Thursday, March 10, 2005

Richer and more rewarding

I am not, as they say, on a roll at the moment.

First off, I have a dose of flu. I think our Kiwi guests currently sleeping upstairs are responsible for that.

It’s a pretty bad strain and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’m currently debating over whether to just burn the blankets our visitors are sleeping in after they’ve woken up (obviously), or give the used bedding to some old people whose property I’d like to steal.

Second off, my computer crashed a couple of days ago.

Quite badly.

Since then I’ve been through it all. Endless booting and rebooting, watching two hour downloads disappear 95% of the way through, trawling for hours on support forums looking for fixes, discovering that I can’t mend one key program until I’ve fixed another first. Discovering that the second key program cannot be fixed until the first key program is fixed …

I’ve been through the entire works and my PC is still buggered.

I think the worst moment came when I was staring at the Microsoft Windows Update page. It stubbornly refused to allow me to patch my mutilated software, yet carried a banner that said ‘Download Windows updates and enjoy a richer and more rewarding experience’.

Coming from the company headed by someone who became the richest, most rewarded man in the cosmos through selling crap software, this was almost too much to bear. There’s no way that choice of words is accidental. I reckon Bill starts each morning having a good chuckle over that one before tucking into a bowl of lark’s tongues or whatever the wealthiest man in the cosmos eats for breakfast. ‘Yeah, richer and more rewarding, Arf! Arf!, wankers. Why are those larks still singing?’.

Why not go the whole hog and feature a picture of him mooning at all of us from Microsoft packaging?

The cause of all this was a nasty bit of spyware that came in through Internet Explorer, shagged some important files and then wiped out the entire operating system when I removed it. Like Luke Skywalker attacking the Death Star, that itty bitty packet of malicious code banked left and right, dodged the firewall, the resident antivirus software and Internet Explorer’s ‘high tech security features’, then barreled on through to hit my operating system slap bang in its one (sic.) vulnerable spot

... and blew the whole f*cking thing up.

Hats off to the guys at Microsoft, hundreds of Megs of bloated software wiped out by one tiny 8k file written by some Prague-based, seventeen-year-old twerp as a substitute for regular sex and clear skin.

God I hate Microsoft products. I remember the first time I got on a plane fitted with one of those moving map displays the airlines now use to torment their passengers - 'We are currently 1,104 miles away from the nearest dry land. Have a nice day'. At one point our display turned into the Blue Screen of Death, with just the image of a frozen mouse cursor for company. I almost shat myself. ‘We're 1,104 miles from dry land and this plane’s avionics are based on Windows?!!’.

Eventually, I calmed down and reasoned that the aircraft had made its way from America to Europe at least once, so it almost certainly wasn't flying on anything written by Bill Gates’ team.

Let’s be honest, nothing important runs on Windows – nobody in their right mind would take the risk. But Microsoft has achieved total dominance over the trivial and non-critical realms of computing. If you buy a PC these days you’ll be using Microsoft products. It’s quite strange really. Would people put up with this level of monopoly with other products? Would they invest in stereos that only played music published by Sony and Time Warner? Or buy a television and only watch shows produced by Rupert Murdoch?

Mmmmm, OK so maybe they would.

But, anyway, Windows is rubbish. Even when Microsoft software doesn’t crash it’s still dodgy. I fondly remember the days of the infuriating, animated paperclip Windows help system. I would stare back at the smug little bastard, dancing his dance on my VDU, slowing my PC down and being no help whatsoever; ‘I see you’ve started Word. Would you like to 1. Write a Will 2. A Parliamentary Constitution 3. A ransom note. You have the option of telling me to f*ck off but I’ll be back soon, and just when you least want me, don’t you worry’. I wished that somehow he could be made real, Pygmalion-style, so that I could hurt him.

As well as being a smug little bastard, Mr Paperclip was also a mass murderer.

Think about it – one infuriating, animated paper clip – say it wasted, a very conservative, 15 minutes of your time, multiply that by 50 million Windows uses – that’s 520,000 wasted days across the World, 1,400 years.

This is directly equivalent to Bill Gates sacrificing two dozens babies at birth in tribute to the Dark Lord responsible for his success.

And as for the entirely gratuitous Windows boot up sequence well, we’re talking entire nations aren’t we?


The Gorse Fox said...

I feel for you. I have recently had a discussion with my Esteemed Client, who was using above mentioned software for mission critical tasks.
I asked "If you found that the avionics of a plane were based on this, would you fly?" and suggested "Of course you wouldn't, and if you would then you are too stupid to own a computer, so why worry".
Esteemed Cleint is now performing a review of all mission-critical functions...

Stef said...

Funny, funny, funny ...