As I have been looking  around over the last 48 hours or so, I see a great number of sites where articles feature various complaints about the latest version of Windows to come into public scrutiny. The articles vary from complaints about the ineffectiveness of UAC to the number of flavors that Microsoft will bring to market.

I have my own complaints about what is happening with Windows, but I seem to be in the minority (or at least the minority who bother to speak up). I tend to wonder why the people who complain the loudest are those who want the quickest usability and then complain later that the operating system doesn’t allow freedom to do as one wishes. Microsoft has simply decided to eliminate freedom for many, as it appears that it has decided that, in great measure, the smart money is with the stupid (or ignorant) masses. This leads me to wonder why there might not be another flavor of Windows to produce.

If Microsoft produced a “Windows for Dummies” with the corresponding ties to a book, the people who want to be protected from their own stupidity, or negligence, could have a system that works for them, along with instructions in the book that clearly state that, “Windows works this way in order to protect you from yourself.” This, to me, seems a perfect solution.

But that leads me to another point I wish to make about this new Windows 7, which is gaining so much popularity, simply because its predecessor was so bereft of anything that might make it popular : Microsoft, as it has made the operating system more powerful, has fully ignored its responsibility to include any sort of complete documentation with it. The last revision of Windows that had any sort of decent documentation was 3.1. (and though it was there, it could have used a lot of improvement)

Microsoft is fond of telling us how powerful and complete Windows (any version) is, and to point this out a major series of commercials was undertaken to show how Microsoft Windows was ‘easier’ to implement and use than any version of Unix. At the same time, it has not given the users a decent paper reference manual, nor has it ever really produced anything comparing to Unix man pages. Isn’t this amazing, considering the continuing rise in the cost of Windows?

But back to today –

On the Download Squad site, I see this –

WinSuperSite was talking about an interesting feature in Windows 7 the other day. Apparently you can drag files to an application pinned to your taskbar to associate it with that program. At least, that’s what some other users have said.

I gave it a try, and met with no success.

I tried with PNG and JPEG images, but dragging them to FastStone MaxView didn’t do anything – the file just scooted to the side and pinned itself to the taskbar. I tried ISO files and ImgBurn. Same result. I tried ZIP files and 7-Zip. No dice.

If you’re running Windows 7, does it work for you? If it’s limited to certain applications, I’m not convinced how useful a feature it is. If I’m missing something, please tell me.

And one further question: with so many people running the beta, is it time for Microsoft to publicize a detailed list of features like this in Windows 7, or is it better for testers to keep stumbling onto them on our own?

Two things about this strike me. First, why is there no means of knowing this behavior conclusively? Sure, this is a Microsoft beta, but there are plenty of things in earlier revisions that are apocryphal to the masses. It has always been this way, and Microsoft seems almost gleeful about it. There are probably more people who can tell you how to view Easter Eggs in any Microsoft product than the ones who know all the ways to accomplish a task with that same piece of software. Second, why is the above behavior even important? There are many things with this revision that I don’t like, and after thinking about them for a while, I suddenly was hit with why. It is a regressive movement. It is going back towards the behavior of Windows 3.1 and below.

To me, this is insane. As a matter of fact, there is a new program coming out from Stardock, called Fences. I defy anyone to tell me how this differs in basic look from the way that programs were represented with Windows 3.x .  Of course, it’s much prettier, because the screen size was 640x480x256 back then. Now with much higher resolutions, and millions of colors, even the worst icons look better – that doesn’t change the basic look.

So, Microsoft, for lack of innovative ideas, wants to revert, albeit cleverly, to a previous look and feel, and Stardock wants to complete that transformation.

The more things change…

One way to stop a runaway horse is to bet on him.Jeffrey Bernard
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