Skip to main content

Windows Hate


So sometimes I'm a consumer. I like to think a reasonably savvy consumer, but a consumer nonetheless. And when something that I have paid for and depend on doesn't work, as a consumer, I don't like it.  Not just that, I actively resent it. Time I spend making it work is time I am not spending on something of more value to me. I already paid for that thing. It should work.

But the intellectual challenge of finding the solution? Means nothing.

But the sense of achievement when it's resolved? Don't give me that. I've no time for it. I'm all about how now I can get on with what I have to do, and with the backlog of stuff I didn't do because I was fixing that thing that I already paid for, and the new backlog that's building up while I deal with the old backlog, because of that thing that I depend on, that should just work.

So an unreasonable consumer? Not from my point of view.

As a consumer, I recently encountered a Windows 8.1 update issue with KB2919355. It failed and rolled back, with a banal message displayed and no information on where I might get more details on the failure.

Each attempt took around 30 minutes.

I made plenty of attempts.

I tried letting Windows Update do it automatically, I downloaded the update and ran it manually via Windows Update, I downloaded the update and ran it from the command line, I rebooted and was forced to reapply the update, I was forced to reboot and unintentionally applied the thing during attempts at fixing the damn thing. The thing that I paid for, that I depend on, that should just work.

I spent a lot of time on Microsoft and other forums in the virtual company of other poor souls in a similar position to me but with different environments, error codes, error messages and conflicting and incomplete advice from well-meaning onlookers whose systems, that they'd paid for, that they depended on, all appeared to be working.

I uninstalled the update, I cleaned out the older versions of the update with dism, I reviewed the status of my file system with sfc, I installed with and without peripherals attached, I uninstalled VPN software, I spent an awful lot of time looking at various log files, I edited my registry and more.

And I fixed it. In the end. But my goodwill towards Windows 8, which I've otherwise been getting on with pretty well, having made the jump straight from XP, was reduced. With your software development head on you might say this is not particularly rational. It's a product. It was some kind of bug. These things happen sometimes. Most people were OK.

But I am a consumer, and I paid for that thing, and I depend on it, and it happened to me and it wasn't fixed right away and I had to spend my time to fix it and maybe I'll think a bit more about other alternatives next time I'm ready to part with some cash.

Are your customers consumers?

Comments

  1. I've seen people struggle with Linux, with pe̶r̶lrogramming languages and with browsers as well and complaining about it just as righteously, so I don't think the emotion is dependent on having spent some money on the product.

    Perhaps quite the opposite might be true - the more you pay, the less serious the problems seems and the less likely you are to complain about how a bad decision you've made... Would you write a blog about this if the privilege to install the update cost you £2,000?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Peter. I might have resented the time spent even had I not paid for the software in question, true. With free software such as a browser, though, I might also have just given up and used another rather than spend the time fixing a particular one. (And I have done this.)

    I don't know whether I would feel more or less justified in complaining at some particular absolute price point. I have written before about how relative costs - including the purchase cost, my time, opportunity cost and so on - can combine in some notion of value and affect judgements.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Can Code, Can't Code, Is Useful

The Association for Software Testing is crowd-sourcing a book,  Navigating the World as a Context-Driven Tester , which aims to provide  responses to common questions and statements about testing from a  context-driven perspective . It's being edited by  Lee Hawkins  who is  posing questions on  Twitter ,   LinkedIn , Mastodon , Slack , and the AST  mailing list  and then collating the replies, focusing on practice over theory. I've decided to  contribute  by answering briefly, and without a lot of editing or crafting, by imagining that I'm speaking to someone in software development who's acting in good faith, cares about their work and mine, but doesn't have much visibility of what testing can be. Perhaps you'd like to join me?   --00-- "If testers can’t code, they’re of no use to us" My first reaction is to wonder what you expect from your testers. I am immediately interested in your working context and the way

Meet Me Halfway?

  The Association for Software Testing is crowd-sourcing a book,  Navigating the World as a Context-Driven Tester , which aims to provide  responses to common questions and statements about testing from a  context-driven perspective . It's being edited by  Lee Hawkins  who is  posing questions on  Twitter ,   LinkedIn , Mastodon , Slack , and the AST  mailing list  and then collating the replies, focusing on practice over theory. I've decided to  contribute  by answering briefly, and without a lot of editing or crafting, by imagining that I'm speaking to someone in software development who's acting in good faith, cares about their work and mine, but doesn't have much visibility of what testing can be. Perhaps you'd like to join me?   --00-- "Stop answering my questions with questions." Sure, I can do that. In return, please stop asking me questions so open to interpretation that any answer would be almost meaningless and certa

Not Strictly for the Birds

  One of my chores takes me outside early in the morning and, if I time it right, I get to hear a charming chorus of birdsong from the trees in the gardens down our road, a relaxing layered soundscape of tuneful calls, chatter, and chirrupping. Interestingly, although I can tell from the number and variety of trills that there must be a large number of birds around, they are tricky to spot. I have found that by staring loosely at something, such as the silhouette of a tree's crown against the slowly brightening sky, I see more birds out of the corner of my eye than if I scan to look for them. The reason seems to be that my peripheral vision picks up movement against the wider background that direct inspection can miss. An optometrist I am not, but I do find myself staring at data a great deal, seeking relationships, patterns, or gaps. I idly wondered whether, if I filled my visual field with data, I might be able to exploit my peripheral vision in that quest. I have a wide monito

Postman Curlections

My team has been building a new service over the last few months. Until recently all the data it needs has been ingested at startup and our focus has been on the logic that processes the data, architecture, and infrastructure. This week we introduced a couple of new endpoints that enable the creation (through an HTTP POST) and update (PUT) of the fundamental data type (we call it a definition ) that the service operates on. I picked up the task of smoke testing the first implementations. I started out by asking the system under test to show me what it can do by using Postman to submit requests and inspecting the results. It was the kinds of things you'd imagine, including: submit some definitions (of various structure, size, intent, name, identifiers, etc) resubmit the same definitions (identical, sharing keys, with variations, etc) retrieve the submitted definitions (using whatever endpoints exist to show some view of them) compare definitions I submitted fro

Vanilla Flavour Testing

I have been pairing with a new developer colleague recently. In our last session he asked me "is this normal testing?" saying that he'd never seen anything like it anywhere else that he'd worked. We finished the task we were on and then chatted about his question for a few minutes. This is a short summary of what I said. I would describe myself as context-driven . I don't take the same approach to testing every time, except in a meta way. I try to understand the important questions, who they are important to, and what the constraints on the work are. With that knowledge I look for productive, pragmatic, ways to explore whatever we're looking at to uncover valuable information or find a way to move on. I write test notes as I work in a format that I have found to be useful to me, colleagues, and stakeholders. For me, the notes should clearly state the mission and give a tl;dr summary of the findings and I like them to be public while I'm working not just w

ChatGPTesters

The Association for Software Testing is crowd-sourcing a book,  Navigating the World as a Context-Driven Tester , which aims to provide  responses to common questions and statements about testing from a  context-driven perspective . It's being edited by  Lee Hawkins  who is  posing questions on  Twitter ,   LinkedIn , Mastodon , Slack , and the AST  mailing list  and then collating the replies, focusing on practice over theory. I've decided to  contribute  by answering briefly, and without a lot of editing or crafting, by imagining that I'm speaking to someone in software development who's acting in good faith, cares about their work and mine, but doesn't have much visibility of what testing can be. Perhaps you'd like to join me?   --00--  "Why don’t we replace the testers with AI?" We have a good relationship so I feel safe telling you that my instinctive reaction, as a member of the Tester's Union, is to ask why we don&

Make, Fix, and Test

A few weeks ago, in A Good Tester is All Over the Place , Joep Schuurkes described a model of testing work based on three axes: do testing yourself or support testing by others be embedded in a team or be part of a separate team do your job or improve the system It resonated with me and the other testers I shared it with at work, and it resurfaced in my mind while I was reflecting on some of the tasks I've picked up recently and what they have involved, at least in the way I've chosen to address them. Here's three examples: Documentation Generation We have an internal tool that generates documentation in Confluence by extracting and combining images and text from a handful of sources. Although useful, it ran very slowly or not at all so one of the developers performed major surgery on it. Up to that point, I had never taken much interest in the tool and I could have safely ignored this piece of work too because it would have been tested by

Build Quality

  The Association for Software Testing is crowd-sourcing a book,  Navigating the World as a Context-Driven Tester , which aims to provide  responses to common questions and statements about testing from a  context-driven perspective . It's being edited by  Lee Hawkins  who is  posing questions on  Twitter ,   LinkedIn , Mastodon , Slack , and the AST  mailing list  and then collating the replies, focusing on practice over theory. I've decided to  contribute  by answering briefly, and without a lot of editing or crafting, by imagining that I'm speaking to someone in software development who's acting in good faith, cares about their work and mine, but doesn't have much visibility of what testing can be. Perhaps you'd like to join me?   --00-- "When the build is green, the product is of sufficient quality to release" An interesting take, and one I wouldn't agree with in general. That surprises you? Well, ho

The Best Laid Test Plans

The Association for Software Testing is crowd-sourcing a book,  Navigating the World as a Context-Driven Tester , which aims to provide  responses to common questions and statements about testing from a  context-driven perspective . It's being edited by  Lee Hawkins  who is  posing questions on  Twitter ,   LinkedIn , Mastodon , Slack , and the AST  mailing list  and then collating the replies, focusing on practice over theory. I've decided to  contribute  by answering briefly, and without a lot of editing or crafting, by imagining that I'm speaking to someone in software development who's acting in good faith, cares about their work and mine, but doesn't have much visibility of what testing can be. Perhaps you'd like to join me?   --00-- "What's the best format for a test plan?" I'll side-step the conversation about what a test plan is and just say that the format you should use is one that works for you, your coll

My Frame, Your Thing

I was talking with a colleague the other week and we got onto the topic of framing our work. This is one of my suggestions: I want to help whoever I'm working with build the best version of their thing, whatever 'best' means for them, given the constraints they have. That's it. Chef's kiss. I like it because it packs in, for example: exploration of ideas, software, process, business choices, and legal considerations conversations about budget, scope, resources, dreams, and priorities communicating findings, hypotheses, and suggestions helping to break down the work, organise the work, and facilitate the work making connections, pulling information from outside, and sharing information from inside It doesn't mean that I have no core expertise to bring, no scope for judgement, no agency, and no way to be creative or express myself, and it specifically does not mean that I'm going to pick up all the crap that no-one else wants to do.  Of course, I might pick up