Wednesday, November 14

For someone who loves computers, I sure do hate them.

I don't mean computers in the abstract sense. I mean it in the specific, concrete, sitting on my desk sense. Filling the world with the endless gray hum of cooling fans, disc access, and high frequency monitor whine, all overlaid with a static of mice and cheap mushy keyboards almost-clicking. Casting everywhere the pale radiance of monitor and light emitting diode. Endless beige and off white boxes, diluted by a few clever calculated colors to distract the raccoon segment of the market, insinuating themselves into every crack and crevice of life's structure with a determination and persistence beyond the ken of mortal man. Like some kind of creeping, all consuming plague. Those computers.

I hate 'em.

I hate the mushy keyboards, and the beige, and the tangled cables snaking everywhere through my room. I hate the constant case-fan hum, the little green glowing LED's, and the insipid .wav's that my roommate's Windows box plays every time it reboots, and even worse, the grating asinine breeeping emitted by my PC speaker every time I hit the top of a buffer in vi, or try to do an ambiguous filename completion in Bash, or look crosseyed at the damn thing.

I'm sick of the time I spend moving this cheap, badly designed little mouse around on the overcluttered surface of my desk, clicking on stuff that I shouldn't need to click on. I loathe typing stuff that I shouldn't need to type, thinking vague thoughts about repetitive stress injury, and why the @#$! isn't this automated anyway? And all the time I simply waste because there's nothing the technology in my life makes it easier for me to do than waste time, when I should be reading a book or screwing around outside in the sun or talking to some random girl or maybe, just maybe, using the computer as the amazingly powerful tool it's supposed to be in order to create something or communicate with someone human.

The hardware grates on my every nerve because the hardware has all the external aesthetic appeal of a giant off-white cinderblock office building full of low-walled cubicles and fluorescent lighting (filtered, inevitably, through yellowing textured plastic covers set between false ceiling panels). And because with each passing year, the hardware grows bigger, louder, uglier, and more bogged down in the useless bloat of the software. My hardware disgust can't hold a candle to my feelings for software.

Windows sucks. Windows and Office and all that bloated, noxious, undercapable and overdemanding complex. No matter how much it technically improves, Windows will continue to suck from now until the day it finally collapses under the weight of Microsoft's monumental, psychotic arrogance. Or perhaps the day when the unyielding, viciously mundane forces that drive Microsoft's dominance reveal themselves in corporeal form and assume mastery of the world. At least then we could take up arms against them...

You in the back, with the facial hair and the Think Different t-shirt. Siddown. I don't even want to hear it. If there's any corporate entity in the tech world more psychotically arrogant than Microsoft, it's the shiny happy bullshit factory that is Apple. I don't care how cool Apple's tech is, and I really don't care how cool Apple *thinks* their tech is, or their industrial design, or their genius for user interface which, if only their competition would stop ripping them off so incompetently, would free us all from the shackles of mediocrity and exalt our souls, lift us up from the drear muck of our everyday lives, and reveal the dizzying truth: The world's bad graphic designers aren't *really* on crack, they're just tuned into a higher reality through their Macintoshes. A reality where thousands of egoistic Photoshop-monkeys' massed output constitutes a body of work more significant than all Western art prior to the late 20th Century. I just don't want to hear it.

And you lot! You seething mass of mascot toting, code-happy would-be network revolutionaries! What have you really learned? Concede you the moral high ground, the overwhelming advantage of giving everything away, the mindset to be happy about it, and 95% of the software I have any use for. Give you the benefits of the world's biggest network and a set of common enemies who did their part for freedom by creating a universe of mostly open, cheap hardware because they were too busy thrashing the competition in every way they could think of short of firebombing something or marketing a superior product to realize they were sowing the seeds of their own hopefully inevitable destruction...

What are you actually doing with it? Why does every OS in the world still suck so often? And why the hell am I sitting here typing this instead of out getting laid? What, exactly is wrong with this picture? Where's my doughnut!?

(Raccoons, see, are pathologically attracted to bright, shiny objects. Or at least I think they are. I've always been told they are. If you want concrete evidence, how about the bit in Where the Red Fern Grows, easily my favorite Sentimental Boyhood Dog Book With A Devastating Ending, where they trap the 'coon by putting some shiny object at the bottom of a hole drilled in a log and ringed with nails, so that when the coon grasped the object (let's say it was a nickel), it became impossible to withdraw his paw from the hole without being caught on the nails. I remember feeling a horrified fascination at the thought of being trapped that way, perfectly able to escape but unwilling to give up the glittering prize.)