Don’t complain about Windows

Someone on a mailing list was whining about how his totally legit copy of Windows XP had taken offense at some changes he made to his system, and he’d had to phone up Microsoft and grovel for a new activation code to enter before he could boot his PC and get his data back.

Well, I’m kinda unsympathetic towards people who choose to support Microsoft by buying their software but then whine about how awful it is. I replied with a flame, pointing out that it’s perfectly possible to live a rewarding life without ever buying anything from Microsoft. I said that since he’d chosen to be Bill’s bitch in spite of abundant magazine articles about the evils of XP, he should just shut up, bend over, and enjoy what he’d paid for.

This turned into a surprisingly insightful discussion about operating system choice, during which he admitted that the main reason he was still using Windows was that he was familiar with it after twenty years, and didn’t want to have to spend money and learn something new.

At this point, I realized something: I am unlike a lot of other people, in that I mostly embrace change rather than fearing it. When CD came out, I took a trip up to London to the one store that had CD players, and listened to one. When I got home, I started saving my money. I didn’t buy a single vinyl LP after 1985.

Similarly, I embraced MiniDisc, in spite of my investment in cassette tapes. I switched to DVD as soon as all the movie studios were releasing discs, even though I had a VCR. I’m still working on switching from serial ports and SCSI to USB and Firewire. And I just switched to OS X, even though it has meant spending about $150 on software upgrades and crossgrades, learning a new UI, and spending a couple of days rearranging my hard drive and getting comfortable with how everything is best stored under the new OS. (And yes, I use the new Finder, and the dock.)

Change is good. Change is life. The opposites of change are stasis, death, conservatism, nostalgia, Republicans, and various other evils.

Sure, you have to be wary of change-for-the-sake-of-change. But when you can see that there’s a better way of doing things, surely it’s foolish to give in to inertia?