Windows Update Automatic Updates in Windows 7 SUX

Now that I’m back in the States, I have stories to tell.  Unfortunately, on my trip home from Hong Kong, I had a perfect situation for my SUX series.

While sitting in Newark, waiting for my flight back to Cleveland, I was playing with Microsoft Surface Collage on one of my portable Windows 7 machines, grabbing some of the pics from my trip and putting them in the collage.  Imagine my grumpiness when the collage I was working on disappeared… *poof*  In fact, the whole program closed.  And then I saw it… the dreaded installing and rebooting screen from an automatic windows update call.

No asking me if I wanted to reboot.  No confirmation that I had processes running and asking if the OS should end them.  No… instead, it was being “helpful” and closed everything.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t working on anything that important.

This experience is enough to remind me of why I turn off that option that lets updates download and install on their own.  Why does this behavior not act consistently with some of the other restart processes?  I like that it asks me if I want to force a shutdown while I have apps open on my desktop.

So this is my call to the team that works on the reboot process and the team that works on the automatic updates process of Windows Update – talk to each other and find a way to add a confirmation screen similar to the force shutdown screen to the automatic process.  It would make this user experience a lot less painful.

For now, my updates will download but I’ll okay the install when I’m ready.  Ah the joys of dealing with a fresh install of Windows 7 and remembering which settings to avoid to get around the painful UXes…

Electronics of the Future

If you’re following me on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen my creepy pickup line experience that I’ve had recently.  Thankfully, that was my only bad experience at the world’s largest electronics fair – the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition) 2010.  While visiting the fair on its last day, my husband and I saw all sorts of devices that we won’t see in the States for at least 6 months – Windows tablets, tablets loaded with multiple OSes (including one that switched between Windows and Android), eBook readers, and many other electronic gadgets.  We were lucky enough that our visit here to Hong Kong coincided with this event, and I’m very thankful that my hubby’s uncle explored the fair before we arrived and was able to show us what we were interested in.

More details coming soon…

Zune Software + Zune HD Repeat = SUX

Why is it that I when I type “Zune Software” in my Title (as I write this post) I see a lot of SUX posts?  Really… this column wasn’t created with the Zune software in mind, but its inconsistencies and lacking features really keep bringing it into the SUX spotlight.

When I listen to my Zune HD at work, I find that I enjoy using its repeat features.  I like that I can replay the current playlist or even the current song.  Some days, I find myself in a mood for a certain track and want to loop it over and over and over again.  So repeating the current track makes sense to me.

I could also see this feature being used for example at a wedding.  One of my friends recently got married, and while waiting for the bridal party to come in, we had to loop on of those classical pieces.  We used our friend’s iPod to play the song (as he’s an Apple fanboy), but a Zune HD could’ve easily been in its place.

Now here’s where the Zune software and its inconsistencies come into play.  Today happened to be one of those days where I wanted to loop a song, and unfortunately, I found out that the Zune software doesn’t have this “loop current track” feature.  Now I know it’s a minor feature, but at the same time, I’m half-surprised not to see it there.  It would be nice if maybe the Zune HD peeps who work on the software on the device talked to the people who work on the software on the desktop – it would be great if they could put all of the features that are on the device also in the software on the desktop.  I’m just saying… from an end user point of view, consistency can be a great thing! 

Calling All Industry Professionals for the Imagine Cup

I got an email this morning from my friend Matt Hester – followed by one a little later from Jennifer Marsman – about volunteer opportunities for the Imagine Cup.

As I mentioned in my post “Why Microsoft + Being a Student = Awesome“, the Imagine Cup is a great chance for students to show off their skills and solve problems using technology.  There are competitions focusing on different aspects of technology, including:

It’s not just a developer’s world – there are challenges for our designer and IT counterparts as well!
To all of you who are in the industry, the Imagine Cup needs us.  While the students are doing the work and working with their faculty mentors, they also need mentors from those of us in the field, in the real world, putting our skills to use outside of a classroom.  Whether you’re an IT guy who’s doing desktop support or even playing with PowerShell… or maybe you’re a designer who builds UIs that others use… or yes, maybe you’re a developer who has an interest in software design, embedded development, or games programming… the Imagine Cup wants you.  As industry advisors, we can help the teams to steer them in the right direction, lending real world perspectives, and encouraging the students to join the community.  So if you have a few hours to inspire those studying to be in our field, I highly recommend signing up to be an industry advisor.
Signing up is easy!  Here’s how to do it:
  1. Go to
  2. Click “Get Started”
  3. Fill in your details
    • For the User Type field, select “Industry Professional”
    • For the school, start typing the name of a school you’d like to work with and the list of schools will appear after a few characters.
  4. Once submitted, you’ll get more information via email.
So what are you waiting for?  Become an Imagine Cup Industry Advisor and make a difference in the future of our industry!


Looking forward to Windows Phone development…

Ever since I saw the Samsung and LG devices that they’ve been using for Windows Phone testing, I’ve been hooked.  My poor Windows Mobile 6.1 phone gives me fits because it knows that it’s going to get replaced with a Windows Phone 7 device.  From liking the features to seeing how easy it is to write a Windows Phone 7 app, I’m really looking forward to getting my own Windows Phone 7 phone.

Want to see how easy it is to write for the Windows Phone 7 platform?  Check out my friend Jeff Blankenburg‘s series that he’s writing this October – 31 Days of Windows Phone 7!

Half a Geek Couple and Lovin’ It

While catching up on Twitter, I came across this post titled “Sex and the Single Geek Girl: Half a Geek Couple?”.  I was curious to see what a single geek girl had to say, and I had to laugh.  Her experiences with geek guys who respond to her profile happen all too often with geek guys.  There are geek guys who are pure geeks with no idea of the culture and life outside of geekdom, and it seems like she’s running into them.

I imagine if I were in the single boat, I’d feel a bit like her.  While I like having geeky conversations, I also like talking about things outside of geekdom.  I enjoy going on trips and hanging out with my friends – some who aren’t geeks.  I like exploring areas and trying new things.   I like being able to take a break from technology and just enjoy nature.  

However, thankfully, I am not single.  Today marks 6 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, who also happens to be a geek.  There’s a lot I love about being married to a fellow geek, and these are just a few things:

1. When I get excited about a certain technology, I don’t have to feel guilty that my husband has no idea what the heck I’m talking about.  He at least has some idea of what it is that’s got me excited.

2. Tech gadgets as birthday presents, anniversary presents, random “I saw this and thought of you” presents… just awesome.  It really helps that we have that common bond.

3. When I’m frustrated about a certain technology, he can talk with me and help me see why some things aren’t completely evil.  However, if he doesn’t like it, he can also side with me and encourage my dislike of certain technologies as well.

4. I love having someone that I can cuddle up to while watching geeky shows.

However, while we’re both geeks, we also bring other things to the table.  I enjoy hearing about Kevin’s running adventures.  He humors me when I talk about shopping or seeing this thing on a cooking show.  We both also enjoy traveling and seeing what else is out there, so it’s nice to just disconnect, hop on his motorcycle, and see what we can find.

And we have our geek differences as well – he’s a Trekkie, and I am not.  He’ll read sci-fi stuff, while I still find sci-fi to be too “weird” for me.   He likes playing with hardware – building computers, soldering things, and the like; whereas I’d rather be writing programs and playing with data.  So while we’re both geeks, we’ve got those differences as well.

It’s been a 13 year adventure so far – 6 of those married – and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.  I’m half of a geek couple, and I’m still very much in love with my geek.