It seems that one of the primary purposes of blogs is to provide their authors with an outlet for their pet peeves and rants. So now I’m about to join this venerated web tradition with two pet peeves of my own.
My first peeve is about Microsoft Outlook. I find it amazing that after all this time Outlook still lacks the most basic functionality of remembering which message windows it had open when you closed it so that it can automatically reopen them when you launch it again. What’s really bad about this is that Outlook helpfully marks every message as read once you open it so that if you have to close Outlook, or it crashes it is very difficult to find these messages again. I often have 10 or more messages open at any given time, so having Outlook suddenly close pretty much guarantees that 10 people that sent me an email will not get a timely response.
I simply can’t understand why Microsoft does not provide for Outlook this feature, which has been included in Internet Explorer since version 4 for no good reason. It has forced me to develop the weird habit or manually marking messages as unread immediately after I open them. I’ve yet to install Office 2007 but to the best of my knowledge this limitation exists in that version as well.
My second peeve has to do with Microsoft’s automatic update mechanism. After most successful updates you are required to restart your system. I can understand this – the system is in a fragile state with the update only partially applied till after the reboot. If you do decide not to restart immediately Windows helpfully displays a reminder every few minutes. So far so good. My peeve is that this reminder pops up as the foreground window, taking the keyboard focus away from whichever application you happen to be using at the time. So let’s say you are typing away and all of a sudden this window pops up. If you unfortunately happen to hit the ’n’ button before you notice this window, bang, you’ve rebooted your system.
Now for the real kicker: 9 times out of 10 the reason I choose not to reboot immediately is that I have numerous Outlook messages open. Then the notification window pops up and I accidentally reboot. There go my Outlook messages. To add insult to injury when I start Outlook up again after the restart it usually informs me that it hasn’t been properly shutdown and starts a 10 minute process of validating my inbox.
Gosh, it’s great to have that off my chest.
Update: I’m sure some of our customer have their own peeves about our software. You only have peeves about systems you actually use.