Keep it Simple!

In the late 1980s, I bought my first PC, an 80286 that ran at 12 MHz and it had 1 MB of Ram.  Because it was running on DOS 3.2, I had to partition my 40 MB disk into to logical disk or I would not be able to access 8 MB. I had Windows 3.1.

To some, this may seem inadequate, but it worked well.  Indeed, the only two reasons I upgraded were:

  1. To access the greater hardware, especially hard drives and memory.
  2. To access USB devices.  Windows 5.1 theoretically allowed USB, but not in reality.  I tried it.

I consider windows 5 the best of all the systems, though I did have some gripes with the way Microsoft was already trying to take control of my system.  They came up with these really neat things called registries, which hardly anyone outside Microsoft can understand.  I’m not sure that there is any documentation on the things.

My personal opinion is that Microsoft is using them to keep people from pirating their software.  I have news for them.  It doesn’t stop the pirating but it does really mess things up for us honest folks.  Worse yet, it has made it difficult to install and backup system disks.  Until I had Windows 5, I backed up and restored my system once a month.  It was a good way to build confidence for the day that something bad happened.

Since then, Microsoft has come out with another operating system every time I turned around.  Some were better, some worse.  Windows ME should have never left the barn.  The new IBM PC bought came with it installed and it froze at least once a day, many times more.  (It taught me to make sure I backed up my work every 15 minutes.)

The real problem is that each newer system is more complex than the last.  It really makes me long for Windows 3.1, even if I have to give up USB and huge storage devices.  The fact is, a 1 or 2-hundred MB disk would be plenty if I don’t need a couple of GB just for the operating system.

Moreover, much slower systems would be far more productive if Windows 10 weren’t so much large and clumsy.

The worst part of it is that it seems every time I turn on my laptop, it is time for an update.  Some of the updates take a long time.  Essentially, I can’t do anything until it’s done.

I get it.  Mostly it is for security.  The thing is, the reason for the need for the security is because there are so many holes in Windows.  Sorry, Microsoft.  Sometimes the truth hurts.

As if that isn’t enough, Microsoft has decided I need the cloud.  Whenever I finish an update, their cloud program starts whenever I start the system.  It takes me a few minutes to take it back off.  They might like the cloud but I don’t.  It greatly slows my system.

Moreover, as I said, the system is full of holes.  It seems as if every month I hear of someone else who has had their system hacked.  That’s dumb.  I know enough about computers that I know computers operating systems can be built without holes.  It’s simple.  Build three operating systems.  You can keep one with all the bells and whistles… and the holes.  One system would be very simple, for folks like me.  All I need is the basic three: word processor, spread sheet and basic web interface, which would include a very basic E-mail.  Perhaps, the email could be integrated into the word processor.  The E-mail would be limited to text and photos.  It’s pretty hard to download a worm with an interface like that.  Upgrades would be less frequent and should be through stores, not the internet.  Finally, hopefully, backups should be quick and simple.  That way, when things don’t go right, it wouldn’t be a disaster.

The third operating system would be the same as the second, but it might have a few more bells and whistles.  It would have the big advantage of security.  Certainly, this would be used for any system that stores sensitive information: Names, SSNs, account numbers and such.  Governments at all levels should use this type of system even if Microsoft refuses to build it.  Mostly, should such a system have problems, the OS and programs should be restorable in minutes, not hours.  Also, restores should be practiced regularly.  Bottom line, there should be no way to cause any program to be downloaded and run remotely.

If all three systems were available, I wonder just which would sell the most.  I know which one I would want, not the one with the bells and whistles.  Those that select the system with all the bells and whistles just might want the simple system too, after they were bit by security problems a few times.  They might want to change the first time someone gets access to their bank account, or worse, their 401(k).

…and by the way, the simpler system would run much faster and would require less disk and memory.  The old saying is true, “Keep it simple stupid.”

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