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Bill Gates is not my Friend

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.

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#1 Comment By Thomas On February 22, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

We can add to this that the man’s famed ‘philanthropy’ largely consists of funding birth and population control in the Third World. He loves the black and brown people of the Third World sooooo much….he wants them to die off.

#2 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On February 22, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

Phil, just get a MAC and breath free! Gates is the dark side of the market.

#3 Comment By Mike On February 22, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

You have eloquently articulated some of the reasons I am a proud Mac user. I could not be happier with the user-friendliness, quality of the hardware and software, customer service, reliability, and even aesthetic qualities my Mac setup has.

Be warned, though: once you live for a while on a Mac, you’ll never want to go back!

#4 Comment By Anonymous On February 22, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

Why would you buy a netbook without taking a look at what you are getting into?

#5 Comment By TomB On February 22, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

Give that PC back while you still can, add a few more bucks, and go Macintosh my friend. You’ll never go back. Never.

#6 Comment By DirtyHarriet On February 22, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

Wipe the hard drive clean and install Linux.

Embrace your inner geekdom, Phil 🙂

#7 Comment By Craig On February 22, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

I recently bought a Toshiba netbook for my wife and upgraded it to Windows 7 Home Premium the following day. The upgrade took only a few minutes and I had no difficulties with it. (It must not have needed to download very much new material; maybe Starter Edition is just Home Premium with a special license that disables various features.)

It’s pretty clear that Starter Edition is intended to be sufficiently annoying that most people will want to upgrade it.

#8 Comment By Martin On February 23, 2010 @ 9:11 am

Yeah, buy a Mac. I will only cost you about twice the amount.

#9 Comment By Jack Tracey On February 23, 2010 @ 10:52 am

Kudos to DirtyHarriet for mentioning an open source alternative to MS and Mac OS.

Double kudos for figuring out how to post an emoticon in her comments!

Dr Giraldi, now that you’re retired, maybe you can take some time to give Linux a try and report back to the rest of us. I hear nothing but good things about it. [1]. If you get stuck, you can always call Leo Laporte.

#10 Comment By Philip Giraldi On February 23, 2010 @ 11:35 am

Who’s retired Jack? Having borne the full brunt of the stock market meltdown and the housing bubble and being totally dependent on what might happen to social security and medicare, I now estimate that I might be able to afford a cheap nursing home when I turn 90.

#11 Comment By Jack Tracey On February 23, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

Maybe you can start a new career as a Linux expert!

#12 Comment By daddysteve On February 23, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

Ditto on the Linux. Fedora will give you a warm and fuzzy “point and click” little world just like windoze and it’s more stable. I’ve been running old ass Fedora 7 for two and a half years with no anti-virus and haven’t had to re-install once.

#13 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On February 23, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

Yes, If you can’t get a MAC, open source operating systems like Linux are the way to go.

BTW Harriet, how did you get an emoticon to post here?

#14 Comment By DirtyHarriet On February 24, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

All I did was type the happy face sign and it posted as an emoticon. I am not sure I’ve ever had it happen here before.

Or maybe I inadvertently uncovered the secrets of the universe (TAC blogs)..? LOL.