Saturday, December 22, 2007

Things, they are gonna change, part 6

Warning: Ranting follows.

Standards are important. Yes, they are.

Don't think so? It's bad enough when auto manufacturers use some goofy counter-intuitive set of switches for seat adjustment, or put 40 controls on one single 'multi-function' stalk so that every time you want to signal a lane change you end up talking to the On-Star operator. But, what if every auto manufacturer used a completely different setup for controlling their cars? How would you like to have to hunt for the gas pedal or the brake every time you got behind the wheel, or the yoke, or the joystick, or the neural interface? See what I'm getting at here? In the early days of the automobile, the Model-A used a hand throttle control - that's right, no gas pedal. Eventually some smart guy came up with a different idea, and for better or worse that became the standard, and even Henry Ford adhered to it when he started making the Model-T. Hell, cars made in Russia use the same controls. It's a standard, and that's just the way it is.

Oh sure, there are those people that just have to be different, either because their minds truly do work at an angle 90 degrees from the norm, or because they have different physical requirements, or just out of sheer perversity - that's why Apple makes the Mac.

However, if you're like 99% percent of the universe and you use a PC, well, here's the thing:

Microsoft won. Get over it.

Look I'm not exactly a big gushy Bill Gates fan either, but it is how it is. If you're writing software for the Mac, more power to ya, do whatever the hell you want to, be creative, unzip your hippy-organic-hemp cutoffs and piss on the standards, screw the corporate straitjacket, stick it to the Man. Great. Power to the People and vote McGovern (or Ron Paul), whatever. Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. Peace man.

But if you're writing software for the PC, then adhere to the fucking standards or I swear to God I'm going open the gun safe and come pay you a visit.


Attention Symantec, makers of the Norton products - you suck. Your website sucks. Your product interface sucks. Your subscription renewal 'process' sucks. The fact that you've decided to hide the Norton Internet Security Add-on pack as a secret download, yet still advertise it as an included feature on the webpage and product box sucks. Your technical support sucks. Your embedded help sucks. Your on-line knowledge base sucks. The fact that you have over-priced your piece of crap product by roughly 300% above what it's actually worth sucks. You are up to your corporate necks in massive suck. If you sucked any more, it is entirely possible that the suck factor in your immediate neighborhood would surpass the Hawking threshold, resulting in an implosion and catastrophic collapse of the local Swartzchild Radius and the formation of a new black hole. I.e. You SUCK! The only reason you are still in business is because you've got a fat, juicy government contract to supply suck to the US Military and other Government Agencies - that and the fact that your chief competitor sucks even worse than you do.

Let's start with your interface - as noted above, Mircosoft won. The Windows look and feel is the PC standard. Learn it, adhere to it. Twenty years ago, Peter Norton was a genius. I still have a copy of his DOS Bible around here somewhere. The fact that you bought his name and company does NOT make you equally brilliant. The real key to going your own way, different from the accepted standard, is that your way must be better. Your maverick methodology must NOT suck giant donkey turds - Yeah, yeah, I know they didn't teach that in your MBA courses. Trust me on this, your professors assumed you wouldn't have to have not sucking actually spelled out for you. I am sick and tired of trying to figure out where you've hidden the controls in your idiotic, irritating yellow interface. Every other PC software product on the market - including freeware written by pimply faced Emo's hiding from the world in their mom's basement - adheres to certain simple standards. Since you are all obviously white collar retards who can't understand basic technology without a Power Point Pie Chart, let me draw you a picture: If I need the software version and registration numbers for my product, any product (except yours), I click 'About'. I don't have to spend twenty minutes looking for it, it's always under the 'Help' menu. Where the fuck is that information in Norton Internet Security 2007 or 2008? Where? This is not a rhetorical question - I'd like a goddamned answer. If simple information is not readily obvious and available to the user, well, that's a pretty good indicator that everything else is pretty much going to be a giant pain in the ass too. I don't give a flying fig about your ongoing battle with Microsoft, fix your interface - and while you're at, it find something other than 'urine sample' yellow for your corporate colors (though I do get the whole "let's piss on our customers" connection. Ha ha, very funny), for example - let's trying using the Windows User selected colors, skins, and style, you know, the standard for modern Windows programs. Retards.

Second, your webpage is a giant stinking pile of total festering pustulent flatulence obviously designed and administered by one of the those aforementioned world-hating angst-ridden sexually-frustrated emos. Have any of you ever actually tried to find anything on your webpage? Your online tech support is an abomination. And somebody please explain to me what the deal is with that add-on package for Norton Internet Security. Why, why, why must I download the Anti-spam, Anti-phishing, Parental Controls add-ons? Why is this software not on the disk? Why is it not part of the download? Why? I paid for it, and I want it, and I don't want to have to screw around about it.

In summary, just as soon I have a better option - I'm jumping ship. I have no loyalty to your shitty product at all. You are NOT edgy mavericks, those days are long gone - instead you're a bunch of irritating assholes. You want my business, then pull you corporate head out of you ass and get with the program.


Guess what I spent the morning doing? If you guessed renewing and upgrading my security software you've been paying attention. Good job.

And we now return to our regularly scheduled weekend.

Things, they are gonna change, Part 5
Things, they are gonna change, Part 4
Things, they are gonna change, Part 3
Things, they are gonna change, Part 2
Things, they are gonna change, Part 1


  1. Dear Sir or Madam,

    Thank you for your interest in Norton Security. We pride ourselves on putting our customers' concerns first.

    We're glad you like our website. We are quite proud of the design. We find it to be very esthetically pleasing. All information is reachable through a series of simple links. Merely crosscheck the subject you wish to find with your date of birth and the serial number of your product and we will send an IM to your phone with a code that will allow you access to the information you seek.

    As to accessing the serial number of your product, follow these simple steps.

    1. Regardless of where you are in the world, turn so that your posterior is facing Redmond, WA.

    2. Lower your pants and bend over.

    3. Chant F.U.B.G. three times.

    4. The serial number will now appear on your screen, but it is in the exact same color as the background. This is a security feature for your protection.

    If there is anything else that we at Symantec can do for you, please don't hesitate to contact us.

  2. I don't know who that was, but it's the first thing that's made me laugh all day - thank you.

  3. You're very welcome.

    ::bows to the wings::

  4. The funny thing is, programs which are designed and coded for the Linux world, but then are ported to windows do a better job of adhering to the winblows interface standard than many native apps...

  5. Alex, true.

    What frustrates me is having to spend an hour of my precious time hunting through a senselessly non-standard interface for simple information because Symantec is too boneheaded to comply with the Windows standard when it make perfect sense.

    Take Firefox, great program which I'm using right now. Blows the socks off the native MSIE - BUT, the interface is standard, my 74 year old Dad made the migration to it without instruction.

    We fought the look and feel battle way back in the 80's. It's over, Gates won. Don't like it - take your shit and go to Apple. But if you're going to code for Windows, then use Windows standards. Seriously, the operating system sucks enough without people making it worse (and that goes double for Vista).

    I didn't use the car analogy spuriously. The brake/gas pedal arrangement is seriously flawed (how many accidents have been caused because the brake pedal is higher than the gas pedal and the driver's foot naturally slides from stop to go?) It should be the other way around, but it's the standard and if you switched it now, you'd cause more accidents than you prevent.

    Same with interfaces - leave the stuff alone that works. I'd be willing to recant my rant - if somebody at symantec can give me a good reason why their interface doesn't comply with the standard - other than the petulant "we don't like Bill Gates waaaaaaah!"

  6. I guess this is a bad time to mention that my husband and I use Avast for all our personal computers and all the computers we support (i.e. our parents)?

    It's free for the home user, you just have to re-register every year, but since it's free, that's fine with me.

    It doesn't protect against spyware, but Windows Defender does a decent enough job that it's what we use at work to protect the 60 computer in our open lab.

    And I agree with you about Symantec being a pain in the arse to deal with. The newest incarnation is what's being used on all the computers at work, and it's not my favorite, but then the point of it was to automatically update and protect any computer connected to our servers, so...

    But you have my utmost sympathy.

  7. Michelle, yeah I've looked at Avast, and a number of other options. I use Black Ice in my router, plus some custom designed stuff. But ultimately I'm a creature of habit (which explains why I still watch Headline News, even though it hasn't actually shown any news for at least the last decade). I've used Norton products since before there was an internet. And despite how much I hate the interface and their evil webpage - Norton does a very good job protecting my machines.

    But, I'm not kidding - if I find something better I will jump ship, but it's got to do all the things I need and integrate into outlook. So far, no joy.

  8. Oh and Michelle you've piqued my curiosity - open lab? Do tell us more.

  9. Well, we've been running Avast for several years now, and none of the machines (counting... three in this house, three at my parents house, and my MIL's computer) has gotten infected with anything.

    So it might be well worth it to check it out, especially since it does everything in the background, and the only think we have to do is re-register every year. (Which is why it's on my parent's machines.) Well, we also have to walk my parents through the re-registration process every year, but... that's par for the course.

    (Push the lever! All the other rats are doing it!)

    As far as "open lab" I work for WVU, and we maintain the computer lab in the health sciences department that all students, staff and faculty, as well as WV residents, can come and use. We've got (I think) sixty computers that anyone can use at any time, and two classrooms (eventually to double to four) with 25 computers apiece.)

    The computers in the open lab are mostly unmonitored (porn is disallowed, and people can't install *anything* but otherwise anything goes) and we haven't had a virus that came from a user since we opened the facility last year. (We did however get an ugly virus from the servers that infected all our computers, but that was a headache for networking, not us.)

    Of course the fact we're running "Ghost" which we can use to return any computer to a fresh install doesn't hurt either. (And by "we" I mean my boss. I'm perfectly willing to crawl under desks, but not so excited about learning to use Ghost.)

  10. Have you tried kaspersky?

    They seem pretty good and I THINK that they have an Outlook plugin. And on that note...

    Outlook? Really? That makes me cry a little.


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