Archive for October, 2009


The Wow – Is it starting now?

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I couldn’t resist all the fanfare and went ahead and bought Windows 7 at the exorbitant price we Australians seem to be gouged with. I have a moderate case of buyers remorse now and I’m not exactly sure why I felt the inexplicable need to purchase a copy. Maybe it was a momentary lapse in reason or maybe my mind snapped under the “gotta have it now” syndrome, a syndrome which seems pandemic in the cultural environment we call western society. Maybe it was because I just could?

Well what’s done is done! Because I can’t wind the clock back, there is no use wishing I exercised some thrift on this occasion. But on the bright side, my laptop has the latest and greatest operating system in the world. Well that is what Microsoft would have us believe, however,  the truth is that I didn’t need it to run my laptop. I have a perfectly good Linux operating system installed on it and I truly didn’t need to update the OS on it, so I’m left pondering if I’ve just completely gone mad. I’d been trawling the forums over the last few days before I got the “fuckits” and impulsively made my purchase, reading about people’s experiences with the new fan dangled offering from Microsoft, I just couldn’t resist all the hype any longer. As always, resisting temptation once an obsession kicks in is an exercise in futility.

Let’s face it! I wanted it, but why do I feel so dirty and disgusted with myself because of experiencing such a desire? It’s hardly anything to feel guilty or ashamed over – even if, only moments before, I was vainly trying to dissuade myself from such a extravagant and senseless purchase, however there is this nagging feeling that I’ve somehow let myself down by supporting a company that has no qualms over ripping consumers off, based purely on nothing more than some sort of regional elitism. Although Microsoft claims it doesn’t set the prices, blaming the retailers for the pinch in our hip pockets, i find it rather weak when they purposely region lock sales based upon region. It’s not like I can go to the MS US store to make my purchase.

Far from finding ourselves in an egalitarian society, we are somehow lead to believe in free trade and globalisation as the way to promote, at the very least, an equality in trade between nations, which presupposes, probably rather naively, that there ought to be a fairness somehow bundled along with the ideology being sold. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that fairness and free trade is a juxtaposition that are on opposing poles rather than items that can be readily bought as two parts of a whole. Globalisation has merely opened markets to exploitation.

Case in point is Windows 7. Why is it that the market price for a downloadable version of Home Premium Upgrade in Australia is $199 AUD and the exact same version in the US is $119.99 USD, which equates to approximately $130 AUD at current conversion rates. A $70 AUD price difference for the exact same thing. So Australians are ostensibly being overcharged and moreover, the US is offered a 3 user Home Premium family pack for $149 USD, which is less than a third of the cost of what we Australians would have to pay. We aren’t even offered a family pack so 3 licenses at $199 a pop, would represent a weeks pay for the average Australian. Does this represent fairness or is it just another way to shaft the consumer?

Hence my buyers remorse at having essentially vetoed my opposition to this lack of reasonableness and fairness. Not that my purchase or for that matter, if even ten others, disillusioned at being price gouged, were to withhold their purchases would even cause the slightest dint in the consciousness of Microsoft. Because we pay the asking price, nothing is going to change and it would probably take the whole of Australia to boycott sales to even raise an eyebrow in MS HQ. In a way Microsoft can charge what they like and for the most part, end users will be held to ransom because Microsoft has such a ubiquitous presence in the computing world. The majority of people have the choice between Apple and Microsoft as the two alternatives available to them and because familiarity is endearing to humans, the choice is ostensibly just one.

Although the majority of consumers aren’t going to upgrade their operating systems until they are ready to purchase a new PC and as such won’t even have an inkling as to the price they are paying for the software to run it, as it’ll be included in the cost of their new purchase, it leaves little hope that Microsoft is going to change their pricing structure and region locking anytime soon.

It is more than a little curious as to why people like me, who are aware at the rip off we are subjected to and who have more than the choice between Apple and MS, yet who are still willing to abide and support the system laid in front of us. To be sure I do try and get away with the path of least damage. By buying OEM or upgrades and using those licenses against the EULA, rather than buying full retail versions I do get a small discount but it is still not a price I think is reasonable. But unfortunately if I want to use Microsoft Windows I am left at the mercy of what the they want to charge. It’ll be interesting when more competition becomes available. Google’s plans to develop an Operating System may offer hope in breaking the Microsoft monopoly.

The problem is that we consumers are more than happy to just bend over and take it up the ass. On the one hand we have the message “You wouldn’t steal a car…..blah…blah..blah..” and on the other, we have corporations, which have no objection in placing restrictions like region locking to maximise profits and to basically rip consumers off. Hence why we would in fact steal a car if we could download the fucking thing. Especially when I could buy the same car overseas for a substantial saving and especially so when bypassing import restrictions is as easy as the simple action of clicking a button on a mouse. Then, Yes, I would steal a copy of that car.

Category : Rants | Blog

Meh – Windows 7!

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Once again it’s time for another Microsoft Windows release and the technology sections of media are doing their rounds in hyping up, what essentially is a non event in the minds of non-techies and layman alike. Although I consider myself to be somewhat of a technology buff and would like another OS to play with, to be sure – to fill in time perhaps or perhaps, to avert an episode of navel gazing, but when it gets released tomorrow I can’t see myself rushing out to get it. In fact, select stores offering it for purchase at the unholy hour of midnight tonight, for the die hard fan-boys to lay there hands on a copy – hot off the press.

However, when all is said and done, it is not that much different to Vista. Some would argue that it is merely Vista SP3 and yes; I’ve downloaded the release candidate and have experimented with it on my laptop to to some degree, but it really hasn’t anything compelling to offer other than a few tweaks and performance gains. Not worth shelling out two to four hundred dollars to have the privilege of adding to the Microsoft coffers.

But there are those people that seem genuinely excited by a new operating system release and it makes me wonder why people get attached to things like Operating Systems, which merely allow a user to operate their computer? I can sort of understand but not quite get why such things instil a sort of passion in people. Computers can be quite personal things, whole experiential episodes of ones existence can be stored on them, in digital photos, documents and in social networking and the like, so there is a vested interest in how it all operates but becoming impassioned by a tweaked set of code is bordering on infatuation like a love affair or something. It just doesn’t seem right.

Placing the personal in personal computers aside, is this loyalty or infatuation to Microsoft Windows just branding and marketing genius? Has our continual use of Windows, at work and at play clouded our sensibilities and invoked a part of us which is usually reserved to bonding with our own kind and extended it to some malformed and abnormal partnership with a piece of software?

Maybe. However, thankfully not all of us are blinded by what we see on our screen and not able to see the forest for the tress but certainly if you are lining up at midnight to purchase an operating system, whether it’s OSX or Windows 7 you’d do yourself a small favour by taking a little time out to do some navel gazing before heading out that door.

Category : Rants | Blog

No Sleep till Friday…..

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It doesn’t take long before the grind of another week gets the better of you. And the irony is, I’ve just had a long weekend – yet I am in no better shape than before going nowhere to my one day vacation. I must say it was fun while it lasted but today brought home just how tired I am. It perhaps doesn’t help when the start of the working week is met with a sleepless night. I just don’t know what it is about Sunday’s that produces this inability to sleep. It’s extraordinary, all day I’ve been battling to keep my eyes open, however once I get home I have this resurgence of energy – rarely is the day that upon returning from a days toil do I find a droop in energy, it is quite the opposite. Right now my mind is more lucid and clear than it has any right to be and I’m beginning to fear that tomorrow is going to be even more challenging.

The problem is that I want my cake and to eat it also. It’s been a long standing fantasy of mine that sleep is one of life’s little nuisances and I ought to be able to go into extended durations of alertness without consequence and as much as I wish it to be, it just doesn’t work out the way I desire it to be. You may well wonder what is so great about staying awake and I haven’t a good answer. Sleep just seems like a waste of time and lets face it, time is a limited commodity in the world of work and commute. Although days like today remind me that I am still grounded by the laws of nature and in her infinite wisdom she has decried that all mammals must rest.

So why is that it’s 11:20pm and I’m manic when I ought to be fast asleep catching up on the sleep I lost to last night’s pixies? Over tiredness comes to mind. Stubbornness is another. I just don’t give myself time to unwind and I purposefully try and cheat sleep for no good reason. Maybe I’m a masochist and punish myself for being a bad little boy. Don’t know but I do suffer because of my pig headedness in trying to fulfil an unobtainable desire.

But there is some method to my madness. If I sought to get my eight hours sleep then I’d have to be up at around 7am to get to work at 8:30am,  so be in bed by 11pm. I’d then leave work at 5pm on a good day and be home at 6pm.  Get changed and stuff around, 6:30pm. Work out what dinner I should cook and then cook and if I was efficient it’ll be 7:30 when I eat. Wash up, again if I was efficient I’ll have it all done by 8pm. Then three hours to muck around with me time. Ok it isn’t so bad, but I can’t see myself getting tired for the 11pm shut eye deadline, so how do I train myself to get tired by then? That is going to take a concerted effort and more than a little discipline to formulate a regimented early start, everyday – no sleeping in on weekends, routine. And a definite cutting back on caffeine. Oh NO!!!  Will I do this or even attempt it? Probably not. I’m too set in my ways. So looks like no sleep till Friday…Ah well at least I know what I’m in for and certainty in such uncertain times has got to count for something? Well at least I can delude myself with this small solace.

Category : Journal | Blog