March 31, 2008 | If Bill Gates is so smart that he can start a company (Microsoft) that has practically taken over the entire market for desktop operating systems and applications, why can't Microsoft programs — any programs for that matter — even come close to figuring out how long it's going to take to do something?
I recently had to rebuild a laptop from scratch, starting with formatting the hard drive and reinstalling everything. Every single thing I loaded gave these bogus time-remaining messages. For example, installing the Microsoft .Net framework took approximately 90 minutes, and for the first 87 of those minutes, that perky little dialog (above) told me that only 5 more minutes remained!
Of course, that was only the first of the several versions of the Microsoft .NET framework that I had to reload, due to the fact that all of the "knowledge base" articles that I read about why the framework might fail to install gave bogus advice about needing to start with version 1.0 and work your way up version by version, including service packs, to the current version!
And lest anyone think that the much heralded Windows Vista fixed the problem, on Saturday night I bought a new laptop — for reasons that would fill at least another dissertation-length rant — and it did the same thing when loading all my programs. It would go through the pretense of "Calculating time remaining" and then display some wildly optimistic forcast, like "Time remaining: 1 second," for the next ten minutes! Argh!
The US Navy could figure out to the second when to launch that missile to shoot down the spy satellite that was going to crash to earth and poison us all, but Microsoft can't predict how long it will take a computer with a given memory capacity and clock speed to install Microsoft Word? Give me a break!
Last updated on Sep 1, 2016