As I type, I’m de-lousing a Windows PC for Diane. running it through the usual spyware / virus check isolated from the network. The complaint was that it no longer was able to connect to the Internet through NetZero. I can see why…on startup, it loaded a number of interesting resident spyware programs, all attempting to contact the network, eating CPU and memory. And since it was a minimum-spec PC with only 128MB of memory (Windows XP seems to like a minimum of 256MB), it was causing incredible slow down.
On top of the spyware situation, there was an equally crass collection of vendor-installed trialware, marketing presentations, and links to shopping websites. Everyone one of them demanding you click on them, and then trying to sell you a subscription or update before you could do anything. It is unforgivable.
I saw the same thing on my Dad’s new HP laptop…tons and tons of crapware and quick-expiring trials that constantly popped up dialog boxes to BUY BUY BUY, with no option to uninstall the offending package.
My aunt Hui-chin is going through similar trauma with her Windows XP laptop, which I’m trying to diagnose long distance with no less than three of her children. The logitech web cam software is conflicting with something else, which is causing the camera software to fail, and on top of that nothing in the computer quite works right. She has one of those annoying popups also, with some service failing on bootup and unhelpfully informing the user of this every few minutes. What crap!
These observations have lead me to the following conclusion:
Buying a PC and giving it to your parents is bound to result in heartbreak and misery for all involved.
With the advent of the $499 Macintosh, I don’t see any reason to NOT get a Mac unless you’re already tech-savvy, are a developer, are forced to use certain PC applications or VPN software for work, or are a rabid PC gamer. If you’re not one of the above, then you owe it to yourself to go to the nearest Apple Store and try out a Mac.
I may get a Mac Mini just to loan to people so they can try it out and realize that it’s a good thing.