Windows…. Vista, or as I would rather refer to it, Blister. My reason for this rename quite simply is that Vista is so frustratingly irritating. As with a blister on your heel and a usual requirement for shoes, the irritation will be almost impossible to avoid too. I’ve been saying for the last few days that there’s a very fine line between usability and security and Microsoft have well and truly crossed it on the wrong side.
I was invovled in beta testing for Windows XP and from the first beta version right through the release candidates I used it as my main OS and never really suffered with any major issues. Of course I spotted a couple of issues but nothing major and as a result what was released, I believe, is Microsoft’s most successful, albeit not most secure OS.
Vista on the other hand takes the “Mickey Mouse” to a whole new level. I personally do not wish to be treated like an imbecile by my computer. I tell my computer what to do, not the other way around. Unfortunately for me, Microsoft seems to no longer agree with me.
Media Player 11 or, while I’m renaming things, Media Stayer 11 assumes that it has complete, free and total reign to take over all the file types that it can associate with. Despite an installation of Winamp 5.32 and my instruction for it to take all .m3u and .pls files, it doesn’t. Whether that’s a fault of Winamp or Media Player I don’t know. What I do know is that when I turn Media Player 11 off using the Default Programs applet provided by Microsoft as a way to appease the anti-trust case winners, it STILL insists that it owns .m3u files. So I go in to Default Programs again and completely remove all access to it by unchecking the check box. No no, Media Stayer refuses to release its grasp. I therefore use the Default Programs file associations again to manually alter the file association… and tada it works! Unfortunately Winamp still reports as being an unverified publisher and is forever asking for permission to start. Admittedly this could be a failing of Winamp to work with how Vista handles file associations but if I turn off Media Player and then double-click a file, presumably I should be presented with the option to associate it with an alternative program? Well, I wasn’t.
My final gripe, and the ultimate nail in the coffin of Vista for me is how it manages networks and network connections. Firstly, a computer has a network connection, it is not a network in its own right. This splitting down of what a network connection is and what it connects to is a nightmare to manage. I have two networks, one is my private network using a non-routable address range which has things like my Media Center box and my Wii. The other is a routable address range for the hosting of my mail and web server. The computer I use day in, day out is connected to both networks and is therefore multi-homed. Firstly it took me a LONG time to find where I’m supposed to be able to change the binding order of my network cards so that my public routable addressed NIC is the primary card used for accessing the internet etc. I only want to use the NIC connected to my private network for connecting to the devices on my private network, nothing more.
Even after changing the binding order of my network cards and trying every configuration and type of network offered by Microsoft, my system insisted on using the card connected to the private network to access the internet and my public connection to access only the devices (web and mail server) available on the public network. Their offerings of private and public seemed to suit me almost down to the ground but alas, I have tried each and every setting, assessed the security and efficacy of both and none of the two options suit either of my connections.
These are just two of my gripes at the moment, the first one looks simple to fix I guess but seriously, did any of the 1 million + testers not attempt to run Winamp on their test machines during the beta phase?
I questioned my loyalty to Microsoft operating systems for the first time last night as I was staring at the progress bar for Norton Ghost (which by the way Vista doesn’t support) steadily restoring my Windows XP installation from three days ago. I don’t want to search for workarounds to problems such as these above and I don’t want my computer to treat me like I’m the idiot. Microsoft’s latest and gratest (intentionally spelled incorrectly) operating system could be the one that causes advanced computer users like me to seriously consider a move to Linux.