Oct. 28th, 2016

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

So, something that popped up earlier today during a discussion is whether or not I “hate” Microsoft, with how much I rag on Windows 10. In short: No. Absolutely not.

For the long answer: I really like Microsoft in general. I used to hate them when I was in my FOSS phase, but then I started giving them a serious look, and realized they typically have it right in much of their software.

I use Windows 7, Office, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Expression Web, Expression Design, IIS, Microsoft Mathematics, Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio Express 2010, and quite a bit more. I actually prefer PowerShell over bash or zsh, and I find managing a Windows 2008 R2 server to be much easier than a Linux server. I prefer Windows Phone 8.1 over Android and iOS. Just in general, I like using Windows a lot more than I do Linux or OS X.

Even more, some of my favorite design aesthetics came from Windows: the Windows Vista Flair look-and-feel, Aero and Glass, the Windows Live design language, Windows Vista's Dreamscape live wallpapers… Actually, of all of them, Vista has had the most beautiful UI, in my opinion. A bit resource-heavy, but still a nice OS.

That said, I do think Microsoft has made some missteps: Windows 10's forced updates, dropping the Windows Live Essentials line, dropping Windows Media Center, Metro/Modern apps in Windows 8/8.1 being fullscreen only, the ass-ugly Ribbon interface on some of the native Windows apps… Hell, I think their biggest misstep has been the focus on UI for small touchscreens on the desktop UI. Windows 7 had a good mix, but didn't quite get the smaller screens right, which 8/8.1 did do properly.

Now, the reason I rag on Windows 10 is because I've yet to have a good experience from it. Just like how a lot of people hated Windows Vista when it first came out because of how buggy it was, I've had the same problem with WinX. Unlike Windows Vista SP1, the Service Packs (Redstone 1 & Anniversary Update) haven't really improved it for me, and in some cases made it worse. The forced updates constantly caused issues where I had to refresh/reinstall the OS after minor patches on the Slow Ring.

It has been an unstable mess for me. That's not good for a productivity machine, especially when it takes 3–4 hours to per attempted reinstall of the OS. I say attempted because, on my old Surface Pro 3, I sometimes had to reinstall it 2–3 times in a row just to get a working machine again. I never had the problem with Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. It was infuriating, which is why I'm sticking to Windows 7, which I know works.

So do I hate Microsoft? No. Not at all. I wouldn't be using Windows 7 and a slew of Microsoft products if I did.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

So, I wanted to separate this from the previous part because it's a bit of a long rant.

TL;DR : I think Internet Explorer 7+ got an unnecessarily bad rap because of IE6, and people don't know how to let go of a grudge.

Long version follows.

So, a lot of people tend to hold Internet Explorer with a lot of contempt. Thanks to how IE6 provided no end of a stranglehold on web standards for a long time, when IE7 was brought out, people refused to see it as anything but IE6. And yet, IE provided features that other browsers didn't at the time.

IE7 had SANDBOXING on Windows Vista, for starters. The real jump came with IE8, which included several features that were well ahead of their time.

  • Accelerators allowed you to do selection-based searches without needing to rely on copy/pasting things to the search bar.
  • Auto-recovery of crashed tabs, which really didn't always work in other browsers.
  • InPrivate Browsing, which was added before Firefox added Private Browsing (Safari got it first, though)
  • WebSlices, which are small chunks of webpages that can be updated like an RSS feed.

While it still failed the Acid2 test with nightmareish results, IE7 made strides towards better standards compliance, and IE 8 passed Acid2 completely. IE9 passes the Acid3 test, and IE11 (the final release) scores a 302 on HTML5Test, which is roughly on par with the browsers of its time.

Of course, web developers love to take the piss out of IE6 as the reason the web went nowhere for a time, but what they hate hearing about is that Chrome is taking IE6's place, effectively hijacking the standards just by being the most-used browser out there. (Doesn't help matters when Google employees essentially write the standards themselves these days, and the whole blackmailing the CSSWG incident.)

Other people enjoy pointing at IE's security flaws, to which I say: okay! Nothing is bug-free, and even Chrome is will eventually have major security flaws that end up exploited—and likely has a fuckton of zero-day exploits that haven't been responsibly disclosed. That's kinda how software is. As they say, if you want real security, keep it offline.

Thing is, Internet Explorer wasn't the best browser. Even as late as IE11, it wasn't the best, but it worked well enough that it served its purpose. Hell, it technically still serves that purpose for the people who use it.

Am I an IE user? Well…Sometimes, yes. IE11 still works, even if it doesn't work everywhere. There are shitty developers who still use useragent sniffing instead of feature checks, after all. However, if I need a secondary browser open, I'll usually go for IE first, since it's installed on Windows 7 by default as part of the OS itself.

So yeah… For further proof that I don't hate Microsoft, I just defended Internet Explorer. You can't go much further down the rabbit hole than that.

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