Sunday, June 26, 2011


Pain in acute myocardial infarction (front)
Image via Wikipedia
As I recall, I’m supposed to be working up to a serious post on economic matters, but meanwhile you (my merry band of readers) are due a report on Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer. Consider this an interim report because I’m damned if I yet know how it all works.

I guess it is supposed to be intuitive, but I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in wanting a HELP MENU. There isn’t one. This is Microsoft country where all the Microsoft Pharisees already know what to do, and the rest can go and do anatomically impossible things.

I remember the days when I was introduced to a program called Word Perfect, and thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was pretty much WHYSIWYG and it had a marvelous set-up page. In it, you merely chose what you wanted – ‘defaults’ in the jargon of the medium - and it did exactly that until YOU changed it.
Today, software seems to have a mind of its own; and I don’t take kindly to it. I set the FONT SIZE at 12 point and it immediately changes to 9.9. And so on! Yes, I know that there is probably a simple solution to all this – if one is familiar with the ‘Microsoft Way’  - but I regard such an assumption, in the absence of a HELP MENU, as arrogance.

There is no doubt at all, but that software is improving, but I still have a suspicion that the people who write software, and real people, come from different races; and from different planets at that. They certainly come from different cultures, and, believe me, that shows.

I hold Microsoft – its movers and shakers - in debatable regard for the following reasons:
  • For most of the last quarter century plus, they have marketed operating systems that have overpromised and under–performed to the great distress of hundreds of millions, probably billions, of users. I hate to think how many businesses they have bankrupted, suicides they have caused, relationships they have destroyed, and heart-attacks they have induced.  Personal computers are personal, and the consequences of their failure are just that.
  • They are a monopoly, and have long abused their dominant position.  They have maintained it though unethical behavior. In fact, I see scant evidence that Microsoft has a moral sense.
  • They don’t have a healthy corporate ethos. Whereas Google has thought through the obvious fact that treating people well pays – consider the corporate environment and 20% time to do what you please – Microsoft just believes in long hours, and divide and conquer. As their architecture reflects, they are remarkably dull slave-masters.
  • I don’t know what goes on in the bowels of Microsoft, but their people come across – particularly when considered in relation to their resources – as lacking the innovation gene, and excessively corporate in mindset.
Apple’s courageous decision to switch to a more reliable Unix based operating system illustrates the contrast. The corporation took the risk that its user base put up with having to buy completely new software because the new Apple OS would not run legacy software – and it paid off. Apple has the proven ability to generate significant customer loyalty over the long term. Microsoft primarily trades upon corporate inertia.

I think I’ll leave my latest comments on Windows Live Writer for another day.

Regarding UNIX, I came to the conclusion years ago that I should using it. I was talked out of by all my DOS/Windows support system on the grounds that I wouldn’t get the support I needed, there wasn’t enough software available and it would cost too much to run. In the end I went with the prevailing wisdom. It is frequently, perhaps normally, wrong. It was in this case.
It’s a foolish thing to defy one’s instincts.


Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment