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ziggy (25)

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Journal of ziggy (25)

Tuesday February 28, 2006
10:54 PM

Windows is Hazardous to your Work

[ #28828 ]

Here is an incident from $WORK that happens at least once a month these days. It's very annoying.

It starts when the network admin staff sends an email that they will be pushing a Windows patch to all desktop machines in a few days. That's not horrible. Every networked system has some security holes somewhere that need to be patched (once the patches are available). And at least Windows admins can automate installation so we never have to repeat the visit-every-PC-in-the-building process that was too common in the mid 90s.

And, yes, while Windows sucks eggs, it meets the four minimum criteria that any operating system must meet before being work ready:

  • Runs Firefox
  • Runs an email client
  • Runs ssh, and lets me connect to a real development machine
  • Lets me put pretty pictures on my desktop.

The next step is when the patches are installed, usually at noon, a couple of days after the warning email was sent out.

The next step is the helpful dialog box that alerts me that the machine must be rebooted. If I do nothing, the machine will automagically reboot in 12 hours (and counting). This dialog pops up periodically to remind me I really need to reboot, and presents me two buttons: hide and reboot. (The default button is Hide, thankfully enough.)

Now that the machine has been updated, and the reboot countdown started, the "you must reboot" dialog box, once hidden, will reappear at random intervals throughout the rest of the afternoon. Just to be extra thoughtful, this dialog always pops up on top of all other open windows.

Of course, the very next thing that happens, after being hidden for some random interval of time, the dialog pops up on top of all other windows, while you just happen to be typing the letter r. Naturally, you must be ready to reboot. Forget the fact that you have a dozen windows open and various tests and unsaved work in Firefox.

In user interface design circles, this is known as being "as useful as a rusty nail in the eye." Sheesh!

This feature alone is sufficient cause to use any other operating system that meets the four criteria listed above to do Real Work at the office.

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  • Oh, those really are nice pictures ;)

  • Yes, those are quite pretty pictures. firefox restarting: have you looked into the sessionsaver extension? I can't recommend it highly enough. Unfortunately, I've found it doesn't help much with restoring my xterms.

    -DA []

    • I used to use sessionsaver, but Tab Mix Plus is way cooler and has many more features.

      restoring xterms: maybe you should run screen?
      • Heh. I do run screen; I don't know what I'd do without it...

        Now, if there were a way to integrate screen with the tabbed xterms in kde or gnome, that would really be awesome.

        -DA []

  • We don't even get pretty pictures. Or at least we're not supposed to be able to. When our security policies were changed to match the main office, my desktop wallpaper went away and was replaced by solid blue nothingness. Fortunately, deleting a few registry keys fixes that. Every once in a while though (when I install new software?), the keys return and wallpaper goes away again. But thanks to perl and Win32::TieRegistry [] re-deleting the keys is easy.
  • Lol, on my windows desktop the default is 'reboot'. The first time it happened I hit return right when the dialog box popped up and the whole system rebooted. Grrrrr..... I only use the windows box about once a week, and it seems every other time I use it updates are installed. I now hit 'Reboot Later', but it annoyingly pops up every thirty minutes it seems.

    It's part of a bigger problem with programs (Itunes, Acrobat, Flash, etc.) that when you open them, they automatically check for upgrades and po