio editor that I know that’s free and available for Windows.

What program would you recommend, which can load large audio files (90-120 minutes), works with stereo files, lets you zoom into the waveform display, allows nearly instantaneous copying and pasting of data, and which has a paste with replace option, so that I don’t have to worry about changing the length of the track?

I’m not being a smartass, I’d really like to know if there is such a program that’s freeware and available for Windows?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: This is why

Audacity is a simple editor, useful for what it is but hardly intended for professional edits. Ardour may be more what you needed. FLOSS often has alternative tools aimed at different audiences, or even complete distros aimed at an audience. Artistx can be a useful live DVD for trying out the creative software available under a FLOSS license.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is why

Audacity is a simple editor, useful for what it is but hardly intended for professional edits. Ardour may be more what you needed. FLOSS often has alternative tools aimed at different audiences, or even complete distros aimed at an audience. Artistx can be a useful live DVD for trying out the creative software available under a FLOSS license.

I know next to nothing about compiling software from source code. I’ve only done it a couple of times and in each instance, the authors provided step by step instructions of what you needed to run, what extras you needed to have installed, what kinds of changes you needed to make for different platforms etc.

I also know absolutely nothing about using Linux programs. I’ve used a live CD that runs a program to wipe the login passwords on a Windows machine, but that’s about the extent of my Linux usage. When quitting one of those programs (I think it was a password cracker) I was dumped to a Linux desktop and I couldn’t even figure out how to initiate a reboot.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is why

The problem with switching to Linux is that it’s not going to run all the Windows software (including games) that I have. I recall a few years ago, there was a user on one site who couldn’t wait to switch to Linux. He talked about getting a new system and installing Linux. He kept talking about how great it would be to dump Windows.

Then he finally got it and within a week, he was posting about had he had installed all his old programs in WINE because he couldn’t find Linux equivalents that he was happy with.

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