Barney's Rubble

Doug's Tech Pet Peeves

From Word formatting issues to Firefox problems to Windows 7 fizzling out, here's Doug's current top tech peeves.

The world of technology is complex, and with complexity come glitches and gotchas. Here are my biggest offenders.

Word Formatting: I've been using Word for nigh on 20 years, and I still feel too stupid to use it properly. My beef? Unless you had a past life as a desktop publisher, formatting is inscrutable. When building a document from multiple sources, as much as you try to reformat, Word hangs onto the old styles like grim death -- which Word sometimes makes me desire.

Windows 7 Not Sensational: Like Windows XP, Windows 7 doesn't age well. The longer you use it, the slower and flakier it gets. It hangs when the computer is sitting, freezes when it hasn't been rebooted for a few days and, sometimes, the cursor goes south for nearly a minute.

Printer Drivers: I hate the fact that older -- but not that old -- printers don't work under Windows 7. Making printers, especially lasers, artificially obsolete is just plain wrong.

BlackBerry Blues: My BlackBerry Bold is one of the latest models and it still feels old. The interface is a bit clumsy, it exhibits weird glitches every now and again, and the documentation feels sparse. The keys are way too small and the letters and symbols are nearly impossible to read -- and I don't have fat fingers or wear glasses.

Netbooks or Notbooks: I used to be excited about buying a netbook, just not giddy enough to actually pick one up. I still wanted a netbook after the iPad shipped. Then one thing happened and one thing didn't: Apple shipped the iPad 2, but netbooks didn't change at all. The prices and features are roughly the same. The only thing that changed is sales -- they went down!

Single Sign-on Significantly Stanky: I'm like most of you, with a couple-dozen logons and passwords of various complexity to get e-mail, do banking, trade stocks and socialize. Remembering all this is nearly impossible, so we blow away any semblance of security by keeping passwords in a Word doc or, even worse, on a piece of paper. While there are solutions out there for single sign-on, there isn't a single strong standard.

Firefox Fizzles: Firefox is gaining on Internet Explorer, and I switched to the open source browser long ago. But I may be about to switch back. Here's a short list of complaints: The upgrade took several attempts. Bookmarks are clunky. Trying to find an old folder and save a new page to it is way harder than it should be -- stupidly hard. And while I only have one add-on, which is from Mozilla, Firefox freezes more than an Alaskan fisherman. Let's hope 5.0 corrects my issues.

What bugs you? Beefs welcome at [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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