zaterdag 18 april 2009

Things I would like to shout to Microsoft

For many years I have been using Microsoft Windows and Office and at several points in time (in fact, more than I can remember) I have become frustrated, either a bit or utterly, by the way these pieces of software communicate with me. Well, to me actually, because I always feel limited in my options to respond.

[Intermezzo]
At this point you might start to characterise me as a member of the anti-Microsoft camp, like many Apple and Unix lovers. But that would be too shallow. And I can prove that by simply taking Visual Studio as an example of what I really like (that is, version 2008 or later).

When this complex compiler* runs your code and encounters an error, it will not only produce a helpful message to explain what has gone wrong, but it will also show you one or more hints to solve the problem. Furthermore, these hints - and here's my favourite part - will usually indeed solve your problem.

And best of all: those hints come from people who designed the language and/or the compiler, so if you sensibly use that guidance to attack problems in your code, you let those people effectively help you write code that aligns with their intentions. Really cool and definitely something positive I would like to shout to Microsoft. But I digress...

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* Assembler/disassembler, debugger, analyser, designer, editor, generator, emulator, web server... yes, I know. But the emphasis is on "complex".
[/Intermezzo]

To channel these frustrations I decided to make a list. A list of things I usually shout to my computer (either out loud or in my mind, depending on the impression I am trying to make on the people around me), only to become more frustrated, since it only sits there. Obviously. I should not be shouting at my computer, I should be shouting at individuals or even entire teams at Microsoft instead.

So here it is: a list of things I would rather never have thought about in the first place. And I will add to this list whenever I encounter new things or when things resurface in my brain despite having been suppressed.

To whom it may concern at Microsoft,
  1. What do you think I mean when I respond "Yes to all"?
  2. Is there another way to interpret "Also apply this template to all subfolders"?
  3. I have been using computers longer than I care to remember: yes, I am sure I want to change that file name extension!
  4. I just spent an hour writing pure gold. Take a wild guess how I will respond to "Do you want to save the changes?"
  5. I just opened that document to take a quick look, so no, I do not want to save any changes that I did not make.
  6. I know the computer "needs to be restarted"; I have read the previous message. I did not care then and I do not care now!
  7. Yes, I want to display the "protected operating system files"!
  8. Hide "extensions for known file types"? Why? Why would I want to do that?
  9. So what does "Remember each folder's view settings" really mean then?
  10. Tell me then, what do you mean by "all folders of this type"?
  11. I never ever want to see "tags" or "rating" for a file, no matter what type it is!
  12. Of course you are sorry for the inconvenience! Me too.
  13. You've got some nerve redefining the word "repair"!
  14. If I change a setting it must stay that way until the end of time - or until I change it again!
  15. If I throw away a shortcut I do that on purpose and not because I am a moron who has no idea what he is doing!
  16. No, I do not want the most recent Messenger! Every freaking time I turn on my computer I am annoyed by this and the only response offered is "Download now". Where do I say no? Where do I say no? Where do I say NO?
  17. Thanks very much for the tip, but after having used multiple Windows Mobile phones for multiple years, I think I know how to charge the battery without consulting the "owner's manual"!