[sf-lug] Consumer & admin (was: Possibly interesting data point on jobs postings)

Greg Nelson gnelson at gmail.com
Fri May 19 10:36:20 PDT 2006

We all tend to value our possessions at what they cost us, an irrational
error but one that comes naturally.  Corporations that make unwise purchases
will keep assets on their balance sheets at inflated values for years, to
avoid admitting their loss. Very few of us are enthusiastic about reforming
English spelling, since the years we spent learning it would then be
revealed to be wasted.  Those who have struggled for years to learn to use
Windows want to believe that what they have learned is worth the effort they
spent on it, and their minds resist any suggestion that there might be a
simpler way.  So all of the time that the world's PC users spent futzing
with their Windows machines, editing windows.bat, struggling to use the help
systems, wrestling with gratuitous complexity, which in truth is dead
economic waste, is also an investment in  a secure future for Microsoft.
Based on a comment that Bill Gates has made, I suspect that Microsoft
realizes this, and therefore delays their introduction of simpler, more
easily-managed versions of Windows with some deliberation.  But I also think
that if they wait too long, they will lose the game, since Linux and the web
have introduced competition into what was a secure monopoly, and the costs
of complexity are real, and capitalism is pretty effective at exposing true
costs.  The stakes are higher than one company's survival: if the gratuitous
complexity in Windows becomes deeply embedded in the culture, I suppose it
could last as long as the atrocity of English spelling.

Greg Nelson

On 5/18/06, Bill Kendrick <nbs at sonic.net> wrote:
> On Tue, May 16, 2006 at 08:00:31PM -0700, jim stockford wrote:
> > I have to say I don't buy it--the stereotypical aunt tilly cannot
> > manage virus and other software on Windows.
> <snip>
> > People who can do a little on Windows have climbed a (available,
> > well-documented) learning curve and are clinging there, shivering on
> > the mountain side, clutching at what's familiar, afraid of letting go.
> _Seriously_! :^)
> This is why, why I replaced my dad's ancient Mac OS 9 system, I dropped in
> a PC running Linux and KDE.  He has had _very_ few problems with it, and
> between myself and friendly folks from NBLUG, it has needed near
> 0 maintenance, and has been easy enough for my dad to use (jotting down
> notes to himself for this-and-that).  It also cost a grand total of $50
> for the PC, if I recall correctly.
> A Windows get-up would've been way more expensive to install, and way more
> of a pain-in-the-ass to maintain.  Plus, the UI is so freaking
> inconsistent
> that I imagine it would have been way harder for my dad to deal with,
> coming from a Mac.
> --
> -bill!
> bill at newbreedsoftware.com
> http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/
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Greg Nelson
greg at perlnelson.org
839 Richardson Ct Palo Alto, CA USA 94303
(650) 856 8103 (home) (650) 856 8103 (office) (650) 954 5338 (mobile)
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