Made of Everything You're Not

Sure, But Really; Why Windows?

Let's be real; that's kind of a weird question. Up there with, "why don't you wear Jordans?" or "why do you drive a Honda?"; so much presumption and pretension in an oddly phrased question. And since we're being honest, it should be noted it's not like it matters. Truly. It does not. Let's settle down and bask in the glory of this being a dumb question. So while I'm going to answer this dumb question I'm going to do it using way too many words in a very self aggrandizing way. So let's go back to the beginning.

I was 13 the first time I tried Windows. I was just about to go into high school, right after my grandmother passed away, and right after my mom and I moved into my grandmother's house. Where I found a treasure trove of computer hardware. Lots of goodies I didn't know what I had at the time. We're talking a literal ton of computer hardware components. Cases, PSUs, motherboards, RAM chips EVERYWHERE, too many expansion cards that I had no idea what they did, and hundreds of those 5.25in and 3.25in floppy dics. Best of all though, there were complete systems too; an Intel 186, a couple 286s, and the majestic 386 running Windows 3.1. With. A. Fucking. Gui. O.o

You have to understand; before this, my experience with computers was 90% limited to the TI-99, a fairly limited computer even back then. Yeah, I know, 16bits (whoohoo!) but everything was command line and used specialized cartridge and, I shit you not, audio cassette tapes for storage (seek times were real). And, for a kid of 10, kind of a rough gig. Playing a game required getting a grown up to intervene and that was always a terrifying idea. You didn't do that in my house. Kids were seen and not heard. As a rule.

So I spent a lot of time in quiet trial and error with the computer. Didn't always go to plan though; I specifically remember getting my back red because I dared to break the sole cassette deck our computer had. So I learned to take precautions with my experiments in tech early. Safety first and whatnot.

But, finally, (in 1992) a fucking GUI! I can use this new fangled (to me) mouse and just POINT AND CLICK what I want?!? When I discovered right click and control click I was floored. Magic. Pure. Magic.

Of course, I couldn't do much with it. I played a lot of solitaire and minesweeper and BSOD rebooting, and since we're being honest, I can say there wasn't capable of much more that that back then. Let's not forget, I was 13 and we're talking about an air gapped computer with only the programs loaded on it. I mean, even back then, when I eventually got to high school and had to type up an essay (or whatever), I still used a dedicated word processor machine (remember those?). But that was my introduction to Windows.

I've never forgotten this because of how abrupt it ended; about a month after discovering the Windows computer the family vultures came out of the woodwork and proceeded to take it all away. Remember, my Grandma had just passed away and, it turns out, deathbed allocutions aren't legally binding. I learned that at 13; for serious though, you gotta get your wishes in writing for them to be honored. So away went all my new toys. Well, all the working ones anyway.

What I was left with was a handful of half finished, half broken, junk my family couldn't unload. And that's where I learned about a wonderful concept: commoditization. I didn't know the word at the time, but I reaped the rewards of it back then. I leggo'd the shit out of the spare machines.

And that became my normal. A computer breaks or has an upgrade path, you can easily swap out the components and you're back to work. The hardware and software are completely separate entities. This is a foundational truth on my understanding of technology to this day.

And as someone who works with, and makes a living through, technology every day this is sacrosanct. You don't fuck with that.

But, well, let's cut to it: Apple does fuck with that paradigm. I dare anyone to argue against that. Soldering RAM to motherboards, fighting against the Right to Repair legislation at every turn, creating custom hardware implementations for solved problems, charging exorbitant rates to fix trivial issues, and let's never forget, intentionally crippling older versions of iPhones (back in the day).

Just an all around shady ass company. And, I mean, of course they are; profits, shareholders, just all around need for huge revenue due to the business they're in. Every company does that too. I know. Microsoft is pretty fucked. I get it. I can't speak for lately but historically, wow, they're not the good guy either.

But it's not morality I care about in this. That's a stupid metric when it comes to capitalism. It's choice. It's always about choice. With Apple I give up my choices. Gotta go all in, no way around that. Apple computers, Apple phones, Apple tablets, Apple TV. With their track record, are you out of your fucking mind?!

And, not for nothing. but I did try.

It was back in 2011 to 2013. I tried to go all in on Apple. I had a client who was just tickled to death by the attempt (was like an affront I was bringing Windows into their network). So me, classic Windows Administrator just jumping in, was a pretty funny idea. Bought me a used 17 inch Macbook for maybe not a lot of money and jumped in. Dropped probably $1,000 buying new programs for work and OSX updates (the laptop was pretty out of date, the seller admitted). But, I got it up and working and was getting used to the "Apple Way".

Then I started to realize just why the seller sold the computer in the first place. Like, it was fiiiiiine (I guess), but I wanted MoAr. I distinctly recall flipping the laptop over, checking for the screws and access points to get access to the hardware, Googling away on what RAM to buy and my options, and being completely disillusioned.

Everything. So expensive. And the horror stories of the process. Sometimes it worked plug and play style, other times you couldn't even post. "Best to send it into the professionals" was a frequent (if dumb) comment. It could have been the times, and I do remember thinking the process didn't sound too bad (though the expense could fuck right off). But, sure, okie dokie, let's do this.

And in the most ill timed attempt to fleece a customer ever, Apple decides to throttle my phone at that time. For reasons that make zero sense. "To protect your battery"; fuck right off with that nonsense. Dirty pool, Apple. Dirty. Pool.

So I noped out. They did me dirty, they have a history of doing customers dirty, and the product just wasn't good enough to warrant the expense (in time or money). No thank you.

And, well, due to the state of the operating system market, our choices are fairly limited. Sure, yeah, I know; Linux exists. Bob's your uncle; for sure. It's Windows or OSX. Only real 2 players in town, and since if you wanna use OSX, you have to use Apple hardware, they're just not in contention.

Being able to control my hardware matters to me.

Eric Lamb

Builds things. Has thoughts. Sometimes they're even worth sharing.


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