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Removing Features Considered Harmful

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I get the occasional earful from people who are upset with Microsoft. These rants might come electronically, or they might come in person. If I know anything about the particular problem the person is having, I might try to give them some perspective or background on why Microsoft made the software do whatever it is that is causing the person great pain and suffering. I might know a workaround, or I might not. I might make them happier, or I might not. I do try. C'est la vie.

Today, I am on the other side of the fence.

I updated ActiveSync from 3.something to 4.2 today, only to find they removed the ability to synch a device over the network.

Let me express my feelings about this decision by saying - it sucks. It sucks really large, rotten, ostrich eggs.

scott Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I accidently deleted two comments here this morning. I apologize. Feel free to leave those comments again. I was a little jumpy with the blog spam.

Someone asked why the feature was removed. I've heard it was for security reasons - which I don't quite get. I used to be able to synch over a VPN (encrypted, requires password).

I guess that options was 'less secure' than than the plaintext communication with a POP3 server I'd have to do now. WTF?
Michael K. Campbell Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I've just become so disgusted with Windows Mobile/ActiveStink over the years. It's as clear of a case of product managers not listening to consumers as I've EVER seen in my life. For example, what's the FIRST (or very close to it) thing people do after buying a PPC/Whatever? They buy/install software that lets them actually CLOSE windows when they close, instead of just hiding them in the background. Yet it's been like that for literally 7 years now. And MS refuses to budge on that 'feature'. Hell, they even REQUIRE that if you submit an application for certification that it have NO visible means allowing end-users to CLOSE the application.

That, and they're constantly dumbing it down so much that it's spooky - like removing network syncing. Seriously, isn't it supposed to be your device, your data, your lifestyle, etc?

I'm sorry, but that entire team is the biggest bunch of idiots on the planet. I LIKE most of what MS does. But I'm convinced that the windows mobile team is 3 devs chained to a desk in ballmer's basement, and one INSANELY arrogant PM who just can't wait to show idiot end-users how things should REALLY work.
Steven J. Ackerman Friday, September 29, 2006
Well I fought this battle a month ago. See my blog: http://spaces.msn.com/sjackerman
What I ended up doing is writing a small application to perform the requisite file synchronization via a file share on the dialin box. Personally I feel that this 'feature' was removed to placate the cell phone companies who would like to charge for this service. They remove the feature, WM5 gets adopted by a lot of cell manufacturers, and all of a sudden the Windows CE group is profitable for the first time ever !

I agree with Michael Campbell that the WM team needs to be severely dealt with. If you monitor nntp://microsoft.public.pocketpc.activesync you'll see how broken this product truly is and how frustrated everyone is with it.
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