It's a Friday and it's rant time again!
This week has given me cause to rant and rave about a number of things – well they say that choice is a good thing! I could take this opportunity to get off my chest the hassles that we've had over at the PC Doc HQ with video codecs on Vista, or how pretty much every video editor in existance seems to have troubles running under Vista (even if it says Vista compatible on the box, and especially when you're working with QuickTime .MOV files). I could moan about how Adobe seems to want you to have a dedicated PC for each of their applications to run on if you want any kind of long-term stability. I could moan about how a digital SLR will fire instantly all day long on the IR trigger until you get to the one shot that you can't repeat. I have so many potential moans to choose from, but I'm not going to choose any of these because what I want to rant about today winds me up more than all the above combined - the ads that appear at the bottom of the Windows Live Messenger application.
OK, I'm not allergic to ads in any particular way. Over the years I've become used to ads on webpages in much the same way that I became used to TV ads or how magazines became more ads than content (much more if you discount the idiotically large and mostly irrelevant image from articles). I look at ads and occasionally I will act on something I've seen in an ad. So overall I don't have a problem with ads.
However, when it comes to the ads that are shown in Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger application, they seem to get on my nerves almost instantly. The ad's not all that big plus it's at the bottom of the screen so its effect on me should be minimal, but that's far from the case. The quality of most of the ads displayed (or at least the ones that stick in my mind) seems to be on par with the kind of ads that you see spawned by low-quality adware - casinos, gambling, that kind of crap. Not the kind of ads that I want to have in my face for eight hours a day and certainly not the kind of trash that I want my kids exposed to.
But what's worse that the overall dismal quality of the ads is the fact that advertisers seem caught up in a competition to develop the most annoying ad possible. Some of the ads are now pretty much on par with those Japanese cartoons that gave some viewers seizures but the race to perfect the most maddeningly obnoxious animated image continues.
Before someone points out that there are ways and means to get rid of these ads (and many other Windows Live Messenger annoyances), I know that these tools exist, but I'm really not all that thrilled about having to turn to a third-party tweaker, not to mention the fact that I have to run it on all machines and then update and re-run it every time Microsoft pushes out a new version of Messenger.
No, I've paid for Windows Vista Ultimate (and Windows XP Professional) and as a courtesy I'd like an ad-free Windows Live Messenger in return for running the genuine copies of the most expensive versions of Windows. Heck, since decent Windows Ultimate Extras are thin on the ground, how about releasing an ad-free version of Messenger for Windows Ultimate? Given the dreary assortment currently on offer, it might go some way to making me feel slightly less ripped off for having expected some decent stuff. Failing that, how about a way to pay a small fee ($5 or so) to have the ads removed? Yes, they're so bad I'd pay to be rid of them!
Thoughts? And remember, since it's a Friday, you can vent your spleen about anything tech-related that annoys you!