Edge Tech - Rant!

Rant! Lance Arthur

The Marc and The Beast

I don't hate Bill Gates.

I don't know Bill Gates, so I don't hate him. Admittedly, I am probably soft-selling my feelings about him and his company because I know that someday, everyone involved with Web development will be pulled into the Redmond vortex and willingly trade blood for gold to provide content, design and know-how to the Beast. I welcome that day, and I hope the stock options split twice.

Mr. Gates is a hungry man with blinders on. His company can afford to keep making these mistakes ­ what's a little wide-open security breach (or three) between friends? ­ because what are we going to do about it? You can cry to the heavens for a deliverer all you want, but I'm here to tell you there ain't no battle for the desktop, guys and dolls. The war is over and victory has been ceded.

Do I begrudge the man his triumph? On the contrary. Anyone who can steal ­ I mean, cheaply purchase ­ an operating system meant for decade-old equipment and prop it up with a Push Here button and cascading menus from the bottom instead of the top (cool!) deserves our devotion. And thanks be to the maker (Intel) that hard-drive and RAM prices continue to fall, or we wouldn't have Word processors to underline misspelled words and talking pop-up paperclips to point out that we have no idea how inept we are. Frankly, I not only want software packages that inflate to fill more drive space than drives themselves used to be capable of, I get hard just thinking about that size bloat.

It has been Gates's policy to Buy Not Build, swallowing entire companies whose products succeeded where MS products froze up and died. That works for me. I need fewer choices in my life; heck, I have trouble deciding whether to have coffee or juice with my McMuffin anymore. Slenderize my alternatives, Bill. Innovation, schminnovation: I want simplicity!

Bill is not alone in his quest for domination. All companies exist for the same purpose: to win. To be the biggest. To make the most money. I'm sure Marc is not sitting in his undoubtedly plush Northern California office plotting ways to be nicer and to allow other platforms to take his market share. And I don't care which multibillionaire I make even richer by choosing his product. In the battle of David and Goliath, I tend to favor the audience who'll either find themselves squished when the giant falls or rallying around some kid who happens to throw one rock well.

What I resent about Bill is that he has no vision. He didn't see the Internet when it was flopping around on the old newspaper. He didn't see it when it was being gutted and scaled. When the head got chopped off and the fire was turned up, he was down at the beach collecting old shells. At last the smell reached his nostrils ­ that familiar scent of money ­ and he threw his collection of ex-crustaceans aside and grabbed the skillet, proclaiming loudly to the assembled masses that here, here was the future!

Duh, Bill.

Now he's presenting himself as the Deliverer and preaching the Gospel. He gives away software and reinvents old broken things (OLE) into shiny new broken things (ActiveX). The Beast roars and the masses cower, fearing that if they do not follow in his tracks they will die in the shadows or be eaten alive. So it has been written, so it has been done. Marc cannot save us. No one can. Bill's fleet is harvesting the oceans, dazzling us with morsels as we swim into the net.

It seems everyone either hates or loves Bill. Me, a little of both. Whine all you want (as I do) about the nature of the beast, but admire his cunning and tenacity.

Thank you, Bill, for limiting the choices of my life and making everything so much simpler. Heaven knows where I'd be without you.

What do you think?


jlennon said:

Crashes in our personal computing are inconvenient and frustrating. In business however, they can become very expensive. Especially when one needs the tools or research or whatever to complete the given task or project. Netscape (3.0) started locking up on me last January. Several times a day. Despite crash guard. (Which I believe should have it's name changed from "Crash Guard" to "Stand By and Yell, 'Look Out!', After the User has Smashed Into the Pillar") About every third crash was a hard crash, requiring reboot.

Join the conversation!

Most Active Topics:

Topic 11 The Marc and The Beast

Topic 13 Stop Crashing on Me!

Topic 23 FYI: Fallback Plans

All Rant! Topics



Lance Arthur recently quit his old, boring job of nine years and took a new, exciting one that we won't talk about since they use lots of Bill's products there and he's still in that 90-day probation period.

He maintains a personal site, glassdog, where he can exist in a dream world of his own construction and ignore those annoying societal traits known as reality and common sense.

Lance lives just outside Boston with a large potted palm to be named later and a collection of way too many albums and CDs.

What makes you
want to rant?

Also in Rant!:

The Marc and The Beast
It seems like everyone either loves or hates Bill Gates. For me, it's a little of both.

Push Media: The Web's Bug Zapper
We have to unhitch ourselves from the horse and cart model of traditional media if we're going to get anywhere.

Driving Their Industry into the Ground
Car design has been relegated to prettifying the same old thing instead of innovating the cars themselves.

Complete Archive


edge tech


electric minds | virtual community center | world wide jam | edge tech | tomorrow | conversations

Any questions? We have answers.

©1996, 1997 electric minds, all rights reserved worldwide.
electric minds and the electric minds logo are trademarks of electric minds
online information system by Leverage