Website owner:  James Miller

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On Microsoft, computer problems, and abuse of power

Microsoft has just installed an update to my computer. I try to print something and the print function isn’t working. Investigating, I discover that my printer has been replaced by some other device as the default printer. I check in the Control Panel and my printer is not in the list of printing devices. “Oh, no!”, I think. “What do I do now? Another computer problem!” Only a couple weeks ago I went through a day or two of deep frustration with a problem in which my computer was refusing to bring up most (but not all) internet sites. Finally, after going in circles on the problem for hours, doing everything I could think of, including restoring a previous core image, which still didn’t fix the problem, I called my internet service provider and one of their technicians, after spending over an hour with me, finally located the cause of the problem: My router. I needed a new router. If I think back over my life and reflect over what has been the biggest source of frustration for me, the answer is very easy. Computers! Starting with my first PC, around 1989, there have been an endless series of bouts of deep frustration. I think the first one was from the virus package that I installed on my first computer. It messed the system all up and a company technician spent a lot of time with me over the phone removing it from my system, one piece at a time. And I have a background in computers. I did programming on some of the first computers. I do wonder how the average nontechnical person handles these kinds of problems. If it is frustrating for me it must be frustrating for him.

It used to be that Microsoft was nice. They were considerate and polite. They gave you an option of declining an update if you didn’t want it, and even of declining all updates. Now things are different. Under Windows 10, you don’t have that option. They just come in and install whatever they want on your computer whether you like it or not. You no longer have any control over what changes they make. They just come in and alter your system as they please. (It is reminiscent of the conduct of some dictator in a totalitarian state. You don’t have any rights -- he does whatever he wishes.) If one of their updates is messing up your computer what can you do? You can uninstall it but they will just come back in and reinstall it. It all leads to a feeling of deep helplessness. You are a helpless victim. You start thinking, “Isn’t there a way I could simplify my life by eliminating these monsters (computers) from my life?!” Unfortunately, after a bit of reflection over that possibility, I decide that there isn’t. I might go to my local library and use their internet stations to access the internet but I need a computer to maintain my website. If I want to continue maintaining my website, I am stuck with them.

Monopolies. Microsoft has a monopoly. That means it is in a position of power. It is the old story. When people get into a position of power, high arrogance sets in and they start doing whatever they wish. They realize that they can get away with it and so they do it. They start walking on people, trampling them, riding roughshod over them, doing whatever they want. Examples are found all through human history. Nazi Germany and the communist countries of recent history (Russia, China, Cambodia) are modern day examples. If I really thought that Microsoft was steadily improving its operating system perhaps I might feel differently. But it seems to me that each new version of Windows is worse than the previous one. They just love changing things. I don’t think that with all the constant changing there has been any improvement in the user interface over the years. I think it gets worse. I wonder if money plays any part in their love of changing things. Anyway, I would very gladly go back to one of the older systems except for the fact that my experience has been that the anti-virus providers stop supporting the older systems. I don’t want to go on the internet without anti-virus protection.

If I think back over what I have seen over my 77 years of life, reflect over all the people I have known, reflect over their conduct, I am forced to a conclusion: a very large portion of people that you encounter are bad. If they are not bad in one way, they are bad in another. Maliciousness, viciousness, selfishness, greed, deceit, moral depravity. A great many people can be described as “survivors”. They will lie, cheat, steal, and perhaps even murder, to get what they want (which is usually money). And one way in which many people are bad is that they will get themselves into a position of power over some person or group of people and then try to force their will on them, coerce them, walk on them, use them, exploit them, abuse them. Some people just seem to get a special pleasure in forcing their will on people, ordering them around. You see it with men who deliberately keep their wives dependent on them, and then try to force their will on them. You see it in all these homeowner’s associations around the country where, it seems to me, a particular breed of person is attracted towards serving on their governing boards — people who love power and get pleasure from imposing their ideas on others (miniature dictators). You see it with socialists and communists who will gain power in a country and then try to force their will on an entire country.

I think there is not much in life that is more important to me than freedom and independence. I don’t think there is much that I would dislike more than being under the thumb of some bad person. Being able to think and act as I want is very important to me. How can you avoid getting into such unpleasant positions? Instead of squandering your money on all kinds of foolishness, things you don’t need and self-indulgent pleasures, save and invest it. Saved money can be a really great friend when in a difficult position. For me, there is no better reason to save money. Saved money gives a feeling of comfort.

Nov 2016

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