Rant of the Week

Pushy Annoying Software



I just installed Music Match, an MP3 ripper and player.  It's a nice piece of software.  I got it for free off the internet.  No, I didn't steal it: they're giving it away.  Of course, you can buy an upgrade for $29.  But the version you get for nothing actually does pretty well everything I want it to do.  Thank you.

However...  after I installed it, it started harassing me about upgrading.  But, okay, there is a little button I can click to tell it to stop harassing me.  However, then it started bugging me about going onto the internet to download more information about the artist whose CD was in the player-- Leonard Cohen.  Go away.  Then I ripped some MP3's.  It did not ask me where to put the files.  Why not?  If I ordered a pizza, do you think they would hang up before I gave the address?  Right.  And then they would deliver it to My House in My Neighborhood in My City.  And I would have to go out hunting all over town until I found that house, so I could have my dinner.  

No, I prefer to say: deliver right here, this place, this location-- so I can find it.  Put it in this drawer, so I can keep things organized.  But Windows wants you to store your pictures in My Pictures because it thinks you are incredibly stupid and haven't the slightest idea of how to organize anything.

Music Match crashed, by the way, on a Windows 2000 system.  Windows 2000 crashes-- don't believe people who tell you that Microsoft has finally put out a reliable product.  Microsoft products are full of bells and whistles.  They make a lot of noise as they crash and burn.  I have had Windows 2000 crash while running Windows Explorer, a Microsoft program.  Nothing else. 

When I did humor Music Match and told it to go ahead, find some information on the internet for me, what did it do?  It called up Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  I don't use Explorer.  I use Netscape.

Music Match is by no means the only software out there pushing you around.  Almost everything you install nowadays starts trying to sign you up for Internet access or spam or web portals or whatever.  How convenient, right?  How nice.  It does it all automatically, even if you don't want it to.  Quicken has been harassing me for three years to use their investment services.  Go to hell.   Sorry-- I got mad, after the 1,477th time.

Microsoft, by the way, doesn't think "spam" is a word.  It highlights it with a squiggly red line, as it does words like "honour" and "labour"-- legitimate British spellings.

Anyway, my point is this: we are getting inundated with rude software that knocks on your door offering a valuable service and then takes over your cyber-house.  In the process, it uses up valuable resources on your computer, including drive space and CPU cycles, and wastes your time clicking on messages boxes you did not ask for.  And if you do accept any of their offers, you are likely to get either spammed or ripped off.

This is all part of a concerted plan I identified years ago:  the plan to turn the internet into television.  Television invites you to be a passive moron, watching with a vacuous expression, buying whatever they sell you, blithely accepting vulgar interruptions of every program every few minutes to hawk some valueless piece of junk to you.

The internet used to be different.  But the corporations have taken it over.  They see it as a true wonder of the modern world: a new way to sell things.  A new way to manipulate people.  A new audience of suckers for these vampires to sink their teeth into.

All Contents Copyright Bill Van Dyk 2000 All Rights Reserved