Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You are coming to a sad realization, Cancel or Allow?

The I'm-a-Mac-I'm-a-PC commercials were getting a bit tired for me, and was thinking it was time for Apple to just move on, until I saw this week's new ad about Vista ( see the one marked Security). For the first time in a while I had to laugh out loud. The writing is bitingly poingnant, and the performance by the square-jawed security dude is perfect, right down to the ear-tube and the constant horizon-scanning behind dark glasses.

On our metabadge project, we ran into this kind of crazy windows pseudo-security. Microsoft seems to confuse inconvenience with security (or maybe that's true for the U.S. in general when in comes to homeland security), by making users answer questions they are not qualified to answer, and the very software that should help them make the decision, withholds the very essence of what they need to know. In our case, the metabadge control software queries exchange for your appointments so it can turn them into speech and download them onto your wireless metabadge. When this happens, in spite of you installing the application yourself, and in spite of it following the micorosoft api, and in spite of it authorized under your username and password, Windows puts up a dialog, saying that "an application" is attempting to access outlook, Cancel or Allow? The dialog does not even name the application that is trying to make that access, even though clearly the application you just installed is probably allowed while "crazyviralspamgenerator" might not be on your list. Even if you say "Allow" , it gives you a time limit of NO MORE THAN 10 minutes so you can delightedly make that decision every 10 minutes of your work day.

This pseudo-security is so annoying and so widespread that some person we don't even know created an application that does nothing more than wait for that dialog to appear, then presses the "OK" button for you.

Have you come to the same realization? Allow.