Following up from yesterday: A large number of people seem to have linked to my piece, which is nice, though most of them referred to it as a “review”, which is a little scary, as I never got the software in question to run. I should stress that, as superbly biting as the piece is, I did walk knowingly into a highly-flammable beta situation and thus deserve everything I got, no matter how candy-coated and teenager-enticing that situation was. Plus, some people think that I was accusing the required P2P patch of being spyware. I don’t think it is any such thing, though the bizarre trip into Microsoft’s beta-programme underbelly that the installer gives you did make me feel like one of the kids in The Goonies.
On the other hand, there really is no excuse for an install screen that looks like that, nor for Windows Media Player to lose important features with every new version (Anil pointed out the reason behind the loss of .mov support, but that doesn’t excuse the more recent stuff), nor for the MSN 5 tabs thing. Having said that, m’colleague Tim pointed out that you can turn the tabs off – look!
Can you see it? And can you see where in the Options tabs it’s buried? And, most importantly, does the name of the preference in question make any sense at all?
<Yoz> I just don't understand. It makes no sense.
<Yoz> The privacy settings are on a per-user basis anyway.
<Tim> Well, tabs contain personal info, I suppose - they have MS Money support and all that shite. So if you're using a shared computer, you might not want it visible. But then you'd only get that if you logged in. So it makes no sense.
<Tim> MSN now has quite a big InstallDance procedure
[X] Don't do the stupid faces
[X] Get rid of the stupid faces toolbar
[X] Turn that bloody side panel off
[X] Wiggle random privacy settings
[X] Turn off the 'randomly launch a fucking browser window whenever I log on' feature.
[X] Beat MSNIM design panel to death with a black rubber cock
Looking back on it, it’s suddenly occurred to me that it may have happened like this:
MS Pointy-Haired Boss (force of evil): Everyone must have tabs! Don’t let them turn the tabs off! Stock quotes! Ads! Expedia deals! Yummy!
MSNIM Team (force of good… relatively, anyway): But we like the window going nice and narrow! If you have tabs it’s too wide and…
PHB: Tabs for everyone!
PHB: TABS TABS TABS TABS TABS!
Team (sudden moment of inspiration): PRIVACY!
Team (hurriedly winging it): Tabs are lovely and gorgeous and contain lots of useful stuff including gorgeous furry personalised alerts which are individual to the user and may contain private information so those users should be able to turn the tabs off to prevent other people seeing private stuff!
Team: Privacy is important! Security! Remember? We’re meant to do lots of that security and privacy stuff!
PHB: But… tabs…
Team: We’ll take away the easy right-click tab removal and put a tickbox in the Privacy section of Options. No one will ever find it, but our asses are covered.
PHB: Oh, good. Okay. Whatever. Hey, why can’t I browse the Internet any more?
<Tim> Spookily, the 3 Degrees did a song called "Can't You See What You're Doing to Me"
<Tim> Seems appropriate
<Tim> although "When Will I See You Again" seems to fit your IPv6 problems better
The happy ending at the end of all this is that my networking problems have been solved; I uninstalled the IPv6 stuff (like what Jeremy said in the comments) and everything was fine again. MSN and Threedegrees are now able to run. The problem I face now is this: How the hell am I meant to test this thing given that, after yesterday, I can’t persuade any of my friends to install it?