Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lowest common denominator

Microsoft recently released anti-spyware software which some people see as an anti-competitive move against several small companies that were selling spyware removal tools. I remember the Netscape saga as well as the next guy, but I think what Microsoft has done is (for once) good for the public at large.

Windows is lowest-common-denominator software. Everyone uses it including people who can't afford a system administrator. It is a waste of time and talent for these people to spend more than a few hours a year fixing their OS. For years I would have long phone conversations with my dad to solve his computer (read Windows) problems. And I could count on spending an afternoon trying to fix things every time I came home from college. Fortunately, a combination of his understanding and Windows usability has eliminated those duties. But I still have to help my grandparents set up their email. And help my in-laws get rid of viruses and spyware.

I have a dirty little secret. I don't know what I'm doing either. My entire professional life and much of my personal life has been spent working on computers and it took me a few weeks to upgrade to Windows XP. Moments after I installed it the first time, my computer was invaded by a virus (MyDoom I think) that caused it to reboot every time I connected to the Internet.

Things would be worse if Linux were the LCD OS. I'm glad that I don't have to remove spyware for Joy's sister anymore. She can just run Microsoft's anti-spyware software. It would be better if Windows security wasn't as loose as a prostitute, but failing that, at least Microsoft is starting to give out medicine and vacines.

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