Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Restart THIS

My litigation schedule is heavier than I like right now, so I still haven't published my post on split infinitives, but rather than finishing that, I've decided to vent some steam about one of the stupider ideas from our favorite mediocre American icon, MicroSoft.

My opinion of MicroSoft is colored by my perception that it has prospered not by building a better mousetrap, but by building a barely-good-enough mousetrap and doing a better job of marketing it. Ask any lawyer whether he'd rather run an office based on MicroSoft Word (any version) or WordPerfect 4.2. MicroSoft seems to me to be an endless tinkerer, but comes to market before its tinkering is complete.

Luckily, most of its post-release tinkering is now available in free updates, although one is still expected to purchase new boxes on occasion to fix problems with the old software. Why this isn't akin to having to buy tires for your new car, because the manufacturer forgot to install them in the first place, beats me.

At least you don't have to spend money to get these new updates. The little shield-shaped icon alerts you that the updates are there, and then you can keep working while MicroSoft is updating your computer.

But once the updates are ready to be installed, you have to restart the computer. And the shield gives you two choices: restart the computer now, or later. Almost always, I choose "later". What the shield doesn't tell me is "Okay, but I'm going to interrupt you every five minutes until you restart the computer, because you're so stupid you'll probably forget that you need to install me." And, of course, if it did tell you that, then you could reply "No, I'm not, you inanimate presumptous piece of code, it's just that I have more important things to do right now than restart my computer, like get this $*@&%! brief out before 5:00, so shut up already."

So why is it that MicroSoft won't give us a third choice: "Restart when I damned well feel like it"? Beats the hell outta me.

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