I installed Internet Explorer 8 today. I need it to test the websites at work. I couldn't care less if my personal sites render properly in IE at this point, but I must accommodate people at work.
I should mention right off the bat that given the way Microsoft takes a dump all over web standards and the hours and hours of grief as a web developer trying to get sites to look proper in IE6, unless IE8 crapped gold nuggets every time I clicked a link I don't think I'd like it.
I wasn't disappointed. IE8 is hate-worthy. A steaming pile of offal. First there was the joy of trying to install it.
Why does installing a web browser require checking my computer for "malicious software"? Why can't I opt out of this? In any case I didn't have to worry about it, because the first time I tried the install, it bombed before it got that far, and demanded that I go to the Windows Update site and install some patch for IE7 before I could continue. Note: I don't have IE7 on my computer. This is a work machine that I kept IE6 on for testing our company websites. This blew my mind.
So I tried to download this patch for IE7, but I couldn't, because I had to get Windows Genuine disAdvantage first. Rage filled me at this point to the point of overflowing. If it was my home computer I'd have stopped right there. But I need this garbage for work, so I held my nose and did it.
Of course the patch required a reboot. Reboot #1.
Now I was able to continue with the install. A slow, plodding download; I think it took 5-10 minutes to do its thing, but it's hard to tell. There was no progress bar to show me how far along it was, nothing to tell me the elapsed time, no indication how large the files were that were being fetched. There is something resembling a progress bar, but it doesn't actually show you much in the way of "progress". Instead a little green thing bounces around like the car from Knight Rider. How much cocaine do you need to imbibe to invent a GUI like this?
Of course IE8 itself required a reboot. Reboot #2.
Why? Installing Firefox and Opera don't require reboots. They download as self-contained
.exe installer files. I run them and software appears. This is 2009, for the love of God. Maybe in 20 more years Microsoft will finally manage to re-invent
The IE8 install, including patching and reboots, took me 45 minutes. If I had to do this on more than one machine, I'd probably jump out the window. How much time have you sucked out of my life, Microsoft? To compare, I decided to install Opera. Opera took less than one minute to download AND install and didn't require a reboot.
When you first open it up, it sends you through a wizard and asks you if you want to enable a bunch of crap. I said no to everything. What the hell is an "Accelerator"? I assumed it was something that tried to make web pages load faster, like the download accelerator scams you used to get popups for all the time in 2001. So I said no.
Turns out "Accelerators" are plugins. Why didn't they call them Plugins? Did some marketroid decide "plugin" wasn't EXTREME enough, so decided to make up their own word? Why do I have to relearn the English language every time someone releases new software? Not Invented Here syndrome?
Windows tried to default me to Live Search, but I give it credit for being upfront in allowing me to turn that crap off and use Google. (No doubt thanks to US anti-trust court proceedings.) 473 wizard dialogs later I had a browser.
The next thing I noticed is more lame attempts to push more Microsoft services at me. In the URL bar every time you type anything, you see this:
Awesome. Is there any way to remove this spamvertisement other than installing Windows Search? If I planned to use IE8, which I don't, I imagine I'd inevitably click that by accident, which is probably the whole idea.
IE8 also added a bunch of useless garbage to my bookmarks toolbar which I insta-deleted. Or tried to. My favorite feature of IE8 by far is this one:
Apparently deleting things from the bookmarks toolbar is just too much for a modern 4-core CPU to handle. Congrats Microsoft. Hang, crash, boom.
There is no menu in IE8 by default. No wait, there is a menu. It's just in the wrong place (lower right side of the top browser area), and instead of readable text it's mostly unlabeled buttons with tiny arrows next to it.
It's like a traditional menu and a fun mystery novel combined! What is in the dropdown next to the house? I'm sure it's a fun surprise.
And actually you can get the old menu to appear too, if you press
Alt. Insanity. But it doesn't appear at the top, it appears under the URL bar. One of the few arguably good things about Windows is that programs have consistent GUI parts and work the same way: they have a menu at the top, it's always in the same one place, there's a
File and an
Edit, and it's predictable. Thanks Microsoft for getting even that wrong.
When I highlight text on a web page, a little blue thing appears that I think I'm supposed to click on. The icon is a bunch of lines and squiggles and an arrow or something. There's no indication what that thing actually does. I clicked it out of curiosity and get a menu full of a bunch of random options like "Search for this". I think this is where ACCELERATORS are supposed to pop up, or something, who cares?
Fonts in IE8 look fuzzy. As a bonus, after installing IE8, fonts in a bunch of other programs (Outlook) are fuzzy now too. Hurrah! IE8, like its predecessors, apparently extends its tendrils into every nook and cranny of your system, corrupting and perverting as it goes. Maybe that's why it needed to reboot my computer twice to install it.
IE8 comes with a Firebug ripoff, which is better than View Source invoking Notepad, but took a full 2 minutes to load when I tried to open it the first time.
IE8 does render my blog properly, which is good. IE7 does too, I think, I only tested it once. I'm not losing sleep over it. Thank you Firefox and Opera: if you didn't exist and put the pressure on, we'd all still be using IE6 and I'd still be writing all my web pages twice to make sure they work in Internet Excrementplorer. As much as I detest IE, if people migrate to IE8 from the shard of utmost evil that is IE6, I'll be happy.