I spent some of today wondering why it is that no Microsoft employee has suffered any public retribution for what they inflict on us.
Until today Skype had never worked properly on my Vista PC. I gave up long ago and used another PC for Skype. Periodically I updated Skype on the Vista box, and tried again. Today I finally got it working.
In the presence of a Logitech webcam and a Realtek sound driver the default behaviour is for Logitech software to mute the speakers as soon as a call is answered. Fine if you are playing music; not fine if you are trying to use Skype.
There is a solution, but with all companies concerned blaming others for this pathetic state of affairs, the problem simply continues. Given the numbers of customers left to fend for themselves in dealing with timewasting problems like this it really is a miracle that nobody has gone postal in Seattle.
Microsoft paints itself into a corner over and over again. Each ingenious escape is never enough. Douglas Adams said
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
I find Adams’ writing generally tiresome, but here he was onto something here as any young software developer knows.
Young, because older and wiser ones know better than to blame others for their lack of foresight and they have a greater awareness of the pitfalls of communication between people (a textbook example here worth reading if you ever need to demonstrate this for yourself ).
What may appear “stupid” may simply not be economic to fix even if known about.
By and large software developers are dealt a hand and they have to play it. If Internet Explorer v6.0 has a dominant market share, web developers must support it, despite it being a dog’s breakfast.
This could be a bit more of the beginning of the end for Micrsoft.