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Real Talent

Entry 691, on 2008-02-08 at 21:27:04 (Rating 2, Computers)

You would expect that the staff of the world's greatest (by "greatest" I mean biggest and most influential. In no way do I mean to imply any positive attributes beyond that, such as creating great products) software company would be very talented and they are. It must take real talent at Microsoft to create stuff which is so bad! What has set off this latest anti-Microsoft rant? The usual thing - having to use their products!

I am a very experienced computer programmer and consultant (30 years experience), and I would like to think that I am fairly skillful at using software, even if its something I've never seen before, because I understand how computers work. But this just doesn't seem to help when it comes to using clunky PCs running horrible Windows with terrible programs like IE7.

The job I was trying to get done this time was to convert data for a client who had wisely chosen to join the migration from PC to Mac. I needed to export the email messages from Outlook so they could be used in Mail on a Mac and bring the IE7 bookmarks across to Safari and Firefox.

Now I admit I very rarely use PCs so I shouldn't expect this to be necessarily completely easy, but my skills should have made it a lot more bearable than it was, plus I had advice from my PC consultant colleagues at my place of work.

First of all, what is it with that incredibly awkward way PCs connect to file servers? It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to log in to my Mac server running SAMBA. OK, maybe I got something a bit wrong somewhere but it eventually worked. I copied across the files I needed. And how do you find anything on Windows? I know the Mac OS X file system can be a little bit obscure in places but it makes a lot more sense than where things are stored on a PC, I think.

Then I had to run a little conversion program to convert the Outlook mail to a standard mailbox format. Of course, Microsoft would never give me an easy way to export mail because they don't want me to enjoy the option of using a different email program. Admittedly this was an older PC, but it took almost 5 hours to export about 400M worth of mail. To import the same data back into Mail on the Mac took a minute!

There doesn't appear to be a way to export bookmarks from IE7. And please tell me, what kind of user interface is that on IE7? What sort of drugs were the engineers on when they designed that monstrosity? OK, Microsoft, you can try to innovate in user interface design (on second thoughts, please don't - just copy Apple) but that usually means making something that's better than what we already have, OK?

Anyway, to get the bookmarks out of IE I had to install Firefox, import the bookmarks into that, and then export them again. Safari and Firefox on the Mac picked them up fine so my task was done. Now I can give the PC back to its owner and try to stay clear of any further need to use one in future. Or maybe not, because the more I use a PC the more I appreciate the elegant, clean design of my beautiful MacBook Pro running Leopard!

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Comment 1 (1128) by SBFL on 2008-02-12 at 00:03:28:

Hmmm, I haven't used IE7 (have IE6 installed) but Firefox and Netscape seamlessly and quickly convert Windows Favourites into their own Bookmarks.

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Comment 2 (1131) by OJB on 2008-02-12 at 04:40:38:

Yes, the problem is to create a file which can then be transferred to a different OS. I used Firefox to convert IE bookmarks then created the export file from that. Same problem with Outlook. Why should I need to do this when everything else creates export files itself?

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