before blog — rotten drivers

Whenever I buy a peripheral nowadays I am usually disappointed. Why do so many companies ship excellent hardware with awful drivers? For example, Creative Labs produce a properly designed mouse, one which doesn’t have a nasty little hair–attracting rubber ball in it. But ten minutes after I started using it, it became clear that they hadn’t so much built a software driver as—well, they might have well have scrummaged through the next door neighbour’s rubbish bin, found a floppy disk labelled “Squidgy”, and shipped it on the off chance that it worked. The driver was so buggy that:

  1. It stopped working after half an hour under Windows 95 (where were Creative Labs when Microsoft was beta testing 95 two years ago?);
  2. It doesn’t work at all under Windows NT;
  3. It won’t let you boot Windows with any other mouse attached.

Why did they not test their driver? Or if they did, what did they do—throw a gallon of whiskey down their throat and assume that if they could still stagger in a line the software worked? I know software testing; I’ve done it. These problems should have been found in minutes. I suspect they haven’t even got a Test Lab.

Now, to be fair to Creative Labs, their amateur attitude is nothing unusual. For example, I brought a Primax hand scanner with the mouse, and had problems again—the Primax driver hangs at the slightest opportunity.

Talking about Primax, have you noticed that support in UK branches of companies is non–existent or ignorant, whereas if you phone the Dutch number you can usually get a quick and relevant answer (in English)?

Incidentally, a big thank you to Epson for shipping a driver for their Stylus Colour II Printer that has never failed me. It’s nice to know some people are professional.

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