Friday Rant - It's my stuff and I'll whine if I want to!

Friday Rant - It's my stuff and I'll whine if I want to!

Summary: 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.

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TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft
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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!

Topics: Windows, Microsoft

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25 comments
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  • Well put, well said (nt)

    nt
    Michael Of Atlanta
  • Pathetic..

    Imagine if the following were written about anything other than a Vista computer:

    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 ______. This may or may not result in some kind of fix. If it does, cool, one less problem for me, one bug fixed for _______.

    Go ahead, substutute the name of an automobile or camera or any of a hundred other devices with which you come in contact. (No fair saying that a toaster is not as complex. We do hold toaster manufacturers to at least some kind of standard. After all, would you accept a toaster that you could not even get to make toast three days of the week?)

    This demonstrates the extent to which the world has become comfortable with the fifth rate, shoddy, clumsy, unforgiveably stupid junk from the Redmond Bloatfarm. Who but the obtuse Redmond schlockmeisters would even try to suggest that this dreck?

    Someone at the Bloatfarm should have had the common sense to stop the process and flush the whole mes down the toilet, no matter what the rabid money had to say.

    Would you accept that you had to spend hours to get a toaster to work or to get your automobile to turn on?

    Yet, everyone seems to accept that because of [fill in the blanl] his computer cannot work reliably and he must spend important time fixing it.

    Will the whole world become a hoard of gamma, delta and epsilon for the Bloatfarm?

    Why are users not rising up against the Bloatfarm and rebeling and demanding that the malafactors of great wealth fix this cast-off junkware?

    Why is such a relentless heap of rotting dung accepted as normal?
    Jeremy W
    • The problem with what you said is ....

      ... this same process of finding and troubleshooting problems is even more true of Linux and to a lesser degree the same with OSX. Your ABMer bias will prevent you from admitting this but it is the truth none the less. Just look at the number of patches for any OS and you will find that all of them have their problems.
      ShadeTree
      • Personally

        I think one advantage Linux has over MS and even OS X is that because there ARE so many distros, if there is a legitimate problem (and yes, even Linux has legitimate problems, contrary to what some Linux trolls will tell you) you can always find a friendly ear to listen to your problems and address your issue, which is especially useful if it is more than just a configuration problem. You may have to complain about your problem on many discussion boards and bug trackers, even those of distros that are not your own, but eventually you can find someone to take up your cause if you are persistent. With Windows or OS X, if it is more than just a configuration problem, you only have one place to go, and if they decide your problem is not a priority, then you are out of luck.

        So all that said, I would conclude that it would be natural for people to whine about proprietary products than F/OSS products, because with F/OSS products "complaining" will actually get you somewhere. Now smaller proprietary outfits who are more responsive to customer complaints may not experience this problem because they are keeping their end of the pact, but larger ones with that cannot address every issue in a timely and professional manner are going to experience more public whining, and thus more negative PR.
        Michael Kelly
      • Pass the buck

        This reminds me of the political culture to some extent right now, Bush does something the Dems find wrong, the Repubicans will say: "well it's the Clinton's fault, or they did the same thing years ago so it's ok for Bush to do the same"

        Linux and Macs have problems also yes, but they have small market share as many NBM ppl like to point out. But at what point will we stop pointing fingers or complaining about others complaining and whining (ED) and expect more. We've developed this lowered expectation over the years to the point where it's expected for a brand new OS shipping from Redmond to break. IF you complain about it breaking, then it's your fault somehow for not knowing it will break in the first place. Give me a break!
        dave95.
        • Just as we expect the same of Cupertino.

          The point really is that this is not just a Windows or Microsoft problem. It is an industry wide problem. You guys that point the finger at Redmond should look in the mirror because that finger is pointing right back at you.
          ShadeTree
          • The finger is pointed at Redmond.........

            simply because they have the monopoly, sorry it goes with the territory. Same way Apple gets all the negative attention and the lawsuits for their iPod dominance. But really I've never heard anyone on the Mac front say they will wait for updates or "service-pack 1" to come out before they buy Leopard.
            dave95.
          • That is because Tiger to Leapord is ...

            ... like XP Sp1 was to XP Sp2 was for Windows. It certainly doesn't compare to the changes that Vista entails.
            ShadeTree
          • Huh?

            Slow down a minute, Shade. Now look at Mac OS 10.4 and compare
            it to WinXP. Then compare Mac OS 10.5 to WinXP SP1. Are really
            saying that the two are comparable in scope? I really think you
            mean Mac OS 10.2 =Win XP SP1, etc. Am I right, here? Because Mac
            OS 10.5 is waaayyyy beyond WinXP SP2. And yes, it is much better
            than Vista. Provided, it works as advertised. But, even so, Tiger is
            better than Vista as it is, now. That's not fanboy rhetoric, that's
            just, plain truth.
            Landrue
          • Really?

            Didn't know Macs were having a hard time using fairly current
            hardware, didn't know Mac's networks were dropping from playing
            audio and video files, didn't know, etc., etc., etc. the myriads of
            problems Vista is having, Macs were having.

            Oh, wait, cause their not. :)
            Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • Tu Quoque fallacy

        A is bad, but B is also bad, therefore A is good.
        frgough
        • To blame the situation on Microsoft and ignore ...

          ... the fact that it is an industry wide problem is much more enlightened isn't it? I mean when Adrian got the loaner MacBook Pro and couldn't get the wireless to work for about a week that wasn't an Apple problem was it? I could go on and on but you should have already gotten the point!
          ShadeTree
          • "already gotten the point!"

            Would that be the point that you are
            floundering around flapping your jaws and
            trying to invent a valid excuse?
            Ole Man
        • Not at all

          A (Windows) has issues from time to time but B (OSX) is [b]atrocious[/b], therefore A (Windows) is better. To, ahem, quote all the Mac zealots: [i]No one suggested Windows was perfect, it's just better than OSX.[/i] :)
          NonZealot
      • Know what users can do

        with Linux they can't do (legally) with Windows? <b>FIX IT</b>! Yes, if I as a linux user finds a bug in the OS I can myself fix it, have a friend fix it, hire someone to correct the code, or wait until the distribution fixes it.<br>With Windows you legally can NOT touch the code only Microsoft can alter the operating system, it is in that EULA you agreed too when you installed. You will have to hope <i>a lot</i> of other people are experiencing the same thing or Microsoft will not correct it and you legally can't do it yourself or even hire someone to legally fix it.
        devlin_X
  • While I agree that you have the right to whine if you want too ....

    .... a computer oriented blog is not the place. It tends to distort the record and paint a picture that is quite petty. Many of the authors here like to vent their personnel experiences, likes and dislikes. You have passionitly described a network issue as if it is the end of the world. In the scheme of things it is quite minor. Knowing that playing media while slows down large file transfers is easy to work arround until a permanent fix is found. You could just not play media while doing large file transfers or accept that it is going to take a little longer. That's my Friday vent!
    ShadeTree
    • Eh ...

      "You have passionitly described a network issue as if it is the end of the world."

      No, I picked up on an issue someone else mentioned and examined it. But it's interesting because in the back of my mind I'd noticed this issue.

      "Knowing that playing media while slows down large file transfers is easy to work arround until a permanent fix is found."

      Sure, disable all sounds while you're at it.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Is it the end of the world?

      No way, however, does Skype over DSL (with the 5% allowed network level) even function properly? How about online gaming? If you bought Vista for the express purpose of networked gaming (maybe this is the direct reason hardcore gamers are saying Vista is NOT as good as XP), yeah, just disable sound?

      Who wants to listen to music on their computer while surfing the web?

      You have to admit, the fact that such a noticeable issue was not detected before release (unless it is intentional and related to DRM or over zealous QoS) should not have happened.

      In any case, no one can say this isn't a serious problem for what is supposed to be a multimedia platform. I look forward to Ed, if he ever explores this issue on outlining how good/bad this affects the new media center he networked into his living room. Should be just turn sound off there too so that pictures and movies are served up 10Xs faster to the clients? What good is a media center PC hub when watching movies and music degrades performance by up to 20Xs slower?

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
  • Should have used "PC" in place of stuff

    With apologies to the original singer of "It's My Party":

    It's my PC, and I'll whine if I want to
    Whine if I want to, whine if I want to
    You would whine too if it happened to you.

    See, PC works much better than "stuff". ;)
    bmgoodman
    • Credits

      [i]With apologies to the original singer of "It's My Party":[/i]

      Lesley Gore. Interesting story, that one.
      Yagotta B. Kidding