How not to add features.

At work I have recently got a new machine and it came with XP (it does have a Vista sticker on it so must be relatively recent).  This is where I encountered one of the annoying new features of XP: Search is broken.  When you search for a file only known file types are searched.  So the data files that I receive from an automated feed that are identified by a sequential file extension are silently ignored.

According to the following KB article this is a feature not a bug.
The claim is that by limiting searches to known file types the searches will be faster.
Faster yes, but also pointless as the files that I am actually searching for are ignored.
This should have been controlled by a simple registry setting with the default being the existing windows 2000 behaviour.

It appears that the drone that designed, coded and tested this has never actually worked outside of a software house.
Big hint: the real world has far more file types than those known by microsoft!

Adventures in XP (part 2)

XP is seeming decreasingly functional in comparison to Knoppix.
My new laptop came preloaded with Office XP.
Normally I don’t use office much but when my other half tried to use it she and I got a rude introduction to the world of Microsoft product activation.

First it asked for the product version number – this would have been fine if I had brought it with me on the trip we were on.

Now we are home and I enter the product code.
Then it asks for product activation.

OK so I plug in a network cable and expect the network connection that has worked previously to be available. I go through the designed-by-an-idiot wizard to allow me to connect to my home network (no i don’t want to use my windows XP disk to configure every other machine on the network, that is 2 windows boxes and a Ubuntu linux box – they all play together just fine thank you). The wizard completes but fails to add the network connection or tell me that it has failed to do so.

The assumption at that point is that the network cable has a problem. SO without moving the machine or the cable I put a Knoppix 3.9 cd in the drive and restart the machine. I have internet connectivity! This implies that the problem is with XP.

There is something seriously wrong with XP that prevents an out of the box setup from connecting to a network. I have tried switching off the MS firewall (don’t worry it is behind a NAT router).

Rebooting the machine with the network cable plugged in seems to resolve the problem -for now. The question remains: Is XP ready for the home network?

Adventures in XP

I have just bought a laptop. It contains my first version of windows XP.
I dislike the entire concept of product activation and have avoided XP so far.
The laptop however had no choice of OS (OK I could have either XP Home or XP Pro).

XP so far has been less user friendly than Mandriva or Ubuntu.
It tries to be helpful but limits you to dumb choices.
I am having fun getting it to detect my WiFi network.
It seems to assume that all other machines on the network are XP as well.
So score it down as does not play well with others.

I have been forced to manually power the machine down to kill an app – something I have not needed to do in Linux.