Mr. Gates, Mr. Ballmer…Thank You & Congrats on Vista!

There’s at least a couple of hours of my life I’ll never get back thanks to Microsoft Vista and everything that is wrong with the world of Windows. I was helping my father-in-law setup his new laptop (running the ever so awesome Microsoft Vista)  and wireless router — remotely. I wouldn’t wish this kind of pain on Beelzebub.

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer shake hands on a job well done
"We knocked the ball out of the park with this one. Vista is gonna rock the world!"

While Vista is not solely to blame for my experience this evening, Microsoft as a whole takes a majority of the blame. They have created a user experience that is chock full of “Are you sure you really want to do this?”, “Blocked suspicious activity”, and every other pop-up message known to man. Some will point out that many of these messages and pop-up windows are not from Microsoft, but from stellar software like anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-everything Windows add-ons that come from the usual suspects: Symantec, McAfee, Micro Trends, etc. Well, guess who built this cestpool of an ecosystem now commonly referred to as Windows that requires such nonsense?

The only saving grace in this whole experience was using the Copilot service Joel Spolsky’s interns originally put together. While not the best software experience on the planet, it did work fairly well (albeit slow) and made a near impossible task (of remotely supporting a Windows Vista newbie) possible. Compared to the Vista experience, Copilot felt like a gift sent straight from heaven.

P.S. Note to the IT industry as a whole: When referring to WiFi security, can we be consistent in our use of the words: “key”, “password”, and “passphrase”?  These words are often used interchangeably and confuse the life out of ordinary users as a result. Pick one and stick to it.