Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Its not a computer - its a choice.

Some good friends and i were talking about cars. They noted we have Subarus, and i told them it was because we live in Colorado, and where we live, it snows quite heavily at times, and having AWD doesn't make you invincible, but it does give you more capability. They're reliable, and what the hell - my STi does have the uniqueness of being fast as hell and simultaneously bitchen as an off-road rally car when the bad stuff hits. We noted that our previous cars (in the horrible state of ShallNotBeNamed) were always Hondas and we liked them, but pragmatically, we now drive Subarus.

They then proceeded to tell the tale of their former Honda Accord. In 3 years, they had to put in a new transmission, new electrics when the stereo died, and when left in a bad rainstorm, they came back to find the back seats mangled when the windows had let in the rain - even though it was closed. They noted that while many people did fine with Hondas, their experience was enough for them to never go back.

Did you find this tale at all interesting? I hope not.

No... the boring story boils down to - they bought a Honda, it was crap, and they're never going to buy a Honda again unless something radical changes their mind.

So - here's my point.

If the SAME converation was computer related - Windows/Mac and not Honda/Toyota - there would be cries of zealotry, cultish activities, Steve Jobs worshipping - the lot.

And that is fscking annoying.

Today, another new article comes out about another problem with Windows Vista... something about networking and music listening.. or something..


Here we are - the world is full of people that have absolute horror stories about Windows. Yet, its a truism that there's fsck all you can do about it other than buy newer versions of Microsoft software spend money on adware blockers and virus blockers and the whole lot.

I have never heard of another product with such a bad rap that gets a complete pass every single day. Each time a person at work tells you a tale of woe, they go back again, and again, and again... and each time, they end up in exactly the same place. Isn't that the definition of "insanity"?

My journey to computer liberation came and ended in a single day, 3 years ago. After reinstalling Windows on my parents' computer for the "i have no idea"th time, i literally drove to the Apple store that day, bought a Mac mini, came back and put it on the table with the following ultimatum.

"I will help you with your computer if you use *this* computer. I will not help you with Windows any more."

The first month was rough getting them into how the Mac operated differently than Windows, but after about 6 months, the calls were coming in about 1 every 6 weeks. Now, i can think of only two times this whole year my mom has called and asked me a computer-related question... and, in fact, one of those was an iPod question... so its really only 1 time in 9 months.


Today, I look at and deal with Windows users like i look at bull riders. Let me tell you how i look at bull riders.

  1. I don't know anything about bull riding. I do know that the pro bull riding association shares a acronym with Pabst Blue Ribbon, and that's no coincidence.
  2. I'm sure bull riders enjoy bull riding, but I'm okay not having anything to do with bull riding. I'm just not interested - please don't bother me with anything bull riding related stories or problems.
  3. If a bull rider tells me he got kicked in the head or a horn in the spine and were paralyzed, I pretty much don't care because - dude, you RODE a fscking BULL! Be glad i'm not thinking that you deserved it.
Now, let me tell you how i look at Windows users.
  1. I don't know anything about Windows. I do know that every so often, Microsoft gets a Windows version name really really right: "wince". I also know that if YouTube spoofs of your product announcements are way better than your actual announcement, you need a new ad agency. And maybe better products too.
  2. I'm sure Windows users enjoy using Windows, but i'm okay with not having anything to do with Windows. I'm not interested - please don't bother me with your Windows-related problems and issues.
  3. If a Windows user tells me he got kicked in the head... sorry... that he got adware that he couldn't get rid of, or that network performance seems to go down when they listen to music or that new Vista-ready videocards cost $1000, i pretty much don't care because dude, you chose to buy a Dell and YOU CHOSE TO USE WINDOWS.

And really, that's the whole point of my post.

The next time someone bitches to you about anything related to Windows problems.. be them viruses, or media playback, or problems with Vista, or anything - remember the bullrider in the wheelchair. Riding a bull or not riding a bull is a choice as equally easy to make as buying a Windows computer and not buying a Windows computer.

What may be the most irritating thing about Windows users - and this is not a joke, this actually happens - is that they'll have a computer go totally to hell with spyware and viruses, and their soultion is to buy ANOTHER, NEW Windows computer.

Why is it called "common sense" if you don't buy another Honda after you've had a really bad go of it with a Honda, but its called "zealotry" if it involves Windows or Macs? Honestly - if YOU have had a bad Mac experience, i would be the LAST person to begrudge you if you didn't buy another one. Try me!

But if you actually go to the lengths of buying a new Windows computer because you're old one is so riddled with spyware/adware/viruses, that is the definition of Helsinki syndrome. And someone should talk these people out of their insanity.

But not me. I just don't care any more.

You like Windows and you bought it? Great for you. You like bull riding and like riding bulls? Great for you too.

What comes along with this "live and let live" mantra is that i don't have to care about your sob stories, your tales of woe, your missing drivers, or your broken arms. B'okay?

Using Macs means you'll spend a little more, get a lot more when you go to sell it, and there's less software choice (!= less good software.. i'll argue there's more good Mac software than Windows software in sheer numbers later).

Using Linux means you'll have to be able to get past the fact that no one can actually prononuce the best version of Linux, you'll be screwed when it comes to the number of people that can answer your questions in real life, and most will assume you're in your mom's basement with your computer with the cover off of it. You will be free of proprietary hitches, and that's a huge upside to Linux - and i think that's a really big deal and more people should take advantage of that fact.

Look, you bought it - you live with it. I don't care. There are a lot of situations in life where your decision will have a better than 50% chance of things going badly because you made that decision.

Windows is one of them. So stop acting like you're the victim. You're not. You, Windows user, are part of the problem.

(Unless you're a Special Olympian... man, those kids really try hard and you just have to give it to them for how great it is to see them working and achieving. So, you can feel bad if someone buys a Special Olympian kid a Windows computer - its not their fault.)


ps: i was going to use NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt as my examples, but i don't own enough guns (yet) to make statements like that in the open.

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