You can’t have it your way

Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 was announced a couple of days ago. I’ve been trying out the various betas over the past few months, so I downloaded RC1.

I think the betas have been pretty good from both a user and a developer point of view, so I was about to install the RC. Then I read through the comments on the announcement post at the IE7 blog.

Some very unhappy people writing about their negative experiences with installing RC1. This comment by MikeJ best sums it all up:

I installed IE 7 and it not only can not be installed to a directory to run from separate from previous installs, but it messed up many of my other system settings dealing with the browser. I didn’t even get asked “Would you like IE to pompously assume it is the be all end all and hose everything you’ve setup on your system”? Add that to the fact that the browser doesn’t even accomplish a fraction of what other modern browsers are offering for standards, compliance, extensibility and reliability and you have a very shaky offering, imo.

This is incredibly disappointing. I had hoped that Microsoft would’ve been willing to take things a bit more seriously for this round – apparently that’s not the case. The more you alienate developers like this, the quicker it will be until IE is largely unrecognized.

Writing in the announcement post, Dean Hachamovitch, IE General Manager, says:

[…] Depending on your feedback, we may post another release candidate.

Good idea, Dean. I’ll be staying with Firefox in the meantime (although Mozilla has its own problems with developing the next version of that browser).

While those issues with IE7 aren’t good, what I think is worse is Microsoft’s idea for Windows Vista and the startup sound, and current plans for that sound to be an unchangeable feature in the new OS. In other words, you can’t disable it nor, apparently, change it.

That may seem a little thing, but it bothers me a lot. I have the startup and shutdown sounds turned off on my primary desktop PC running Windows XP. Never could settle on one that I liked, neither built in nor one of my own. And I didn’t want the default XP sound (that’s like having the default Nokia sound on your phone – bland and boring).

What I’d really like is a startup sound that plays once the OS and everything else you have is fully loaded and the desktop is ready to go, not when the computer is halfway through its startup. You could manually set something up to do that, I suppose, but surely it wouldn’t be too hard to add something easy in the OS itself. Then I guess you’d have to call it the ‘ready’ sound as opposed to ‘startup.’

At least with the browser, you can just use another one if you don’t like IE7. With your operating system, you’re stuck unless you entirely change everything on your computer.

Would you do that just because you can’t turn off or customize the sound? Well, no. But you want to make your own choice.

With so many other things you can customize in Vista, it’s a bad idea to force a non-customizable feature that you’re going to notice every time you start your computer. That would get irritating quite quickly.

A case of to hell with what you want, this is how you’re going to get it. A real Hobson’s choice!

And if one of the reasons why Microsoft is doing this is to “enhance the emotional experience of the user,” they might get that result but not in ways they expect.

I hope you listen to all the feedback, Microsoft.