Greg's Bite: Explorer IQs story was bogus?
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Greg's Bite: Explorer IQs story was bogus?

By Greg Mills

I was amused by a recent story that was picked up by major news sources as proven fact: that Microsoft Internet Explorer users were less intelligent than those who use other browsers. =CNN, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, Forbes and other major news outlets were also taken in by the hoax. Shades of April Fools' Day! It all seemed so logical and smacked of serious research. That most people bought the premise is quite telling. (See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14386833.)

People who tend to use software with a generally bad reputation, with constant malware attacks specifically targeting it, are as smart as people who use a browser that almost never has such problems? Who is spoofing whom? While the story seems to have been an elaborate hoax, intelligence is measured in a lot of different ways. Self-flagellation has been out of style in most cultures for a very long time and doesn't seem that smart to me.

Microsoft has created a culture of computer use where there is an expectation of failure, malware and paid experts required to keep your PC just working. Heck, an entire industry of security software companies and geek squad types live on the misfortune of others slavishly shacked to the insecure Win-Tel monopoly.

A lot of Microsoft minions think computers are so prone to the breakdowns and lack of security from all manor of malware that the rumors of Macs being almost immune to such issues must be a lie. Dvorak actually wrote in a recent article that Mac malware was a good thing as it somehow leveled the playing field. Self flagulators hate it when other people are happier than they are and free of pain.

I recently spoke with my uncle and his wife who had just spent $75 on Dell support to figure out why their Dull laptop suddenly stopped connecting to the Internet. The support tech, based in India, kept them on the phone (and the clock) for an hour and a half but was unable to do anything but charge them for "support." They gushed that their niece was able to get them back on line in 20 minutes. They seemed quite perplexed when I told them that in 25 years of being an Apple/Mac guy I had never had such problems with my computer. To be fair, I can't say that my ISPs of the period haven't had problems.

The expectation of PC failure is so ingrained computers that just work seem miraculous and unattainable. However, I was able to inject the notion that Apple customer service is rated the highest of all computer manufacturers and Macs rarely had such problems anyway. They were also blown away with the notion that Intel Macs could also run Windows, which creates a psychological migration safety net for moving on to Apple's OS X at their own speed. They also envy my iPad and iPhone.

While I have likened running Windows on a Mac computer as being like keeping pigs in the back seat of a new BMW, some people have so much energy and time invested in keeping a Windows PC running, it is impossible to give up all the pain and suffering. How smart is that?

That is Greg's Bite which, I guess, is a bit less than an apology to offended Explorer users....

 
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