I know that without the dear, dear technology that I love so much, I wouldn’t have a job. And I know that without the sometimes asinine developers that program the software we use, I am kept busy forever.


I spent a wasted 20 minutes in an online chat today with an Adobe technician who assured me that they had no information on where certain settings were kept. The location of these settings was vital to me today because I needed to know where they were so I could clear them out, because they were otherwise hidden from view, not in a window or screen, and were actually preventing Acrobat from starting on a client’s computer.


But the dingdong on the other end of my chat window swore up and down that he knew of no such location, and that since an uninstall and reinstall of their application did not help the situation, the problem “must be” (his words) in “the Windows” (his words again).


Since this wasn’t my first time at this rodeo, I decided to play the trump card. I asked him to escalate me to a support engineer. I fought the “there’s no need for that,” “we have no information,” and “this will not help your issue” arguments he offered, but still I was not being sent to a next level support person.


I’ve worked with and supported Adobe products for a very long time. So long, in fact, that I actually had to support Acrobat 3 at one time, and we’re now shuffling through one of their worst iterations: Adobe X (or 10, for those who can’t get the nuance of Roman numerals). This knowledge has brought me to the point where I can almost always solve any application error I see with Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop, FrameMaker, and the like.


Until today.


Acrobat’s broken so badly that it won’t even open. It throws an error, which contained one piece of useful information, and a bunch of useless crap, because all it really said was that Acrobat needed to be uninstalled and reinstalled, which even a trained chimp could figure out. But after over an hour of trying to get this worked, out, I was still getting the error, even after replacing every single one of the settings, files, and system entries Acrobat has on a PC. There was that one sliver of information that was the clue, and it led me on a search for one little setting, a setting that told Acrobat where one file was.


Nowhere in the program settings was anything even mentioning that file. Hence the chat session with the Adobe support dude.


It’s a classic tactic of “support” to blame other software or hardware for a problem: assume the one troubled piece of software is not perfect and blame everything else around it. And Adobe Dude tried that initially, claiming I had corrupt fonts.


Nope. I’d replaced them already.


The registry files weren’t replaced during the uninstall and reinstall.


Yes, they were. I manually deleted them, rebooted and did the install. Even got rid of the info in the appdata folder, just to preclude your next question. Ha!
It’s an unpatched version. The virus software is blocking something. Windows doesn’t like you. You’re ugly.


No, no, no and no…or I don’t think so.


He said that my problem was not eligible for escalation, and that was a new one on me, that problems that couldn’t be solved at the first level couldn’t be escalated to a second level. I argued, fought, almost pleaded. But finally I did what every frustrated person in my position would do: I went over his head.


Well, not directly. I went to the person in our company that arranges our purchase agreement and licensing with Adobe. I asked him to raise a little hell with our account rep.


We’ll see if I have any kind of response in the morning. Honestly, at this point, it’s only a matter of pride now, because I did what every good tech does with problems he can’t solve: I improvised (cheated). All my client needed was the ability to create PDFs out of any app on her computer. So I downloaded and installed CutePDF and showed her how to use it. It might have taken two hours, but she was working again.


And I shall wait for an e-mail from Adobe…


See you tomorrow.