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Lance Ulanoff Is An Arse

November 10th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Actually, he might not be, but he has written a stupid article for PCMag.com (Link) about his top 10 computer peeves for 2005.

I though that it would be quite a good article describing some of the worst interface designs, etc, but it appears to be a pointless whinge. I’ll address each of his points:

  1. Telling Time – What do you want? Microsoft to invent the crystal ball? The speed is calculated from the rate that data is being received by your computer. This can change due to many things, and affects all computers, not just ones running Windows.

    Firstly, the Internet is not a fixed beast of wiring. There is not a single wire connecting every single computer to one another, and so data gets routed around between different computers in order to find the best route. That route can be affected by computers crashing, links getting blocked by too much traffic using it, and everything can be affected by the number of people using the Internet. The Internet needs to do this in order for it stay working.

    Secondly, it depends on how you are transferring the file (as in, which protocol). I know for a fact that many FTP servers do load balancing, so that the connections that are transferring larger files get less bandwidth than smaller files (the idea being that it will get rid of as many connections as possible in the fastest time).

    Finally, it depends on what you are doing. Each connection to the Internet that you have (e.g. email, web browser, IM, FTP connections, etc) all use a portion of the bandwidth allocated to you. The more connections, the smaller the portion.

  2. Can You Hear Me Now? – Simple, stop fucking with your Audio settings! Something is changing them, and it’s either a piece of software (which you have changed the sound settings in), or it’s you changing them. And as for the icon disappearing? See that little blue arrow to the left of the system tray? That’s there to hide icons that you don’t necessarily need to see. It’s called a feature.
  3. Fast Dial-Up – A fair point, but it’s not really a computer peeve, is it? They may have some point in what they say, though. They could have upgraded their bandwidth, installed caches, implemented v92 standards, which could let them justify their case; but again, it does sound dubious.
  4. It’s Video – You seem to have the impression that Microsoft run all the Internet software on your computer. If AIM is playing sound back at the wrong point, it’s a fault of AOL, not Microsoft. That said, you do have a fair point – it is annoying.

    I do love this quote though:In general, the Web is now video-happy.It’s always been “Video-Happy”, due to the very nature of HTTP, it’s just that Browsers have started supporting more.

  5. Bad Buddies – Why on earth would you sign up for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”? Never mind, I think I understand.

    The point is, if this is happening, then tell someone about it. If AOL don’t know this is happening, then they won’t know that they need to do something about it – people can’t mind read, they need to be told.

  6. Microsoft Word – OK, everyone agrees that Smart Tags suck. If they are getting turned back on again, something is doing that. Work out what it is.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean when you say I am tired of having to put “English” on the mouse when I select text. I’m not playing Ping-Pong.Are you writing the word “English” on your mouse? – that could be your problem – did you buy it abroad?

    Your next point is totally unacceptable though. You seem to be blaming Microsoft for your hand spasms. It is true that Undo was invented to reverse a mistake, but I don’t really think that it is Microsoft that is being stupid in this case.

  7. Driver, Please! – Drivers are a hot bed of problems. When you think about it, they are actually doing a hell of a lot of work. Not only do they need to be able to hook into the Windows API correctly, they also have to be able to accurately communicate with physical hardware correctly, in all combinations of hardware. It is inevitable that they do not work with all hardware combinations. In this instance, it is the driver manufacturer’s fault, and not Microsoft’s. Vista may fix things, but only if the driver manufacturers do their thing properly
  8. Too Many Buttons – Don’t buy a mouse with so many buttons, fuck wit. Plus they have the benefit of being cheaper.
  9. Pop-Up Spyware Arms Race – Like you say, it is an arms race. Things change. To put this in another context: Someone invented the sword. So someone invented chain mail. So someone invented the arrow. So someone invented thicker shields. After a while, someone invented the gun, so someone invented a bullet proof vest. Someone invented armour piercing bullets, so someone invented Kevlar, and so on. When someone invents a form of attack to get around someone’s defence, those defences need improving, and so the cycle continues. Outlawing Pop-Ups – good luck enforcing that one!
  10. Unreliable Wireless – Jesus, would you look at what you are complaining about.

    Just sit and think about this for a moment. You are sat, using a device the size of an A4 pad. That device has more processing power than it took to put a man on the moon. It has no wires, no power leads, and yet still keeps going. And you complain that natural background radio waves interfere with your precious AIM sessions?

    The amount of hours of pure invention and dedication by thousands of highly skilled technicians throughout the world and throughout the years, appears to mean nothing to you because of the physics of radio waves.

    Give a little praise once in a while for those people who do this, but get little praise and who no-one knows their names, and realise the miracles of processing power that people use everyday, but give little thought to.

  11. Lousy Tech Repair People – As far as I can tell, you problem here is that Radio Shack have a slow Internet connection on their till systems? If you think that you could do a better job, then give it a try. At least it would stop you whinging.
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