Wonderful account by the NYT’s David Pogue of his struggle to install a Netgear 802.11n USB adapter onto a brand-new, spotless Lenovo ThinkPad laptop. Sample:
Screen #1: “Netgear WN121T Smart Wizard.” The startup window offers a photo of the product–but in the place of honor, in the lower-right, right where the Next button should be, it says only Quit. That’s the only choice there.
There are also SIX buttons to the left of the picture. One of them is Setup. Well, that sounds right, but it belongs in the lower-right. At the very least, it needs a border or something to differentiate it from the other five buttons (Registration, Web Support, etc.).
Screen #2: Tells me that my software might need updating already. My options are “Check for Updates” or “Install from CD.”
This is a totally unnecessary screen. Do what Apple and Microsoft do: quietly check for updates. If there is a newer version, THEN tell me about it (and give me a one-click way to download it). If there isn’t one, don’t even bring up the subject.
Screen #3: Now a second installer launches ON TOP of the first one–yes, we’ve got superimposed dialog boxes. What the heck?
Anyway, this one says “Welcome.”
Here it is: the very definition of a time-waster. If I’ve come this far, don’t you think I already know that I’m in the Netgear Installer?
Screen #4: “License Agreement.” The entire agreement is typed in capital letters, just to make sure it’s as difficult as possible to read.
Nobody reads these license agreements–nobody. What is Netgear worried about, anyway–that you’re going to distribute its USB software driver on Kazaa?
At least Netgear lets you just hit Enter to blow past this screen. Most companies don’t. It’s as though the software company lawyers are saying, “Nyah, nyahhh, you can’t ignore us!”
Guess what? We’ll still ignore you, even if you make us use the mouse.
Screen #5: “Select Destination.” Here’s where we specify where we want the software put. This, too, is a waste of time. Who on earth doesn’t want programs put in Programs?
Screen #6: “Software Installation Complete.” Yay!
But if it’s complete, then why is there a Next button?
Screen #7: Uh-oh. “The Software you are installing has not passed Windows Logo testing. Continuing your installation of this software may impair or destabilize the correct operation of your system… Microsoft strongly recommends that you stop this installation now.”
Here it is, on one screen: everything that’s wrong with Microsoft and the Windows software industry. I’m sorry, but you would NEVER see this kind of idiocy on the Macintosh.
Who’s being dumber here? Netgear, for not getting Microsoft’s blessing for its software? Or Microsoft, for trying to scare people away from perfectly legitimate software (and, presumably, for charging software companies for Logo testing)?
There’s more, much more. Why do people put themselves through this crap?