I’ve spent a few hours today working on a new, more-or-less-cutting edge Dell laptop. It’s a 640m, a Core 2 Duo if the label is to be believed, and easily less than four months old. It’s speedy, shiny, sleek and in good running shape by most standards (which means the boss hasn’t violated it with his photo-management crudware yet). Using XP again has brought back some memories — and reminded me of the things I detested oh so long ago.
So in this brief note to myself, I list the Things About Windows I Don’t Miss. No doubt some of them will also be the Things I Prefer About Linux. Perspective is inconsequential; interpret them as you will.
- Norton Antivirus, et al. I can’t put this high enough on the list of rubbish. I am SO glad to be done with it. All day it has done nothing but pop up, interrupt me and accuse random documents of everything short of original sin. It asked to update itself, so I let it; an hour later it wanted to update itself again, and that time I told it to sit down and shut up. Begone. You are the spawn of a deliberately defective product; your absence from my life is a blessing.
- Microsoft Word’s immense bulk and slow start times. I use the word “slow” rather liberally here, since the machine itself is a lightning bolt straight from Zeus (oh how I would love to install Crux on this … purely in the interest of science, of course). Word takes forever to start up though. I don’t care enough about it to try and fix it or investigate further; the last time I used Word regularly (almost a year ago) it was similarly sluggish. I fault defective software; you can judge it for yourself.
- IE6 and its less-than-stellar performance. Gmail locks up IE6 on this machine — just like every IE6 machine in the office, really. It dies in a frozen window that can’t be killed through mortal means (in other words, yes, I know how to kill it but I won’t do that), and I can only get rid of their corpses by rebooting. Thank goodness for PortableApps.com; at least there I can get a working browser that doesn’t need administrator privileges to install.
- The default slab-type start menu that hides everything from me unless I tell it to show me everything and even then it’s pretty darn annoying. I know those start box things are cool to some people, but I break out in a fever if I have more than two nested layers in my Openbox menu. I could care less what program I most frequently use — or last used, for that matter. I demand performance, not convenience, and that default sixpack of commonly used programs is absolutely anathema.
- The Bliss wallpaper and the default Windows XP theme. I am guilty of occasionally installing a Windows knockoff desktop, but it’s usually out of nostalgia for the only Microsoft product I was ever satisfied with — Windows 2000. If I have to live in a theme that looks like a Windows machine, I’ll take that plain blue background and simple window decorations. These knobby window bars and enormous buttons make me feel like I’m trapped in a child’s theme park, where everything has to have an electric color scheme and giant buttons that scream “PUSH ME!” Good grief.
- The sliding hide-desktop-tray-icons effect. I click it. I see the icon I want. I move to click the icon. The bar slides shut, but the symbol is still shows open. I click the button again. The icon changes to closed. I click to open it again. … And the circle of oppression continues unabated. It’s like some sort of mean trick you play on your friend’s dog. I’ve got 500 yen that says some 40-something geek in the basement of Microsoft Command Central is keeping stats on how many times people all over the world have fallen for that juvenile little gimmick.
- Last one(s): My Documents. My Videos. My Pictures. My Network. My Computer. My goodness, but that wasn’t very creative, and definitely wasn’t cute.
I’ll stop there. I don’t like to funnel negativity like this. It ruins my karma, and diverts my attention from the good things in life — like the simplicity and elegance of Arch, or the vicious speed of Crux, or the amazing flexibility and weightlessness that come with Ubuntu. … Ah, now I’m in a happy place again. 🙂