Jason's Blog

Archive for August 28th, 2006

The Microsoft “byte” that I have to scratch

by on Aug.28, 2006, under General

For those who aren’t aware of it, I’m in the Microsoft Vista Beta test group (in other words, I get to play with Vista and test out the betas). Mostly right now, I’m using this to make sure web apps I’ve developed at work, play well with Vista and the new Internet Explorer. However, occasionally I see something that I just have to talk about that gets under my skin. The issue today is browser support. I received an email here today asking me to to either confirm or reject media delivery of the Vista test media. Naturally, me being an Internet freak, I had no real need of physical media. SO, naturally, I click on the link and expect to hit the survey to say “nope, no need for the media”. And naturally, Microsoft being Microsoft, the link instead takes me, repeatedly, to the account summary page for Windows Live.

Now, to clarify, you use a Live account to access your Beta materials. So my initial assumption was that there was something in my Live account page that I needed to fix or update. I played with this for a while, before giving up, and going to the windows connect page directly. Thereupon I WAS able to login and access the survey. SO, the question I had was “why doesn’t the link in the email work??”. I shot off a quick email to Microsoft. Guess what happened – I got a typical Microsoft response:

“Hi Jason,

This is a known issue with non-IE7 browsers that happens if you attempt
to navigate directly via the link. If you sign into Connect, and
manually navigate to the download you should have no problems. If you
have further questions regarding the LONGHORN/WINDOWS VISTA beta
program, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

*Microsoft Representative*
Longhorn/Windows Vista Beta Program”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is PRECISELY why Microsoft products WILL fail, long term. Because instead of fixing the problem by perhaps fixing the script which does the redirects, or finding some other solution, I’m told that I need an Internet Explorer browser to get the link to work. Note, it’s possible it’s IE7 only – I don’t have an IE6 browser handy at the moment to test with, and as such, even Microsofts own browser may not work. Still, that I have to use a product other than one of my choosing when trying to browse a website – that’s not something that I’m willing to do, normally. At that point, 90% of the time I’ll just stop using that website.
This point is key: any product requirement which makes it more difficult for me to use my browser of choice will just push me away from using that product. I want to use FireFox as my browser by default – I use IE when I have to, but I still am not a fan of the product. IE7 though better overall is not as good (in my person opinion) as FireFox – just for the reason of having a browser that works ACROSS platforms, and not on a single system (see my developmental blog for other reasons why I use firefox vs IE7).

To toss in another note on why this is a big deal – in the future, all the web applications I’ve been working on, we’ve told our users (who are ALL windows users, btw) that Firefox WILL be required for the web applications to work. This is because I know that the Firefox web browser will work, standards compliantly, across any system they might be using. When Microsoft decides to start fixing problems, instead of saying “you need to use our products” – that’s when maybe I’ll switch back. Oh yeah, and they also have to support other platforms instead of trying to lock me into one that’s not of my own choosing. Until that happens, Microsoft is going to lose customers. They’ve already lost more than a few, and I keep getting more and more people off of Microsoft products.

Ok, sorry for the rant and rave here. Just some days, stuff like this gets under my skin and won’t leave until I itch it a bit.

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Few entertaining quotes

by on Aug.28, 2006, under General

Saw this online today, had to post it for others to get a few quick laughs wink

It Cleans Those Leather-Belt Wounds Right Up

Loan officer: My husband’s parents were married for 50 years.
Receptionist: What’s the secret of being married that long?
Collector: Alcohol.
802 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Overheard by: just passing by

via Overheard in the Office, Aug 28, 2006

Aren’t Asians Supposed to Be Smart?

Interviewer: Have you ever had to deal with rude or irate clients over the telephone?
Asian interviewee: Yes, at my last job I had to call the USA, and you know how rude they can be.
Interviewer: Yes, I know all too well, considering I am American and so is this company. This interview is now finished. Try not to hit my car on your way out of the parking lot…You know how Asians can’t drive!
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Overheard by: Elle (the other interviewer)

via Overheard in the Office, Aug 28, 2006

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