Tales from the Dark Side

I am coming out of the closet now. I have thought about it for a long, long time. I must remain anonymous, however, because of my job – I hope you understand.

Yeah, it’s true. I am a former Macintosh user and even a former ranting Mac evangelist.

I use a Windows PC now.

I am one of those rare birds who went from the Mac to Windows, not the other way around, as so many are doing nowadays, running from the insecurity and vagaries of the Windows environment to the safety and security of the Mac.
(Those wimps!)

What got me to switch?

This whole thing was not by choice at first, but reluctantly, working in a business environment where there was no chance to use anything else but M$ products.

I eventually went over to the dark side. It was a long time before I even noticed that I was a Windows User. Once I had gone so far, there was no turning back.

None of my online Mac friends know about this, however. They would be scandalized, I am sure. In fact, I still have my Mac at home. It just never gets used any more. (I was so ashamed for the longest time, but not anymore!)

A year went by on that job, and although I had access to the Mac at home, the expensive Windows laptop went with me there too, and all my work was done on it. It always worked you know, there were hundreds of tech support people at my company who made sure all our laptops worked. Couldn’t have survived on a Windows PC without them, of that I am certain.

But now, after so long a time using Windows, it has become a habit.
A habit I am now unwilling to put aside, although I know it will get me in the end . . .

Do I like Windows better? Oh no! Not at all!

Windows is a horrible operating system where nothing can ever be found in a decent or logical place on the hard drive, where files have cryptic names and extensions, and where nothing you do on the PC ever feels secure or even safe. If you ever were to contemplate using Windows, my friend, run, don’t walk to your nearest Mac store and forget you ever thought of using an M$ software product!

Why is Windows so seductive? Windows gives me (and most everyone else) just a slight sense that everything works and is stable (I guess at first that is enough for most people starting out in computing, right?)

But the real secret is that Windows is just not safe. What an adrenaline rush!

I like to think of it like mountain climbing. Why climb a sheer cliff when you could be safe at home with your loved ones? Its the crazy thrill you get when your whole digital life is hanging over the edge of the precipice and you know you are hanging by your fingertips as you continue to push your computer to do more and more things, and get more and more work done without losing it all to the sudden and very unexpected Blue Screen of Death! This is addictive computing!

For the most part my Windows 2000 OS running a very few M$ apps, and no funny stuff, is reliable – to a point. (I know I must never add anything to it, or it will surely crash – this is the only real fear I have when using Windows.) Therefore, I consider myself a professional Windows user, and I will never fall of that cliff and permanently lose all my data.

But even for the most careful Windows user, there is that fateful day, perhaps well off into the future, or perhaps even today –We all know it, don’t we? When the Blue Screen of Death comes to visit, and to stay. This is the terrible secret we Windows users must all face, and we all know it so well, from hard experience!

So many ways to die! A lost DLL file, a schizophrenic Register, a Virus, A Worm, A Trojan Horse, shaky cheap hardware, incompatible Apps, or most of all, a totally rotten OS that never should have seen the light of day!

So you die. Then the world wobbles and the earth stands still, as everything around you in your virtual PC environment comes crashing down!

Major reformatting is required then, since there really isn’t any partial fix for these things. I don’t even bother with the insipid M$ tech support anymore, and all those long, wasted hours on the phone or on the web, looking desperately for some remedy — I just reformat my hard drive and reinstall everything. (It’s easier that way, you know?)

I continually mirror my work to another hard drive, so precious little is lost of all my course work and writing. I also continually, compulsively, burn CDs of my work, so I have some semblance of security, even on

But still, this whole experience is a good thing for me! It really is!

It reminds me that the real world we all live in is no more or less secure than that Windoze trash OS we work on every day! What a philosophy!

Think of it! Doesn’t life kick you in the teeth when you least expect it?
Do you think you are really immune to the theft of your possessions?
Will it never happen to you that you are mugged sometime, somewhere? Your trusty Windows OS is there to remind you that life is neither fair nor lacking in sad surprises. Thank you, Billy Gates!

You have no idea how this helps me keep my perspective when I teach such realities to my incredulous students in my many college classes.

My advice? If you want comfort in your computing instead of wide-eyed terror, get a Mac and OS X, (or Linux if you are ambitious and have a bent toward self abuse and love to muck around with your computer). Either way, your computing will be much more safe and sane.

But if you want an OS that truly mimics reality, keep on using Windows . . . (But not XP – it is still garbage — give it a year or two before you upgrade. You may be crazy like me, but you don’t have to be a fool!)

Oh, I feel so much better now that I am out of the closet. Of course my best friends will never know about any of this, but you do, right?



Roger Born

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