We went out to breakfast at the local coffee shop this morning. While we were there, we were chatting with our waitress, and as part of that mentioned that we wrote about computers and technology, and that we were mainly Mac users.
She didn’t know much about computers, and she had heard of Macs, but didn’t know that they were the same thing as Apple computers (no, she was not thinking of Apple IIs; she’s too young for that). But when I remarked that I liked Macs because I never had to worry about viruses, she got animated.
“My husband got a virus on our computer, and I lost everything!” she said. “All of my schoolwork for college, all of my papers for English, they were just gone! It was terrible.”
It was the way she said it that struck us; she was kind of resigned to it all. Sure, she was unhappy that she had lost all that work. But she didn’t connect that outrage with Windows; she may not even know that she’s using a Windows box, and that a bad operating system that’s easily exploited by malware led to her loss. She simply seemed to feel that losing data is what a computer does. It was like a tire puncture or something; just one of those things that happen. And that’s what I find so pernicious about Windows. It’s conditioned tens of millions of people to the idea that computers are unreliable and a huge pain in the ass. And that things that go wrong just can’t be helped.