It's Friday and that means one thing - Rant time!
You know, as much as I think that Ed Bott's call for less whining and more complaining about Vista has merit, I still think that there are times when it's perfectly OK to kick the tires, light the fires and enter full-on whining mode,. My logic is simple - It's my stuff, I paid for it, and therefore I'm entitled whine if something doesn't work right. Whining, after all, is easy. Complaining is a lot harder.
You can't die from a single pin prick, but fall on a group of porcupines and you're in serious troubleLet me give you an example. This Vista network performance issue. I first came across this on Tuesday and since then have spent a considerable amount of time getting a handle on the problem, finding out what the scope of it is, narrowing down the causes and testing out various scenarios. Overall this issue alone has taken up a considerable number of work hours to identify and isolate. I've now passed this information on to Microsoft. This may or may not result in some kind of fix. If it does, cool, one less problem for me, one bug fixed for Microsoft. The downside to all this is that Microsoft doesn't pay for my time and this isn't the only bug. Rinse and repeat. I could rattle off at least a dozen other bugs that affect multiple Vista systems at the PC Doc HQ that I haven't had the time to give the same level of attention to as the networking bug. I'd like to take a constructive stance on getting them fixed but I just don't have the time or energy to chase them. Instead I choose to grumble and whine about the situation. It doesn't add to the collective intelligence, but it can make me feel better.
There also comes a time when whining is all that you have left to do. I remember a few months ago my wife was having problems with BitDefender 10. She spend hours going through troubleshooting steps and getting a handle on the problem but when BitDefender was more interested in snowballing rather than coming up with a fix, all that was left to do was whine about the situation. There are no guarantees that effective complaining will result in a fix.
No garage has ever asked me to crawl under my car to see if an oil leak is coming from the engine or transmission but I routinely expect people to delve into their registry or try to make sense of a sea of error messagesAnd another thing - What's so wrong with whining anyway? When my car decides to play up I'm not expected to go through a forensic examination process of the problem in order to get the issue fixed. I know my way around car systems pretty well and could do this, but I don't. I take it to someone I trust, whine at them for a few minutes about the problems and expect them to use their considerable experience to track down the fault and fix it - after all, that's what I'm paying for. This same process of whining at someone who's paid to care gets most things fixed - boilers, electrical appliances, and inanimate objects such as garden fences. But when it comes to computers, users are expected to not only be able to use them effectively, but also go through laborious, time-consuming and sometimes highly-technical processes in order to get things fixed. No garage has ever asked me to crawl under my car to see if an oil leak is coming from the engine or transmission but I routinely expect people to delve into their registry or try to make sense of a sea of error messages.
Unlike getting a car fixed, calling in the professionals to fix a PC problem offers no guarantees. I've come across of people who have thrown a lot of money at a problem who still just have to suck it and live with it. Sheesh, the least they should be able to do is whine about their situation - they've paid for that privilege.
So that's my take on the situation. While I usually try my best to work through a problem and come to a satisfactory conclusion, sometimes the problems just aren't big enough or serious enough to warrant spending too much time on them. Living with one problem isn't much or a hardship (unless it's something cataclysmic). A handful of problems are also reasonably manageable. Trouble starts if you draw the short straw and get too many of these problems, which is when all the little issues pile up into one big ball of trouble. This is the position that I see most of the people frustrated with Windows Vista at. You can't die from a single pin prick (or so I'm told, please don't rely on me for medical advice ...), but fall on a group of porcupines and you're in serious trouble.
Personally, I'm going to reserve the right to whine about anything that I buy or that is sent to me for review. I suggest that you all do the same. However, I will try to keep the whining to a minimum ;-)
Thoughts? And remember, since it's a Friday, you can vent your spleen about anything tech-related that annoys you!