10 things software people need to get into their fucking heads

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional, so for some of the things I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.

Backstory

The first computer I could play around with was a large box with a Celeron 733, 640 Megabytes of ram, a 20 gigabyte hard disk and a 1600×1200 16” lcd screen. Primarily because my father was an “IT Professional” and didn’t want me to accidentally hurt the heavily Parental Guidanced Core 2 Duo sitting in my living room, and that was just 3 years ago. You might get the impression my father is a total asshole, and I could say that you aren’t too far off. But I digress.

On the Celeron 733 I did everything you could do on a Celeron 733. I installed and uninstalled every Windows operating system from MS DOS 5 to a pirated Windows Vista “lite”, programmed very simple amateur shit in BASIC, played a lot of Age of Empires, Flight Simulator 98 and Starcraft (albeit not being very good at any of the games, I was a testicle-less cheater), wrote my first 30,000 word piece of shit writing, made short compositions using a video editor that came with a camera, and even made some “games” and “animations” in Flash. Adobe Flash CS3. On a Celeron 733.

Ironic how the software seemed to run smoother back then than on my current machine, but I wasn’t satisfied back then. So on my birthday, my cheap father finally got me a $100 second hand P4-630HT(3.2Ghz) with 1.5GBs of 400mhz RAM, a 250gb Hard Disk, a mobo with a 915g chipset and a Radeon 9250 that I added on later.

With this setup I could do even more. The Celeron 733 was too slow for any Audacity recording and editing, but the mighty Pentium 4 handled Audacity like a champ. For a summer I recorded crappy songs, played the incredibly buggy Vice City (with cheats of course), got acquainted with the insanely awesome space sim Freelancer (on cheats sadly), and even managed to do some 720p video editing. I played with the bios, turned hyperthreading on and off, and wrote even more shit. Granted I still got the blue screen every now and then, but I dealt with it.

The computer being Pentium 4, I still wasn’t satisfied. For one I wanted to play relevant games like sleeping dogs, as well as current versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator. I also wanted to do more video editing and have less lag in daily usage. My parents being the cheap bastards that they were, had me work a summer of minimum wage labor to buy my current laptop (it was apparently for my “wellbeing”, I guess they didn’t count the time I used on working that I could have spent studying, but I digress).

So now here I am, having owned an Acer Aspire M5-481G laptop, am writing this, fearfully waiting for explorer to randomly crash on me, fearfully waiting for Microcunt word to freeze up and make me wish I had pressed Control-S a second earlier. And to quote the piece of shit movie my Language and Literature teacher showed me, I am MAD as HELL, and I ain’t gonna take this SHIT NO MORE! (network 1976)

Now the M5-481G isn’t a bad computer. It sports a current generation ivy bridge i5-3317 dual core processor running at 1.7ghz, 6gbs of 1333Mhz RAM, a 500gb hard disk in RAID with a 20gb SSD to increase performance, but most important of all, a GT640M LE graphics card. For all you tech-retards out there, this basically is an ultrabook with gaming capabilities. Or in other words, a reasonably fast computer.

Being the practical person I like to think I am, the first thing I did to the computer, which had Windows 7 Home Premium preinstalled, was to turn off Aero. I wanted maximum performance out of my computer and didn’t care much for eye candy, so fuck aero.

It’s MY computer, stop imposing on me

This brings me to my first point. Dear gay software developers- please make eye candy optional. The message I seem to currently be getting from my software, is that I either have to put up with the resource hogging UI, or I go straight into the command line. This extremist no-middle ground stance that software developers have taken meant that I either had to sacrifice productivity by losing performance for eyecandy, or sacrifice productivity by using the non-amateur friendly command line.

Don’t get me wrong, I really had tried to live a few months without aero. Eventually I succumbed, for several reasons.

1, being that explorer seemed to crash more with aero turned off (I now deduce this is probably not the case, as explorer crashes frequently even as of now);

2, Several programs and features seem to require Aero to function such as the screen capture feature in FRAPS, and

3, I was just plain tired of idiots asking me why I was still using Windows 98.

Now this is made worse by people’s assumptions that eye candy makes software look more professional. Every time a movie shows these “professionals” using screens with gigantic fancy-ass buttons and visualizations of impending disasters (we’ve all seen those fancy countdown timers on Hollywood time bombs), I get sick.

As for the blur thing with Aero, Trust me; I don’t want a window to be opaque if I can’t see what’s behind it. If you can afford to have a large empty space filled with digital glass, you might as well make it fully transparent. This opaque blurriness just hinders my productivity.

And with explorer crashing on me every few hours, I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the eye candy that I cannot turn off. As with the constant crashing in Flight Simulator X, right clicking isn’t really the simple action it used to be.

Talking about UIs, windows and icons seriously need to stop taking up so much screen space. Take the task bar for example. The old task bar was flat for a reason. I’ve always wanted to half the height of the Windows 7 task bar, but to no avail.

halftaskbar

concept paint edit photoshop of windows @ 1366×768 with a half height task bar

edit: no, the shitty function that brings the task bar to about 80% it’s height is NOT the same thing as HALF height.

The task bar unfortunately has to be either completely hidden, or completely obstructive. I know you’re all programming for Metro now, but FUCK YOU if you think that every window has to be 683×768 (half of 1366×768, the minimum screen size requirement of all Windows 8 devices), and I’ll be damned if you don’t think I have better things to do with the space not taken up by your program’s user interface.

Simplification and User-friendliness is NOT the same thing

Speaking of Metro, dear faggots, please STOP Dumbing Things Down! Quoting some Finnish internet fella,

“Advanced users are getting raped these days”

And I feel that I have to agree. Everything is done automatic these days, and users have no choice in almost every aspect of their computer. Take the nVidia Graphic Cards for example. The GPU installed on my computer, the GT640M LE, runs in parallel with the less powerful and less power consuming GPU called the IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor). And the nVidia card is activated only when nVidia’s flashy software “Optimus” automatically detects a program that requires high power. That would be fine, except that nVidia Optimus, just like Optimus Prime, is terrible at decision making. Sometimes I want a program to run on the nVidia card, but Optimus decides that my IGP is sufficient. Now this would be fine if Optimus came with the simple option to manually set programs to run with my nVidia card, but nooo, there is no such option. nVidia either detects the program, or else tells me to go fuck myself. Which is what nVidia is basically telling all customers who bring up the same issue on the forums and in the customer service emails.

While we’re on the subject of nVidia Optimus and options, I would also like to ask software designers who thought that removing language selection in software is a good idea to kindly go reach up their urethra and tear off everything they find. Now I am Chinese, so I naturally installed Windows in Chinese as I like it when a computer supports my “native” language. However that doesn’t mean I intend to use all software in Chinese, as translating is a pain in the ass both when giving help to non-Chinese users, as well as receiving tutoring from non-Chinese users. Normally this would not be much of a problem, unless the instructions involve jargon that really isn’t easily translatable from language to language. Also makes making tutorial videos incredibly difficult.

Luckily for software such as Optimus, the easy solution to reverting to the English language comes in the form renaming/deleting a few language files. However really that shouldn’t even have been necessary, so FUCK YOU nVidia.

Options, choices. I run a lot of vintage software, and the thing about vintage software is that they don’t really take advantage-so to speak- of the multithreading in today’s computers. Besides, hyperthreading uses more power than non hyperthreading, according to tests. So I tried to turn off hyperthreading, as I once did on my P4-630HT. but no such luck, as my bios was locked down to prevent any “tampering”. Sometimes I just wanna knee these fucking product designers in the balls, video-game style, and pluck their eyes out until they understand that I KNOW WHAT I’M FUCKING DOING, THIS IS MY COMPUTER, NOW LET ME DO WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO GODDAMMIT!

Give me the option to shut you up, and Shut up when I tell you to

Another issue relates to my current unpleasant affair with McAfee Internet Security Suite, which I recommend everyone uninstall and get your money back while you still can. Current, because of my superstition that paid software is always better than free software, and that McAfee could be some sort of necessary evil at least until the end of my subscription, because boy does it get on my nerves.

Every now and then, McAfee reminds me to scan my computer. SHUT UP ALREADY! YOU DON’T THINK I WOULDA SCANNED IF I HAD THE TIME?

But no, there is not a permanently shut-my-face button. And McAfee knows how to interrupt. It doesn’t discriminate between a movie, a word processor, or god forbid an online gaming session. It just blatantly interrupts, smugly telling me that my computer is in danger in Chinese, because McAfee is one of those fuck-you-if -you-want-to-change-your-language programs. And it stays on screen too, until you click either the “scan now” button, or the “remind me later” button.

When it tries to update, it lies to me and tells me my computer is in danger. I could select it to check for updates every month, but for some odd reason McAfee just can’t comprehend, that I might wanna manually update only when I have the time?

But that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is when you set McAfee to stop its real time scanning. Unfortunately if you set it to stop its real time scanning for 30 minutes, it reminds you to turn it back on 15 minutes in. Real smart McAfee. Like a dog that thinks you’re gone forever the second you step out the door. Except that it’s a dog with a beeper, and it calls you every 15 minutes, unable to comprehend the phrase “I’ll be back in half an hour”. Asshole dogs like these deserve to be eaten, difference being that McAfee ain’t exactly a dog.

It’s a DESKTOP, not a TABLET

Windows Metro, Linux Unity… You’re beginning to see how more and more Operating Systems are slowly but surely turning in the direction of becoming tablet Operating Systems. The PC is now “out”, and people are beginning to and have speculated that the PC is dying. Well, I’m not sure that the PC is dying, but I’m certain that the Tablet market is sodomizing the PC, and not in a good way. What’s up with that?

I thought for sure that the concept of a tablet or a smartphone was to have a PC in your palm. I thought for sure that people got tablets so that they could do shit they would normally do on their desktops, instead on their phones. The reality however, a different story. Phones are being used for pretty much what they’ve always been meant to be used- communication, mobile banking/ stock market/shopping etc., a bit of light gaming, and now with the added function of the GPS and being a decent video camera. You’d think tablets are being used for applications traditionally suited for desktops, but unfortunately the most amount of hardcore tableting comes only in the form of some light office apps, extremely simplified video editing, and the minor Android/iOS developing.

While there is a Windowed UI being developed for both iOS and Android tsk tsk, tablets in general clearly aren’t becoming the 5” PCs I personally hoped they would be. Unfortunately it seems, that PCs are in fact becoming big screened tablets. And worst yet, Microsoft WANTS that to happen. If you’ve kept up with your local electronics store, you’ll probably notice that among the monitors available for purchase, there are now 32” touch screen monitors, and almost all modern All-in-Ones carry them.

Now the thing about the User Interfaces carried by tablets is that they are designed that way because the human finger can’t precisely navigate that finely on a small screen. Buttons on tablets take up so many pixels because tablets aren’t designed for cursers to navigate precisely between them. With desktops however it’s a different story. The Mouse, NOT the touchscreen, was one of the first things people came up with when deciding on an effective way to navigate big screens. Why? Now I personally don’t own a 32” touchscreen, but I’d imagine it’d be pretty tedious having to constantly reach out and touch the on-screen keyboard instead of resting my elbows on the desk when typing.

And that is what Microsoft (and Ubuntu apparently) don’t seem to understand when they’re so desperately trying to compete with Android and iOS when they’ve clearly got a much more superior operating system, windowed operating systems have withstood the test of time for more than 15 years, and god help us if they decide to change just because a faggot designer says so.

Apple’s marketing department is evil, people are stupid, computers AREN’T fashion items (contrary to popular belief)

I started a microscopic flame war on Cracked’s video on Why Apple Clearly Thinks You’re Stupid when I mentioned that Apple users were pretty stupid. Don’t take it personally though because people in general are stupid and that’s how advertisements work.

May 20, 2013, I type “apple.com” into my browser.

iPhone 5/Loving it is easy. That’s why so many people do.”

Because Apple knows that in the hearts of Apple fanboys, peer pressure is a valid argument. I can think of a few historical examples in which people used the popularity argument. Oh well, always works on Americans.

Niggers/Lynching them is easy. That’s why so many honest white folk do.”

Brown People/Droning them is easy. That’s why the Navy do.”

Apple, clearly targeted at the popular bunch, has no regards for logic in its advertising campaigns. People who purchase Apple products often purchase more for social acceptance rather than functionality. The concept of “bang for buck” simply does not exist in the Apple userbase, Apple’s advertising campaigns subconsciously encourages mob mentality against those who use non Apple products, as Apple products are perceived to be cool, which must be why everybody uses it.

Apple advertisements have a complete disregard for technology (because Apple has yet to ‘invent’ anything other than rounded edges and swirling icons), and give apple fanboys the impression that the fundamental hardware in Apple machines are somehow different from those of Windows and Linux, causing an unbearable amount of smug amongst Apple users. Now how does this relate to software developers? Well for starters, DO NOT base your philosophy around Apple’s “simple is better” attitude. NOBODY cares about your digital rounded edges if your software is total shit.

When introducing a new version of software, do not simply scrap the features of the old software like Windows did with the Start Menu. Offer it as an option that can be permanently activated at the user’s wish. Don’t impose new features on the user, the user deserves a choice.

Finally, please don’t remove features or options simply because you think you know better.

Which brings me to another point –

Use ALL multimedia frameworks (and other standardized stuffthings), please!

Simply put, a multimedia framework is a system that allows all your software to use all your installed codecs and allow the playback of all of your media files. For Windows users, the old VfW framework controls all shared video codecs while the outdated ACM framework controls all shared audio codecs. The more relevant DirectShow framework now handles both audio and video codecs.

For example, the user mp3 track radio station in GTA: Vice City supports only the playback of mp3 audio. Now had GTA used the ACM or directshow framework (effectively), you would theoretically be able to hear high quality FLAC music as soon as you jacked that virtual car.

However GTA: Vice City uses a proprietary codec instead, and so even upon the development of newer better codecs such as the AAC codec and the FLAC codec, you would not be able to listen to those songs if you copied them to your game’s mp3 folder.

The use of multimedia frameworks is highly appropriate for multimedia editing, which is why it pisses me off so much that a lot of video editing software such as Adobe Premiere doesn’t give a crap about VfW.  Neither Adobe Premiere Cs5.5 as well as Adobe Premiere CS6 support the use of VfW codecs, which means that users are basically stuck with Premiere’s limited decoding and encoding capabilities.

What this means, is that Premiere will not support the importing of all file types such as Vorbis and FLAC despite you having the codecs for vorbis and flac installed on your computer. It also means that Premiere will not be able to export to a codec of your choice unless you pay a premium (ie. $299 in the case of x264) for a plugin that would otherwise be free. (Pro offers absolutely NO additional benefits other than the ability to export from Premiere directly. For a beginner’s guide on encoding with x264 read my article on Handbrake here)

The x264 codec for example is available for applications via VfW. And I like x264, because it’s simply the best h264 encoder out there with features that I like and use a lot such as quality based ratefactor encoding with the option to set compression levels. However since Adobe doesn’t support directly exporting to VfW or directshow, I am forced to use Adobe’s shitty built in mainconcept h264 encoder, and am forced to export at high bitrates in order to avoid quality loss just to re-encode later. And there’s always quality loss in re-encodings.

VfW is also especially suitable for Video Converters, as the more codecs a user installs directly translates to the more file types he’ll be able to convert between.

Of course big software company won’t give a shit about what I say because they have to make their money by selling these codecs to idiots who would buy them, so here I am counting on you- the reader- to inform yourself and everyone else that there are simple solutions to most multimedia incompatibility issues, and the support of most multimedia frameworks automatically makes software more resilient against the test of time, so unless you’re a planned obsolescence whore, you should otherwise totally support.

Now I know this probably wasn’t quite 10 things depending on how you count, but hey.

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7 thoughts on “10 things software people need to get into their fucking heads

  1. While I’m sure you had plenty to say that may have made some point or another. I couldn’t get passed your hatred for your father or your inability to recognize how much a spoiled brat you are. If you’re Dad is getting you a computer stfu and accept the gift, its better than nothing which is exactly what you’d have if he didn’t get it for you. I actually came here as a software developer looking for ideas through blogs etc on what people want in software and instead got some rant about how shitty of a dad you have when in reality you’re blind as can be.

    Here’s a tip, if you want people to read your blogs focus on the subject and not side issues that you can’t resolve.

    • Alright 68.9.29.87 (aka pussy ass bitch hiding your identity).
      Firstly, spoiled or no-spoiled – it’s all relative. There’s a realm between whether or not an action is justified, but you are far from eligible for deciding what is. unfortunately at this point in the post, you do not have enough information to denounce my frustration with my father who like all fathers are occasionally assholes. If you were able to deduce that I am the spoiled brat purely from a blog post, then I have to say your deduction skills are flawed – you don’t [i]know[/i] me.
      Secondly, it’s my blog, I do what I want. Yea, I was 16 when I wrote this, I might have changed since then, maybe not, not of your concern. Ar you paying to read my blog? No. I could say the exact same thing about you, if I am giving you this blog post for free then accept the read and stfu, spoiled motherfucker. It’s better than nothing, spoiled motherfucker.
      Thirdly, I guess the use of an expletive in the title wasn’t able to make it clear enough to you that this post may or may not contain a rant, and that I may not may not go off topic from time to time. Bend over and you’ll get your money back.
      But again, that’s none of your concern. Frankly I don’t care if I want people to read my blogs or not. I’m not getting paid to write this shit, it’s not like it matters that much- occasionally I come up with things I wanna type, then I type them, and perhaps I want there to be a slight chance for people to read them so I publish them, and maybe I will hit a particular niche and become rich and famous and successful who knows, but as of now I don’t care about what I write, and I especially don’t care if what I wrote a year ago might have stirred up that little internet person in your black heart to attack me because of some circumstantial text I posted.
      So yea, good day to you.

      • I think the assclown did read the rest of your post and is now bitter that as a “software developer” he/she has realized that what you say is true and have therefore made him/her feel extremely inadequate. Being the simpleton that he/she is, retaliated in the only they can – with an unjustified personal attack. Try not to get pissed, just feel pity for them.

        P.S. I love your blog! New fan right here.

  2. Finally someone says “Fuck you” to damn Windows 8. And friggin Apple. Man – if Apple and Windows 8 didn’t exist, computer world would be 50% better.

    • I think a lot of people who understand a bit more than your average “i-like-to-blindly-follow” type wouldn’t mind if Microsoft were no more. Unfortunately it is hard to guess who will replace them. I like Linux but I don’t think Linux is a such a great desktop OS. Many will start an OS war with me about that but being able to run an Office clone does not make you a great desktop OS. There are too many features missing and too many major applications that you don’t get on Linux. Either non-existant or just poor implementations. One that comes to mind is Inkscape which is an extremely poor CorelDraw/Illustrator alternative on Linux.

  3. I enjoyed your ideas on how software is lacking. I am a software developer and has been for many years and I must agree with most of your points. I just hate how software developers or even the suits that own the software companies, do software. I have no problem with a developer who provides excellent software that solves aproblem and provides good support and then make a billion dollars of it. No problem at all. I just hate the norm where they provide poor software and even worse support and then take your money and then still refuse to fix it and also either ignore you when you complain or try to make you feel as if you are to blame.

  4. Sometimes all that is required is people like you who can speak their minds & help lesser mortals like us to gain enlightenment from the bais that is there in society & the tech world. I had actually entered a search term for the full form of “YIFY” & there was a link to your article on how they do their encoding. I too am in the business of event photography & editing but your article was something new & had many points that I have not read anywhere.
    From there I clicked on the link to this article & wholeheartedly agree to what you say about developers. Commonsense is no more common at all. I too get frustrated at how many big companies implement features in their softwares that any sane person will think twice about implementing if he were making the software. What studies do they do? Where do they spend billions & come up with disasters like windows 8 is beyond me.

    After reading a couple more of your articles I have come to a conclusion.
    ” You are brilliant, above average & most importantly beyond your age in experience & intellect”. Keep up the good work Eric.

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