Centre of the software universe

c: | f: /

Here’s a novel concept: if I’m the user of a computer, shouldn’t I be the one in control of how I use applications I’ve installed?

Why do some writers of software deem their products so important that they have to go out of their way to irritate me? Adobe, Microsoft: I’m looking at you, among others.

If I want to start Outlook at work, for example, I know it takes a while; maybe up to 30 seconds or so for it to load, scan the PST file and start to download the mail. That’s thirty wasted seconds of productivity so, in my mind, a perfectly reasonable action sequence is:

  1. Start the app
  2. Click or Tab back to a different window and continue working
  3. Leave the other program to open and do its stuff in the background

Microsoft, however, think the workflow should be:

  1. Start the app
  2. Freeze the machine for a few seconds
  3. If user clicks or tabs to a different window, freeze again
  4. Snap Outlook to the front as the GUI loads
  5. If user clicks / tabs away again and the other app appears, make sure that a second or three later, Outlook pops to the front again to show me how clever it’s been at starting up all by itself, just prior to it starting to download my messages, hogging 88% of the CPU and disk resources in the process

Compare that to FileZilla for example, or Firefox. I start the app, tab away to my text editor and continue to work while it loads in the background and restores my tabs from last time. No fuss. No interruptions and it’s there when I need it.

CS(Constantly Swapping)

Adobe are the worst offenders I’ve come across. While I can at least continue working to some degree while it loads in the background, Photoshop does the “I’m going to pop to the front” dance three times before I can finally use the computer without disruption.

And don’t get me started on Adobe Premiere. That does the same “look at me” attention seeking behaviour a few times, and also has the cheek to reset my animate windows to and from the taskbar setting so my computer starts to waste precious time and resources making a pretty — pretty useless — animation to show me I’ve clicked something I know I’ve clicked.

Software developers: please respect your users’ decisions. If I’ve set an option in the OS, there’s a damn good reason for it. If I want to do something else while your behemoth, bloatware application struggles to open in the background like an emphysemic squirrel, let me do it. It’s my prerogative, not yours.

Message me bad

The OS itself isn’t free of blame. While XP’s balloon help is occasionally useful, a lot of the time it just whines, telling me such amazing facts as “Wireless connection cannot be reached” every few minutes when I’ve shut off the laptop’s hard switch to the wireless card.

Another utterly pointless one is “Windows Virtual Memory minimum too low blah blah”. Like I care? I gave you three times the amount of RAM in my system as a scratch pad; if you can’t manage it efficiently then sod off and stop bothering me until you ca…

A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to inflict damage
on your computer.

The problem seems to be caused by nothing at all.


That won't mean anything to you: it doesn't even mean anything to us, but it's
not our fault. Blame software and hardware manufacturers who write bad code.

This is probably not the first time you've seen this. Nor will it be the last. If
problems continue, seek an alternative Operating System.

Technical information:

*** STOP: 0x0000000A

Type like the wind


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