But whatever happened to annoyances.org?

They’ve killed annoyances.org and before you say “Who?” or  “And?” read on to understand why the demise of a long-standing source of support is so symbolic of the era for computer enthusiasts such as myself, and don’t be fooled by the “…will return shortly” bit, it’s been that way for some time now.Conspiracy theory alert Yes, a page has turned, no wait! An era has come to an end, an era that saw computer users like me blithely take the lid off a PC and fiddle around inside. And what made me do such a reckless thing? Why Annoyances.org of course! They provided support and tips for me for every OS from Windows 95 to Windows 7 and now they’ve gone! Fortunately, you can still access their material via the internet archive Web Archive… for the moment.

Windows 10 brings the curtain down on an era during which I would merrily strip down, tinker and rebuild a PC with the malice and the technical skill of an eleven year old. Finished, an era where whoops of joy punctuated howls of rage and frustration, and hours were spent, but never wasted (all was documented), sitting staring at a dead PC or at the winking cursor of the dreaded BSOD trying to figure out what to do next. Finished the days of changing a PC’s BIOS just to see what happened!

The Infamous Blue Screen of Death

Finished, the days when I would happily reformat one of my PCs and transfer the data from another PC using an ethernet cable simply because I had the time and felt up to the challenge. Finished the time when I would delete command programs in Windows Explorer and then go into MS-DOS to reinstall them. Finished the days of downloading some freebie crack, complete with embedded bug, and the resulting post-crash re-installation.

Windows as a Service

Yup! Windows 10’s arrival heralds the end of “Computering” and the start of “Device utilization”. Why bother trawling the web for the latest 03rd party tweak to make an ailing Compaq Presario, Dell Dimension 4600 or Samsung NC10 go that little bit faster. With Windows as a Service, Microsoft & Co have almost, if not yet totally, removed all need to pimp a PC … haven’t they?

Gone is also the need, take the cover off my Sony VAIO laptop to add more memory, I mean, who needs more physical memory or a faster processor when providers are offering gigabits of free Cloud storage and online apps? In fact, the last time I did anything vaguely technical on a PC was a couple of years ago when I bought a USB-to-IDE/SATA adapter to extract the data from a terminally declining HP Pavilion dv7 laptop. And you know what? I could have repaired the black screen myself but the sad fact is that I couldn’t be bothered, I preferred to pay out 350$ for a VAIO laptop plus 10$ for the IDE/SATA adapter and guess what. The Dell Dimension 4600, with its 80GB HDD & XP Home OS, bought in 2005, outlived and outworked the HP laptop by several years, and that in spite of the fact that I’d stripped it down and rebuilt it several times myself.

Incidentally, it’s the same with my 3-year-old Samsung Tablet 10.1. I’ve absolutely no urge or motivation to root the device to install some app that might stop the screen bugging every time I load Firefox but why should I? If Firefox bugs there are other browsers, if my AV pushes too much full-page advertising in my face then I’ll get another and when I’m tired of my tablet I’ll sell it on eBay.

A Brave New World

We live in a society where we change a device every two years, not because we need to but because we’re consumers and because enterprising ventures appear out of nowhere to help us do just that, consume. And because that’s the way of the [business] world, these potential money generating, and aspiring unicorn ventures inevitably get absorbed by bigger structures, such as the hegemonic GAFA (called GAFAM in French to include Microsoft). Through such acquisitions, this “Hegemony” are now influencers, trend setters and demand generators for billions of users around the world. More importantly, by undertaking various “Philanthropic” actions they are present in numerous other spheres of activity and interest and have an impact on a lot of what goes on our lives today, with all the pain points and challenges, big or small, that comes with such prevalence. [1] [2][3]

Times have changed since Microsoft released Windows 3.1 and if we can consider IoT and Cloud based services as viable next steps in everyday, general public e-device utilization it’s probably thanks to people like Sir Tim Berners-Lee who, and I quote, “challenged colleagues at MIT to invent a fundamentally new and better way to deliver Internet content” [4].  This led to the optimization of the data flow process, which in turn facilitated access to, and the downloading of everything online from Napster mp3s, in the early 2000s, to the images in this post.

It’s tempting to criticize GAFAM for their, perceived, domination of everything related to our daily consumer habits but the reality is, e-consumption went global some time ago but why be negative about it? There’s still a place for “Opensourcers” and people with differing viewpoints, even GAFAM has recognized this and the chances are that maybe, just maybe, computer enthusiasts like me will still be able to talk about “Computering”  and not just “Device utilization”.

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About nickrichards38

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