1 Sep 2006 nutella   » (Master)

More horror stories from proprietary software land
So, the friend mentioned in the last post wanted to play movies from their shiny new DVD drive. Everything worked just fine up to the point when they wanted to watch something that had been encoded in DivX format. I don't know where they downloaded the codec pack but installing it destroyed the ability to watch AVI and MPEG format files. DivX used to fund their development through Gain/Gator bundling but I would be very surprised if they had switched to something worse. I tried uninstalling the codec and it appeared to disappear completely but the ability to play other formats appears to have gone permanently. Tough luck, user.

I had the chance to play with Visual Basic 2005 Express (VB .NET 2.0) and was aghast at the tortuous development environment and at the COMPLETE and TOTAL LACK of ANY resemblance to BASIC. An accompanying text indicated that Bill Gates had written and popularised BASIC many moons ago which legitimises Steve Ballmer's vision of allowing them to rewrite BASIC to allow it to be more modern. The mantra is "to allow refactoring" and this is intoned at regular intervals. I don't particularly care about any of this, apart from the bastardisation implicit in calling the resulting language "BASIC". The book insists that VB6 people are behind the times and everyone needs to switch to this Java- and C++ -like language. Just to show that they can be humorous as well they noted that 64-bit integers were supported "so that Bill Gates can properly record his net worth". Hints of how that net worth came about are probably given in the amount of text devoted to Source Safe, which should apparently be used to store all of your intellectual property to keep it safe from prying eyes (and presumably to stop you wasting it by sharing it with others). VB must be really on the way out if they are working so hard to alienate the original users. I haven't written any kind of BASIC code in 10 years but I liked the PowerBASIC dialect, and the creators of True BASIC are the ones who should be deciding the direction the language should take.

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