Ok, so for those who know me, I've never exactly been the biggest fan of ANYTHING that Microsoft has forced upon the genearl computing public.  IMO, Word is about the best thing that they've done, and even that is pretty lame.

Obviously, I have complained more than once about how Microsoft does (or maybe I should say "doesn't do) the web.  However, because of the fact that the majority of people still use this inferior browser, I've tolerated it.  

Well, this last week, the beta of IE8 came out .  

(Warning: To install IE8 you will have to install it over the top of IE7–you can't run them side-by-side.  However, IE8 does allow for the emulation of IE7, which is a reasonable compromise)

Over the last couple of weeks, I've done a fair bit of reading about IE8, and even blogged about it .  So it was with some anticipation that I signed up for the beta.  On the whole, the improvements are positive.  The interface itself looks a bit better (less off-color-ish than IE7 and IE6) and cleaner.  There are a bunch of add-ons (called "Actions") that can be downloaded, and for what is the first time (I think), developers can actually begin developing their own addons to ship to the general public (huh, Firefox was doing that from day one).  Also, IE8 comes built-in with "Developer Tools" that are somewhat like Firebug for Firefox which allows for DOM inspection, javascript debugging etc, albeit severely less robust than Firebug.

The big negative, however, is that it has extremely terrible support for the web, especially–and ironically–Microsoft-specific sites.  I tried logging into my Hotmail account (more about this below) in IE8, but it would not load.  I got the same results with some visits to other Microsoft-related sites.

This is interesting, for one of IE8's biggest "tease" features is that it would encapsulate a more standards-compliant web experience without "breaking the web."  However, it looks like this is happening anyway.  Now obviously, this is only beta, but it is somewhat ironic that the answer to the IE-upgrade problem does exactly what everyone feared would happen with an upgrade, and that this problem is most notable on Microsoft-developed sites…

Anyway, back to the original statement.  I've had it with Microsoft.  I look at what Microsoft puts out, and then at what is avaible for free and open-sourced for the possibility of customization and extension through personal development–and all I can do is shake my head.  Not only does the latter often behave in far superior ways, but there is no proprietary crap that has to be traversed just to use it.  

So, in my own form of personal revolt, I am cutting as many ties to Microsoft as possible.  The Hotmail account I've had for years?  I'm not using it anymore.  Messenger?  Nope.  But lest anyone think that my reaction is simply the result of being disgruntled, rest assured that my reasons are sound.  Hotmail is an archaic, slow and feature-less mail client.  I finally reached my breaking point with spending dozens of minutes everyday waiting for the pathetic interface to load, not to mention being randomly logged out while in the middle of composing an email message for which there is no auto-save option (arggghh…).

And Windows Live Messenger is even worse.  Like Hotmail, it is slow and extremely limited in functionality.  And have you ever tried to send a file with it?  Don't bother: the 50k file will take several minutes to reach it's destination, just a bit longer than it will take to attach it to a Hotmail message.

So, yeah, if you want to reach me on IM, go to Google Talk.  (My Hotmail is still forwarding to my new address: existdissolve@gmail.com, however).

Well, there it is.  I'm done with Microsoft on the web.  I think I will put my energies into companies like Google and Firefox that are actually creating useful and progressive products that have an eye toward the future, a far cry from the self-satisfied, but ever rapidly self-marginalizing approach of Microsoft that believes it can dictate to the world what the web should be.  News Flash, MS–you have never done the web well, and you never will.  Get over it.