Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

_______ Software Companies


Back on August 13, I wrote a post titled, “Terminal Terminology.” As I said there, it’s not just a computer problem. Last week, I solved a terminology problem at the VA—after six months of trying. When I began this post, I tried searching the Internet for relevant items. Again, I was stymied by the stumbling block of terminology.

I thought I’d write a post about the most meddlesome software companies. A post about the worst offenders imposing themselves on our computers—without our approval or even our knowledge. This has been going on a long time, so naturally I tried to find something on the Internet. Couldn’t. No idea what they are called.

How do you label software companies that think they can do whatever they want on our computers? It’s not at all clear they believe these computers actually belong to us. The fact that we purchased these machines, and their software, seems to mean nothing to these blankety-blank companies.

In the past, I’ve written a little about what these companies do. On Sept. 10, it was how Microsoft played fast and loose while installing Microsoft Security Essentials. A few decades back, Microsoft was far and away the worst offender. They justified their behavior by saying these were “updates,” supposedly improving their operating system software. But did we really need all those improvements? I know I didn’t.

These days, when it comes to home computer invasion, Microsoft is no longer the only villain in town. Recently Adobe messed up my attempts to install an alternate PDF reader. (Back in July, I found they used a dangerous upgrade method.) Apple puts tons of unwanted software on my non-Apple IBM-compatible PC. Then there’s Google, a company so big (and rich), they think they can get away with anything.

So I ask you, how do I fill in the blank of this post’s title? Are they merely rude, a term I’ve often used in the past? Or are they something more, something worse? If my computer had feelings, it would feel violated. If it were a country, it would feel invaded. If it were a woman . . . well, you get the idea. What do you call these arrogant bastards?

Just one more question: why is what they’re doing legal?

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