Why I Want to Bust a MadCap in Adobe’s Ass

Posted on March 9, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |


Adobe Technical Communication Suite
I'm a technical writer. Have been for more than 15 years.  I have used FrameMaker since it was at version 2 and was owned by company called Frame. I have owned RoboHELP Since the early days of Blue Sky Software who used to spam my work fax with "specials". Both Blue Sky and Frame eventually found their way into Adobe's family of products.

Words cannot describe how much I love FrameMaker. I use(d) it to write everything, including mundane office dribble because I love structured documents and Microsoft Word has turned a once usable interface into tabbed hieroglyphics. RoboHELP on the other hand is now just Robohelp and hasn't changed much in years. It's not the best documentation solution, but it beats many others and has some cool features strapped onto it by Macromedia before Adobe ate them too.

Why People Hoard Violent Hostility Before Driving Home

Last August, I noticed that my installed, and perfectly functional, Adobe Technical Communication Suite 1.0 was working fine one day and the next day the serial number stopped working. This was because some update made Adobe Captivate reject my serial number. This happened on both my desktop and my laptop.

I thought I would call Adobe support. Looking back, I now see the folly of my youth and inexperience. I miss the old carefree me who doesn't cook blood-boiling hatred for Adobe's customer support methods and people.

Naturally, the support is in India. I'm okay with Indian support as long as the company they represent actually empowers them to do things. From what I've experienced, Adobe has empowered their Indian call centers to say "no" with various inflections as well as transferring me back and forth between customer service and technical support.  I have been told I need to pay for support. I have been told I need to completely reload all of my Adobe software. I have been told that I should know why my serial number doesn't work.

And Time Flies

Starting in August I called several times to kick-off a mind-numbing cycle of ignorant troubleshooting. My complaint is the serial number stopped working. I upgraded to Tech Comm Suite 1.3, hoping for a new serial number and never received one.  I'm told the old one will work for 1.3, but alas, it's not that easy. Adobe support's response to all of this is to have me uninstall and reinstall everything over and over for the next few months. Seeing how this is a suite of products, I spend more time following "Steve's" broken English instructions than I do getting real work done.

So now it's January 2009. Obama will be sworn in soon. Yet I am not getting Hope or Change from Adobe. We're still going back and forth on the phone. People say they will call me back and never do. I can't even guess as to how many call-backs were promised to me that just didn't happen.

I used to sing Adobe's praises for all to hear. InDesign is my publication designer. Dreamweaver is my prototyping and quick site building workhorse. However, FrameMaker is the ultimate documentation tool for me. Robohelp is a great addon that helps me just give customers what they want.

It's not like I don't want to be an Adobe customer. It's more like they resent that I still live and breath after I buy the product. This particular problem, from what I understand, is not uncommon. Damn that man who keeps calling and whining about his serial number.  Damn him back to FrameMaker 5.5 and don't let him upgrade again, they say.

You Can't Fight City Hall

flare_boxWith every call, I'm polite and I understand that each person at Adobe tech support is special in their own way. I'm sure "Ron", who was kind enough to hang up on me "accidentally" just needs a hug. And there was "Annona" who was very stern in insisting I had to pay for support to fix my serial number.  I don't yell at these people. Special people need a special place so they aren't operating machinery.

blazeIf I could affford it, I'd move to MadCap Sofware. They seem to have some interesting products. I would like to try their Robohelp and FrameMaker killers, Flare and Blaze.

But the expense of software conversion for small independents like me is enough to cause marital problems.

I'll stay with Adobe, but I'm angry with their support and I'm more angry that they know their support sucks and they are not taking steps to correct it. Maybe they're jonsing for a future bailout. Who knows.

I just know that after 6 months, I have an unresolved issue with a serial number for a product I've purchased and then upgraded. I've been treated as if I don't matter to Adobe and I can't use the software I purchased.  Thanks Adobe! I can now have a blog post about it.

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