Computer bigwigs making me techno-tired

Memo to: Steve Jobs/Bill Gates/their cronies, et al

Re: Research/new products

As you are no doubt aware, there is a rule of thumb in technology that computer capabilities double every 18 months. Lately it seems more like every 18 minutes, which is the point of this memo.

Slow it down. Please. I'm begging you. Just slow it down a little bit.

I can't keep up anymore. I have three computers at my house. All are relatively new. None can do what I want on the Internet anymore.

They're not cheap either. They're Macs and PCs that had plenty of power a year ago. They were Ferraris; now they're Pintos.

I'm sick and tired of getting messages like "Your browser does not support this" or "You don't have the plugin XYZ" and then when I go to download whatever I need I'm told "Your computer can't do that."

Now understand something: I know a little about computers. I'm not some techno-ignorant dinosaur that can't figure out why I can't download e-mail on an Apple IIe. I'm not Bill Gates, of course, but I'm no dummy either.

With that in mind, you should also know I don't have an unlimited supply of money like Bill Gates to keep buying a new computer or operating system every few months that can download all the programs I need just to watch my friend's digital movie or to find a map of someplace I need to go.

That's why all of your messages are getting old.

I'm sorry, that application is incompatible with this system.

Your operating system is unable to access this download.

You must first download this before you download that.

You must do a little dance and make a little love before you download tonight.

Uh, uh, uh ... you didn't say please.

Sorry, system kernel xzbt.//.j/lo;4321 could not complete the task because the jpeg marker is too long. Plus, we're really tired.

Blow it out your hard drive.

I want a computer that works. I want it do what I want when I want, and I want it to do it for years.

Hasn't Apple made enough off iPods? Does it really have to keep selling computers for $2,000 that it discontinues six months later?

And Microsoft, please. I think your marketshare is safe. Windows is on 90 percent of the computers in the universe, and now Macs will run it. I'm pretty sure if aliens ever land here it won't be because their spaceship crashed. It'll be because Windows crashed.

I don't mind paying a reasonable price for a good computer. But I don't want to buy one every year or two. I also don't want to buy program after program because the last version doesn't work anymore. That's just not in my budget. I'd wager most Americans feel the same way.

Can you imagine buying a car, and in two years, it just won't turn left anymore? A telephone that two years from now suddenly only understands Swahili? Or a television that a couple of years later won't let you catch up on "Lost" because it only plays the picture and not the sound?

(Of course, I guess I'm speaking too soon about that because now we're going to have DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, and one won't work on the other. C'mon, Sony. Don't you remember how well Betamax worked out?)

So, here's the assignment for all you pointy-headed gazillionaires:

Stop releasing software and hardware before it's ready. One patch or fix is understandable. One a week is insulting.

Build a computer. Put all the stuff on it an average person could ever need. Sell it at a reasonable price. Sit back and count your money. Then take five years off.

And one other thing: Fight those urges you get when those little voices in your head say, "All right. You've made a computer that'll run at 1.9998 gigabajigits. Now make one that runs at 1.9999 gigabajigits. And make sure no program on the market now will run on it, ever."

Try your best to fight that urge.

Lord knows I've been fighting the urge to set fire to all your gizmos and throw them out the window for long enough.

P.S. If you are unable to view this message, try downloading the appropriate attachment at nate'smiddlefinger.com.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. Have any thoughts about this column? Share them with us at letters@gwinnettdailypost.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.