Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bill Gates is still going to hell

The recent news that the world's 2nd richest man, Warren Buffet, it giving most of his cash to the charitable trust set up by the world's richest man, Bill Gates, is interesting to say the least. The seventy squillion or so bucks they have to throw around could really change things in ways we probably can't forsee right now. From suggestions the Gates Foundation could make the UN's World Health Organisation irrelevant to fears the foundation might just be a backdoor way to make the rich and powerful more rich and powerful, the guesses of what will happen are coming in every colour of fanciful.

Maybe they'll make the rich more generous because they don't want to look bad by comparison. Maybe it will make the greedy more greedy because they'll argue they don't need to share now as Gates is covering for them. Or perhaps they'll promise to give it away once they're as rich as Gates. And it's extremely likely this will be used as an argument for lower taxes - the argument being that rich private individuals can look after things better than big governments.

Whatever. Bill Gates is still going to hell because I have to use MS Office. There isn't a day goes by that I don't come up with an addition to my list of "Reasons to punch Bill Gates". This list actually exists. It is slightly shorter than my other list: "People who are going to pay when I take over the world." But only slightly.

If I was being fair, I'd acknowledge that Microsoft products have done more good than bad (this is without even considering Bill G's philanthropy as a mitigating factor). Work is undoubtedly better because of these tools. But fuck being fair, I'm being angry. I swear to fucking God, there are days when I almost put my fist through the screen. Most of the time I'm using Word for writing documents and the number of things it does to piss me off never ceases to amaze. Just in case anyone is jumping to the conclusion that I simply don't know what I'm doing, by most standards I'm an advanced user. Done the training and all. But no amount of training can help you when the simple act of hitting the backspace key reformats your entire document.

What the fuck is that about? I actually know what causes it - MS use this bastardised HTML to format documents BUT THE FUCKING HTML IS INVISIBLE so you can't see it so what looks like a blank line to you has some hidden code on it. When you delete that line (blank to all intent and purposes) you delete some code you don't fucking know about and didn't fucking ask for and Word is all "Ohhhh, you want to fuck up your whole document? OK, you're the boss."

And the way MS redefine "bugs" so that nothing qualifies as a bug really pisses me off too. When you perform a simple action that creates a catastrophic effect that could not possibly be what you wanted - that's a fucking bug goddammit! If anyone ever develops a voice command interface for PCs they'd better not give one to me. The computer would have a nervous breakdown. Each time one of these insane things happened, I'd scream at it:

"No! Why did you do that? How the fuck could you possibly think I'd want to reformat the whole document to be in bold? All I did was backspace on a blank space between lines! Fix it right fucking now or I'll put a screwdriver through your hard drive!"

Within days it would be suffering from Kicked Puppy Syndrome. It would be good if the computer has a working AI with voice response because I'm sure it would end up whimpering whenever I came near it. There would be this agonised pause before the computer executed any commands because it would be paranoid about my response. Essentially the relationship between me and the computer would be the same as the relationship between my worst boss and me. So here's a note to AI researchers: don't come up with a true computer AI unless you also come up with computer psychiatrists,

I'm sure Gates thinks he's bought his way into history and the afterlife with his foundation (cynical, moi?) but it won't work. It will probably work with history but he'll be screwed when he reaches the pearly gates. I'm using Catholic imagery here because that's what I know but feel free to substitute your belief system's version of the afterlife. So Bill rocks up to the pearly gates and St Peter checks the big book.

"Hmmmm, Bill Gates III is it? Let's see here... Distributed fifty bazillion dollars through your charity, cured cancer, cured aids, fed and educated the world's teeming masses, ended poverty, oppression and war. That's quite a list achievements. But guess what? Just before you got here I was giving a quarterly report to God and the PowerPoint presentation I spent 12 hours on fucked up and made me look like a complete tool! Now everybody's laughing at me and I'll be lucky to get more than the minimum pay raise this year. AND IT'S ALL YOUR FUCKING FAULT!"

And that is why Bill Gates is going to hell.

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