Tuesday Hatred: My greatest computer hates
I hate many things about computers, and these are but the greatest hates:
- I hate that the iTunes “shuffle” feature appears to create predetermined paths through my music collection, from which it cannot be shaken. I do not understand why such a design is thought to be better than making a fresh random jump every time it comes to the end of a given album. If I don’t directly intervene, I get the same cycle repeated over and over — in my mind, this is directly contrary to the concept of “shuffle.”
- I hate it when upgrades lead to reduced functionality. I went several weeks this summer with a barely usable internet connection because I upgraded the driver for my wireless card. This led directly to another thing I hate:
- I hate it when iTunes skips when playing through the Apple Airport. It’s annoying enough when it happens occasionally, but when my wireless card was “upgraded” to a non-working state, it would skip every 45 seconds — each time it was directly reducing my lifespan.
- I hate that Windows asks me every single time whether I “trust” a network location (a) from which I habitually copy files and (b) have set up as a network drive. There is no “do not ask again” checkbox on this dialogue box.
- I hate the security “features” on post-XP versions of Windows. Oh, really? When I click on the install file, that file will try to alter my system? Thanks for the warning!
- I hate that different versions of Windows have subtly different directory structures within the user folder. In Windows Vista, “downloads” is parallel with “documents” in the directory structure; in Windows 7, it’s within “documents” — and the idiotic “My” attached to everything has been reintroduced after a merciful reprieve during the Vista years (indeed, that may be the only thing Vista got right). I love having to waste mental energy on remembering these pointless differences when moving between computers.
- I hate the feature in MS Word that allows you to collapse the white space in the print-layout view. It’s not print layout if the white space is gone, morons!
- I hate everything about post-2003 versions of Microsoft Office. Apparently after their attempts to create “smart” predictions of what the user wanted to do failed miserably in one of the most turned-off features in the history of personal computing, they decided it’d be best to use this “smart” technology on the most basic features of the user interface. Plus, reportedly their answer to the phenomenon of malicious macros is just to eliminate macros altogether.
- I hate pushing ctrl-alt-delete to log in.
- I hate printing. We’ve had like 25 years to get this printing issue under control, and it just keeps not happening. The fact that it’s only in the last few years that printers have started responding in a non-insane way when someone wants to back out of printing a document is one of the greatest failures of capitalism. “Oh, you want to stop mid-print? Well, instead, how about I start printing ten random Wingdings characters on page after page until you unplug the printer?”
- I hate constantly being harrassed to update my software. (Yes, I know I can turn this off.)
- I hate that it still takes forever to boot up. I especially hate that awkward interim period where it looks like your computer is booted up and fully functional but actually fourteen different processes are still starting up and you can’t be sure whether any of your mouse clicks will actually register.
- I hate that someone’s going to suggest that I get a Mac. But all you Mac users, I have a question — why is it that all of your desktops are absolutely saturated with icons, often overlapping with each other in such a way that you can’t tell what they are? This has been the case with literally every Mac I’ve ever seen, ever in my life. Presumably useless clutter helps creativity.
- I hate online forms with idiosyncratic requirements that don’t clearly mark where you made your mistake.
- I also hate it when they make stupid requests that could easily be accounted for on their end, like the exact format in which your phone number or SSN needs to be entered — just strip the dashes out yourself! It’d be trivial to program that! The other day I filled out a form that required you to upload some files, and they specified what the filenames should be — seriously, dude, just rename the file I upload in a given slot according to the desired convention without bothering me about it. Those kinds of petty detail-oriented tasks are exactly what computers were designed to do. Offloading them onto me helps no one. Even a “did you mean?” feature would be a huge improvement.
- I hate the relatively recent security convention of entering your username and password (accompanied by a distinctive image!) on separate pages.
- I hate it when a site redesign consists of randomly moving things around so that some tasks take fewer clicks but others take more — a notable example is the recent Twitter rehab, which made things look a lot more complicated while not adding anything like the level of functionality that would justify it.
- I hate that there’s no keyboard shortcut for moving between tabs in an Excel workbook.
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