Sunday, March 08, 2009

Vista Finally Pissed Me Off

Friday night I was pretty close to being out of driving hours at Salina, KS. I like staying at a particular motel there that is just across a small access drive from the big Petro2 truck stop. I park in the truck stop and walk to the motel - it's usually no further to walk than the truck parking at a lot of motels. It's a pretty nice place and reasonably priced.

Since the motel is so close to the truck stop, they have their internet access set up with a log in. I know if it were me, I wouldn't want a truck stop full of freeloading drivers stealing my bandwidth. So, the clerk gave me about a ten digit sign in number, and told me it would ask for my number on one box, then ask for confirmation on the second. Okay, fine.

I go upstairs to my room, and Vista immediately hooks me up to the "linkys" network. I have no idea who that is, but I'm sure they don't want me on. Besides, the signal was intermittent. So, I go to searching for my motel's network. In the mean time, I get hooked up with the "SIRICOMM" network. Siricomm was a nationwide truck stop internet access network that went belly up last year. There is no throughput to Algore's intertubes as well as no redirect to a sign in page. So, I disconnect. Vista warns me that it will not automatically hook up to this network if I manually disconnect - am I sure I want to do this? I'll have to reboot if I want automatic reconnects to SIRICOMM. Of course I want to - this network is a black hole - cut me loose, baybee. It disconnects, and while I'm searching for my preferred network - which is at the bottom of a looooong list. It's a long list because I'm presented with every network I've ever hooked to, and any active networks are at the bottom. Meanwhile, I'm also hooked back up to SIRICOMM. Even though it won't hook up automatically, remember? I edit the network to manual - while it's continually hooking me up.

So, I finally get the motel's network in my crosshairs between the automatically manual sign ins on SIRICOMM. I get the notice that it's a security enabled network, do I want to sign in? Ya think? I am now presented with a dialog box with a user name, password and domain required. Not exactly what the gal at the desk said. So, I enter the number given twice. No dice. SIRICOMM is more or less quieted for a moment, but I can't get on my motel's network.

So, I call up the office and ask about user names and passwords. Nope, it's just like she told me. I tell her I have Vista. She informed me that her tech guy has explained to her what Vista users have to do - apparently there is some box that has to be changed, because Vista automatically assumes the network is one kind while it is another. To me, this means I have to find the properties box on their network and change the type of authentication. I do, and am presented with a multitude of options, none of which I have a clue about - which verification standard are they using? I'd use NetStumbler to find out if it had support for my wireless hardware, but it does not. My mind reading skills are pretty rusty, so I guess a couple times and am rewarded with "unable to connect to ____ network at this time," which I've seen about ten times too many already.

I've got three thoughts here - first, Redmond - this is at you at Microsoft. In your efforts to make networking simpler, you've actually made connecting far more complicated than necessary. XP didn't have these kinds of issues - why did you think that setting security defaults for only one type of network was going to do the average user any good? Just because one kind of sign in is more popular doesn't mean it should be the default. Plus, if you claim this pc won't try to connect to a network automatically, make it so, dammit.

Secondly, if you have a secure network, and have made it extremely difficult for an extremely large portion of your users to sign in, doesn't it behoove you to make some sort of concession to this? Like maybe a bit of a guide on how Vista can be configured to use your network? Hating Vista doesn't make it go away.

And thirdly - WTF is Siricomm transmitting for anyway? Why is it still sucking power and delivering absolutely nothing? Turn the damn thing off already.

I guess I could use one of the extra wifi cards I have that Netstumbler supports to be able to find out a bit more about the networks I'm attempting to sign in on, but geez, this is supposed to be simple.


GreenRanchingMom said...

I agree, VISTA SUCKS!! I can't make Word or Excel do what I want, when I want. And I can't find all of my fun tools in the toolbars that have been "improved".

Anonymous said...

Vista was a gross waste of money and Microsoft resources! I have a copy of XP here somewhere but I am #1. Not sure if it will work on a laptop. and #2. Not sure where it is after the move.

I also have most of the parts to build a nice new computer but most of that is in storage for now. When that gets built it wil have XP on it as well. Try playing a high speed graphics game online with a vista machine!


Anonymous said...

Boy, Howdy! I'm just glad this old dumb fart is still using old technology, XP. (I only have that because my Windows 2000 PC died and the new on came with XP.) What is this Vista of which you young hard-chargers speak of??


Jeffro said...

It's the hope and change that Bill Gates told us we'd have.

Anonymous said...

Bill Lied!

Jerry in Texas said...

I was using my Vista the other day. I had an Excel file and all I wanted to do was highlight some lines in yellow. Let me go up here to the toolbar....where the hell is it? It's always there. I absolutely could not find the toolbar to do the highlighting. So I saved the file onto a thumbdrive, brought it over to my work computer. There on my XP, I highlighted the desired lines, and saved the file and printed.

Vista / Microsoft Office 2007 products sux.