Dear Microsoft: I Hate You

Dear Microsoft, Apple, Netflix, and all other tech companies that have worked so hard over the years to make decent software worse: Please stop.

Microsoft: Windows 10 told me I should restart my system.  I know security updates are important, and I install them when I can afford a restart.  But your latest operating system then announced it was going to restart and, even though I clicked Cancel, a few minutes later it just decided to go right ahead and restart anyway.  Do you know how long it takes me to login to my VPNs, open all my remote sessions, and start whatever development environments I happen to be working with?  Do you know how much unsaved work I have in applications – including many of yours – that don’t gracefully deal with unsolicited closures?  Evidently you do not, or you do not care how much time and work an unscheduled restart costs me.

Windows 7 was a decent operating system.  I can tell you put a lot of work into Windows 10, and I honestly wish you hadn’t.  It’s worse than Windows 7 in a million little ways.  And Office 365?  The Office suite peaked with your 2003 edition.  2007 was a step backwards.  2010 was like tripping the poor thing on its way down the hill.  Office 365 has beaten what’s left into a morass.  I’ve been using these newer versions of your software because they came “free” with my latest machine.  I guess the only reason I have not yet reverted to Windows 7 and Office 2003 on my primary workstation is the ongoing fascination – maybe it’s the same thing that keeps up the ratings of reality TV – the astonishment that professional software teams have chosen to discard perfectly adequate interfaces and cripple useful features in favor of half-baked new designs that have all of the intuitive grace I’d expect from a first-semester team project in CS 101.

Here’s an idea for you and your fellow misguided software companies: Instead of spending millions of developer hours building out those paradigm-breaking designs your overstaffed teams must come up with after too many open bars at too many off-sites, why not take a look at your ticket systems and just work on bugs and user feature requests?

And yes, Apple, that goes for you.  Was it OS10 you just nagged me into installing on my iPhone?  “Different?”  Yes.  Better?  Does anyone at Apple ever ask that question?  If not before you start work, at least before you decide that Now Everybody Must Accept It, because … I don’t know: you built it, and your testers and fanboys got used to it?

And Netflix: What happened?  You could have been the Amazon of media.  I used to religiously rate every movie I watched because your recommendations algorithm was worth it.  Now I don’t know where you hid all my rating data, or what – if anything – you’re doing with it.  These days I’m just relieved when I can find my queue or resume what I was watching most recently.  At least there are easy alternatives for you.