The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz is stirring up a number of consideration with this satire about Bill Gates spending his total first day again at Microsoft attempting to put in Windows 8.1. No, it isn’t actual, though a lot of individuals appear to assume it’s.
(There appears to be a lot of this going around lately. Observe to tried satirists: It actually helps when you make your satire really humorous.)
That mentioned, it’s not all that removed from actuality. Studying the publish jogged my memory of a document that I dug up back in 2008, after I was a reporter for the Seattle P-I newspaper engaged on tales about Gates’ impending departure from his day-to-day function on the firm. The memo was buried within the paperwork from considered one of Microsoft’s antitrust trials, and it hadn’t beforehand been reported.
So right here it’s, in honor of Gates’ return to Microsoft as a part-time technical adviser.
From: Bill Gates
Despatched: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM
To: Jim Allchin
Cc: Chris Jones (WINDOWS); Bharat Shah (NT); Joe Peterson; Will Poole; Brian Valentine; Anoop Gupta (RESEARCH)
Topic: Windows Usability Systematic degradation flame
I’m fairly upset at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and this system administration teams don’t drive usability points.
Let me provide you with my expertise from yesterday.
I made a decision to obtain (Moviemaker) and purchase the Digital Plus pack … so I went to Microsoft.com. They’ve a obtain place so I went there.
The primary 5 instances I used the location it timed out whereas attempting to deliver up the obtain web page. Then after an 8 second delay I bought it to come back up.
This web site is so gradual it’s unusable.
It wasn’t within the prime 5 so I expanded the opposite 45.
These 45 names are completely complicated. These names make stuff like: C:Paperwork and SettingsbillgMy DocumentsMy Footage appear clear.
They aren’t filtered by the system … and so lots of the issues are unusual.
I attempted scoping to Media stuff. Nonetheless no moviemaker. I typed in film. Nothing. I typed in film maker. Nothing.
So I gave up and despatched mail to Amir saying – the place is that this Moviemaker obtain? Does it exist?
In order that they instructed me that utilizing the obtain web page to obtain one thing was not one thing they anticipated.
They instructed me to go to the primary web page search button and kind film maker (not moviemaker!).
I attempted that. The positioning was pathetically gradual however after 6 seconds of ready up it got here.
I assumed for certain now I’d see a button to simply go do the obtain.
Actually it’s extra like a puzzle that you simply get to unravel. It instructed me to go to Windows Replace and do a bunch of incantations.
This struck me as utterly odd. Why ought to I’ve to go some other place and do a scan to obtain moviemaker?
So I went to Windows replace. Windows Replace decides I have to obtain a bunch of controls. (Not) simply as soon as however a number of instances the place I get to see bizarre dialog bins.
Doesn’t Windows replace know some key to speak to Windows?
Then I did the scan. This took fairly a while and I used to be instructed it was important for me to obtain 17megs of stuff.
That is after I used to be instructed we have been doing delta patches to issues however as a substitute simply to get 6 issues which are labeled within the SCARIEST attainable approach I needed to obtain 17meg.
So I did the obtain. That half was quick. Then it wished to do an set up. This took 6 minutes and the machine was so gradual I couldn’t use it for the rest throughout this time.
What the heck is happening throughout these 6 minutes? That’s loopy. That is after the obtain was completed.
Then it instructed me to reboot my machine. Why ought to I try this? I reboot each night time — why ought to I reboot at the moment?
So I did the reboot as a result of it INSISTED on it. In fact that meant utterly eliminating all my Outlook state.
So I bought again up and operating and went to Windows Replace once more. I forgot why I used to be in Windows Replace in any respect since all I wished was to get Moviemaker.
So I went again to Microsoft.com and regarded on the directions. I’ve to click on on a folder referred to as WindowsXP. Why ought to I try this? Windows Replace is aware of I’m on Windows XP.
What does it imply to need to click on on that folder? So I get a bunch of complicated stuff however certain sufficient considered one of them is Moviemaker.
So I do the obtain. The obtain is quick however the Set up takes many minutes. Superb how gradual this factor is.
Sooner or later I get instructed I have to go get Windows Media Sequence 9 to obtain.
So I determine I’ll go try this. This time I get dialogs saying issues like “Open” or “Save”. No steering within the directions which to do. I’ve no clue which to do.
The obtain is quick and the set up takes 7 minutes for this factor.
So now I believe I’m going to have Moviemaker. I am going to my add/take away packages place to verify it’s there.
It isn’t there.
What’s there? The next rubbish is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Unique take a look at bundle, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot take a look at bundle, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Take a look at package3.
Somebody determined to trash the one a part of Windows that was usable? The file system is not usable. The registry is just not usable. This program itemizing was one sane place however now it’s all crapped up.
However that’s simply the beginning of the crap. Later I’ve listed issues like Windows XP Hotfix see Q329048 for extra info. What’s Q329048? Why are these sequence of patches listed right here? A few of the patches simply issues like Q810655 as a substitute of claiming see Q329048 for extra info.
What an absolute mess.
Moviemaker is simply not there in any respect.
So I surrender on Moviemaker and determine to obtain the Digital Plus Bundle.
I get instructed I have to go enter a bunch of details about myself.
I enter all of it in and since it decides I’ve mistyped one thing I’ve to attempt once more. In fact it has cleared out most of what I typed.
I attempt (typing) the fitting stuff in 5 instances and it simply retains clearing issues out for me to sort them in once more.
So after greater than an hour of craziness and making my packages listing rubbish and being scared and seeing that Microsoft.com is a horrible web site I haven’t run Moviemaker and I haven’t bought the plus bundle.
The dearth of consideration to usability represented by these experiences blows my thoughts. I assumed we had reached a low with Windows Community locations or the messages I get when I attempt to use 802.11. (don’t you simply love that root certificates message?)
After I actually get to make use of the stuff I’m certain I’ll have extra suggestions.
That was greater than a decade in the past. Gates has clearly matured since then, and he’s not in cost, but when he brings even a fraction of that angle to his new role as technical adviser, it will a minimum of hold Microsoft’s product groups on their toes.
After we printed the memo, it turned an instantaneous traditional, resulting in a dramatic studying by KIRO Radio’s Dave ross, and even offering the idea for what turned the most popular moment in recent history of NPR’s “Wait, Wait … Don’t Inform Me.” (Sure, they wrongly credited Mac Each day Information for the news. Darn you, Peter Sagal!)
I requested Gates in regards to the memo throughout an interview in 2008, and he mentioned he despatched memos like that each day. “That’s my job,” he mentioned.
Throughout his remaining speech earlier than leaving the corporate again then, Gates talked about the memo and the interview, “One of many newspapers had some e-mail that I despatched about how perhaps Windows may have been higher at one thing, and so they mentioned, ‘That is a surprising e-mail. Surprising!’ And I mentioned, ‘What do you assume I do all day? Sending an e-mail like that, that’s my job. That’s what it’s all about. We’re right here to make issues higher.”