Some thoughts on operating systems and such:

I have used some variant of Non-Micro$oft OS intermittently, at least since around 2004.

I had dabbled with Red Hat (I think) as far back as 1996(?), but I never really got “into” it, for various reasons:

Mostly it was because the hardware I acquired tended to be pre-infested with whatever Micro$oft was trying to foist on everybody.    For some years, the guys in the music group I had co-founded insisted on using (of all things) CoolEdit (and later Cooledit pro), as their chosen DAW (Digital audio workstation) application.  This didn’t specifically lock me into using that program (or any windows variant, for that matter) — I could have exported the WAV files, and imported them into whatever DAW program I decided ti use, etc. — but it just seemed like a lot of hassle.

Then I got bitten in the ass by the fact that everything Micro$oft has ever made is abysmally flawed.

First, I got a “virus”.  That prompted me to research (and then run) something called an “anti-virus” program — and do (at least sporadic) backups of the stuff on my drives.

That got me to thinking: Why invest all the effort into “anti-virus” and “backup” and such — when with only slightly more effort, I could switch to any of a variety of Operating systems which effectively don’t have the “virus” problem?

See, one of the primary reasons “viruses” are endemic to everything Micro$oft produces is:

  1. Too much hardware comes pre-insted with Micro$oft garbage by default
  2. Too many users have no idea what they’re doing.

That’s the root issue behind the so-called “market-share and demographics”  euphemism:

Hordes of the ignorant and gullible, whose “choice” of Operating System is DEPENDENT on that ignorance and gullibility.

Now, don’t get me wrong: it doesn’t take any effort to be ignorant and gullible.  

As Ayn Rand put it:

Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. Joy is not “the absence of pain,” intelligence is not “the absence of stupidity,” light is not “the absence of darkness,” an entity is not “the absence of a nonentity.” Building is not done by abstaining from demolition; centuries of sitting and waiting in such abstinence will not raise one single girder for you to abstain from demolishing. . . . Existence is not a negation of negatives.

In other words, acquiring information (and being able to error-check information one has already acquired) are active skills.  They require effort and focus.

The problem is: “intuitive” or “user-friendly” interfaces allow people to “get away with” vast swaths of ignorance, really early on.

And no, this isn’t some curmodgeonly rant about GUI interfaces “dumbing down” computer users.  The whole point of a GUI (from the beginning) was to provide an “intuitive” interface for those who didn’t know much about computers.

(This is also why the CLI — command-line interface — is so intimidating to so many people.)

At any rate: a definite tendency over the course  of so-called “personal” computing has involved putting a huge amount of effort into creating “simple” interfaces, usable by those who otherwise had no idea what the hell they were doing.

This (seldom-acknowledged) fact has led to what passes for “tech-support humor”:

So, that’s been the dichotomy all along:

Those who actually know what they’re doing (“geeks”), design and build technologies to be usable by those who DON’T.

This observation goes a long way toward explaining why so much “help documentation” sucks.  Telling someone to RTFM (read the fucking manual) is useless, when even by the NEA (National Education Association) metrics themselves, only 15% of the U.S. population qualify as “proficient” readers.

Quite frankly, 85% of the U.S. population are totally — or “functionally” — illiterate.

Think about that.

The 15% figure for full literacy, equivalent to a university undergraduate level, is consistent with the notion that the “average” American reads at a 1st or 2nd grade level which is also consistent with recommendations, guidelines, and norms of readability for medication directions, product information, and popular fiction


Quite frankly, I find that horrifying.

Think about this: “Compulsory” schooling is inflicted  for TWELVE YEARS.  (I’m not even going to get into the debate over teacher pay, unions, cost per student, etc.)

The result?  a nation-state where the vast majority of the populace “read” at a second-grade level.

And the bad thing is: Literacy/numeracy are the “gateway” skills to EVERYTHING ELSE.

And THEN people wonder why stuff like THIS becomes “popular”:



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