The Trouble with Gerrold: Rude software
August 28, 2012 —
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Related Search Term(s): rudeware
In 1974, I bought a small house. It was the right house, the right price, and in a quiet neighborhood, so it was the perfect house for a writer.
With three bedrooms and a den, it was actually a lot more house than I needed. After turning the den into an office, I still had two extra rooms. One I turned into a workshop, the other became my reading room—a comfortable little library. I repainted it a comfortable light blue, put down some dark-blue carpet tiles in a random pattern, a couple of reading chairs, and some good lighting.
After a few months of general fixing-up and decorating, I had the house looking comfortable and lived-in. So I held a house-warming party. About 50 people showed up, and to the best of my knowledge, almost all of them had a wonderful time. Except for a woman of my acquaintance, who enthroned herself in one of the most comfortable chairs in my library and was very politely explaining to several of my friends how unfortunate it was that I had such terrible taste. The chairs were in the wrong place, the room was the wrong color, the carpet wasn’t a good match, and if I had asked her advice, she could have made my house so much more tasteful.
Hearing all this, I went in, took the plate out of her hand, set her drink aside, took her by the elbow and escorted her to the door. As she sputtered in confusion, I said, “Don’t you think it’s hypocritical for you to sit in my chair, eating my food and drinking my liquor, while telling others what terrible taste I have? I do. Goodbye. Thanks for coming. Don’t ever do it again.”
No, I’m not a nice person. Why do you even ask? But what does this have to do with software?
A couple months ago, a piece of e-mail arrived that looked like it had come from one of the computer magazines I follow. It was an advertisement for a product that promised to clean up the detritus from old files and reimage any parts of the operating system that might have been affected. Because I have an online subscription to the magazine in question, I assumed this had come through their offices and it was some kind of a special promotion. It looked legit.