Messages From MIcrosoft
Listening is a diminishing skill in todays world. People are bombarded by ads and messages with such intensity that we develop our own ability to not hear. Dr Strangeloves 'CRM-114' discriminator is a picture of people in the modern world. The nasty side effects come mostly in interpersonal ways. We can't actually ignore advertising, but we can effectively ignore each other. Spam is another pointer to this problem. We do all we can to eliminate it, because we actually can't ignore it. (Can those pills make me hung like and elephant?) (Are there hot chicks waiting to date me, if only I put my credit card in at your site?)
I don't really care about all that though. What interests me are the messages we can't hear from software companies. I think that they are secret messages. Like Chinese factory workers putting little notes on whatever they produce. Programmers sending us a message. Open-source programmers put secret messages in the comments of source code. They also have a higher standard, because anyone can read the code. The degrees of subtlety change, but the messages come through pretty well. MySQL and Lighttpd have lots of special messages, but depending on your own Kool Aid recipe, you may not be able to hear them. Witness anyone who liked Mac OS prior to OS X or anyone who thought it was more than a steaming pile of sh*t.
Closed source software is a different animal. Closed source developers will never have the gallows-humor satisfaction of having their code reviewed by others. Almost no chance anyway. They have to let you know it sucks in other, more compelling ways. I am still trying to figure out if it's a Michael Moore style message (e.g. The Media LIES, Don't trust them. [oh, and I am "the media" too]). Perhaps it's just incompetence, but after Internet Explorer, I don't think so.
Ok, so what is todays secret message? It's obvious. INTERNET EXPLORER IS SO SH*TTY IT CAN'T SAFELY BE USED ON THE INTERNET.. (Note the name Internet Explorer, not 'Intranet' Explorer. (Internet Exploiter anyone?)
Anyone who has run Windows 2003 since it's release knows all about it. It's that amazing way that you run IE the Enhanced Configuration warns you about every web page you visit. Why, oh God, why? I can just imagine a team of programmers, sitting a back room, cooking up a "secure" way to deploy Internet Explorer.
Actually I can't imagine what POSSESSED someone to actually DESIGN something like the Enhanced Security configuration for Windows 2003 Server. When you go to a webpage, it warns you. If you want to browse that way, you can disable the message (which is pointless), or add each and every site to your "Trusted Sites" list. It's like putting a car with no brakes on the road. You know it can't stop, but rather than try to fix it, you put a warning label over the gas pedal. "WARNING: DO NOT DRIVE DOWN HILLS, LEAVE LONG DISTANCES FOR STOPPING. EMERGENCY BRAKE MAY FAIL. GAS PEDAL MAY STICK. STOPPING ENGINE MAY NOT REDUCE SPEED." The label is the enhancement.
Why, oh WHY should _I_ the user be required to _know_ that a site is safe _prior_ to visiting? This lacks sense. This lacks rational. I can't SEE the page, until I browse. I can't browse until I either cripple the page, or TRUST it implicitly. The solution is to turn off the config. If that is a solution, then what did I just sign up for?
It has become a product that is neither safe nor usable in a world which requires it's use. So, are we the users idiots for having it, purchasing the OS it comes with, or just unfortunate schmucks? Can anyone decode the underlying message? The first part is easy: Don't Use IE. What is under that? What is the slant on me personally that makes this so awful? I can feel it, but I can't see it.