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Cyril Kornbluth was right. | Letters From Home Cyril Kornbluth was right. | Letters From Home

Letters From Home

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Cyril Kornbluth was right.


I think I’ve finally got the laptop almost back to normal.   It took me a couple hours to figure out how to get the wireless card working again (a combination of turning off the Windows firewall, reinstalling McAfee and reinstalling the wireless card drivers).   And now, since I regressed it to a point in time before I made a couple of significant changes such as having it log me in automatically, I’ll have to do that bit over again as well.

And then make a backup.   So hopefully I won’t have to go through this again.

Pontification:   You know, I’ve been using computers since 1969, when they filled whole rooms, ate punch cards and were so sacrosanct that one never actually touched the CPU oneself, but handed in one’s card stack to the Acolyte of the Machine and came back a day later to pick up whatever it spat out (if it did indeed spit).   In the beginning, and for the longest time, people who used computers, whether mainframe or home, were presumed to be intelligent and capable.   Some software was kinda cryptic and a lot of it was illogical, but the person using it was presumed to have enough brain cells to figure it out.

As time has progressed, the purveyors of software appear to have slid more and more into the mentality that all computer users are morons.   The same people who once were considered plenty smart enough to figure out WordPerfect and Procomm and 1-2-3 are now considered to be dullards who can barely point and click.   And the almighty software must needs take care of the poor loser user lest he or she drool upon his or her knuckles and lo, the keyboard she fryeth.

XP is the culmination of a long stretch of “You’re too stupid to live” programming, and the list of assumptions it makes…   well, don’t get me started.   Fixing it when it goes whoopsie involves steps that an intelligent person is perfectly capable of working through (including a lot of stuff typed in at that good old command line that we all aren’t supposed to ever need to know about in the point-and-click world, much less actually use), but which also involve using one’s intelligence to find the flippin’ information in the first place, in the labyrinth that is the MS Knowledgebase.   It’s precisely the people who are way smarter than the “You’re going to point and click and like it” propellerheads programmed for, who are the only ones who are going to be able to figure out how to whop the damn software with a 2 x 4 till it works again.   Everyone else has to call tech support.

But see, I don’t think people have actually gotten dumber over the years, or less capable.   They’ve just been conditioned to think that they are.   The people who use computers today are no different from the people who used computers 20 years ago.   People then could master all kinds of arcane commands in order to get their work done (and WordPerfect, with the world’s most non-mnemonic command structure, was King of the World in those days).   And why not?   They were treated like sentient beings and responded by thinking.   What a concept.   Nowadays, everyone whines that all software has to act alike and look alike because otherwise people won’t be able to get anything done because they’ll have to spend too much time thinking about how to do it.

In the immortal words of Nero Wolfe:   Pfui, say I.

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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