i have posted at some length about the unmitigated ass rape that is the college textbook scam.
it managed to bite me again today, and i am so unbelievably angry i won't even try to bother being nice (or hide the guilty party behind some "won't say their name" thing).
the book in question this time is this one. the book is decent in terms of material, but i have complaints about the course structure i'll save for another post.
today i bought a new computer i'll also save for another post. (i'm writing from it now, and it's pretty sweet.) as part of the setup for this new computer, i needed to put the electronic textbook i bought onto this new computer.
the electronic textbook is about $50 cheaper than the paper version, and being on a budget so tight i couldn't stick a straight pin up its ass, i went for it.
like all textbooks, it's drm-laden shitware. you have to download the vitalsource reader, log in, and then download your book to mess with it. (you can only print two pages at a time, or copy text two pages at a time, and when you copy, it includes citation garbage stuffed onto the clipboard whether you want it or not.)
it turns out that they only allow you to use your book on two computers at a time. it should theoretically be possible to de-authorize one computer and transfer the authorization to another.
there's no way to deauthorize within the software on one computer, and when you try to authorize the third, you get the wonderfully helpful error "you have reached your machine activation limit."
the useless faq doesn't actually say anything about errors like this. oh, no, you don't have to back up your purchases, you can re-download them ... but if your machine crashes, apparently you actually can't redownload because the system won't let you "authorize" your computer!
call support, which is 24 hours. i talk to a rep who doesn't understand the problem. i tell him i need to deauthorize one computer and authorize another.
he puts me on hold to find out how to do this.
it turns out, the way you do this is to escalate to second fucking level support. a simple, straight-forward situation that happens all the time is beyond the capabilities of their first level support team: customer with a desktop and a laptop calls in, has upgraded one computer or the other, and wants to take his textbook with him. but gotcha! we can't help you do that.
so the second level guys will supposedly get in touch either by phone or by email -- he doesn't know which -- with a resolution -- but he doesn't know when. he also couldn't explain the benefits of the product to me, when i asked -- as in, why i'd want this product now.
meanwhile, shitware ebook company that over-charges for their drm-laden, mind-numbingly broken crap has my money, while i have a book that's half-broken.
while i have lots of personality and philosophical clashes with the guys over at the free software foundation, it's true that vitalsource's shit is defective by design.