Variants are great. They are one of the best things about VB.
They are even required in many instances in a user interface that accepts
several different data types in one control.
We have found "scripting", i.e., using VB without Option Explicit and without
dimensioning all variables, to be most productive during early development.
One can always change to required types later in development.
I understand that it is easier to dumb-down the first release of VB.NET in
some areas such as this. But I consider it to be an emergency measure that
MUST be remedied!