People sometimes wonder why I’m always slagging Microsoft. No, really. Apparently it’s not obvious to some people.
So here’s an example. I recently changed my computer setups, both at the office and at home, from using wired trackballs to wireless mice. The mouse I installed at the office was from Microsoft. The mouse I installed at home was from Logitech. Both items cost about the same amount of money, and have essentially the same features.
Installing the Microsoft Mouse
- The packaging on the Microsoft mouse urged me to install the software first. Its dire warnings implied that the fate of the world depended on it. So I installed the software. During the installation, it detected my Logitech trackball software, and refused to proceed unless I uninstalled it. So I uninstalled the trackball (which also uninstalled my Logitech keyboard software), and installed the Microsoft mouse software.
- I was then prompted to reboot the computer. (Huh? When’s the last time you had to reboot just because you installed a piece of software? What is this, 1996?).
- After rebooting, I plugged in the mouse and was prompted to configure it, which I did. Then I had to reboot, again. (I don’t think this second reboot is a normal part of the installation, but it simply wouldn’t work until I rebooted again.)
- Then I had to reinstall the Logitech software in order to get the special features of my keyboard back. I also had to go through it and re-set my keyboard preferences, since they had been lost when I was forced to uninstall it.
Installing the Logitech Mouse
- I plugged it in, and it worked.
- I had the option (option) of installing software to enable the special features, which I did. It required no reboot.
There is no rational explanation for this. However, it is entirely consistent with other Microsoft experiences I’ve had, plus things I’ve read about, in which Microsoft doesn’t just want you to have a computer with an operating system and applications; they want everything to be fully integrated and dependent upon each other.
They call this progress. They think that a mouse is only fully a mouse if it is entwined right into the kernel of the operating system. They think your Web browser needs to be woven into your word processor, which needs to be meshed with your email program. They think the average person gets out of bed thanking the Microsoft gods for their ability to embed an Excel spreadsheet into a Word document and to email it without having to open Outlook.
Nobody cares about that crap. Sure, people want their applications to be able to talk to each other, but they don’t need them to be interwoven to the point of having to reboot the system every time you add or remove something.
The worse part, and the part that Microsoft seems to have the greatest difficultly understanding (or at least caring about) is that the more interwoven those applications are with the operating system, the more vulnerable the entire system becomes. That’s a big part of why a Windows virus can hide in a Word document or a hidden script can run in an Outlook email that burrows right in and wrecks everything.
No more Microsoft peripherals for me. No way.