Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thanks Microsoft [updated]

Sadly, on this occasion I’ve come not to thank Microsoft, but to express my annoyance at being deprived of my work computer for one week – not by accident, but by design. Their design.

This time eight days ago I was up to my eyes with work and surfing through it enthusiastically. Then came the Microsoft Update.  Little did I know when I clicked the “Turn off after installing Microsoft updates button” last Wednesday night, after automatically downloading Vista Service Pack 2, that a week later I’d still be hours away from having a working computer.

You see, what happened when I reopened my ArchiCAD computer to start work Thursday morning was that I couldn’t.  It wouldn’t open.  I couldn’t start work.  What the message on the computer required of me, before allowing me to do anything else, was for me to reinstall the entire Windows Vista operating system – with all the data loss that implied, and without which the computer would resolutely remain a hunk of useless metal.

Like I say, this wasn’t some accident.  This was by design. Microsoft’s design. This is what the Microsoft Update required before unlocking my computer.

Now that I’m only minutes away from finally getting back up to speed (after a week of trial and error and ghosting and workarounds to conquer the problem) I have to say a big thank you to the good folk at Eden Computers, from whom I’ve bought my last four work computers, and who went above and beyond to get my weapon of choice back into action in at least as good condition as it was before Microsoft stuck their oar in.  (They come with my highest recommendation.)

And I have to give a giant raspberry to Microsoft, whose security bloody update system has, by design not by accident, taken a whole working week away from me.  Bastards.

UPDATE:  Good news: Computer’s back and ready to rumble (thanks Eden Computers).

Bad news: Every Microsoft programme now wants its disk reinserted before it will open any damn thing e.g., click a Word document, and a dialogue box demands that I “Insert the Microsoft Office XP Small Business disk,” whereupon I’m informed “The feature you are trying to use is on a CD-Rom or other removable disk that is not available.”  Bastards.

Thank goodness for OpenOffice, eh.

47 Comments:

Anonymous twr said...

In Microsoft's defence (and that's the first time I've ever said those words), if you didn't constantly have pricks hammering away at your computer trying to break it for fun, they wouldn't need to issue hundreds of updates to fix problems that would not cause anyone any problems otherwise.

Furthermore, they are expected to offer software that will work perfectly on hundreds on millions of computers, every single one of which is slightly different from the moment they start getting used. It's like an engineer trying to design a doorhandle that will work on every door in the world. The fact that your computer doesn't melt down every time it's updated is actually pretty impressive.

If you are worried about it happening again, then I would advise:
- have a good up to date virus checker
- don't visit dodgy sites on the internet
- don't open emails or attachments that look dodgy
- make sure your broadband connection security is appropriate (by default most are actually pretty good)
- don't click links received over anything like instant messenger that don't sound like they were actually sent by the person they purport to be from
- make sure you take regular backups

and then configure automatic updates to just notify you rather than installing automatically, and wait a couple of months before installing service packs so others around the world have the chance to discover any bugs.

10/15/2009 01:59:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

In Microsoft's defence nothing.

Yes, I have a good up to date virus checker.
No, I don't visit dodgy sites on the internet.
No, I don't open emails or attachments that look dodgy.
Yes, my broadband connection security is appropriate.
No, I don't click links received over anything like instant messenger that don't sound like they were actually sent by the person they purport to be from.
Yes, I make sure you take regular backup.
No, I don't have dodgy software or bootleg files or programmes on my computer -- just the fully paid for, honestly acquired gear.

Fact is, I've never ever had an actual virus -- but what the hell else would you call it when the manufacturer themselves actively sabotages the use of their own product.

10/15/2009 02:09:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

I can offer you my MS Office CD so you can install it in your machine, but then, it is violating Microsoft's property if I do that, since the license holder is me (granted by MS) and not anyone else. If you desperately need it, then we can just look the other way while violating MS property rights. I have no problem with property rights violation such as copying CDs into a friend's computer, etc,..., but I do have a problem with violation via mass producing of CD copies for on-selling.

10/15/2009 02:13:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

What's an 'expensive' computer, compared to the rage and frustration and lost working and leisure hours spent dealing with Microshit?
There's are damn good reasons why so many graphic designers and engineers use a different O/S for their work.

10/15/2009 02:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Sean Fitzpatrick said...

Once you go Mac, you will never go back! :)

10/15/2009 02:23:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

@FF: Thanks, but like I said I already have a genuine Office disc ... it just won't let me use it. :-/

10/15/2009 02:41:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

I didn't dare use that word Sean..;-)

10/15/2009 02:44:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

I have no problem with property rights violation such as copying CDs into a friend's computer, etc,..., but I do have a problem with violation via mass producing of CD copies for on-selling.

FF - really? So it's just a question of scale for you? I can see an argument where that person would NEVER have purchased it otherwise, but then if they value the product enough to use it, they should value it enough to pay the asking price for it. If the product could be digitally secured so that you physically couldn't copy it (an arms race, and a pointless one, but ignore that for now), what would you do?

I say this as one who isn't historically squeaky-clean in such matters himself. I'm just wondering if your justification is simply "I'm not stealing MUCH money"?

10/15/2009 02:47:00 pm  
Blogger Owen McShane said...

Go Mac.
You will never regret it.
They so much faster with graphics.

10/15/2009 02:53:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

PC: So, since you can answer in the affirmative to all those questions, you can probably safely turn off automatic updates and only load them once a sufficient amount of time has passed.

And Mac lovers, since at least 90% of all software doesn't run on your computers, it's not really practical for most people to consider them.

10/15/2009 02:56:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"And Mac lovers, since at least 90% of all software doesn't run on your computers, it's not really practical for most people to consider them."

Nonsense--for the vast majority of users there are either Mac programs or open source alternatives that work perfectly well.

10/15/2009 03:02:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

Further, it's very, very easy to run a dual-boot system, allowing users to use either O/S.

10/15/2009 03:04:00 pm  
Blogger Oswald Bastable said...

I was already convinced to make my next machine a Mac!

10/15/2009 03:04:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

"...open source alternatives that work perfectly well."

"Further, it's very, very easy to run a dual-boot system, allowing users to use either O/S."

That's all very well for people who want to spend all their time faffing around with their computers, but for those who just want to get on with their work, a single Windows machine does everything without the hassle.

10/15/2009 03:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Monsieur said...

It's a "Freedom of Speech" issue.
softwarefreedom.org news

10/15/2009 03:26:00 pm  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

Do people SERIOUSLY still use PC's? Seriously? Its a bit like voting for Labour or Nats, really. You deserve what you get.

10/15/2009 03:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Monsieur said...

It is ironic that you as a Digital Rights respecting, law abiding consumer are penalised, while if you got your software from a more Fisi-like source, you wouldn't have that hassle

10/15/2009 03:52:00 pm  
Blogger liberty48 said...

Just install windows 7
Works a treat.

10/15/2009 04:13:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

And after all these awful things, what does PC do? Keeps on working with Microsoft software.

I suppose the market is rational, but I just can't see it.

10/15/2009 04:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you are worried about it happening again, then I would advise:
- have a virus checker...
- don't...
- don't...
- don't ...
- don't...
- don't...



Why not just give up and join the fucking Labour Party?

I was already convinced to make my next machine a Mac!

Yep, another one voluntarily paying the "Apple Tax" and happily joining Steve Job's Designers Socialist Republic of Mac-dom!

10/15/2009 04:50:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"..but for those who just want to get on with their work, a single Windows machine does everything without the hassle."
ROFL!!
Yes, yes of course--which is why PC just lost a week's production.

The whole point of Macs is that they're for people who don't want the hassles of getting "under the hood". They just work.
I've never once had to use the accompanying bloatware cd that comes with a peripheral with my Mac--just plugged it in and voila! it works.
Try that with a Windoze pc.

10/15/2009 05:00:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

Up the meds Anonymous--that dosage is obviously insufficient.

10/15/2009 05:04:00 pm  
Anonymous gregster said...

Like Owen said "Go Mac" PC.

But I'm sure you must already own one??

I installed Snow Leopard over the already-wonderful Leopard and the operating system did everything perfectly with no data loss, as always.

And with this OS, a futureproofing version, I get back some gigabytes because unlike MS, it's more efficient and streamlined.

If I was like you and had much work to back-up I'd get a Time Capsule so nothing could get lost.

Get a 24" iMac and you won't look back son. :)

One week!!!FFS

10/15/2009 05:19:00 pm  
Blogger Julian Pistorius said...

Ouch. One week.

I'll add my whole-hearted vote for the Mac.

I just installed Snow Leopard on my 3 year old MacBook, and it actually runs faster now than it did with Leopard. Can Windows users say that new versions of their operating system run faster on the same hardware?

If you just want to get work your done, and don't want hassles and worry, get a Mac.

10/15/2009 06:32:00 pm  
Blogger Oswald Bastable said...

If it was socialist it would work like bloody windows!

Something continually demanding money be thrown at it to keep it doing a half-arsed job!

10/15/2009 07:57:00 pm  
Anonymous singularian said...

Thread for all you happy snow leopard users. Heh.

**I could have linked straight to it but Reddit threads are always worth it for the read**

10/15/2009 08:17:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

"Can Windows users say that new versions of their operating system run faster on the same hardware?"

Well, yes, that's the main (claimed) reason for Win7. (The main REAL reason is becuase a new OS gives them something fresh to sell.)

I must be the only pc user that doesn't have a problem with windoze, but I do choose XP Pro over Vista for the business machines.

KG "There's are damn good reasons why so many graphic designers and engineers use a different O/S for their work." The reason is that they like the pretty design. :^)
If some pc maker would just package a pc as sexily as an apple, they may make some headway. I feel that apples look too much like toys. I prefer to startle people with lots of monitors, black boxes, wires and blinking lights. They are my badge of honour, just like a beard on a professor.

FF, if PC already has a licence for Office, you are not breaching any laws by lending him the disk? A lot of OEM Office installations come with no "media" meaning you have to borrow or buy the disk seperate. Or it is recommended that you create an Office restore disk when you buy the new machine. MS and the OEM pc manufacturers saving on the cost of a CD.

10/15/2009 08:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole point of Macs is that they're for people who don't want the hassles of getting "under the hood". They just work.
I've never once had to use the accompanying bloatware cd that comes with a peripheral with my Mac--just plugged it in and voila! it works.


The whole point of Labour is that they're for people who don't want the hassles of taking "personal responsibility". They just pay.

I've never once had to use private health insurance, private income protection insurance, or private schools. --- I just signed up to ACC and voted Labour - and voila! everything paid for!



If you just want to get work your done, and don't want hassles and worry, get a Mac.


If you just want to get your benefits, and don't want hassles and worry, vote Labour!

If some pc maker would just package a pc as sexily as an apple, they may make some headway.

If some National MP would just package himself as sexily as Labour, they may make some headway.

10/15/2009 10:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Sean Fitzpatrick said...

To be honest I have a PC and a Mac - but the PC runs on Linux :)

10/15/2009 11:22:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

"And after all these awful things, what does PC do? Keeps on working with Microsoft software."

"The whole point of Macs is that they're for people who don't want the hassles of getting "under the hood". They just work."


Presumably because, as with 90% of users, he has apps that require a PC.

10/15/2009 11:38:00 pm  
Blogger liberty said...

Macs are only toys for academics

10/16/2009 12:09:00 am  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

Macs run windows too. But why would you?

10/16/2009 07:30:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

You need to have more than one computer. One of them should never connect to the web. THat one is the one you do all your work on and keep your work files on.

LGM

10/16/2009 07:42:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

"Presumably because, as with 90% of users, he has apps that require a PC."
Which apps?

"Macs are only toys for academics"
FFS! Ignorance is bad enough, but ignorance advertised is woeful.

10/16/2009 07:45:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ArchiCAD runs native on MAC. you have choices.

10/16/2009 09:44:00 am  
Blogger The Tomahawk Kid said...

The old adage "you get what you pay for" never rang so true.

pay peanuts - get a machine fit for monkeys

Pay serious money for a serious machine - its that simple.

I have not had to shag about with my Mac since I plugged it in on the first day - no anti-virus, visit all the dodgy sites you like (I go to NotPC every day!)

It really is a no brainer, and I am personally surprised PC hasn't actually worked it out by now - I guess its because he spends so much time beating the bastards back that he doesnt have enough time to do some serious computer analysis.
Once you use Mac youll never go back!

My livelihood depends on a computer - If there was a better machine, I would be using it - no matter what the cost.

10/16/2009 10:12:00 am  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vci_9yaOZe4

very funny

10/16/2009 01:35:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Calm it down! ;)

I work in IT (not that I enjoy it, but I'm good at it, and it makes me a reasonable income). I run whatever OS I need to to "get shit done" at any given time. Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, BSD variants, etc etc etc. They ALL suck in one way or another. There is no magic bullet. No point having a holy war about it. Just run whatever works for you, and never think that it's perfect. ;P

As a post script, I'm in Christchurch right now. I'm not going to be able to attend the Libz conference tomorrow, but I hope to see some of you at the Twisted Hop tomorrow evening post conference if you're keen. Cell is 021 753 026 if you feel like a pint. I'd love to know how the conf. is going etc.

10/16/2009 04:41:00 pm  
Blogger twr said...

"I work in IT (not that I enjoy it,..."

You are allowed to admit you enjoy it you know.

10/16/2009 07:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Redbaiter said...

Aye Carumba..!!

10/17/2009 01:23:00 am  
Blogger twr said...

Yay.

10/17/2009 04:12:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

But I don't, twr. Ask my boss, I've explained this to him on many occasions. I am thoroughly over IT. Luckily, he appreciates my honesty and skillset enough to keep me employed even in the face of my long-dead enthusiasm. :)

10/18/2009 09:15:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Grieg

If you don't enjoy what you are doing then dump it and find something you DO enjoy. Life is way too short...


LGM

10/19/2009 07:08:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

LGM: I face the eternal dilemma... I'm quite good at doing two things. Brewing beer, and working in IT. One of these pays really well, and allows me to enjoy my downtime and live a relatively decent lifestyle. The other would require constant graft for little material reward. I might be happier, but I suspect the impact of sod all disposable income would begin to tell eventually.

I've not written it off. Plans are afoot, but things move slowly in high-risk, capital-intensive, low-return situations. :)

Thanks for taking an interest though, both of you. Life IS short.

10/19/2009 11:24:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Also, I should add, the more people vote Libz, the higher chance we have of getting rid of the wowser tax (excise), and the more worthwhile it will be for craftbrewers to... well... brew!

10/19/2009 01:17:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Greig

I'll vote for that but you'll have to bribe me with some beer!

LGM

10/19/2009 02:05:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Whenever you're in Hamilton mate, I usually have handpulled real ale on the bar, and something colder and fizzier on tap also. :)

10/19/2009 02:25:00 pm  

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