This Space for Rent

Creeping requirements.

On the box, the Turbotax program said

Windows -- 240 MB hard disk space - 128 MB RAM - 98/2000/ME/XP
Close all programs, Insert CD, follow on-screen instructions

Mac -- 165 MB hard disk space - Mac OS X (10.2.8) or greater
Insert CD. Locate the TurboTax folder.  Drag the folder onto your hard disk.

To my increasing irritation, I don't have a Mac. But I do have a machine running Windows 2000. So I plopped the CD into the Windows box and waited to follow the on-screen instructions.


The stupid installer said that it needed administrative privileges to install the program. To discourage windows viruses, normal users on this windows machine don't have administrative privileges. But I do want to run the tax software, so I cd'ed into the cd directory, found the setup program, and did the incomprehensible control-alt-meta-cokebottle-leftarrow sequence that is the Windows version of sudo, fired it up again, and ...


It chirped and whirred for a little while, then popped up a little alert box saying, in effect, "screw the documentation, baby, because now that you've paid US$40 for this software we're going to use it to leverage a whole bunch of new crap onto your machine" by telling me that, for some reason having to do with the e-filing (the e-filing that I will not do until the US government stops pretending they're Ma Bell and charging extra for something that's cheaper for them to process. But I digress) they're going to have to install Microsoft bundle-of-security-bugs 6 onto the machine. Fine. I can always uninstall the bundle of security bugs after I've got the stupid tax software loaded. So, [ok], open my machine up to all the Windows viruses known to man....


... and the stupid installer immediately dumps core and exits.

So now I'm out US$40 dollars, because, in the grand tradition of software, if you're not bright enough to pirate the software first, it's just as if you took that money and burned it in the fireplace (if I had pirated the software first, it would not be an issue because as soon as the stupid software said it required root access to install an accounting program, I would have told it to fuck itself and cancelled my five-finger evaluation process on the spot.)

Let me repeat the Mac installation instructions: Insert CD. Locate the TurboTax folder. Drag the folder onto your hard disk.

Of course, this could also be a lie, and the first thing the horrible program would do is turn up its nose at Safari (or whatever they call the default web browser that ships with MacOS) and demand that the user install the Apple version of Microsoft bundle-of-security-bugs 6 onto the machine. But given the nature of macfanatics, a demand like that would result in a million enraged users sending hatemail and then never buying turbotax again. Which is certainly what I'm going to do. This means I'll need to either (a) do my taxes by hand (shudder. double shudder) or (b) hire a tax person to fill them out for me. ((c), which is "use the H&R Block tax program", is not feasable, because I used that program last year and ended up having to shovel junk icons and programs off my machine.))

Screw you, Intuit. Screw you and the horse you rode in on.


Quickbooks(hate it, hate it to the tenth power):

“You must have poweruser or administrator rights to run this program.” Remedy, give users full rights to each intuit directory.

Quickbooks 2005 (hate it even more, hate it even more):

“You must install ”.net" before installing/upgrading to this version of Quickbooks."

Blehhhhh … “.net 1.1”, just open a bunch of ports and stab me over and over!

“I’m sorry that is a "Windows” issue and we can’t help you."

Apologise for the rant,


Ken Parks Fri Mar 24 20:15:12 2006

Nothing from Intuit will desecrate my machine once I heard about their built-in obsolescence policy for Quickbooks and the TurboTax DRM. I’ll bet it’s that last which hosed the setup; I recommend checking for C-Dilla malware before doing anything else on your box.

Francois Fri Mar 24 20:24:10 2006

Thanks, Our pix firewall/proxy server combo and Kolla’s “Spybot” takes care of the C-dilla. These are win2k machines I support at work. (“The doughnuts are here, Dan just logged in, look at all that traffic.”)

For a really awful (run sceaming from the room) program, “Lexis-Nexis California Jury Instruction Selector”.

“I’m sorry, we can’t replicate that here on our machines. Remove your anti-virus program and try it again.”

Yeah right, Symantec Corporate AV is the problem.

Ken Parks Fri Mar 24 20:41:38 2006

I installed TurboTax on my Mac, and it was just that easy. The only hitch was that the “Am I Deductable or Not” for goods donated to charity fires up your default web browser, and if your default is Firefox it doesn’t work right (you never see the “Continue” button they talk about). Cutting and pasting the URL into Safari fixed that.

Paul Tomblin Sat Mar 25 04:21:22 2006

Installation of TurboTax (for Windows) simply requires that you have administrative rights. It’s only for the purpose of installing TurboTax. Without admin rights, we’re precluded from putting the required files and registry entries on your PC.

Once you have admin rights, I’m confident you’ll have no trouble installing TurboTax. I hope this information helps.

Bob Meighan VP, TurboTax

Bob Meighan Mon Mar 27 21:47:43 2006

I don’t know how carefully you read my rant, but I do have admin rights; that’s what the control-meta-cokebottle-alt was talking about. The turbotax installer still dumped core on me.

It’s an accounting program. Why should it need to (a) muck with the registry or (b) install internet explorer when the Mac version simply involves dragging a folder onto your hard disk?

David Parsons Mon Mar 27 22:27:35 2006

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