Rant and Rave

ANOTHER Microsoft Conspiracy
by Tom Magliozzi

May 31, 1996

There exists in American culture today, a polarization of values far more serious than political preference, race, or religion. A cultural difference which could one day destroy the very fiber of the values on which this great country is founded. An issue which brings out feelings and emotions profound enough to cause a crack in the cosmic egg of life as we know it.

My friends, I refer, of course, to the Macintosh vs. PC controversy.

The very mention of this issue evokes a tirade of response that makes Bosnia-Herzegovina look like an afternoon tea. But aside from the gamut of emotion which the topic evokes, I have, I think, discovered a plot of such enormity, a plot so diabolical that it boggles the mind.

And the discovery of this plot answers the question millions of computer users are asking: "Why are PCs Winning the war?" Although it is true that there are many misguided souls (including everyone other than me at Car Talk) who fanatically believe that Macintosh computers are easier to use, more intuitive etc. etc., the truth is that there's little difference between them. (Go ahead and start ranting, all you whacko right brained fanatics. But the truth is the truth!).

The real question is this: "Given the small differences between them, why do 90 percent of computer users have PC's?"

I'll tell you why. Because we've all become addicts! Tens of millions of unsuspecting computer users were given--free of charge--an innocuous little game when we bought or otherwise acquired Windows. You turn on your PC and there it is. SOLITAIRE! You try it. It's fun, so you try it again. Pretty soon, you forget to eat lunch. Then you forget to take a haircut. Then you forget to go home. When you finally do remember to go home, you can't, because you missed the train (and your pants are all wet).

The big question, though, is why does solitairism affect PC users in far greater percentages than Macintosh users? Is it because Macintosh users are so much smarter and more sophisticated? Hardly! (if my deadbeat colleagues at Car Talk are any example).

To answer that question, we must look at the mechanism which facilitates the addiction. Is it genetic? Is it a disease? Or is it simple conditioning? Several research studies suggest a non-genetic cause--pointing to subtle conditioning influences, much like those involved in smoking. But in this case, the culprit is not the tobacco industry, but a far more insidious and unsuspected villain.

I don't play solitaire with real playing cards. I don't play it on my wife's dreaded Mac. Why on Microsoft? Because on Microsoft Solitaire I WIN! It has become clear to me that the odds of winning this game are far better than they ought to be. Have any of you noticed that the odds of winning virtual solitaire are NOT the same as real world solitaire?

THE GAME IS FIXED! IT'S RIGGED!

And WHO is responsible for this plot, this cabal, this conspiracy? Microsoft, that's who! Now why would Bill Gates, that little devil, have taken this simple little game and fixed it so we win? Bill ain't no dummy. He doesn't do anything without giving it a lot of thought. And, as we all know, he likes money. So the only reasonable conclusion is that Bill is getting us hooked; and should we EVER consider a switch to the MacIntosh camp, WHAMMO. He shuts us off. We start losing. We get depressed. We need our fix, so we seek out a windows machine and we're OK for another day.

Bill Gates is a drug dealer! Plain and simple.

Now repeat after me: "My name is Tom Magliozzi, and I'm a solitaire addict. HELP ME! HELP ME!"

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