From my Substack column - why not join for FREE updates?
For a long time, Bill Gates’s outfit was fixing things that weren’t broke. Then it moved to breaking things that were fixed.
Now it’s doing it again, demanding money that I can’t easily afford since my energy bills have just more than doubled.
We’re all used to frequent compulsory ‘updates’ that interrupt your work, slowing the computer. A few years ago MS announced they ‘would no longer support’ the edition of Windows I was using and I had to go get a new laptop with the latest sparkly version of his software. At least the HP notebook was a pretty teal colour.
Waal, a few days ago I tried opening a Word document. ‘Updating Office’…ooh! … ‘Error.’ Seems it’s something to do with needing Windows 11 and please check your machine to see if it’s powerful enough to download. Oh and there was a reference to my existing Office licence being part of a bulk buy and its replacement is going to cost £80 a year, if I’ve got that right. Until then, no Word, no Excel - not even for access to documents I previously created.
But, haha, I can still open them, because I haven’t yet scrapped/donated the old computer; the one that starts up much faster, opens documents way faster and doesn’t shove black oblongs onto the screen with notifications that I didn’t ask for.
The corporations are making you purchase everything twice and three times. In music, vinyl to CD to a Cloud subscription system that may, who knows, suddenly terminate. In motoring, petrol to diesel then omigod not polluting diesel then madly expensive rare-earth electric. When they’re not ‘upgrading’ they’re keeping profits rising by making the product worse - remember the confectioners’ plan to produce Toblerone bars with fewer ‘teeth’ or replace the raisins in Cadbury’s Fuit and Nut with cheaper sultanas?
I think we reached ‘peak quality’ some while ago. When the market is saturated all that’s left is to heist the customers.
This is why I buy physical books (mostly) and DVDs - so cheap these days, hardly more than the postage. No batteries, no abrupt termination of service; can share, swap, resell, gift. Private property! The foundation of liberal democracy!
Bill, you’ve got all the money a man could ever want; why the hell didn’t you just go fishing, have a beer with your buddies, spend more time with your wife and children?
It’s a madness, this power thing. Include me out. Leave my stuff alone.