Windoze is still stupid

I 'inherited' a Sony Viao laptop computer from a coworker who left for greener pastures. At my job (Sun Microsystems) we use a lot of Windows machines. Yes, we really do, and don't be so surprised. That's partly because I work in the team that makes Java, and since we don't get any cooperation from Microsoft in having Java on Windows, we have to do it ourselves. So, in any case, I have this Windows laptop and I thought it would be a good opportunity to give Windows another shot. Especially since I'd been hearing good things about Windows XP (which is on the computer).

I hereby declare this a disaster.

First there are many subtle misdesigns with the laptop itself. It's real sleek looking, but the mousepad buttons are small and ergonomically bad due to being very difficult to use. The right hand shift key is undersized, and I'm always hitting the uparrow key next to it. Other than that it's a fine machine, mechanically.

Oh, and who was the bright butt who decided to turn Windows from a double-click paradigm to single click?

The killer? The straw that broke this camel's back and caused me to write this missive? There's something to do with the USB ports that's funky ....

I have two computers on this desk, and one keyboard/mouse. I am using a "Manual Share 4 port USB 2.0 switch" to flip the USB keyboard/mouse between the Sony laptop, and my Apple Powerbook.

I've been using this switcheroo thingy for awhile, and I have one at work as well. At work I use it all day long to switch between this same laptop and the Sunray terminal. No problem, and I've also used it here at home to switch between the powerbook and the same laptop with no problems before.

But, just now, Windows decided it wasn't going to recognize the USB devices. Instantly came flashbacks of nightmare sessions trying to get Windows to realize a device. My old nemesis, the Add/Remove Hardware dialog was visited, and yet again it proved a fruitless quest. Helpfully Windows popped up a pretty looking system-tray popup that said some unrecognized hardware had been attached, and if I wanted to troubleshoot the problem I could click on the popup. And, par for the course, the troubleshooter didn't do a damn thing.

The cure, of course, was to reboot. Because that's always the cure for problems on Windows.

But this incident just verifies to me, there has been zero significant improvement in the Windows OS. They may be able to point to a zillion new features, but this thing of misrecognizing hardware is still there.

When are they going to learn? The user experience is supposed to be great, and they constantly flub on this point.

Gladly using my Mac to type this report...

UPDATE: It appears I spoke too soon. I've done a few switches back and forth, and now the Windows laptop again refused to recognize the USB mouse/keyboard. It's much too subtle a problem, this is.