[thechat] Re: microsoft rant (part 2)

Joel Canfield Joel at spinhead.com
Sat Mar 16 12:51:00 CST 2002

>you're implying that an ordinary person has no business trying
>to keep *any* version of windows updated, and should leave it
>to their "network administrator"

No reference or implication to 'updating Windows' except my mention of
windowsupdate.microsoft.com (albeit not by exact address.) I think the
average user is able to keep Windows updated, and the average user is able
to keep Norton Antivirus (or equivalent) updated.

>dude, that's what i'm so pissed off about -- microsoft keeps
>touting their shit as easy to use (think bob, wizards, the
>paperclip, etc.) when it is anything but

Easy to USE, not easy to repair. My son's car is easy to drive - automatic
tranny, 4-wheel drive shift-on-the-fly, and a nice radio. In spite of my
mechanical background, I'd never attempt to repair any of those features.
But I use 'em every time I'm driving it.

[ . . . ]

>but my point remains, not every home user is gonna have the
>same background in DOS that i have

and shouldn't ever need it. A Windows 2000 system, maintained as Microsoft
suggests (the Windows automatic update tool) will have all the patches you
need. Norton Antivirus, installed and maintained according to spec, would
have prevented your disaster from happening. (Yes, I know there are
circumstances where this isn't true, but we're discussing the 'average user'
and what I would consider 'average' circumstances, not, for instance, you
being an early victim of a new virus.)

>> ... go get those patches and install 'em anyway.
>i have decided not to -- i don't allow java on my machine

Your choice, of course. By choosing NOT to use the 'easy' method Microsoft
provides (because you're advanced enough to have security or other concerns
about Java) shouldn't you be willing to accept the added responsibility of
manually installing patches as they come out?

>> If you run the Windows Update regularly, you should be good to go.
>hah!   you have definitely been assimilated!

No, I just have many computer-years of experience to tell me that a very
very high percentage of Windows computer problems (in my house and in the
businesses I've consulted for) have been user related. Yes, I have spent
some ugly and unpleasant hours trying to fix things that never should have
broken, but it's the exception, not the rule.

Windows computers CAN be reasonably stable and dependable. As far as my own
computers, I have never had a severe problem that wasn't 100% user related
(like small children with just enough knowledge to be dangerous, or amateur
hardware installers [me] trashing stuff 'cause they didn't know what they
were doing.) I'm no genius. If I can keep a dozen Windows machines running
for my family of 6, I think most folks could, too.

>thanks for the encouragement, joel
>it didn't help, but i am warmed by your offer to be my network

And I didn't make it lightly. You've freely shared your expertise (both
online and off) and taught me career-enhancing things that it would probably
take me years to learn on my own. If I can pay back some small portion of
that and make your computing experience more pleasant, I'm at your service.

As for the whole Windows vs. other OSes, I suspect that neither of the other
major OSes would have been easier to deal with in the circumstances. Is
Linux excused from similar rants because it never MAKES the claim to be easy
to use? And I really wish a Mac was as easy to use as all the Mac users
claim, 'cause my life would sure be easier. I struggle with virtually every
OS related thing I try. My OS9 G4 at work STILL won't shut down unless I
pull the plug from the wall. I haven't heard a word from Apple about the
'patch' or 'fix' that will let me just click on the menu and tell the beast
to shut off when I'm done with it. It just sits there, staring at me, and
when I try again HOURS later, it says, "I'm not done shutting down. Wait a
minute . . ."

<shifting gears and continuing my almost rant>
Does anyone give any thought to the fact that what we're all able to do with
computers, hardware and software, is not some kind of inalienable right?
Anybody remember long division, drafting by hand, or designing for print
when they didn't have a computer? I am so grateful that brilliant minds have
provided ingenious inventions which make my life so much richer and more
productive. If you balance the time wasted on stupid computer problems
against the time gained by the improvements in my life from computers, I
think I'm ahead.

Sorry for raving; lots on my mind lately. Any resemblance to any person
living or dead is entirely coincidental, and no animals were harmed during
the making of this film.


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