Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Dear Quicktime

Could you please fix your software. Thank you.

I like your quicktime format for video on the web. It is good quality and the player is easy to use. That is much more than I can say about Microsoft media or (shudder) Real player. I refuse to allow Real on my computer in any form or fashion. They brought this on themselves when they became pushy advertisers instead of streaming technologists. I hear they are rebounding away from pushy, but I wouldn't know that from experience. I don't ever again want to deal with their (buffering… buffering…) lack of respect for my computer. Microsoft scares the bejeezus out of me for security reasons. I have a fear of video in .wmv format because it could contain code that does stuff other than show pretty moving pictures. I am pretty sure .wmv files have the power to start running other programs. It often tries to launch browser windows without my consent and I have not figured out how to stop that. It's my computer and I have the right to say 'pretty moving pictures good, new browser windows bad.' I am really big on that see, I want my computers to do what I tell them to and not so much what the great corporate man out in the cloud says. So when I command my computer to download and play a video I think that involves showing me pretty moving pictures and nothing else. No opening up web links. No running other programs. No querying the mothership. Just moving pictures.

So this brings us to you dear Quicktime. You are the only high quality and reasonably well behaved video player I know of. But you are not always well behaved. It's like this. I don't have all the little bits and pieces of your player installed. I have purposely avoided installing a little thingy called 'Quick Time Streaming Authoring'. I have avoided it because I don't need it. I fear it will make my player do things other than show me nice moving pictures. Not having it has certainly never thwarted me from watching pretty moving pictures anyway. But from time to time I am browsing around and a little box will pop up telling me how much I Neeeeeed this thingy. At which point I click cancel and the pretty moving pictures play on just fine without it.

Except when your software misbehaves. Sometimes I am browsing around and I have a couple browser windows open and a whole bunch of fun things on a slew of tabs. I'm a power surfer like that and I prefer to surf other pages while the large files of video come down the pipe. And so I have a whole bunch of fine things opened up on my screen and everything grinds to a halt. Browser locks up, nothing works. The problem is that the damn "you really really Neeeeed to install our useless thingy" box has just spawned, it is patiently waiting for me to click cancel, it has held up all the other browser pages and things I was doing, and it is buried where I can't reach it deep under all those windows and tabs. I can't click anything to make it come to the top. I can't alt-tab to it. It is not in the taskbar, the file manager, anywhere. All I can do is destroy all my open browser windows, my invested effort in web surfing, ctrl-alt-del and kill the firefox process. That kills off your nag and pisses me off because I just lost my place on the net and everything I was doing with a browser because your software thought it Neeeeded something that I know I don't want it to have.

So fix your software please.

Now the sublimely annoying thing about your nag window that crashes me is a nice checkbox there that says "Don't remind me again today" which is nice except I don't want it to remind me again tomorrow either. The day after that is equally bad. Don't even think about an appointment for next Tuesday. If a 'not today' checkbox is possible I can't figure out why a 'not ever' checkbox is so hard. Unless you quicktime people are maliciously trying to make my computer do things I don't want it doing and you are constantly throwing this box at me in a test of wills to see if I will ever break down and put your evildoing software on my hard drive. Hey, keep right on trying buddy. I have deleted more expensive software than yours. I am not bothered by the idea of never watching a pretty moving picture on the web again. Heck, I have a funny shaped black box over there in the corner called teevee. All it ever did was show me moving pictures. Awhile ago it annoyed me enough that I stopped watching it and now I can't remember why I ever bothered spending so much time with it in the first place.

I am blessed tired of software that thinks it is more than it is. I like simple separate tools. I like an mp3 player that plays mp3's and nothing else. I like a image viewer that views images and does nothing else. Email clients should not be bundled with calendars. Checkbook balancing programs should never browse the web. That is how I roll in this internet world. Small simple tools. I don't use a lot of popular programs because they annoy me more than they serve me. (Flash players, text messengers, Windows Media players). I still like watching the pretty moving pictures on the web, but it is getting harder and harder to do that with small, simple, non-annoying tools. So please, may I have a Quicktime player that does not come bundled with I-tunes. Does not Neeeeed to open up new browser windows. Does not pop up and ask me to download stuff I don't need. Does not lock up my web browser when it thinks I am not giving it enough attention. You are my last hope for this.

Montana Jones