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STOP!!! move *away* from the email!! // pointless bitching - Lograh — LiveJournal

Tuesday, 31.Aug.2004

11:14 - STOP!!! move *away* from the email!! // pointless bitching

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why, oh why do I even bother running M$ software anymore? Why? Haven't I learned my lesson *yet*?!

So, yeah, the new job told me they're an Outlook shop. I got them to agree to letting me run Evolution, provided it functions with the exchange server nice (I've done it before so I know it'll work (I even paid for the damn connector back before it was free!)). The annoying point is, I still have to install SuSE (my preferred distro, when the installer works (that's another rant entirely)) on the desktop and get it up and running. Till then, I'm stuck in M$-land.

So, the point of all this: The new Outlook has this little "feature" where it'll pop-up a little informational message in the lower-right of the screen whenever a new email arrives. It gives you the sender, subject, and the first few words of the message. Nice enough, when you only get a handfull of emails a day. This acursed thing has been interrupting my work left and right all morning, though! I'm sure there's a setting for it *somewhere*, but who the frell thought this is a good thing and why must it be on by default?!

And that's another thing. Why do software designers feel compelled to have all the fancy new features of their latest versions turned 'on' by default? We liked the old version because it worked the way it did, we bought the new version because we liked the old version so much, why go and change it all on us without asking? I say make the default configuration mimic the old version as much as possible, or at the very least have a config dialogue at program start-up that asks the user "would you like to use the new or old feature set"? Don't ever force the user to learn anything new if it's not absolutely possible. That is one thing that made Mac computers so wonderful up through OS9 -- zero learning curve to start using the new version.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:macklinr
Date:11:33 31.Aug.2004 (UTC)
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Dude, people don't upgrade because they like out the previous version does something they like. People upgrade only when they are forced to, for some reason but usually linked to either contrived obsolescence or bureaucracy. People have learned that upgrading is a hassle on some level, even if only having to re-arrange their favorites or customize a few settings (or deal with a tech doing that at their desk or taking their computer elsewhere).

The really annoying shit is what gets turned on or off automatically just by installing an update or service pack. A few months ago we had to walk a lot of users through the Outlook Express problem where it won't let you access the attachment you just downloaded, when it was working fine beforehand. (And we still get calls about that, but they are fewer.)
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[User Picture]
From:lograh
Date:11:44 31.Aug.2004 (UTC)
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and that's exactly what I'm bitching about. Why does the upgrade process have to be so damn difficult? As a user-support type (most of my duties are for that) I've worked hard to remove that difficulty. It's good to see Windows is starting to make some steps in that direction also (somewhat). But this isn't a new idea. Personal computers have been around long enough now and there is enough money in them at this point that there really is no excuse for there being any difficulty in upgrading. It should be a painless procedure, with all the user's customizations being exactly the same and the inital UI being identical to the one they used to have.

Zero learning curve. That's what it all comes down to. Forcing the user to have to learn something new just to perform the same task they used to perform is a sure way to make people hate the PC, and that only serves to hurt the entire industry in the long-run. Sure, it saves a few bucks in programming time, but the long-term expense incurred by customer dissatisfaction (and end-user support and training, as you are well aware) is far greater.
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[User Picture]
From:macklinr
Date:12:23 31.Aug.2004 (UTC)
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FYI, "new" is a very relative term here. That's part of Office XP, which has been out for a couple years (in Moore's Law terms, that's over a generation ;)
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[User Picture]
From:lograh
Date:12:27 31.Aug.2004 (UTC)
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that's in XP? weird.. I never noticed it till 2003 (same for my users).
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[User Picture]
From:macklinr
Date:12:30 31.Aug.2004 (UTC)
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Yeah, I've got XP/2002 at home (purely for message archiving, mind you, and don't argue about the product to me :)

Of course, it could be an issue of standard load. Maybe it was disabled on the previous standard loads. I know it's enabled by default on mine, but it's not annoying enough for me to turn off, because it runs for like 10 minutes every two weeks.
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