Mike's general stuff ~ Random


This week's rant goes out to all developers that design the most irritating things into applications such as Winamp, RealPlayer, IE4 and 5, Netscape, and many more.

Here's a scenario. On a Windows installation (any version of Windows, doesn't matter), I have Winamp installed to play my MP3s. It has the MP3 file type (Windows Explorer > View > Options > File types...) associated to it.

Along comes a realplayer file I want to watch. Go to install Realplayer Basic. Go through setup, it gives a few reasonable configuration options, but not one to do with MP3s. Sure as eggs are eggs, the RealPlayer installer has automatically altered the filetype so it plays MP3s by default. It doesn't give any option in the application to restore the previous setting, or not to play MP3s by default.

Now, considering that I installed RealPlayer to *play realplayer files*, not MP3, not audio CD, not WAV, WHY THE HELL DOES IT WANT TO DO THIS? it then also has the ability to piss me off even more when it asks me on my closing it "do you want to reassociate these filetypes?" ARRRRRGH! (Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > RealPlayer 7 Basic > Remove)

Winamp is also guilty of this to a certain extent. It does give you the option of telling it what files to associate to, but there's a bug in it in this department. No matter what you tell it here, it will also associate to files that *don't have an extention* on the filename, such as NTLDR ?!?!? Yeah, why not, let's play the NTLDR executable in Winamp! Sounds really nice! The fact that it could also f*ck up Windows while it does this is another matter...

IE4 and 5 don't implement filetype associations properly if you tell it that it's not the default web browser (and then tell Netscape that Netscape is the default browser) - on occasion (I haven't worked out what causes this), you load IE, type in a URL, then it goes and loads NETSCAPE with the URL! IF I WANTED TO LOAD NETSCAPE AT THIS POINT I WOULD HAVE DONE!

Netscape has another problem in this department. Tell it that it's not the default browser, and not to remind you again. How do you switch the reminder back on again? DOH! IE has the option to do this, why not Netscape?

NETSCAPE: WHY DOES JAVASCRIPT CRASH IT SO MUCH? Why is it that the inventor of JavaScript (Netscape - I may be wrong here but I don't think so - mail me if I am) can't develop a web browser to efficiently handle a technology they produced? And why is it that Microsoft can write (albeit a partially incompatible one, and annoyingly so) an alternative version, and it doesn't crash it?

THE DEMON INTERNET LIBEL CASE - analogy: If someone writes a book that says something bad/untrue about you, why not sue WHSmiths? After all, that's where it's being sold. Duh. Let the person who actually wrote the book get away with it.