Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Windows 10, and Other Train Wrecks in the History of Marketing

Some marketing schemes are so bad they make sense only after a few years. Consider "train wrecks" like:

* Ross Perot's will-he-won't-he farce of a "Reform Party" campaign in 1992. Can anyone who's not even positive about wanting to run be elected President of the United States? Well, Perot wasn't. But he probably did get what he wanted: just enough swing votes to keep George H.W. Bush from being reelected.

* The garbage that was the electric typewriter. Typewriters worked; Royal Standard and Underwood typewriters worked beautifully. Electric typewriters were a big step backward--they cost more, they didn't work as well, they were harder to use, they buzzed, and it cost money just to have them sitting around, not to mention that typists demanded a pay raise just for putting up with the hateful things. Nevertheless, U.S. companies like Smith-Corona, which had been building decent typewriters, abandoned what was working for them and got behind what didn't and couldn't work...because they were in on IBM's scheme to market personal word processors, from which many of us then "upgraded" to PC's, and then laptops, etc.

* The obnoxiousness of Windows 8. Had Bill Gates had the same virus Hillary Clinton had? Not necessarily, when you consider the evil of Windows 10. It's not just that Windows 10 beams everything you do (look at an adult site? mention a confidential business plan in an e-mail? use somebody's real name?) into "the cloud" for hackers in enemy countries to find. It's not only that now the letters you print and mail privately rather than e-mailing are likely to be backed up into "the cloud" rather than onto your disk drive where they belonged. It's that Windows 10 demands that you destroy the external disk drives so that, just in case you wanted to foil Windows 10's universal blabbermouth feature and type a personal letter using Open Office instead, you won't be able to keep that out of "the cloud" either. The only way anybody would buy Windows 10? Well, duh...they either bought Windows 8 on a new computer or accepted it as a free upgrade, and, having Windows 8, they get Windows 10 as a free...

Don't even say "upgrade," Gentle Readers. Windows 10 is a downgrade. Don't use it. If ever a computer software package deserved to be boycotted to death, Windows 10 does.

(Why is this post labelled "censorship"? Because, if all word and data processing is run through "the cloud," we'll see censorship like the world has never seen before. Type a subversive word like "privacy" and the Global Community Gestapo will be on your door. Using "the cloud" to publish only the things people want to publish won't bring about censorship, because "the cloud" has to compete with real publishing. Running everything through "the cloud" does have the potential to bring about censorship. And harassment. And "disappearances" in the Argentine sense.)

I don't think Bill Gates has suffered major brain damage. I think he's suffered from corporate greed, and the only way to save this man whom so many of us admire will be to hit his corporation in the pockets. If any reasonable number of people return their flashy new computers with Windows 10 to the shops, demand refunds, and walk out with an old reconditioned clunker that has a floppy disk drive...then, even though floppy disk technology needed some further improvements, Gates will get the message and develop Windows 11, with external disk drives, a full modem-free Office Suite, and "cloud" contact only for five seconds immediately following a warning-and-consent message.

Old reconditioned clunkers, like the Sickly Snail (yes, it's still here), don't allow us to do much with the Internet. Specifically, they're likely not to run online ads...which may hurt some of us in the short run but, in the long run, will sink the message into Windows' corporate brain. Some e-friends of this site have lived without online contact for eighty years, so we know we can live without it until Windows 11 hits the stores.

I had thought about writing this all weekend, ever since checking out Windows 10; I'm still not sure to what extent the malaise I've been feeling all weekend was caused by exposure to (1) airborne pesticides, (2) being stung by a wild bee (the cute little workers don't have stingers, but as I found out on Saturday, the big fat queens do), or (3) Windows 10. It definitely did begin with Windows 10.

Those who resolve to sit out this Windows Downgrade deserve some kind of reward, so here's a link to Dan Lewis's story, which made me laugh and also suggested the title for this post.