Why Computer Suck I April 7, 2006Posted by gordonwatts in computers.
We had a great talk this Monday from Packard at UC Berkeley on superfluids. A bunch of his work revolves around using the human ear as a detector. He had a few sound files embedded in his talk (PowerPoint) and would play them for the audience.
At one point, however, he hit some special button on his slide control and up popped Music Matchbox. It had never run before, so it started playing some intro song — very loud… while he scrambled to shut it off. This generated the usual set of jokes "Stupid Microsoft" and "You would have been better off with Apple/Linux." Packard handled it perfectly, made a joke that got everyone to laugh (I can't remember it) and moved on.
But, boy did that suck. Had that happened to me in the middle of a large talk I'd have been pretty pissed at my computer. And the problem he had was with crapware, as it is called. Many people (both inside and outside Microsoft) now recommend that you repave a computer you purchase from Dell (repave == reinstall the OS without all the Dell, etc., addons) or whomever. I can't agree more — my Toshiba has many many utilities that came with the system — 15-20 of them. Most of them I never use or care much about. And they are all there, slowing down my system. My sister's machine was a bit of a mess when she got it over Christmas for the same reason.
Unfortunately, I don't see any financial pressure that would push OEM's like Dell and others to stop this practice. Everyone purchases computers the same way they do airplane tickets. By cost. And if they can save a few bucks by selling space on your computer desktop…
Apple, by the way, totally avoids this problem by owning everything top-to-bottom: hardware and software. On one else ever gets a chance to mess with their machines between factory floor and user's hands. As a result they have a much better control over the user's first experience.