"It was the good old days because, with the larger web presses and mid to large magazines, I could be reasonably assured that a diligent art director would get the color right after a few proofs, but I didn't usually have to get involved in it and could get back to what I do best. Now if I give it to them to convert I am almost guaranteed it will be done the down and dirty way and look like crap. Otherwise, I do it myself and oftentimes spend more time on the conversions than I did shooting. Yes I would like an easier way. Shoot me for being so presumptuous as to want some software that would make the task easier."
What exactly are you seeing that you don't like? In instances where you have seen results you don't like have you followed up and found out exactly what happened to produce substandard printing? The good old days you seem to be pining for weren't all that good, and were only good for one specific output. The CMYK conversions were done by algorhythms plugged into drum scanners that converted scanner RGB to CMYK on the fly. There is nothing inherently better about that than the current state of technology, where, if you have the right tools (and most don't), you can generate custom icc profiles that actually surpass the quality of those oversharpened proprietary scans.
Digital cameras have made this necessary as the old prepress shops didn't and by and large, still don't understand what to do with RGB files. You should be celebrating the level of control you currently have instead of complaining. The tools are there built right into Photoshop, and combined with really affordable spectrophotometers and profiling software, for only a few thousand dollars, you too, can be state of the art.
I've been doing my own prepress file conversions with my own custom profiles for at least the last seven years, and the state of the art now, I can tell you, is very, very good. High end shops here in Los Angeles are always telling me that they can't believe how close my Epson proofs are to their proofs. It's no surprise to me, but I guess it is to them. Our files proof correctly about 98 percent on the first round of proofs. That rarely happened in the good old days. I can't tell you how many times I have had to send files off that were only proofed on a Sony Artisan and they all print very well.
The tools are there if you learn how to use them. They work better than ever. I'm not complaining, I'm actually very happy where things are.