Saturday, August 18, 2007

iWork '08 Stupidity

I downloaded the trial of iWork '08 last week. I would really like to stop using MS Office on my MacBook. I had a new IBM article I needed to start working on, so I figured one good way to see if I could switch to iWork would be to use Pages to write the article. It's an easy test really, since I don't do anything too complex.

I was working on the article on the plane this morning. When we were about to land in Dallas, I saved my work and closed iWork. I'm going to be in Florida for the next week, so I decided to switch over my time to central, as Dallas is also in the central time zone. So I did that.

Now I'm sitting at my gate with a two hour layover. I decided to do so more week after I ate lunch. I put together a nice graphic in Pages, where I overlayed a screenshot and drew on it to highlight important parts of the screen. This is something I usually use a separate program for because it's awkward in Word. I was able to do it easily in Pages. The thought went through my head "Word, your days are done."

I was so happy with this accomplishment that I hit CMD-S to save my work. I got some cryptic message about not being able to save unless I either entered a serial or began a trial. I clicked trial, and it told me that my 30 day trial had ended. Thus I could not save my work.

WTF!?!?! The stupid program hasn't even been out for 30 days. I'm assuming that it did this because I had tinkered with my date (changing the time zone) earlier. This indicates several layers of stupidity. First, iWork is verifying the trial against the clock on the computer. I didn't think anybody was dumb enough to do that anymore because it's so easy to circumvent. Oh, but Apple is smart. They're also doing a check to see if you mess with the date/time. Only problem is that their cleverness isn't clever at all. Changing timezones caused a false positive.

At this point I did consider going ahead and buying iWork. I figured I'm probably going to do it anyways. I just couldn't do that though. It would be like I had been bait-n-switch'ed. Apple broke their part of the deal (letting me use their product for 30 days) and I was supposed to now pay them for this? There's no way I could do that. I might not even buy iWork at all now.

So instead I opened up Word, and copied the document over to it. Luckily I wasn't too far along, so it wasn't too hard to re-assemble or reproduce the non-text parts (like tables, code samples, and the infamous screenshot.)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just reset the trial using the method outlined on the page below

http://www.macopz.com/forum/index.pl/noframes/read/839

Anonymous said...

Too bad you got nailed on such a simple change. Sorry you feed bitter but I do understand your reaction. For me personally, I am fed up with all the bugs and glitches that remain in Office 2004. They offend me far more than Apple's wanting to get paid for their effort.

I love iWork '08! It easily handles my needs. Numbers kicks Excel in the but for my use. Yesterday I used copy and paste from viewing a spreadsheet in Firefox—I captured data in a format that pasted directly into Numbers! Safari did not work for this task!

I used a blank spreadsheets and pasted into the upper left hand cell... then edited to remove unnecessary rows and columns and presto! The charts and graphs that my boss has wanted for three months were done!

iWork is definitely worth $79. Buy it and don't look back... YES YOU CAN reduce your reliance on MS Office. I hope not to have to update to MS Office 2008 at $399 per copy on 26 systems.

Mike Peter Reed said...

Pity you didn't take a screengrab of the error.

Anonymous said...

on who's part :-)

Anonymous said...

Since you are writing an article for IBM you most probably know that computers are stupid and can not mind-meld with humans at this time. No wonder you got stuck in a time zone switch limbo. However, if you had used the regular iWork instead of the trial version, you would not had the problem.

Further, Numbers is a killer application!!!

Anonymous said...

So Apple is "stupid" for trying to keep you from stealing the shareware priced iWork, and you were "bait and switched" because your test drive--which made you decide you liked it enough to buy it--didn't work properly after you fiddled with your clock?

FYI, changing the clock on a computer always has consequences, as does pouring a glass of water on it, shaking it violently, or putting it next to a Tesla Coil. Don't blame Apple just because you were able to screw up your system enough to where you lost a doodle you'd started in a test app.

Neil Anderson said...

Don't worry. You'll get over it. :) A comparison of Word to Pages is like a week-old smushed banana to a banana split.

Joseph said...

Just how is Apple supposed to check whether your 30-day trial has expired without reading the clock? This isn't stupid on Apple's part, its the only option a software engineer has. I switched from using Word myself and at this point I love Pages simplicity, stability, and its new functionality under iWork '08.

Anonymous said...

Want some cheese with our whine? So there is a bug in the 30-day trial software... just got buy the software now that you know it works so well.... geezs...

2cents said...

I ran into this, too. Mine was on the Friday after it was announced, the trial was all of 4 days old!

And regardless of the mechanism used to determine if the trial has expired, "fiddling with the clock" by changing time zones should NOT be something that breaks this check. I travel almost every week, frequently between time zones. I downloaded the trial in EST, and live in CST. Changing time zones is fairly standard fare!

I did opt to buy it, anyway, just because, well, no great reason. But it is bogus to think that a company like Apple can't determine a better way to protect their goods.

Michael said...

Woo hoo, look at all these comments :-)

Yes, Apple is stupid for having to check my computer's clock as part of their trial valuation. If you wanted to do a check against time, then there's crazy thing out there called the internet. You know, the ol' series o' tubes... For example, check out your Mac's Date & Time System Preference. Notice the Set date & time automatically: time.apple.com. What do you think that site does?

And that's not even close to being the most sophisticated way to enforce a time based trial. Go download anything from Adobe, like Photoshop, Acrobat Pro, Flash, etc. Screwing around with your date won't fool it. Same thing with anything from Microsoft. This is not a hard problem that hasn't been solved or something. Lots of people have solved it without using a stupid hack like Apple has.

Michael said...

Oh, and I'm not convinced that iWork is a legit replacement for Office, at least for me. One of the things I have to deal with is track changes and comments. The stuff I write for IBM doesn't go straight from my MacBook to live on IBM's site. There's an editor in between, and there's a workflow to things like this. It's a workflow that Word enables nicely. And I can't expect my editor to use Pages. So I need to be able to send him a Word doc that he can edit, puts comments, etc. and send back. Maybe Pages '08 can do this. I don't know since I couldn't finish the trial.

Oh and I do have iWork '06. Track changes did not work in Pages '06. Also, there was degradation at times when going from Word 2004 -> Pages '06. That's something I wanted to test, and similarly test the same thing between Excel 2004 -> Numbers. Finally, some PowerPoint templates didn't always transfer work with Keynote '06. There's one more thing I can't test because of Apple's stupidity.

Anonymous said...

How odd that you would have your productivity impeded like that by some misguided sense of how things should be. I assume this is what it's like when you have principles, forcing yourself to keep using bug-infested, expensive crap because of some completely insignificant glitch (that you can remedy yourself!) in a far superior program.

Anonymous said...

If it's important, don't use trial software. Test before using in production.

Good luck.

Byron Winmill said...

Regardless of how people feel about trial software expiring, this problem reflects either a bug or a design flaw in the software itself. If I saw that in the trial version, I would be wondering about the quality of the rest of the software.

As for everyone saying it's great, well, I've learned to take software reviews with a grain of salt a long time ago. They tend to be worthless because balanced reviews are always drowned out by advocates or detractors. When you're dealing with Apple, the situation is an order of magnitude worse, because Apple can do no wrong in the minds of some people. When that product is competing against a Microsoft product, it is yet another magnitude worse since Microsoft is evil in the minds of many people.

So is a working trial version a necessity. Yes. It is necessary for review, and it will end up reflecting quality. Did Apple goof up here? At least for this user, the answer is yes.

D. Palka said...

I don't really see what the problem is. Just change your time zone back. It's not so hard to understand why that happened. It's just a DEMO after all, it's not like the full version acts that way.

Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are really great. You're missing out over something trivial.

Felix said...

I was also upset when this happened to me in the plane over the atlantic yesterday... even more upset as I have ordered it thru my lab and will get the registered key when I return from my trip.

Anyway, changing back to the original timezone did not work (for me)... I had to use the hack mentioned above for now.