So, I’m getting ready for a trip to Colorado Springs for my future brother-in-law’s nuptuals. I figured I’d give the Clix a shot with Urge. I fire up the Windows Media Player and… blammo:
“Your Windows Media DRM is Corrupted.” *sigh* I love DRM. It’s awesome. DRM is teh shiz. I want to make love to DRM, it’s so sexy. DRM is the ultimate. Give me more DRM. I want to spread DRM on my toast in the morning. I need DRM in my life.
In prepping for my talk at BloggerCon tomorrow, I thought I’d incite a riot tonight. Most of the world won’t be there, but you can tune into the live stream at some point right after lunch (when I’ll be leading the discussion). I put all of this in tonight’s Lockergnome report for the Windows Fanatics channel, but I figured it was worth repeating here… where I’m likely to get flamed out of existence.
What would the world of software be like if the inmates were running the asylum? I’d argue a lot more useful, and a lot more beautiful. But users are usually in the back seat when it comes to the evolution of a utility – from beginning to end. We have all the control in the world, but few of us ever choose to exercise that power. We are expected to treat developers like they’re gods – but they’re no more important in this cycle than the average user. Let me put it to you this way: software is useless if there isn’t anybody using it. There are certainly users who are content to take whatever programmers hand to them, but I don’t believe that this Utopian level of interaction will exist for too much longer. The world of software is getting larger by the day, and more people are finding new and different ways to improve lives with digital code. I got sick and tired of meeting programmers and developers with attitude, so I decided to get an attitude myself – as a power user. I expect better, I expect faster, I expect smarter, I expect more.
Base functionality is crucial – but I would argue that software should look twice as good as it runs (which should be fast to begin with). I’ve been labeled a “nitpicker” for pointing out font inconsistencies and pixel discrepancies. But if you don’t complain about the things you’d like to see change, how do you ever expect them to change? Developers develop, users use – but it’s up to both parties to communicate with one another. When I see a new piece of software that holds promise, I call out its shortcomings in the hopes it will be closer to perfection with the next revision. Programmers believe that they’re in charge – but I believe the true power lies within the user. Years ago, when I started Lockergnome, there were few people writing publicly about good (or bad) digital tools on the desktop or the Web. The blogosphere has since exploded with a flood of positive and negative opinions – and if you’re not a part of that revolution, then you’re missing out on an important part of history. I’ve seen countless developers struggle to get their apps recognized – but most of those same programmers suffer from an overinflated ego and miscalculation of a uesr’s wants, needs, and desires. Users don’t talk – but I’m asking you to start flappin’ your electronic gums for the sake of making the software landscape better for all of us.
FWIW, I love developers – couldn’t live without ’em. Can’t live with ’em, either. 🙂
Hey, we’ve got Vista Forums online – including categories for Multimedia, Networking & Sharing, Performance Management, Scan, Security, General Discussions, Hardware Devices, Games, File Management, Account Administration, Mail, and Setup & Installation. Each one of these Vista forums has a separate RSS feed, too – so if you want to track what’s happening in the world of Vista support, you can do it with ease. The forum servers are much happier now, and we’re only going to add more categories over time. Vista Help, ho!
As Dave mentioned the other day, I’m leading a discussion on the power of users at BloggerCon IV. Take a look at my recent string of Windows Vista and Office 2007 posts. Try to look past the “Chris is really ripping apart Microsoft’s flagship products” angle, focusing instead on the “Chris is really a passionate user” position. This is the foundation of our impending BloggerCon discussion. As a blogger, you have tremendous opportunities to tell developers what you need, what you expect, and what you want. You are the user – power or casual. If you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody’s going to do it for you. And contrary to popular belief, developers aren’t gods – and neither are users. If this is a real ecosystem, we need balance where none currently exists. Problem is, as users, we have to deal with the developers – who don’t always see the world from a user’s perspective. I’m not suggesting a revolution – I’m merely asking for other passionate users to start speaking up for the things they care about. I want to know if I’m the only user out there who isn’t afraid to say something (right or wrong) about the applications I work with (good or bad).
I don’t know how it happened, but I somehow lost ToolTip functionality in Windows the other day. I’d hover over an icon and NOTHING would show up. Needless to say, I was more than a little perturbed. I did a quick look around the ‘Net and discovered The Elder Geek had an answer that might work. It involves a bit of Registry diving, which is no problem from a seasoned power user like myself. To Enable or Disable Tool Tip Displays, fire up your Registry editor and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer Advanced. Look for “ShowInfoTip” and make sure its value is set to 1. That’s it. Shouldn’t even need a reboot in XP to see ‘er work again.
I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Even after my problems with Outlook 2007, and my original feedback on Windows Vista, I went deeper into Windows Vista’s second beta. This time, I didn’t concentrate so much on the font issues (so that I couldn’t be accused of being such a nitpicker). Don’t get me wrong; there are still thousands of UI oversights still sitting within Windows. I intend to prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I don’t just want to hear about how some of my problems were addressed – I won’t rest until all of them are. I keep being told that a lot of it will be happening soon, but… I’ll believe it when I see it. This isn’t just about fonts and icons, my friends – it’s about something I intend on using as my primary operating system for the next… seven (?) years.
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