Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Windows Update Makes Me Miss Bill Gates

I've been using Windows since the bad old days of Windows 3.0. I even used some of the older versions once or twice. Those were truly ugly, but things have changed over the years.

Back then, things would crash once you launched a program... or they didn't. It was part of the charm of using Windows. Software would get better, and there were alternatives.

 I disliked that "charm" of Windows so much that when OS/2 came around I happily jumped ship and stayed there much longer than most. It was A Better Windows than Windows, and remained so until Windows 2000 came out.  I also embraced Linux and still use that daily to this day.  Developing software and web pages on Linux have a freedom that you just don't get in some other environment.

Around that time we started seeing updates on a regular basis. Some would work, others not. Thanks to the politics of Microsoft, we were forced to install some rather onerous protection schemes inside of Windows whether we wanted it or not. It didn't protect the person sitting at the computer, just Microsoft.

 That would be another reason why I stayed with OS/2 as long as I did. Windows update would run whether you wanted it to or not, unless you went in and told it not to. But you dare not do that. Never do that because we know what you really want, really we do...

By the time everyone was happily running Windows XP, including me, we learned how to dodge the whole Windows Update nightmare until we wanted it, taming the beast just enough to get work done.

I went from XP to Windows 7 in a leap and I've been very happy with it.  They changed that Windows Update beast to allow you to tell it not to restart immediately.  Now you can delay it for up to Four Hours, and keep repeating that delay.

We won't talk about Windows Vista or Windows 8.  Those were a mistake and hopefully will go away without another word.  That's what happens when you let Focus Groups and Marketing run rampant within a software organization.

That delay is a very good thing since it would take that much for me to close up all my programs and windows and get to a "Logical Breakpoint".  It also let me hide insipid software such as the Bing Desktop and Silverlight.  Useless software from my view.  

All of this came into my mind today in a flash when I saw the helpful little bubble in the lower right asking me if I wanted to update my Windows.   *shudder*

The thing is that there was an update to Windows that said "This may require a restart".   That's why I miss old Bill Gates.  He may have ruined my nice little OS/2, but he also was a force to reckon with.  There's a story or an urban legend about him that said if you had a change that would require a restart of Windows, you had to present it to Bill Gates himself.   Climb that Ivory Tower to the Executive Suite, prostate yourself, and put your neck on the line.  Hopefully you didn't have that neck chopped off!

Things have gotten a bit more sloppy since Bill Gates went on to being a professional philanthropist.  I've noticed a forced restart once or twice, and that sent me back on my little tirade.  Damn Windows!

Luckily, today wasn't that kind of an update.  It took things in stride in my case.  I went in and hid the Bing Desktop (Yuck) and the Silverlight (useless software that slows down Windows 7) and went on my way to do the other updates.

The computer later blew a bubble at me saying Windows Update had completed and I smiled at the little black Asus laptop.  I was up to date and I didn't have to close the five windows of Firefox with over 100 tabs open, three copies of Excel, one of Libre Office, and all the rest of the work I was deeply involved in.

Now if they could just get rid of that wart called Internet Explorer.  I truly hate when I have to run that piece of slop that has worked its way into Windows like mold in cheese.

But that is a rant for another day.

Thanks, Bill Gates... I'll get back to work now.

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