When Ron Paul finishes with the Federal Reserve, I hope he does something about Bill Gates.  I just bought a new Toshiba netbook for reasons best described as conspicuous consumption as I absolutely do not need it.  It comes with Windows 7 preinstalled as the operating system.  But it is a milquetoast 7 version called “Starter” that is so basic and so un-capable that I am astonished that anyone would put it on a computer let alone pretend that it is somehow state of the art.  It will not, for example, allow you to put wallpaper of any kind on your new computer so you are stuck with a blank screen when you turn it on.  I have never seen an operating system that will not allow you personal wallpaper so I have to conclude that it is a clever marketing ploy as NO ONE wants a computer without a picture of a cute grandkid or the labrador beaming back from the screen. 

This deficiency requires you to upgrade.  To upgrade 7 Starter to the home version you have to shell out another 80 beans, for which Bill sends you a number that you can punch in to activate the home version from some internet site somewhere.  And if my experience with Microsoft in the past is anything to go by, the upgrade will probably not work very well, with weird messages popping up at intervals telling me that I had inadvertently created a crisis situation that can only be resolved by war. 

That Bill has become the richest man in the world by establishing a monopoly in the computer marketplace with a whole series of crappy products is, I suppose, a tribute to American ingenuity and grit but somehow I wish I could use Microsoft software without feeling that I am constantly being screwed.