So they finally replaced the 400 MHz Centrino machines in our office (one running Win95, one running Win98) with Pentium4 machines running WinXP Pro.
As people who read this journal know, I am a big fan of Apple. I have owned an Apple in one form or the other since about 1986. For a while I considered studying HCI/UI (Human-Computer Interaction/User Interface) in college. I ended up not doing so, but I did take several classes in psychology and perception. Computer UI is a little hobby of mine. Friends of mine will often see me knocking a computer program because of its UI.
My first impressions? Well, XP is fairly stable. Windows fans are right about that. Microsoft still has a long way to go, though.
[The comments that follow regard our particular install. I realize not all XP installs are this bad. This is what I have to deal with. Our machines run DeepFreeze, which restores the machine back to a standard install after each restart. In addition, DeepFreeze automatically logs you out and restarts the machine after 30 minutes of inactivity. In an eight hour shift, this can happen frequently.]
The UI? Oh, the UI...
What was Microsoft thinking?
Bubbles should not have close boxes! Each time I log in (because the machine is wiped each time it restarts), two informational bubbles pop up. One tells me there are new updates to be installed. Of course, any updates will not be kept on our machines, so... I hit the close button (on a bubble) and another pops up, asking me to take a tour of XP.
If you have an informational dialog you want me to have to close (to make sure I read), make it into an window! Bubbles should not have close boxes.
Bubbles should also not cover up important other functions. For some reason XP wants to always inform me that there are new programs installed under Start:All Programs. The bubble that tells me this does not go away easily, and completely blocks the "Log Out" menu option. I finally figured out that clicking on the bubble will make it go away. Annoying.
Some problems exclusive to our set-up:
1) We do not have network profiles. The school uses Novell to do networking. When I log in, I am automatically logged into about four network drives, including one that is my personal drive space. Unfortunately, the school does not seem to be able to handle saving XP preferences on that drive (if XP even supports it). Any preferences I change (like appearance, or bubbles clicked closed) are not saved from restart to restart. This is 2004. How can I not have saved network profiles?
2) The school does not seem to be able to figure out how to change our default network printer. I need to be able to print out to two printers as part of my job. One sits in the office with me, and is the one I need to use 99.99% of the time. Out of the two printers set up, guess which one is *not* the default. I have no clue how many reams of paper the nurse's office has gone through as a result of them not being able to fix this.
3) MIcrosoft Office is quasi-installed. Every time a component is needed, it installs itself over the network. This can be slow, but I assume make application upgrades easier. Unfortunately, Office also cannot remember preferences install to install. In addition, if I double-click on an Office document, the correct component is installed and started, *but the document I wanted to open is not opened!*. I have to double-click on the document again!
4) Logging in through Novell on XP takes even longer than it did under Win95/98.
Those are about all the problems I remember off the top of my head.
It is 2004. Computers should work better than this. I feel like I am still fighting with XP to do what I want the machine to do. And is XP just that stupid about network drives?
As a result of #1 above, I cannot even fix any of these problems. XP is the same every time I log in. Annoying!