Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pay Attention to me!


So, my office just switched over to a Micro$oft Exchange server for our email. Apparently our previous mail server was homegrown from postfix, and as the company has grown, they've decided that it would be prudent to switch over to a (presumably) more stable, commercially available and supported product to prevent potential problems from popping up further down the road. Cool, whatever. The main guy who takes care of the IT stuff, who also happens to be the lead designer and the primary developer of the verification infrastructure that we've been using (there is also an unverified rumor that he can ride a unicycle while he simultaneously juggles large knives and plays the eukelale), came by my cube this morning to switch me over. He had licenses for a the latest version of Outlook, but it was apparently fine for me to continue using Thunderbird as my mail client -- cool. While showing me the URL for me to get to my email over the web, he tells me that the interface is more full featured if I bring it up in Internet Explorer.

Let's just take a moment for me to mention that I really hate IE. Yes, my working computer is a laptop running XP Pro and I admit that it's much more stable and usable than XP Home ever was. And really, I'm stuck with it because that's the environment that they use at the office. (I've got better things to do than to try and blaze trails and figure out how to do all the things I need to do on some other platform, and besides, they were able to give me a bunch of software for free, that wouldn't have done me any good if I was adamant about running on a mac or on linux.)

I've gotten used to it, but I continue to have bad experiences with all of Microsoft's f'ing "feature"-leadened integrated products, like the last time I listened to a streaming radio feed using WMP and ended up with more pop-ups and random bullshit "enhanced content" than I knew what to do with. I'm sorry, I wanted to listen to music while I was working; do you mind NOT opening up a bunch of fucking new windows -- and switching contexts stupid*grumble*click-to-focus*grumble* -- while I'm trying to get work done here?! And why are you wandering off connecting to all these other websites anyway? I find IE to be clunky, not particularly intuitive, and even though they theoretically have added pop-up blocking, I still don't trust it.

But whatever, I decide to give it a chance and check it out, so I hunt down the path to IE (I've removed it from my desktop) and fire it up. The interface does seem to have more active features than what comes up in Firefox (gee, an interface developed for a web browser that's been tightly integrated to the operating system that has more features than when it's run in a competing browser, go figure. Frankly, it still kinda sucks. And it loses points based on perceived level of difficulty.) Anyway, I figure I'll keep it around and try it out for a while. I figure there's no harm: it's not like I'm going to use IE for any actually web browsing -- I'll just keep it around for email. Seems fine. Although still, having to bring up IE is already strike one, just by default.

So when I got home tonight, I brought up the IE window to check my email. Eh. Still unimpressed. And I still have to log into the VPN, but only in the one window. But even though the interface seems to have more active buttons and folder navigation, I'm not actually finding it any more useful than the Firefox interface. It has the appearance of being more useful, but functionally speaking, that usefulness seems to be effectively zero. As far as I'm concerned, that's strike two.

So I'm surfing around, watch today's show with zefrank. And as I move on to watching "Jon Stewart's Plan for Peace in the Middle East" over at TruthDig I start noticing this strange clicking sound that seems to keep happening every so often.


This happens for a while, and it finally gets annoying enough that I have to hunt down where it's coming from. Do you need more than one guess?

I open the IE window and it appears that it's reloading the page about once every ten seconds. And apparently, every time it does this, someone decided that it was important for you to know that it was off reloading the page. So they made it make a noise. Which I can't seem to figure out how to turn off. And it's about as helpful having somebody sitting at a computer next to you with a web browser open to your inbox constantly hitting the refresh button and yelling "HEY, LOOK I'M CHECKING YOUR MAIL! HEY DUDE, I'M CHECKING YOUR MAIL AGAIN! STILL CHECKING YOU EMAIL! HEY, LOOK AT ME! I'M CHECKING YOUR EMAIL!"

Ugh. Shut the fuck up.

Strike three, you're out.