Thursday, February 08, 2007

Why I don't read newspapers

Especially the New York Times.

Oh don't get me wrong - not all papers are crap, and the NYT isn't completely crap.  But as anyone can tell you, even a little crap is very noticable, even if you pretty it up with flowers and perfume...

Case in point: Edward Rothstein's article on Windows Vista.  Rothstein comes across as an "important art critic", a title I define as being a pretentious fool without being cluttered with actual artistic talent - someone who's made a living of not knowing what they like, but knowing "art".  And when he set his sights on Windows Vista, he let loose with so much metaphor and purple prose that I needed a full gallon of insulin to prevent me from entering diabetic shock.  (in fact, the only useful biographical info I can find on him is at Wikipedia, and it appears, as a composer, he some artistic talent - I stand corrected)

Rothstein waxes on semi-poetically about the cultural history of Microsoft, the "nightmare" of building his own PC and the "primitiveness" of current technology, but then seems to recover to praise the magic of alpha blending and 3D graphics hardware.  All in all, his pretentiousness, the superiority of his chosen naivete, the sheer unadulterated smell of his well articulated, artistically educated bullshit was too much.

At one point, he likens the craft of building a PC to that of old hot rodders, which is actually a good analogy - I don't hot rod, but I build models, and appreciate the work that goes into a real hot rod.  But he loses touch with reality when he says how hot rodders could take apart an engine to find out how it works, but modern PC builders can't do the same with circuit boards.  What a crock - it's called "digital electronics", Edward, and if I can't pry open the chip to see the traces, I can certainly look up specs and pinouts on the web or in books and figure it out myself.

To add to this thought, just because the less-than-easy to find options for customizing a PC are in the realms of overclocking doesn't mean that's what you're limited to - not every computer runs or has to run Vista, or Linux, or even Mac OS.  Head to your local Radio Shack and pick up a breadboard, some components, wires, and a CPU (Motorola still makes them for hobbyists).  Given some time and some know how, you can build your own computer, no more or less valid than anything you can buy from Dell.  It won't run Vista, but neither does your automobile, and it's got a computer in it, with an OS and various programs.

The more I read of this article, the less I thought of Rothstein and the people who read him.  His comments and ideas and bullshit add as much to the science of computers as my dissertation on the construction techniques of a pipe organ would add to the appreciation of Bach's organ cantatas.  It's mental masturbation, and the fact that he gets paid to spin mental circles, and people buy into him and his self-serving ideas, just goes to show how pervasive the need for religion - any religion - is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a debate betwean you and him :)