Everybody’s more important (than the user)

After reading this post on pollution of the Windows icon tray by every Tom, Dick and Harry program in the world (Creative, are you listening?) I had to make up a list of the wacky and fun things that people think installers and applications should do.

  • The video card manufacturer who thought it would be okay to hijack “control-shift-T” to launch their configuration program.  (I use this key combo in Emacs to manipulate HTML tags).  Sheesh.
  • The sound card driver that opened several windows on startup, including a volume control and a link to the manufacturer’s web site for support.
  • Umpteen zillion desktop icons installed by yet another sound card driver.
  • Yes, I know I have a wireless adapter in my laptop.  No, I don’t need to be constantly reminded that the network is connected / the network isn’t connected / wups the network is connected again.  Balloon notifications suck.
  • Oh, someone did some typing in an IM window?  Please make sure my concentration is interrupted by a blinking red notification for every single sentence that they type.  Thank you.  I am but a slave to the tools I sometimes want to use for communication.
  • My desktop icons need re-arranging?  [cancel]  Apparently my desktop icons need to be reblorkified.  [cancel]  I want to thrash the person who thought this was important enough to interrupt me for.  [cancel cancel cancel]
  • I’m sorry, I was a moron for plugging that USB device into a different port from last time, causing your driver to choke itself and ask to be installed again, just like the last time I plugged that thing into a different port.  How ’bout I simply toss the stupid thing into the junkbox next to the Creative Labs sound cards whose drivers and ancillary software can only be described as majestic in their hideous, cravenly stupid design.

To all: The fact that I boot my WinXP machine, and before I get into the DOS prompt something is chewing up 400 to 500 megabytes of memory.  I’m not doing any work yet and half the RAM in my system is gone.  Meh.

Author: landon

My mom thinks I'm in high tech.

4 thoughts on “Everybody’s more important (than the user)”

  1. Windows users of the world, UNITE! Cast off the yoke of oppressive installers and tray icons!

    Download Sysinternals (er… Microsoft) Autoruns, learn how to use it, learn what’s required, what’s not, and keep your system running clean. Disable those auto-updaters, customer support tools that do nothing except make the vendor’s lives easier (certainly not yours, unless you spend a *lot* of time sitting on the phone with Adobe customer support). Learn the joys of booting XP using less than 200MB of RAM! You have nothing to fear, but fear itself!

  2. … until you get something wrong. You turned off the “Windows Zorgon Service?” System no boot, system never going to boot until you do a repair install.

    These days every damned program and device in the world (including video games) seems to install something that lurks around in the system. I don’t know what they do, but screw with them at your peril. It’s like a beach full of walruses; you don’t see them do anything, they just lay there uselessly beachifying until you go up to one and poke it, whereupon you have three tons of toothy, angry blubber rearing up in your face with its fishy breath searing your face away. Services are like that, lazy and pacific until you tweak them, then god help you if you’re allergic to fish.

  3. Well, I *did* say “learn how to use it, learn what’s required, what’s not” – that means, learning what belongs on a Windoze system, and what doesn’t. Of course, when Joe Six-Pack buys a machine at Beast Buy, it has so much crap pre-installed that they’d never be able to tell anyway.

    There are various high-quality lists of services that are required, what they do, etc.

    Of course, Joe Six-Pack’s lack of knowledge makes it easy for me to appear to be an uber-genius, able to leap tall startup lists in a single bound, more powerful than Norton Antivirus (which, BTW, qualifies as an autostart/shell tray trespasser, as do all antivirus / security products on the market – I refuse to put one of those evil POS products on any of my systems.)

  4. Oh, and did I forget to mention that any software that requires an installation program is evil? That’s how all those Zorgon services polluted your system in the first place… which is another reason I run Autoruns whenever I do resort to running an installer – “Hm… time to find out what evil deeds the installer just carried out on my system…” – the overhead of doing this every time makes me all the more reluctant to install the latest junk on my development machine… 😀

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