My Comment On A Blog Post About Windows Phone 7

A colleague at work pointed out a blog post about Windows Phone 7. The writer of the post bought a new phone with Windows Phone 7 installed on it. He took it back within 4 hours and had to pay a restocking fee.

I would have simply left a comment on the blog post itself, but it’s hosted on InfoWorld, and I would have to register for an account. In a day and age when a 10 year old could easily code a site to allow me to log in with an existing account (like FaceBook, Twitter, or WordPress), InfoWorld, a site that apparently markets itself to IT professionals, requires me to create yet another account on their site. I’m tired of having to keep track of logins and passwords. I can’t tell you have many sites and blogs and forums I’ve had to create an account on just to leave a comment or view information and NEVER GO BACK AGAIN. I’m tired of it.

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Did Microsoft Actually Do Something Right?

After years of reading Lifehacker posts about tweaks to make Windows more like Mac OS X, here’s a post about a way to add some Windows functionality to Mac’s OS. Apparently, Windows 7’s Aero Peek is a coveted feature.

I like Aero Peek. If I ever get a Mac, I’ll install this program on it.

The Last Barrier To Me Using Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer has come a long was over the years. Version 6 was one of the most insecure and painful web browsers I’ve ever used. I still can’t believe some organizations (like the United States Navy) still use it exclusively. As in, they actually design websites that will not work in any other browser but Internet Explorer 6. This is despite the fact that Microsoft has released 2 newer versions of the browser, both of which work a lot better.

I’ve been using IE8 a little more lately. I actually like it. It starts VERY slow. It’s one of the slower browsers to start. But once it’s running, it runs pretty well. It finally has a session manager, so if I have a lot of tabs open and have to restart my computer, I can pick up where I left off. I don’t have to set a lot of bookmarks.

But there is one thing that is stopping me from using Internet Explorer more than Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox: this stupid dialog. I wrote that blog post more than 3 years ago, and that prompt is still a part of Internet Explorer.

If Microsoft could either get rid of that prompt, or at least let me click “Don’t ever bother me with this again”, I would probably make the jump to using IE8 a lot more often.

Are you using IE8 more than another browser?

Steve Ballmer (Apparently) Fires Microsoft Employee For Not Being Excited Enough About Bing

I'm testing Typepad's new microblogging feature. OK, it's not that new, but I've never tried it.

Steve Ballmer at Microsoft apparently fired an employee for not being excited enough about Bing, Microsoft's latest attempt at a search engine that can't find anything.

I have no enthusiasm for Bing. I think I tried it once, and it didn't return any useful results, so I went back to Google.

Another Great Quip From Fake Steve Jobs

Apparently, somebody at Microsoft who had nothing to actually do with Windows 7 made some comment that they tried to copy the Mac OS. He apparently got some retaliation. OK, whatever. That barely made me look up. But, Fake Steve Jobs (Dan Lyons) took this one on, and cracked me up:

And then the Borg rolls out this old chestnut: “Over nine out of ten computer users choose Windows.”

Now, come on. Windows is like herpes. Or genital warts. Nobody chooses Windows. People get Windows. It comes preloaded on their crap machine, and they’re stuck with it.

No Need To Pay For Security on Your PC. Lifehaker Says MS Security Essentials Are Enough

Most of my non-geek friends like to ask me about security. I tell them that unless they look at a lot of porn or spend time downloading pirated software, then they don’t need to worry as much. It’s not that big a deal.

Microsoft once had Windows Live OneCare. I hated the beta version, and installed it after less than 15 minutes. As it matured, I found it to be very useful, and I would recommend it to friends who asked what I though. I’ve long since had it with Norton and McAfee, although I’ve heard since they days that they gave me a bad taste that they’ve optimized their products so they don’t require as much time and attention, as well as system resources. I’m still not ready to pay for either again.

While Windows Live OneCare was a paid product, Microsoft now has Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free. Lifehaker says it works well enough that Windows users shouldn’t have to shell out money for other security products.

The Most Useless Windows Notification

I know the title of this blog entry is not unique. I’ve seen several variations. I’d like to submit my vote for the Windows dialogue that needs to be yanked from Windows IMMEDIATELY. When did I start using Windows Vista as a beta? 2006? Let’s say it was 2006. For three years, programs on Windows computers that I’ve used have been crashing, and I get this dialogue that is absolutely useless. Note: programs on Windows computers I’ve used have been crashing all along, but this “feature” wasn’t introduced until Vista. I can’t remember (OK, one exception, which I’ll get to later) this dialogue window ever doing anything. Here it is:

Vscore

Figure 1. Pointless Windows Dialogue

I have no idea what VSCore announcer is. This is from one of my work laptops. For all I know it’s some domain policy BS. Though I have administrative rights on this laptop, there are some funky policies running on the domain. Maybe I’ll Google VSCore Announcer when I post this. It doesn’t matter what VSCore is. I was working on my laptop this afternoon, and this window popped up, which is what Windows Vista and Windows 7 give you when a program crashes. Now, I do applaud that Windows Vista is more stable than previous Windows versions. Remember Windows ME (Malfunction Edition)? That’s two years of my life I’d like to get back.

So I’m working, and this window pops up as it always does when a program crashes. The only difference is this time, I’m in the mood to rant about it on my blog. When I started using Windows Vista, I’d go for the “Check online for a solution (recommended)”, and I’d get a Microsoft page that basically says

“We don’t know what the heck the problem is. Did you find this information useful?”

I’ve gotten into the habit of just clicking “Close” and wondering why Microsoft built this useless functionality into Windows in the first place, unless it’s part of some mind-conditioning program to prepare us for future versions of Windows, or to make us all convert to Apple so we can buy Office for Mac. I honestly don’t think Microsoft cares if we use PCs or Macs. They’re a SOFTWARE company. Many people who use Macs still run Windows and Office and other Microsoft software. SIDE RANT: I get annoyed when I see a headline stating something like “Another business switches to Mac!” Then I read the article, and find that yes, they did buy a bunch of Macs, but they use custom software that requires Windows. They’re still running Windows either through Boot Camp or Parallels. That’s not “switching to Mac”. You’re still a Windows user. You just switched your hardware OEM. Instead of buying your physical computer from Dell or HP, you’re buying it from Apple, but you’re still a Windows user. Yes, when I finally get my MacBook Pro, I’ll probably still run Windows on it for certain purposes. Why buy another Office license, for instance? Why get a new license for Mind Manager?

I promised I’d tell you what happened the one time “Check online for a solution (recommended)” actually returned some potentially useful information. I got a page saying “This problem was caused by Windows Vista. Did you find this information useful?” Being one of the few people who actually LIKES Windows Vista, I sort of wish the results had been as useless as usual.

This time, since I planned to write a blog post ranting about this feature, I clicked “Check online for a solution (recommended)”. Guess what happened? Nothing. Seriously, nothing happened. I was expecting Internet Exploder, the slowest, most annoying web browser ever, to launch and slowly connect to a site that then tells me “we have no idea what the problem is. Did you find this information useful?

Microsoft, seriously, ditch this useless prompt.