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Today I Booted into Windows and Now I'm Mentally Deranged
7 January 2011 @ 15:02 GMT
by Paul

Do all Windows developers think their users are idiots or only the ones who work for Garmin?

I acquired a Garmin nuvi 1200, an entry-level GPS navigation device. It works OK, and is cheap; a big advantage.

Garmin like you to receive map updates online, which is fine in this online, connected world. I mean why do anything physically when you can do it from the comfort of your office chair?

The GPS device in question has a USB connection and announces itself to the computer as a USB mass storage device. Therefore, it's possible to mount it and browse it as you would a disk.

The problem (and it is a big problem) is that the Garmin update software won't work on Linux. There are plenty of reports floating around the internet that many people are able to update their Garmin devices using wine. But this won't work for me.

Therefore, I had to boot into Windows for real. Naturally, the Windows partition is small because it isn't used for anything.

What is really disturbing is not Windows itself, but the attitude of people who write software for Windows - in particular the writers of the Garmin updater. They seem to operate on the assumption that their users are stupid.

The update file downloaded from Garmin was big - about 8GB. I didn't have that much space on the Windows partition. If that happens to you, you would normally download it elsewhere right? Do you think Garmin would let you download it and then install it later? No. Do you think Garmin would allow you to select the download directory? No. WHY NOT?

What I had to do, was change the Windows temporary folder to somewhere else (removable USB stick). Once done, the updater worked fine. But why is such stupid mucking about necessary at all?

Garmin, have a little respect for your users. They are not all computer illiterate, virus infested, Explorer-using idiots. In fact, I'd say many people who buy GPS devices are reasonable smart.

So, Garmin, what about coding with respect. Here's some advice:

  1. All the downloaded files should be able to be easily copied across to the device so Linux users can do it with 'cp' or maybe 'rsync'. I mean, they're only map files, you're special installer is totally redundant and a complete PITA.
  2. Allow users to download the update file, save it, and install it later. This way when downloading humongous 8GB update files you stop torturing them with dropped connections and having to leave the computer on all night to complete the download.
  3. Allow users to download the file to a directory of their choice.

This is not asking too much is it?

</end of rant>

Tags: windows rant

The very same same happened to me a few days ago. I needed to download a Firefox .xpi plugin to get started, then missing .net libraries, reboot, then wait for 12 gig to transfer. Profanities exit my mouth every time I boot into windoze. Thankfully that happens only on the rarest of occasions.

Posted by Brian on 2011-01-07 23:23:21.
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