Sunday, October 25, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

There's the old joke about a patient who asks his doctor how long he'd been practicing. The doctor replies "more than twenty years". "So," the patient asks, "when are you going to get it right?"

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase

It seems we have no problem with doctors and lawyers who build a "practice'. After all "practice makes perfect". Although I think I might have a problem with a surgeon who is still "practicing" a complicated surgery. I think I'd prefer if he or she practices on someone else, before I get into the operating room.

I'm beginning to feel this way about Microsoft. They keep "practicing" their operating system and I'm thinking they're still practicing on me. We went from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 and 98, to Windows ME, to Windows XP, to Windows Vista to Windows 7. Where's the logic to this? Why switch from a numbering system to a year system to an initial system to a name system back to a number system? Are they trying to confuse us?

So what's really bugging me? It's not the name. It's not the bugs. And frankly, most of the articles I read complaining of what Windows 7 doesn't do are beyond my understanding. What bugs me is the way Microsoft moves functionality in and out of their operating systems. For example, "scan and fax" has been an integrated part of their operating systems since Windows 95. Then, quietly, some brilliant functionality team decided Vista Home users won't need this function and only put the program in Vista Business. C'mon, what would it have cost Microsoft to put 25 more bytes of programming into their CD?

So, if I want to "scan and fax" in Vista, I have to upgrade to a Vista Ultimate or downgrade to Vista Business and lose the multi-media stuff. So that's not happening. The good news is that Microsoft, again, quietly, has put "Scan and Fax" back into all versions of Windows 7. Problem solved. All I have to do is reward Microsoft with $120 and everything is right with the world of Microsoft. This will clean my Windows problem better than Windex.

Not so fast. Here comes the next brilliant decision by Microsoft. Kiss goodbye Outlook Express. Actually, Microsoft replaced Outlook Express with Vista Mail. And Vista Mail will be replaced in Windows 7 with, uh, nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of Vista Mail, but since Outlook 2002 doesn't work well with Vista, I've been stuck using their "Express" version. So, if I want the "scan and fax" I have to upgrade to Windows 7. Then, I'll have to reward Microsoft again with the purchase of Outlook 2007 or Office 2007 to get an email program.

So, I'm bugged. I don't care about Windows viruses. I've got antibiotics for those. I'm bugged about my "relationship" with Microsoft. I've been faithful. They haven't. Microsoft has taken, given and taken.

But then, isn't every relationship "give and take"?

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