I’m a great believer in ONE application for ONE job. Just like in programming terms, the often preached and often forgotten ONE method only do ONE thing. Do small things, but do it well.
Hence, with increasing enhancements and fanciness added to every new version of software, we create ever more complicated dysfunctional monstrosity. Take a very simple tool like file manager ‘Windows Explorer’. I’ve been increasingly annoyed and unsatisfied with it.
1. Introduction of thumbnails causes several problems.
a) slows down file and directory listing
b) creates thumbs.db file that I DID NOT put there and causing unnecessary pop-up warnings/alerts/confirms when delete, move, copy.
c) would have been better if it were NOT DEFAULT, but have a button/view option to activate it.
2. Pretending to be photo album viewer / slideshow maker/ blah. It’s a file manager. There’s only one reason I’m using a file manager. It’s to look for files, list files, find files that I want, organise my files the WAY I WANT. And NO, no software developer or genius or psychic can ever predict or telepathically know EXACTLY how I want to organise my junks. So why are you imposing your idea of organisation on me with your ‘My Documents’ and ‘My Libraries’? What’s next – ‘My Porn’? Are you saying I’m so dumb, I don’t know how to make my OWN filing system?
3. I want to know how much room I still have in my file system. YES, I want to know how much free space NOW. Not go through Control Panel, hunting around obscure icons, trying to identify which damned icon is supposed to tell me how much space I have on my partition. With a physical cabinet, you need a glance into your drawer/shelf. Software CAN do so much better. New versions of Windows remove this feature and ANNOYS me very very very much.
Hence, the more Windows Explorer tries to be something else, the less useful and efficient it does the thing it is supposed to be doing. Down with cloying cutesy disneyesque animations and chaotic cluttered over-bloated interface trying to cram new fancy whatzzit that I’ll never use.
Dammit! At this rate, I’d rather go back to command prompt DIR/COPY/RENAME/MOVE. Actually, I ended up installing CYGWIN. I can’t stand CMD either. I want my grep, find, netstat, ssh and telnet in simple uncluttered visible interface.
If Windows Explorer had done it’s job properly as file manager, instead of a wannabe image album viewer, video player, cd burner, etc, there is so much more it could do. For starters, how come it can’t a simple thing like GREP for files? Regex for filename pattern search? File search is so primitive it’s embarrassing. Tell me things about my files and folders. Let me do things with my files and folders. Let other software worry about what they should be doing with the contents of those files. It is not a file manager’s business.
Ah … it turned into a rant… And I forgot I was planning to talk about a simple thing. A FILE RENAMING TOOL. EVERY file renaming program I’ve tried bar one is over complicated, with cluttered interface and still doesn’t do simple things I want it to do. E.g. remove from filenames the section that has text in square brackets , parenthesis () or such. The only one that I liked was a freeware called theRenamer, only 1 executable file that I found circa 2000. 10 years ago and it is still relevant and useful and sadly has disappeared from the Internet. It doesn’t even have the developer’s name/contact. No mark of its creator. But it is a near perfect tool and it does only one simple thing. Rename your files. However many you want, however way you like, however many times you want it to. It’s less than 50kb, runs on Win95 and is blazing fast. It does not care it’s mp3, ogg, avi, etc. It doesn’t pretend try to read tags and rename your files according to your crappy irrelevant tags. No, it renames files. That’s all it does and it does its job beautifully. No fuss, no fireworks, no ribbons and lace, no garbage. What a novel idea!
Sigh… What does this say about people who writes software, people who design them, people who decide what goes into them and people who decide on how the software should work? Very bad things. And as one of these people who do nearly all of the above, is it a wonder that I beat my head on desk more times that I could count? How the hell did I become another contributor to this problem? I really do pity my faceless, nameless end users. *facepalm*
Note: Sorry to be picking on Windows Explorer, not that it does not deserved to be picked on. Just that it’s a familiar software that everyone can easily identify. Also, this morning’s Microsoft customer feedback survey form brought on all the dissatisfaction and annoyance and unhappiness. Which unfortunately is counter-productive to the purpose of making happy customers.