Friday, April 23, 2004

I love people who don't get it

Halley Suitt, you are my new hero. In your Upgrade = Downgrade Per Usual blog entry you've taken a snapshot for the world to see what a typical computer user feels when faced with a problem that seems simple but is not. After reading this, I began to think three things. 1) How in the world did you ever get blogging software to work, 2) either you can't or won't read the actual messages displayed, and 3) someone at Microsoft really need to take note of this.

In writing this I don't mean any offense to you Halley, but I've taught people who I thought of as FAR less technical how to do this type of thing in about five minutes (and I'd be happy to teach you). I think what you are in need of is some initial training and explanation of what is really going on. I agree that perhaps it should be easier to understand, and I'll blame the folks in Redmond for that, but I also think you might have some preconceived notions about how bad the experience is going to be and you aren't willing to work though the problems.

Let me draw out for you what the real technical issue is here:

First, you wanted to upgrade Windows Media Player to solve the problem with sound. Ok, with all due respect to your "computer expert" friend, but he was barking up the wrong tree. I seriously doubt that upgrading your Windows Media Player will ever increase the sound coming out of your computer.

Second, you really need to READ the messages that Windows Update (not Windows Upgrade) provides you. The "exclusive" update was trying to tell you that it needed to be installed EXCLUSIVE of any of the other updates, not that it was exclusive to you, as in you are the grand prize winner. I hate to say this but unless you are a corporation which purchased Microsoft software, there is nothing exclusive available to you from a support/patch perspective. The reason why you were asked to install this update (which was Service Pack 1, not a Service Package) exclusive of the others is that you hadn't gone out to Windows Update often enough to make sure your machine had all the patches it needs to run normally and be protected from the bad bad people out on the internet. I agree, you shouldn't have to think about patching your Windows system, it should just do it for you. That is some of the technology that Microsoft is releasing in Service Pack 2, due out soon (next few months).

In Service Pack 2 they assume that all users are "typical" end users (such as yourself Halley) and they turn many of these security features on automatically. It may upset some people to find their machine rebooted during the night to apply a patch or service pack, but frankly, if your email is any indication of the typical Windows user (which I believe it is) then they are right, they need to patch your system for you without your intervention.

A few other points that I don't think are a huge deal but I want to point out:
I don't think you were really keeping an open mind.
The Bangalorean comment was a low blow.
If the download was slow, there is a chance it's Microsoft's fault, but in all honesty, I'd say it might be your connection.
Upgrade really doesn't mean downgrade, and I'm sorry that you had that experience.

I'd be happy to help you resolve these issues, I'm not a Microsoft employee (anymore) but I do love their product and like to see it working well for people, including you Halley.