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Security VS Usability in Vista / ie7 (a new rant ;)

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  • User profile image
    jamie

    [Yet another Vista rant - so if you like Vista (as it is) - dont read on Smiley ]

    To the many progammers on C9 - im sure security is paramount in anything you build.  To a programmer (i assume) any item , action or method that can be justified with a security based reason - would get a green light.

    So pretty much for certain - as programmers - you would pick the side of secure rather than user in control - in most if not all circumstances...(*Windows historically has been about USER not admin control... actually - windows only made it in to the enterprise because users wanted it - sort of like google now..but i digress..)

    While the above seems a good blue print in general - i have come up against quite a bit of software "attitude" in both vista and ie7. (this all started with SP2..when the company got "serious" about security)

    The hardest/strangest part of this "attitude" is that i feel alone in noticing it.  Sure there is the odd c9 member that will agree with a point here or there - but honestly - as an MS fan too - i cannot belive the majority of coders/users on a site like c9 is not more up in arms about certain "secure" initiatives

    Let me briefly explain.

    I have stated (over and over Wink )my main issues with Vista/IE7 - but they all basically boil down to control ( "secure" or user choice)

    If you check out the comments on ie7 blog about new post "Fix My Settings" - you will see many users are upset (again) about yet more "Application Nag" Verb: When a program pops stuff up at you too much.

    The gist of the ie7 blog reveals a common theme in their responses (to anything):  "Well we had to make a decision - grant users access - or make sure they are secure by default - and know what they are doing - so we opted for secure by default"

    This means - lowest common denominator user = power users have to once again put up with ApNag... only this time around - the features that were always there arnt burried in menus - they are removed (heck even the menus are removed *almost)

    But it doesnt stop in that one sample. it is everywhere in vista - and ie7.  Features that make Windows great (to some) have been ripped out - and replaced by awkward ways of doing things (to some)

    There is text - text - text all over the UI in vista (in the bars bars bars) - but more than this - there is text everywhere else too - Like the new COPY.  I right clicked "copy" on my XP folder (to replace vista) - and it went berserk.  "Please wait -  windows is preparing to copy (animation animation) forever! as it goes through the i386 folder.  ...i386 folder? ak! 

    Who asked for this conversation?  Idiots?  Just record - right click copy *this folder* do not read it... - and wait for "paste command" then do the action.  I dont need a running commentary on windows bowels digesting commands...on a "Low" wireless connection on a slow laptop ;p

    How about when an ap bombs?  I think most users would like to control this akin to ctrl/alt/del/end process - but in one simple click. No... not in Vista. In vista when an app hangs or goes down - there is now mandatory reporting... long waits - more animations and more First time windows user nuttiness



    Honestly -  what is so hard about: Close / end process / free ram - done.  Why do i as user have to wait while the system goes on a little easter egg hunt repairing itself? Are they doing this to prove they are adding value? hey look! value! $$

    I wont go into activation and genuine advantage - surfice to say on a beta - that youve had loaded for 2 days-  to suddenly demand a new product key and stop working is counter-intuitive (dont you want developers to test/learn it? - it stops working anyway after a while... why are you infecting beta test versions with the product Keystone COPS 

    Yes - cops..authority..oh and sales guys (wanna buy a smiley? $1.50)  shudder.. its everywhere... dont move those toolbars... sorry - search is now in all your windows (sorry its a google/monopoly thing) - oh yes - many of your file views have been removed and obscured as we think its better users dont really know where their files are (they need us to lock - i mean do that for them - like apple)

    <church lady> now isnt that conveeeeniant</church lady>

    Where there was powerful options in windows (like even common tasks to get around) they have been replaced with popularity tags for teenagers to rate their photos...  i havent time to even name all my photos let alone tag them

    but at the end of the day - its Security!  think about the children! [mantra]

    I dont think ms has done a good job of communicating the benifits of this new OS. Sure - there is the exciting technical breakthroughts - network, audio, storage, web services, and UI - all amazing feats... but then Balmer calls in the sales cops - and alchin calls in the security cops - and all this seemingly great technology is destroyed on the excecution of delivered apps... * where's MY eXPerience gone?  oh ya ...they took out "My"  Wink

    So as programmers (wrapping up) while you like security - are you not power users also?  do some of these things not get on your nerves too?- even though you may support the idea for your mom?
    Is it time to really make a windows for new / intermediate and power users?  Is the amount of lockdown, drm, versions, pricing, all getting out of hand? - or even worse: morphing into a patriot act - give up your liberty for some temporary security hat trick?

    is all of the above prehaps got something to do with many talented people leaving ms? because they have to "add un-natural things" to Windows?

    I pray (yes pray) the real Aero will fix all my worries - but to be honest - that dream is looking more and more improbable

    * i dont even no why i care so much about this stuff... but *sigh* i do








  • User profile image
    Maurits

    jamie wrote:
    mandatory reporting


    Huh? What?

    Tell me this is just a beta thing.

  • User profile image
    jamie

    if its not "reporting" - it has more than one window that pops up now... to tell you things = double the current wait - instead of half (or less) the current wait

    ( i assumed - it does an auto report as i wasnt asked - or dont think i was)  point being - i was hoping for:

    - hmmm app looks like its not responding

    ONE CLICK   ( result = ctrl/alt/del / process tab / end process / close)

    = imediate close

    not literally 50 seconds of animations and 2 separate dialouges (for the chil'dren)

  • User profile image
    jamie

    you know... maybe if there was a way ms could just come out and explain why they are doing/removing all this stuff..

    not  -marketing speak explain - really explain it ( get bill too)

    to say .. " yes windows all along had these things we couldnt control - even though it was fun for the user - we had to remove it - and here's a list of 100 things why for each item we removed - to show you we havent lost our minds, been taken over by sales aliens, and security cops

    if it was spelled out why i should take this blue ( red?) pill better... maybe id shut up and take it . Ive just always thought windows does stuff the right way ..  cant say that about whats coming...

  • User profile image
    rjdohnert

    I think versioning has gotten way out of hand.  6 SKU's of Vista is 5 too many.  There are things about Windows Vista that is getting on my nerves.  I personally just want a way that if I wish to boot into the command line I can do that. 

    jamie wrote:
    [Yet another Vista rant - so if you like Vista (as it is) - dont read on ]

    To the many progammers on C9 - im sure security is paramount in anything you build.  To a programmer (i assume) any item , action or method that can be justified with a security based reason - would get a green light.

    So pretty much for certain - as programmers - you would pick the side of secure rather than user in control - in most if not all circumstances...(*Windows historically has been about USER not admin choice... actually - windows only made it in to the enterprise because users wanted it - sort of like google now..but i digress..)

    While the above seems a good blue print in general - i have come up against quite a bit of software "attitude" in both vista and ie7. (this all started with SP2..when the company got "serious" about security)

    The hardest/strangest part of this "attitude" is that i feel alone in noticing it.  Sure there is the odd c9 member that will agree with a point here or there - but honestly - as an MS fan too - i cannot belive the majority of coders/users on a site like c9 is not more up in arms about certain "secure" initiatives

    Let me briefly explain.

    I have stated (over and over )my main issues with Vista/IE7 - but they all basically all boil down to control ( "secure" or user choice)

    If you check out the comments on ie7 blog about new post "Fix My Settings" - you will see many users are upset (again) about yet more "Application Nag" Verb: When a program pops stuff up at you too much.

    The gist of the ie7 blog reveals a common theme in their responses (to anything):  "Well we had to make a decision - grant users access - or make sure they are secure by default - and know what they are doing - so we opted for secure by default"

    This means - lowest common denominator user = power users have to once again put up with ApNag... only this time around - the features that were always there arnt burried in menus - they are removed (heck even the menus are removed *almost)

    But it doesnt stop in that one sample. it is everywhere in vista - and ie7.  Features that make Windows great (to some) have been ripped out - and replaced by awkward ways of doing things (to some)

    There is text - text - text all over the UI in vista (in the bars) - but more than this - there is text everywhere else too - Like the new COPY.  I right clicked "copy" on my XP folder (to replace vista) - and it goes berserk.  "Please wait -  windows is preparing to copy (animation animation) forever! as it goes through the i386 folder.

    Who asked for this conversation?  Idiots?  Just record - right click copy *this folder* do not read it... - and wait for "paste command" then do the action.  I dont need a running commentary on windows bowels digesting commands...on a "Low" wireless connection on a slow laptop ;p

    How about when an ap bombs?  I think most users would like to control this akin to ctrl/alt/del/end process - but in one simple click. No... not in Vista. In vista when an app hangs or goes down - there is now mandatory reporting... long waits - more animations and more First time windows user nuttiness

    Honestly -  what is so hard about: Close / end process / free ram - done.  Why do i as user have to wait while the system goes on a little easter egg hunt repairing itself? 

    I wont go into activation and genuine advantage - surfice to say on a beta - that youve had loaded for 2 days-  to suddenly demand a new product key and stop working is counter-intuitive (dont you want developers to test/learn it? - it stops working anyway after a while... why are you infecting beta test versions with the product Keystone COPS 

    Yes - cops..authority..oh and sales guys (wanna buy a smiley? $1.50)  shudder.. its everywhere... dont move those toolbars... sorry - search is now in all your windows (sorry its a google/monoploy thing) - oh yes - many of your file views have been removed and obscured as we think its better users dont really know where their files are (they need us to lock - i mean do that for them)

    Where there was powerful options in windows (like even common tasks to get around) they have been replaced with popularity tags for teenagers to rate their photos...  i havent time to even name all my photos let alone tag them

    but at the end of the day - its Security!  think about the children!

    I dont think ms has done a good job of communicating the benifits of this new OS. Sure - there is the exciting technical breakthroughts - network, audio, storage, web services, and UI - all amazing feats... but then Balmer calls in the sales cops - and alchin calls in the security cops - and all this seemingly great technology is destroyed on the excecution of delivered apps... * where's MY eXPerience gone?  oh ya ...they took out "My" 

    So as programmers (wrapping up) while you like security - are you not power users also?  do some of these things not get on your nerves too?- even though you may support the idea for your mom?
    Is it time to really make a windows for new / intermediate and power users?  Is the amount of lockdown, drm, versions, pricing, all getting out of hand?

    is all of the above prehaps got something to do with many talented people leaving ms? because they have to "add un-natural things" to Windows?

    I pray (yes pray) the real Aero will fix all my worries - but to be honest - that dream is looking more and more improbable

    * i dont even no why i care so much about this stuff... but *sigh* i do








  • User profile image
    Karim

    jamie wrote:

    I have stated (over and over )my main issues with Vista/IE7 - but they all basically all boil down to control ( "secure" or user choice)


    Well people have spent the last 10 years doing nothing but whining about how insecure Windows is.  So now we can spend the next 10 whining about how secure it is.  Big Smile

    jamie wrote:

    There is text - text - text all over the UI in vista (in the bars) - but more than this - there is text everywhere else too -


    Vista is very "texty."  I agree.   I dislike that.  I keep thinking there must be some Usability people at Microsoft who have determined that this is actually a good thing, that all the text in Explorer windows actually makes them 97% more productive, that people spend less time right-clicking and selecting "Properties..." etc. 

    I keep hoping I'll get used to it.

    Right now it just blows chunks.  Transparent, shimmering, glowing neon green chunks.  It's like those Powerpoint slides that are crammed with lots of tiny text.  Or a 5-page "resume."  It seems to be missing the point completely.  Do they not read Edward Tufte?

    jamie wrote:

    How about when an ap bombs?  I think most users would like to control this akin to ctrl/alt/del/end process - but in one simple click. No... not in Vista. In vista when an app hangs or goes down - there is now mandatory reporting... long waits - more animations and more First time windows user nuttiness


    Well, those reports are actually a good thing: the feedback helps improve the reliability of programs.  Maybe they could just hide the app's window, then do some kind of invisible crashdump reporting on some low-priority background thread where you'd never notice it.

    jamie wrote:

    Honestly -  what is so hard about: Close / end process / free ram - done.  Why do i as user have to wait while the system goes on a little easter egg hunt repairing itself? 


    Hopefully you'll be able to kill a process from Monad.

    jamie wrote:
    Where there was powerful options in windows (like even common tasks to get around) they have been replaced with popularity tags for teenagers to rate their photos...  i havent time to even name all my photos let alone tag them


    What I don't get is why "Rating" seems to appear for every file type.  (Is that right?  I'm not a beta tester.)  I mean, who rates a spreadsheet?  Do I want to rate DLLs?  Waste of UI space to display that for every file. 

    jamie wrote:

    but at the end of the day - its Security!  think about the children!


    No, it's "Liability!  Think about the lawyers!"  Big Smile

    jamie wrote:

    So as programmers (wrapping up) while you like security - are you not power users also?  do some of these things not get on your nerves too?- even though you may support the idea for your mom?
    Is it time to really make a windows for new / intermediate and power users?  Is the amount of lockdown, drm, versions, pricing, all getting out of hand?


    I find the default "Enhanced Security Configuration" on IE on Windows Server 2003 annoying... welcome to the future, you can't browse to www.google.com from the server until you add the URL to your Trusted Sites list... <rolleyes>  Yes I understand why it's there.  Yes I still find it annoying.  How about just giving me a secure browser instead of one that's configured to be completely useless out of the box... there's an idea...

    Maybe that's what I find annoying... it doesn't seem there's an effort to make things secure, so much as an effort to disable/turn off/deactivate everything that might be insecure.   Instead of making things intrinsically safe, we've just made the unsafe things inconvenient to get at.  Ok, great, so IIS is disabled by default.  We've reduced the attack surface.  Wonderful.  So when can I get a web server that's intrinsically safe?

    jamie wrote:

    I pray (yes pray) the real Aero will fix all my worries - but to be honest - that dream is looking more and more improbable


    I keep hoping for them to pull a rabbit out of the hat too.  Right now I think Aero's just fugly.  Sorry.

  • User profile image
    jamie

    ..if the versions were New, Intermediate and Power user that would be user based.  that would be great

    ..so i dont think its a versions problem.  its that the versions arnt designed with us - the users in mind.  they are based on business/corp needs / vs / control living room needs / vs / oem home needs / x rev projected..bla bla

    there should be one windows with everything - but one is cheap for idiots ui - one is normal for normal ui and one is $$$ for the *no bullsiht version ui Smiley

    * id gladly pay more to learn more and be bugged/controled LESS

  • User profile image
    rjdohnert

    It is not fugly, its mugly.

    Karim wrote:


    I keep hoping for them to pull a rabbit out of the hat too.  Right now I think Aero's just fugly.  Sorry.

  • User profile image
    jamie

    Karim wrote:


    ... it doesn't seem there's an effort to make things secure, so much as an effort to disable/turn off/deactivate everything that might be insecure.   Instead of making things intrinsically safe, we've just made the unsafe things inconvenient to get at. 



    yes! true.  Ive nothing against security. Go make me the most secure sandbox to play in - and dont bother me about it AGAIN!

    ...tin foil hat: many of the things "turned off" might involve:  being able to cover the UI (fullscreen / mandatory status bars)

    Being able to move the toolbars - Locked down google search killer
    Being able to see your files - mac like obfuscation (whatever the word is ...)

    it reminds me of a Chris Rock comedy monologue - as he will pick  theme and go after it.  in this case its:

    <rock> bla bla bla, but its ok cause ....apple does it!  /  bla bla bla, but its ok cause ....intuit does it!  / bla bla bla, but its ok ....cause firefox does it! / - when the features in question may APPEAR to be adding value - when really they are cherry picking ideas that in the end - ultimately LIMIT what you can do with windows
    (*yes i know if your a genius programmer you can get around this stuff - but for regular people - its been made prohibitive to alter


    ....breathe (breathe in the air - dont be afraid to CARE ;p)

  • User profile image
    Rowan

    I'm surprised an IE user can call him/herself a "power user", unless you mean the power of tollerance.
    Big Smile

    I absolutely agree that the so-called security features in IE7 are virtually "nagging" features that don't actually make it more secure, they just force you to give in to the never ending warnings. Annoying brat: "Hey what are you upto? What's that? Do this, do that, that's not safe, why did you do that? Let me do it! etc".

    When I close the door to my room it means I don't want to be disturbed, if only Windows had a "Do not disturb" setting.

    All I ask for is the optional settings (in plain english), I know how to avoid spyware on my own.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    You know what gets me? All these complaints that people have (not just Jamie), they are almost the exact same complaints people had during the XP beta. "XP is just Win2k with a new shell, no real value, it's ugly, confusing, slower, everything takes at least one more click to get at, too patronizing etc. etc. I'll be staying with Windows 2000 unless MS makes a radical turnaround." And where are these people now?

    I'm not saying some of the complaints aren't justified, I just think it's funny that history is repeating itself like this.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Go have a look at the lists of viruses available for Windows, or the humongous problem spyware is causing. Go talk to someone whose had all their bank details stolen in some phishing attack. Sheesh, how many hundreds of reason do you need before people realise that there isn't anything more important than security. That it's much, much more important that people can feel safe using their computers than whether or not the folders aren't quite layed out the way you want.

    This whole "I'm too smart to do anything stupid, I don't need protecting" mentality really does my head in. Why? Because as a sysadmin I see exactly the people who do fall for these sort of things and 90% of them are exactly those who would swear blind they weren't that easily fooled.

    Will the new security features occasionally get in my way? I don't doubt it for a second. Will I feel a damn site better visiting my parents and knowing I don't have to clean up the mess their computer has become. Knowing that they can feel a lot safer using the computer. You bet I will.

    What's more, lots of the complaints are completely unfounded. The IE "Fix my settings" for example; if you really are a power user, you can get around these if you have to. There are controls available via Group Policy or you can use IE Zones to set things to behave the way you want. And if you don't know how to do that then you are not a power user, no matter how much you'd like to think so.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    AndyC wrote:
    This whole "I'm too smart to do anything stupid, I don't need protecting" mentality really does my head in. Why? Because as a sysadmin I see exactly the people who do fall for these sort of things and 90% of them are exactly those who would swear blind they weren't that easily fooled.

    One problem though is that the popups won't help too much. Just like there are malicious websites now that direct you through all the steps needed to install their malicious ActiveX control on XPSP2 under the guise of getting at some content, there will be applications that will tell the user to just click allow to get it working. Sure the protection will help some, but it won't solve the problem altogether.

    It's Larry Osterman's "dancing bunny problem", and I've witnessed it first hand. Some time ago I was once again called over to an acquaintance of mine to clean the mess from their computer. Here's a rough transcript of a conversation I had with the owner of the computer (who wasn't even one of the kids).
    Me: Wait a second... what's this screensaver? That didn't come with Windows.
    Other guy: Yeah, I installed it. It's a nice screensaver.
    Me: *does quick google*. This screensaver includes spyware. They often do. Don't install screensavers unless you know (i.e. I've told you) they're safe.
    Other guy: Oh? But it's a nice screensaver.
    Me: It'll make your computer slower, less stable, display annoying popups, steal your passwords, and waste my and everyone's time fixing it.
    Other guy: But I want the screensaver.

    At which point I probably should've just gotten up and left, but he's paying me too well to do that. In fact, let him install the screensaver, I need some new DVD box sets! Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    Cairo

    Sven Groot wrote:
    You know what gets me? All these complaints that people have (not just Jamie), they are almost the exact same complaints people had during the XP beta. "XP is just Win2k with a new shell, no real value, it's ugly, confusing, slower, everything takes at least one more click to get at, too patronizing etc. etc. I'll be staying with Windows 2000 unless MS makes a radical turnaround." And where are these people now?


    It's all still true. But XP isn't a new product we can hope will be better when it's actually released. It's what we deal with every day.


  • User profile image
    Karim

    Sven Groot wrote:
    You know what gets me? All these complaints that people have (not just Jamie), they are almost the exact same complaints people had during the XP beta. "XP is just Win2k with a new shell, no real value, it's ugly, confusing, slower, everything takes at least one more click to get at, too patronizing etc. etc. I'll be staying with Windows 2000 unless MS makes a radical turnaround." And where are these people now?

    I'm not saying some of the complaints aren't justified, I just think it's funny that history is repeating itself like this.


    Just for the record, I'll be buying Vista the day it comes out.  Yes it will be more reliable, more secure, the Tablet PC components are improved -- I buy all that.  I will buy all that.  Tongue Out

    I just think Aero's ugly and has a lot of text.  If Aero ships similar to what I saw in build 5270, it would be the first operating system upgrade from Microsoft I've seen that actually takes a clear step backwards in attractiveness (and possibly usability).  That's disappointing.

    They made the close box ("X") larger than the minimize and maximize buttons.  No doubt some testing showed that making it larger reduced accidental clicks on the other buttons.  Ok, whatever.  Did anyone stop to point out that asymmetry is ugly?

    Then again, when XP came out, I was one of the few people I knew who liked Luna.  Most of the techies I knew groused and went back to Windows Classic.

    The colors in Luna are playful, cheerful.  (Except for Olive Green, but don't get me started on that.)  The colors in Aero, on the other hand, look like they're about to be violently ill.  Even when you try to change to something a little brighter -- red?  blue? -- it's, well, a kind of pale, sickly, anemic red; and a dark, blue/black kind of green, a dying plant.

    It's like all those horrible Winamp skins based on black and Xbox green:



    Sven Groot wrote:

    Me: Wait a second... what's this screensaver? That didn't come with Windows.
    Other guy: Yeah, I installed it. It's a nice screensaver.
    Me: *does quick google*. This screensaver includes spyware. They often do. Don't install screensavers unless you know (i.e. I've told you) they're safe.
    Other guy: Oh? But it's a nice screensaver.
    Me: It'll make your computer slower, less stable, display annoying popups, steal your passwords, and waste my and everyone's time fixing it.
    Other guy: But I want the screensaver.


    LOL I've had that same conversation...

    That is, in fact, the future of malware...

    Malware will evolve from being 100% negative, 0% positive to more of a symbiotic relationship: it will give you something in return for permission to mess with your computer.  They're viruses people want to catch.  Sony rootkit: in exchange for putting a backdoor in your PC, you get to listen to Mariah Carey!  Google: in exchange for giving us all your web server log files, we'll give you free log file analysis!  Advertiser: in exchange for letting us track everywhere you go on the Internet, you get a dancing bunny!

    I'm not sure if Microsoft understands the "dancing bunny" problem.  There really needs to be a more granular "permissions infrastructure" in Windows, so it's not just a binary yes/no "Do you want to allow this app to RUN?" binary trust/untrust, but rather, "Do you want this app to install a backdoor?"  "Or do you want this app to track your web surfing habits" etc.  Basically people need to know what they're giving up in exchange for what they're getting.

    I don't know if ClickOnce will address the problem... Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    Jamie :
      I agree.  I just can't wait till 2020 to see what we get. Perhaps we'll have flying skateboards? .. (Sorry, "Back to the Future 2" just showed on TV)

    - Steve

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