Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Great Big List of Things That Tick Me Off with Windows

Hi Friends.

I am a software developer, and I have a lot of "power user" uses for my computers.  I ask a lot of them.  Over the years I have found that Mac OSX gives me the least amount of pain, and the most amount of productivity.  I use Mac OSX for all my software development work, and I quite like it.

Often I have to make my software also work on Windows, so for that, I use VMWare and run a Windows instance which is virtualized.  Its pretty nice: I can switch between Windows and my Mac with a key-press; and when I don't need Windows its harmlessly stashed away as an Virtual Machine image on my Mac's hard-drive.

This works well for me, but every time I have to summon up Windows again, I am reminded of all the Things That Tick Me Off with Windows.  Its especially bad when I either have to upgrade to a new version of Windows - which I periodically am forced to do even tho' I had just got the last version doing what I wanted.

Hell is a Windows Upgrade
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Normally, what I do is I say philosophically to myself - "Y'know, Mac has flaws too - some folks like Windows, I will just keep my thoughts private."

But lately I have come across a lot of folks who are starting up the pointless religious wars about Mac vs Windows, and coming out with a bunch of criticisms of Mac, which amount to
it ain't like Windows
Lately its getting hard to be philosophical about it because people seem to struggle with the notion that Windows is not some kind of de-facto standard for the way computers ought to be.

You used to hear people say that Microsoft Word was the "de facto" standard for documents.  Nowadays, not so much.  Those people got cured of such nonsense after Microsoft screwed them over with multiple changes to Office, then the arrival of Windows 8.

If it is not like Windows, then y'know what?  That alone is not enough of a reason to say its no good.  Maybe it is no good, but anyone want to bitch going to have to come up with a better justification for their claim.  Besides, these days Windows is not like Windows.  You have to do a bunch of things so that it is.

So I decided I would come up with my own list of things like.  I am going to be petulant, and narrow-minded, and generally stamp my little feet.

I know I ought to try fairly hard to not fall into the same behaviour I criticise in others where I mark it with a "fail" just because it fails to be what I'm familiar with.  But sometimes I think the way Mac does things is very good, and so in those cases, forgive me but I am going to get out the red pen.

So here then is my Great Big List of Things That Tick Me Off with Windows - and I will return to this post and update it with any new ones.

The Terminal is a red-headed step-child on Windows

  • As a developer I use the Terminal ALL THE TIME.  
    • It has to be a keystroke away
    • It has to be fast, flexible and full-screen
    • It has to have a powerful, expressive shell for commands I type
  • On windows I cannot get a full screen terminal window
    • cmd.exe never wants to give me a full screen
    • I futz about with setting the number of columns and rows
  • And the standard shell is crap - cmd.exe is NOT a decent shell
  • What the hell is up with having to right-mouse-button to paste in the shell?
    • To get even that requires drill down to "Quick Edit" mode via the window menu
  • I don't care that there's Powershell or some third party thing
    • When I upgrade Windows as I have done many many times
      • I don't get a Terminal by default.
    • With both Mac and Linux ITS RIGHT THERE OUT OF THE BOX

The Windows 8 Metro UI

  • Need I say more?
    • I have to do what now to kill an app?
  • I don't really care about the start menu
    • but finding and launching an app is a jungle

The Windows explorer is an App

  • Why do I have to start the Explorer?
  • Users are expected to use it to move files around but its not already running
  • Zip file integration used to be eye-gougingly painful
    • Now its just bad
    • Why does double-clicking a zip file take me into some bizarre UI?
    • Why am I now inside some mystical folder/app that's really an undead PKZip clone?
      • Just double-click and unzip, right?
      • And why soooo slooowwww to unzip?
    • Also - why is it so hard to unzip from the command line?
      • on Mac: "unzip"
      • Gaaaaah!

Viruses and Virus Scanners

  • Together they are the death of any CPU performance
  • Yeah, I should probably have a virus scanner on Mac, but
    • I don't torrent and I don't use Java so...
    • the only "drive by" exploit for Mac so far is not one that would have affected me
    • I know in theory Mac's can have viruses, but in reality they're a constant pain on Windows and not something I worry about on my Mac
OK - enough for now.  But don't worry - I will be adding more totally unreasonable dummy-spits here in the future.

Stupid Idiotic Delete/Move

I right-click a large folder and click "Delete".  Does it get deleted?
No, it tries to "Move it to the Trash".
Then it tells me after 40 minutes of trying, that its "Too big - go ahead and Delete?"
Sure - that's what I asked for in the first place.  
Now it displays this nonsensical dialog where it reports how "fast" it is going with its delete process.  
Gaaaah!!!!  WTF!!!!!

I have heard a lot of people complain that with the Windows File Explorer you can right click and cut, then paste into another location.  I can do this fine on Mac, just by having two Finder windows open.  Try it - works perfectly: drag and drop.  

What else works fine on Mac is deleting, and moving - on Windows we have to apparently make a song and dance about it, with progress bars and dialogs going off everywhere.  

To be fair, deleting on the Mac will send stuff to the Trash, instead of actually deleting it.  But on the Mac I have the Terminal and "rm -Rf ~/Documents/crap_i_dont_want".

And everything to do with large folders is so incredibly slow and painful, even allowing for the virtualization it takes orders of magnitude longer to do file operations on Windows.