After reading about the Microsoft Windows Live Preview software, also known as Wave 3, in a PC Magazine article, I wonder why Microsoft continues along the path of trouble it has taken for so many years.

Beyond the fact that it is expedient to release something past a certain point of utility, it remains a question why this, and many other companies simply say something is ‘good enough’ and stop active work to repair defects in code.

Take, for example, the Live Mail application that Microsoft released about 18 months ago. The application worked very well from the start, so much so that I gave it lots of praise in my writings here. Now I’m wondering what has happened, as the last ‘update’ of the Live software has brought problems that were not there before, and, from all indications, no additional functionality that would excuse this screw up in basic usage. The Writer application has many problems that were repaired before, and are back again, the Messenger program has some settings that won’t ‘stick’, and the Mail application will not allow printing a message. In order to have a hard copy of a message, I had to forward it to my Hotmail account, and open it in a browser window, then print it out. This retrograde behavior is unacceptable. Bugs, once quashed, should stay that way.

Moving back to the Wave 3 software previews, it is nice to see the features offered, but not at the expense of basic functionality. One of the first things a programmer is supposed to learn is that basic function must be completely solid before any frills are added.

This basic functionality will be especially important, as we’re being told that Windows 7 will not include the mail, messenger, photo, and movie maker programs that became part of the operating system in Windows XP. Making these a separate download may make the ISPs like Comcast happy, but I doubt it makes anyone else warm and fuzzy.

Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardour, for their curiosity and tolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.Aldous Huxley