Saturday, October 07, 2006

Really Good Anti-Windows Rant

Here (H/T Peeve Farm).


Normally, I use Macs for 75% of my day-to-day stuff and only dip into Windows when I’m learning about a new bit of software or hardware, or need to do something that can’t be done on a Mac…or if a Windows machine is simply the handiest keyboard. But for the past few months, Windows has had to be a 50-50 partner. My next book, due out in November (iPod: Fully Loaded; oh, aren’t you a dear for asking) is as much about PCs as it is about Macs.

Yes, on a daily basis, I had cause to remember that the word for the act of throwing something through a window is “defenestrate,” and that the ten-syllable obscene compound gerund that describes a male offspring of a female dog who, in turn, engages in coitus with her own mother and has been forsaken by the Lord Himself is… well, decorum prevents me.

“When you get past the schoolyard mentality and the stupid, ignorant prejudices,” you have heard people say, “what we have are two different operating systems that each work very, very well. Really, it’s not a matter of good or bad. It’s just a matter of personal preference.”

Those are very wise words. I have said much the same thing. But what I’ve endured over the past few months is the equivalent of a weeklong road trip with someone whose company you’ve always enjoyed, but never really known as a true friend. Windows has propped its bare smelly feet up on my dashboard and told me the story about how he was so hung over during his aunt’s funeral that he threw up into the coffin a little. His greasy hair has left smears on the inside of the window that no solvent can shift. He just sort of assumed that he could use my iPod, and during the one time he took a turn at the wheel, the battery was completely flat and I had to listen the story about the funeral a second time.

So I’m not saying that my fond regards won’t return in time. But I’m going to have to spend a few weeks alone first.

In the meantime, how do I hate Windows? Let me count the ways:


Keeping Windows running and stable is like maintaining a pair of underpants.

Ideally, you could just patch the holes and tears and thin spots as you go, but deep down you know that you’re just staving off the inevitable. The thing is designed to be used it until it no longer has any structural integrity whatsoever, at which point you’ll have to toss the whole thing.

It’s just a fundamental truth of Windows. A once-stable OS installation slowly grinds itself to pieces over time. Hour after hour, week after week, hundreds of bits of poorly-designed software each leave their individual dings, scratches, and fingerprints in the system directory. Unless you’re fairly knowledgeable and extremely aggressive about preventative maintenance, the only truly successful solution is a clean re-install.

I’ve got some good friends who are top Windows experts and I’m no slouch myself (dammit)…yet many of the PCs that I’m loaned for review purposes don’t even stay 100% operational for the 30 to 60 days I have ‘em. Here’s a notebook that three weeks later, keeps tabbing itself to another window without warning. A desktop that is suddenly fully-functional except for the trivial matter of actually showing anything on any monitor. Another notebook which takes (no joke) nine minutes to wake from hibernation.

And I’ve had problems with Macs, too. But it’s an uncanny syndrome with Windows.

Every new PC comes pre-loaded with useless junk.

Apple pre-installs some software on new Macs, but it’s either terrific free stuff (like iLife) or demo apps that don’t bother you if you don’t use them.

Thirty days after you unpacked a new PC, it starts. The DVD decoder starts asking you if you want to now purchase the optional super DVD decoder. The antivirus app tells you that your subscriptions are out of date and you need to provide a credit-card number. There was some kind of branded media player that you never launched even once, and it continues to throw popups in your face every five minutes despite your yelling at the screen every time it happens.

Yes, your user experience has now turned into Pledge Week at your local public television station…and you didn’t even get to see a Monty Python marathon first.


No comments: