I just spent about
an hour two hours twisting knobs trying to get my Windows 7 desktop machine to listen to a microphone jack. I have a relatively nice USB-based audio thingamy (yes, it’s by Creative Labs, but the USB protocols are dead simple, right?) There’s a jack there, it’s got something plugged into it that’s emitting sound, but my recorder app can’t even open it.
1. Get the latest drivers from Creative Labs. Suffer the usual 100MB download (I care about maybe one megabyte of it). Install. Reboot. Cringe at the full screen bullshit that Creative inserts in the boot process. Go ahead, Creative, I don’t use my computer for anything other than running your glorious software, so have your way with it. Uninstall and reinstall some other software that the CL stuff is unhappy about coexisting with. Reboot again; this is Windows.
2. Still doesn’t work. Continue to twist knobs. After about 20 minutes I realize that enabling the “Listen” option (buried two or three nested and tabbed dialogs deep) on an input makes it impossible to select any other input as a default. The failure mode is, shall we say, not obvious. I think I know the guy who “fixed” this stuff from Vista.
3. Don’t get me started on the iTunes user interface. Apple can afford to buy whole countries but apparently they can’t afford an engineering team that can design UI. Maybe it’s just my familiarity, but the Zune UI is way better, guys. Shouldn’t that shame you into doing something with iTunes?
I had to do this on my desktop because the Linux laptop I wanted to use has incredibly crappy audio circuitry. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t realize how jaw-dropping miserable it was until I saw the noise floor. Really don’t buy Lenovo hardware.
Why do we make things so hard?