Like an orange
Everything here is my opinion. I do not speak for your employer.
October 2007
November 2007

2007-10-15 »

(I'm not crazy. You're crazy.)

AMSE Sucks Part 2: I like my current version just fine, thanks

AMSE has a feature that lets it upgrade itself. Lots of programs do that, so okay. But the way AMSE does it is just weird.

First of all, where's the option to adjust how frequently it checks for updates? What if I only want to check every week, or every month? I see that it doesn't pop up a nauseating and intrusive dialog immediately when it sees that a new version is available - that's refreshing - but what if I don't want to waste the bandwidth of checking all the time?

When an update is available, all that happens is a button appears on the toolbar. Okay, I guess, but what if I don't notice? And how do I make it go away and stop bothering me if I don't care about the new version? I can't.

Then I click the button, and what happens? No completion bar, no dialog box, no wizard. The button just says "Downloading..." for an indeterminate amount of time. Gee, thanks. Okay, on my connection it was only about 15 seconds, but I have a pretty fast link. Won't people with slow links be confused? Meanwhile the program keeps running and I can go on with my work, but I can't do two things at once even if the computer can; I'm too excited about my download to calculate a mortgage schedule right now. Plus, if I accidentally exit the program while it's downloading - or even after it's done downloading - then I have to start all over again next time. Great. It's a nice way for you to inflate your web hits, but not much else.

Once the download finishes, it offers to let me try the new version. Okay, great. But the new version looks exactly like the old version. How do I even know it's really the new one? And how do I install it? And why did the old one just quit out from under me? Okay, I see that the "Install" button has appeared on the menu, so I guess that'll install the new version - but don't I have to uninstall the old one first? That's what I have to do with every other program, so you're just freaking me out now. And if I exit this new one by accident, where does it go? Do I have to download it again in order to install it? This is all totally unlike my normal experience in Windows. It makes me nervous. I don't like it.

At the very least, download the file automatically before you even tell me the new one is available - and keep it around, so that you don't download it again next time. Plus, there's no impatient waiting while I download the new version, because it would silently happen in the background before I knew it. That one change alone would make the experience a lot more pleasant.(1)


(1) Good idea, anti-me. Actually I thought of that already but I haven't had time to implement it, and upgrading is an infrequent enough thing that I haven't gotten around to that yet. There's also a question of whether we should be downloading large files without asking the user first. Although I guess Windows and Java do it, so why not?

I'm CEO at Tailscale, where we make network problems disappear.

Why would you follow me on twitter? Use RSS.

apenwarr on gmail.com