Saturday, December 15, 2012

I Am Done with Microsoft

I say this as I type this on a Win 7 computer using IE 9 (don't ask why I'm using IE 9; it's a tiresome story and there's no payoff).

I don't mean that I'm throwing it all out right now. But I won't be replacing things with MS products (*knock wood*). In some cases I have alternatives in mind. For others I'll just have to wait and see.

I'm not one of those people who always hated MS. I didn't hate it when it was fashionable. Americans almost always hate Goliath and root for the underdog, and there's always a Goliath and always some scrappy youth trying to take him on. Before MS it was IBM, and before IBM it was Bell Telephone, and before that it was General Motors and before that it was RCA (yes, people forget RCA used to be big and scary) and so on. At the turn of the century it was The Railroads. And on and on.

My beef with MS now is that I feel like they're definitely on the downhill slide; that all their products peaked about a decade ago. I was never a huge fan of Windows but for a long time I felt like it trended better; then it peaked with Windows XP. I started with Excel 95, felt that it peaked at 2000, and hit a major skid with the 2007 downgrade. It's as if they never got over the fact that MS Works was a piece of shit, so they put the Works people in charge of Office and Works'd it.

You win. I quit.

The straw, and that's what this literally is, the final straw was a wireless keyboard. Bought it because I'd liked some MS keyboards in the past and I don't like Logitech. But the MS keyboard lacks a capslock LED. Sound niggling? It is until you're typing in case-sensitive passwords and can't figure out why they're not being accepted, until you finally think that maybe you hit the Caps lock by mistake and your cases are backward. But you can't just glance to see if the caps-lock light is on; it's an MS keyboard, you have to click on another field or open another window to type something and determine whether caps lock is on or off.

I'm fed up.

But I'm not really angry (except for ruining Excel; I still have to use that at work), I'm really looking at this as a key to freedom. It's like expatriating yourself; yes, you lose the familiarity of your home country, but there are a lot of other countries to choose from. Some are unpalatable (I never liked Apple), some are scary (Linux), some are mostly unknown (Android). But they're out there. They're different, and they have their ups and downs. Just like MS. Except hopefully I'll like their Ups more and dislike their Downs less.

A couple years ago, I couldn't imagine myself thinking this way.

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