Help my computer
Here at TechRepublic, our editors get lots of email--questions, compliments, criticism, and plenty of spam. We do our best to respond.
But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we just can't decipher what the sender is asking for. And other times, what they're asking for is illegal, impractical, or just bizarre.?Here's a look at some of the more interesting ones. I've blacked out the names and email addresses to protect the innocent (or clueless).
Just know that my goal is not to discourage people from asking questions. Rather, I hope these emails encourage those with legitimate questions to do a little leg work before hitting the Send button. Browse the TechRepublic blogs and forums. Use our site search to find material relevant to your query. Or at the very least, enter your question into a search engine. If you're still unable to find a solution (and you're not asking for an Windows XP CD key), then by all means, ask away.
Image by Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Captions by Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. He was most recently Managing Editor for TechRepublic Pro. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.
With all due respect, the slideshow really demonstrated the lack of grammar most people have in regards to composing a coherent correspondence. I am quite surprised.
A few of the letters sound like the type of poetry that would warm the heart of Gertrude Stein. Others do seem to be language problems, and some of them sound like something their teacher made them write.
Such is the price of your fame and apparently global reputation for knowledge of all things beginning with bits & bytes on up that you receive solicitations to be a "computer friend" of one correspondent and the object of affection of another. I realize that formalities are somewhat compromised in online verbal communication but it boggles the mind that many of these writers have no concept of basic sentence structure or that the syntax of their communication is so garbled or non-existent as to make themselves incomprehensible. It is frightening to glean from these emails that many of the authors hold relatively high level positions with broad responsibilities. I fear that the emergence of the internet has exponentially increased the numbers of examples that "The Peter Principle" is alive and well in the 21st century.
Premise: I don't think all these people are stupid. What I do think is that our public education system has failed many of these folks. Computer/social networking shorthand has further ruined whatever these people may have learned about sentence construction, spelling, grammar and clarity of thought. Not everyone needs a college education, but the three Rs are still essential, basic, building blocks for learning other subjects and for communication. President Bush wanted no child left behind. Unfortunately he and Congress and our state education leaders don't know we are leaving millions of children behind. These emails are proof of that opinion.
Wow, I'd completely forgotten EDLIN. Even in the DOS days, I didn't use it...! (PC-Write was way better...)
This is the kind of person that tells everyone that they built there own awesome machine from scratch, but fails to mention that they have to take it to someone else when there is a simple problem. But kudos for trying i guess.
As either funny / appalling as these emails may be, you should see the official letters I received from IT Management during my last year working for local government supporting the IBM Mainframe as a systems programmer. I read them, as did several others, and they made no logical sense at all -- none. It isn't clear what the problem really is, but it's a big one and it is also scary to think the millions of dollars they control each year between the two IT Managers who are married to each other in open violation of County Law against conflict of interest. It is your tax dollars at work and the fact that it includes Federal Grants for millions of dollars really does make it a problem for all tax payers in the United States. Fortunately, they RIFfed me and I'm retired, having a great time. I learned one thing the hard way: Do not work for narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and nut jobs who are immoral, unethical and illegal, asking you to do illegal things (like, "You will lie to IBM!") -- it just isn't worth it. No one can solve people problems with technology, neither can anyone solve technological problems with politics. It just appears to me in my limited experience of over 41 years in IT, that the world is seriously deteriorating and professionals in the United States are passing the baton to Generation Whine. The result is a dysfunctional environment of unqualified people where it is impossible to be incompetent. Moreover, management is totally incompetent, cutting budgets, but demanding more product / service in the vain belief that some how the quality triangle can be cheated and it just has to be possible for the lowly workers to produce quality cheaper and faster. The overworked is simply the collateral damage. Hiring incompetents as demonstrated by at least some of these emails is an indication that there is a decided decline in the standards and measurements for ascertaining competence in the work place. This is not an harbinger of anything good. (But truthfully, I can see how many could find Bill so appealing ;) )
Bill - That's not a TS rabbit hole, it's a TS Black Hole! If you are successful at helping even slightly solve the problem you are destined to receive many more that give bizarre a run for the money
Nice article Bill! I've always said, "If you want better answers, ask better questions!" Now, let's talk about language: Good heavens people, learn how to write! I am not just referring to the authors of these awful help requests, but to nearly every one of the people who responded to this article. Practically EVERY response here has spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization or other errors in it. I have worked for many years with people from over 35 different countries for who English is not their first language. I've seen things in broken English that are sometimes difficult to understand. But I must disagree with the respondents who suggest that we need to "cut some slack" to the requestors in this article because English is not their first language. It is very easy to tell when someone who speaks a different tongue is trying to communicate in English -- there are grammatical constructs in their native language that get imposed into the English statements. That is not the case here -- these writers are (to be blunt) either illiterate, lazy, or a combination of the two. Without trying to sound too radical, it is a clear illustration of the decline of society's communication skills. As professionals, we need to set better examples. When we communicate, both in written and spoken forms, we need to use the language properly. We need to make sure we use proper grammar, correct spelling and appropriate punctuation and capitalization. We are the most connected society that has ever existed, yet our communication skills seem to have dropped completely off the scale. Let's clean it up, people. All of these grammatical tools and rules were created to help us convey our messages clearly and without misunderstanding. If you need an example, just remember that capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse, or your uncle jack off a horse.
Hi Bill, I enjoyed reading all the "tech" questions. Some were really funny and some were an attempt at trying to decipher a code used for sending messages to the enemy! Thanks for sharing
I won't deny it. The English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn, much less master. How do you keep your wits about you when trying to decipher the "gobbledygook" you receive? You probably have enough of this grammatical sludge to write a book--for those who could read it, of course.....
The requests for product keys do make you wonder. Did they come from areas of the world where piracy is the norm rather than the exception?
Not to want to take anymore of your time to read the comment after wasting several minutes reading the emails, so I will sum it up in one word. Stupid!
Am I supposed to help someone who won't even respect me by using correct capitalization and spelling? Do I have feathers on my back to be taken for a bird? I'm not just the "computer guy" at the firm but also the first checker of the incoming resumes. Go ahead, send me an "i liked ur video i am so thankfull" style inquiry. In WordPerfect format, of course. With a 12MB TIFF attachment of your mug. Showing zero experience in our field, but huge expertise as a tree trimmer. In South Kuala Lumpur. Willing to relocate at our cost if we hire you unseen. Because you are eager to learn anything new. As long as it's not capitalization and spelling, apparently. And not cc-ing IBM, Wal-Mart, Campbell Soup, MGM and the White House.
Hey Bill, don't get too big headed here that you are the only person who gets these- on my mail servers we get this identical email to random users 40+ time a week. In an article about naivety I think you're being a bit naive yourself if you thought you're the only person that got this!!
Hi Bill, I must present a case for the "technically clueless," especially within public institutions. I have been a technical writer within the public domain, in Canada, since 1977. A great many people in my "audience" went into the Civil Service after high school. They would start out as Border guards in the 60s, 70s, and are frankly close to retirement. The computer-based assets of their jobs was never intended to replace them, but was simply intended as a means of enhancing, and automating/simplifying their jobs by providing information to front line officers, who were engaged in the prevention of entry ofr people who could present a threat to my country (and the U.S.A.). Say, someone didn't have at least the benefits of an advanced education, but had a front-line exposure to the computer assets of their job, and made excellent use of them to prevent garbage from entering MY country. These people - the "front-line" defence of my country will go home after a shift, cook dinner, sit with their families and watch TV. Are they expected to be interested in the computer? Their kids would probably be more expert in the operation of a "machine" in the home environment than they. As an older IT guy, I am deeply offended by the "Technically Clueless" thread of this discourse, and all of the sterling humans that I have encountered in my career. Kindly kill this thread, and any others that may ensue.
It's fun to read these requests for help. I've got some crazy ones too, but none of them have ever offered to be my computer buddy. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. ;)
"Are you for real?" is hilarious, not because the person who sent the message is technically clueless but because the putz that received it actually believes it might be a real person?!?!? Its a BOT, half of these that are tech republic messages are from bots. I've seen the same messages come through on non-computer related community sites and forums. I also have to marvel at some of the replies on here - laughing at someone because they thought SCSI was spelled scuzzy? I wonder how many people on here know how to change an oil filter in their car, or the transmission fluid? As for the poor spelling - like I said a bunch of these tech republic messages are from bots. Many bots use poor spelling so they can blast out many variations of the same message so they can get past filters yet still send a message that seems vaguely relevant to the subject of the site you're on. Others: well, some people are just stupid there's no doubt about it, but there are also (now hold onto your seats, I don't want to shock any of you computer people) some people, just a few of them, in the world who don't grow up speaking English. I wonder how many languages you speak?
Why in at least 99% of those posts is their English so bad? didnt any of these people go to school They should be embarrassed.
Unfortunately, it's a lot more common than it should be. If you have never seen the movie "Idiocracy", perhaps you should check it out. The movie leaves a lot to be desired, but the message it conveys is truly frightening because it is so very true.
OK, I read almost every post and had some great chuckles. Now I suggest you arrange to go to your nearest major police department, ask to interview a 9-1-1 operator (who has a few minutes)and learn what kind of crazies *they* hear. Then realize they might not pay any attention to 90% of them, they're just too many, and they do get tired of them. But most can relay some doozies - and may have the recordings. Wacky, weird, drunk, angry, high...and just incredibly stupid. Take your pick, and take your laptop!
It's amazing thing to read thru all these... but the most amazing part is the one who send this to you~~ that's why human being are very interesting, right ?
Most of people start learning directly which is just job oriented; they just ignore the basics of computers or their teachers are too not that much computer literate. I am a computer teacher. Students (studying Bachelor, Master and Engineering courses), some friends and family members often call me for help for little problems in their computers. On phone, I give instructions about what to do but sometimes they do not understand the instruction because they are not aware of the basic computer components/words. What the basic literacy includes: 1. Difference between : A. a Window and a Dialog box (some people even don't know that "Dialog boxes" do exist!) B. Listbox and Combobox C. Button and Link D. Label and Link label E. Windows Explorer and My Computer window (people even don't know that something like "Windows Explorer" exist!) 2. What is called "Context Menu" (In India, people even don't know what the word "Context" means!!) 3. Recognizing all controls, for example what is Textbox, Combobox, Listbox, Checkbox, Radio button, Spinner, Groupbox, Button, Label etc. (these are really very necessary to know and also which control is used for which purpose) 4. Recognizing all keys on keyboard 5. Working with shortcut 6. How to Search on Internet 7. Which hardwares are used in their computers OR how to know which hardwares are used 8. How to connect/disconnects cables to/from cabinet 9. What are called ports, connectors, sockets, plug, holders etc. 10. What is taskbar, taskbar button, task manager, system tray, start up entries. 11. Attaching file to email 12. In India, some people also don't know what is called "Dragging" 13. Installing and Uninstalling programs 14. What are product keys and how/when/where they are used The list could include more topics. Some of the above are not that much necessary but having some least knowledge of these can help a lot. I teach all of the above to my students and much more too to educated them about computer basics. I have also seen many teachers giving wrong introduction to their students about some programs, for ex., students believe (because teachers have either not taught or given incorrect info) that Visual Studio is VB.Net or C#.Net; Turbo C++ Editor is C/C++ language. Most of teachers don't know that Turbo C++ is an editor for C/C++ language and a C/C++ language program can be written in any editor weather it is Visual Studio or Notepad++ or simple Notepad. They also don't know what is syntax highlighting, however they are already using it. Sometimes they unaware that they have made a mistake in writing a language keyword which can easily be recognized by syntax highlighting feature. Also, people fear of using something new. I told some of my friends to use Windows 7 because it is very secure, more easy to use and looks trendier. But they refused to use Win 7. I then had to give much surety that if they ever get in trouble, I am always ready to help them and after too much this kind of drama and arguments, they started using Win 7.
I've been saying it since the 80's, and it still holds true today: computers are not for everyone. There are two types of computer users. Those who understand, and those who incessantly pester those who understand. Perhaps after almost 30 years of cerebral abuse, I've become a tad jaded. Everyone tells me how much easier computers are to use, now. Define the word "use." If by "use" you mean it's easier to write a letter and email it, then yes. That's probably true. Easier to edit images and video? You bet. Easier to use the operating system itself, and it's tools? Not a chance. Easier to maintain your system and keep it error-free? Pffft! And the kicker is that in this day and age of the internet, information is everywhere you turn! Relief of your ignorance is merely a web search away. If only I had that advantage as a youngster. If you love that "techy" person in your life then please, for the love of all that's good in this world, get a tablet or a smart phone and call it good. Let the healing commence.
The questions about free computer repairs and pirating computer software really crack me up. I get questions like those all the time. I've actually replied back to the requests for free computer help and asked them what they do for a living. Then, I ask them if they would do it for free. That usually gets the point across. Sometimes, I think some people think that working on computers is not a real job and that it is just tinkering around in our spare time. My least favorite questions are the ones in which people ask me to provide them with a software key or password or help them "copy" software or music or video for free. I like to reply back to those requests by asking if they own anything of value. If they say they do, I ask them if they will give it to me for free. If that doesn't get the point across, I ask them if they will write a novel for me, get it ready to go to a publisher then let me put my name on it as the author so I can sell it to a publisher and be the one who makes money from it. I tell them that's the same thing as "copying" software programs, music, video etc. "for free" when the true author of the work is trying to make a living by selling it. Very funny posts! Thank you for posting them. The most humorous (in a sad way) thing about most of them, is the horrible spelling and grammar. Don't people learn how to write anymore?
Last time I checked, lying was not an offense under civil or criminal law codes. (Of course, perjury and fraud are special exceptions to this statement.)
I did find a grammar mistake in my post. I corrected it. You might want to fix up those multiple question marks in your post.
I think Bill should also post an article on computer literacy. He can copy my comment, I have no objection.
(I already "stole" within the title - from "Portnoy's Complaint" - that's it, I guess I am now a criminal...) Well, if nobody does so, I will ask it: surely, you do like to exaggerate?... Yes, there is a tangible, real issue regarding theft of intellectual property, nobody possessing more than two braincells has difficulty grasping that, and envisioning some of the various implications (good and bad). But you're - pardon me for this, it only reflects my objective analysis of you post (by which I do not claim to remain objective throughout my entire post!) - somewhat biased, no? A little "under the influence", a little too ready to espouse industry- and corporate-specific sound bites, without thinking thoughts of your own or considering the bigger picture? Wait a minute! Doesn't that make you a thief, a pirate of those ideas and sound bites? Have you paid for them?! Damn! Don't be so eager to tow the line and "just follow orders"... Your logic is fairly wobbly and one-sided; your comparison overshoots its mark and is given to preachy exaggerations (again, I won't claim that I myself will not fall into a similar trap of my own, if only to counter yours, and balance the scales according to the right to 'differing views and opinions') . So then, following your logic and your comparison, to the letter: if you were to read a book and suddenly a passage grabbed you as particularly interesting, intelligent or helpful in a very practical way, and you decided to write it down in order to remember it (or even to - god forbid! - later impress your hypothetical girlfriend, collegue, or run the useful idea contained therein by your boss), well, according to your scenario, the authorship would be automatically transferred to you? Henceforth, people all around the literate world would speak of you as the writer? And all royalties coming from the publisher would also be mailed to you? So that's what happens to those that copy a song "for free"? From that point on they acquire fame, become superstars, are sent complimentary baskets filled with "mePods", "Ploystations" and Bulovas, all "for free"? They move into mansions and complain about their exhausting fans while receiving royalty cheques (yeah, sure: 'checks')? Man, they have it pretty sweet, those nasty downloaders-of-music-"for free"... if we're to give credence to your argument. Well, no wonder so many do it! It makes me want to kick myself for having missed out on such sweet a deal! And here I was, waving it off as silliness, wandering why so many people got so many knickers in a twist... I mostly ignored it all as a big hullabaloo about some inconsequential pop-ditties, some 'here today, gone tomorrow'-songs the likes of which I can hear anytime anywhere a radio station is blaring or I turn on the TV and sit through a couple of blocks of commercials - since a lot of them quickly sell their songs to advertisers. All the while, according to your reasoning, this wasn't about people wanting to listen to mostly mercantile-minded cookie-cutter fluff, but was instead some colossal lottery, where the "pirates" inherited ALL the rights and riches of "the rich and famous" stars! Maybe I should've bought a ticket... You bend the truth like it was an elephant's trunk... (Political pun very much intended, if perceived.) Anyway, most of what you call "piracy" and "theft" is what led our civilization to where it is today. Evidently, in order to remain well-enough organized for the sake of our civilization's survival, humankind came to the consensus that stealing was to be avoided - that way we could have repositories of our collective achievements - museums and libraries - be more than just empty, looted rooms, we could pool our monetary resources in banks, and people could hold on to their personal possessions, necessary for work and survival (otherwise imagine a farmer having to replace his plough every morning before setting off to work; or a musician having to find a new guitar every time he wanted to play, because someone took his in the night...). But beyond that, people have been humming each other's melodies, reciting each other's poetry, copying each other's paintings, solving each other's equations and formulae, telling tales and stories, picking up drumbeats, sewing, moulding, embroidering - you name it, it's been done and copied, re-copied and improved upon and modified again and again and again, ad nauseam, till the porridge comes out your nose, for ten thousand years and more. The whole of Human Civilization was and is built around "copying": we've been "ripping off" each other for tens of thousands of years, since the days of the first proto-humans! Every single "invention" is based on one or more previous ones - including that of FIRE ITSELF! Our early human ancestors were merely "pirating"/"copying"/imitating a natural phenomenon! Ancient Egyptians borrowed ideas from Babylonians, who did likewise from the Sumerians; ancient Greeks "stole" ideas from the Egyptians (including those of their own mythological gods and demigods - even Herakles himself, believe it or not!), then the Romans did the same to them (which is why you're potentially huffing and puffing in your chair, thinking "It's not 'Herakles', dumb..., it's 'Hercules'!"). Farming, architecture, engineering (civil, naval, battlefield, &c.), mathematics, physics, medicine, pottery, sculpture, painting, literature - and yes, even music (!) advanced to the level they are today by and large thanks to that simple - AND ESSENTIAL, for the sake of Human Civilization! - act that you call "theft"! People borrowed ("stole", "pirated"...) concepts and ideas from others, from each other, since times immemorial! Then they'd add their own two bits or more, improve on those ideas, modifying and adapting them to suit their own, their people's, their regional needs... If us, humans, didn't "steal" ideas, didn't "copy" or "pirate" them, we'd still be struggling - we'd still be trying to build THE FIRST WHEEL!, because based on your (borrowed/stolen...) idea of "righteous selfishness", every single individual or community to whom the concept of a wheel occured, would have been required to start from the beginning. Ideas are not tomatoes or iPods that grow independently of all other ideas that preceded them, in some fenced-in private yard, on some vine that you yourself created in your god-like omnipotency! Ideas are free-flowing by their nature - and "stealing" them is so deeply engrained in the human psyche, that most often we don't even realize when we're being influenced, inspired by someone else's thoughts and efforts. FOR OUR BRAINS, OUR MINDS, IDEAS ARE LIKE AIR IS FOR THE LUNGS! They just enter and, in turn, exit them, without the least bit of prompting, coercion, intent or even conscious thought! You want to fight human impulse, behaviour and thought, even the very process of human evolution! - with corporate law?! Or ANY law ouside of the natural? Well, good luck with that, I'd say, if it weren't so dangerously short-sighted. I had a musician friend, teacher, orchestra director, amateur mathematician. He once said something funny that stuck in my mind: among musicians, the question - when discussing even the greatest of music history's composers (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Verdi, etc.) - isn't 'who composed what?', but rather 'who scored what FROM WHOM?'... Even sacrosanct religion does not exist in a human and civilizational vacuum. (But that subject ruffles fervent feathers and send the pious crowd into a bloodthirsty, frenzied tizzy, at which point it becomes utterly useless trying to discuss with any pretence to cartesian or other logic that would deserve to be called logical.) And here you are, a mindless and monotonous mouthpiece to an barely century-old industry (at most!) representing names that will generally disappear with the rest of our nameless bones well before this century is out. The world is in a general turmoil, teen girls and boys are made into fighting women and men only to be blown up by roadside bombs, their limbs torn off and shredded; people kill each other over petty or thuggish-boorish-brutish politics, square off against each other - ready to ascend to their respective and exclusive heavens - over silly, age-old, antiquated superstitions in the name of a hundred different gods and more; they're just about bent on using humankind's latest technological achievements to bury thousands of years of toil and innovation that resulted in our collective civilization and bring about their own version of the apocalypse - and you and your sound bite-writing hacks are bickering over pop songs, copyrights, and pennies and dimes... Got any more poorly written and reasoned, superficially mercantile-minded, greed- and corn-fed inconsequential drivel to spew over your fruit(think: red delicious)-labeled megaphone?! Well, that's my tirade; it's been building for a while, because the are so many intellectually myopic people who, without thinking or batting an eyelid, would shackle the human spirit and intellect, even the natural course of events, nature and evolution itself, and bring civilization to a halt if they must, only to protect some corporate and a few well-pampered private interests at the expense of humanity at large and our greater collective interest to survive, co-operate and prosper as a species and race - of which there is but one: the human race. 'Yep', there are no "races"; there's just the one - that is now, once and for all, scientifically proven through genetics: we all belong to the same race, and all the differences are simply 'varietal' (like grapes and wines...), adaptational - the main differences among us are created by the unavoidable fact that some individuals are bigger 'bung-holes' than others... and they're ready to stomp on others for cynical reasons and for short-term gains that do more harm than good even in the short-term.
...Rules! The title of this reply was carried over from the original post, and like much of the reparte' on these articles has little to do with the topic.
When a user asks YOU with help downloading music or "pirating" software? Do you help them in the spirit of "freedom"? Or do you have some other, perhaps more accurate, simile to use to illustrate the point that what they are asking you to do just isn?t going to happen? DISCLAIMER: There is no malice what-so-ever in this post. Any detected malice is the sole responsibility of the studio audience, not the author.
You seem to be saying 'ripping off' ideas from one another is natural, and has been a boon to civilization. There is a good argument to be had in that against the degree of restrictive (anal?) "intellectual property" laws currently being pursued in the US. Imagine if copyright or patent laws had been enforced for the use of fire. Or smelting metals. Planting corn in rows. Somewhere along the line you reach the line of reasonable protection. Fortunately (for me at least) there is one clear line you legitimately should not cross; entertainment should be zealously protected. Entertainment is not necessary, it's not critical, it really has no value, but a massive amount of resources goes into it's production. You could view IP protections as artificially creating a value for entertainment. Of course this is necessary only in the age of digital (easily stolen) content. Nobody made "free" copies of reels of film laying around the local theater. For the first 50 years of it's existence television required the viewer to alter their life around a broadcast schedule. "...lead us not into temptation.." Too late. The technology we have all but begs us to steal content.
He was trying to make a point about theft of services. The point not only escaped you, you aren't even searching in the right galaxy. And that was just the first 8 paragraphs. The rest? TLDNR.
I have never aided anyone in doing anything seedy or illegal. Quite the opposite I've gotten a lot of folks to stop amoral behaviors. Isn't that how every one of us here operates? I hold the folks hanging around TR in high esteem. I imagine you all to be level headed professionals, whether or not someone's got the best bedside manner when breaking bad news to a client notwithstanding.
I guess the ultimate answer is let someone plant their corn in rows, mounds or flower pots... just when they have harvested it blow through town on stolen wheels armed to the teeth and steal it. http://www.scribd.com/doc/12070379/Might-is-Right-by-Ragnar-Redbeard
Guy who invented the wheel is now sueing for lost income because without his Invention Corn Planted in Rows wouldn't be of any benefit. Seems that he thinks that his invention was necessary first before Modern Technology could be Employed to make things easier/more productive. :D I wonder where this will end and who will them be the Richest Person on Earth. It's certainly not going to be Billy Boy the over paid Window Cleaner/seller any more. :^0 Col
planting corn in rows. Corn should be planted in smallish, moundy spaces that aren't placed too closely in order to help avoid borers. etu
And compounds the debate by magnitudes. Who is the "decider?" Usually you can say 'follow the money' to unveil untoward motives. But this case is precisely about having rights to accumulate money and protecting same. Who was it that said something like 'people will get the exact amount of tyranny they will put up with?' (Franklin?) Hard to say if the pirates are making a political stand, or just don't think they'll ever get caught. The Pirate Bay kids excluded, of course.
As my header says: I agree - even absolutely - with your summary and examples (particularly the ridiculously funny one about corn-row planting... this is a serious subject, and a pressing issue too - think of some of Monsanto's practices! - but you made me laugh being specific like that). What makes me cringe is naught, but the introduction of the word "zealos(ly)" - for its pejorative connotations, obviously, but also because it takes us to the question: how far is far enough? And at which point do we cross into something sordid and sinister, and nothing short of authoritarian? And, for the record, a short definition of "authoritarian", courtesy of 'the Oxford': "believing that people should obey authority and rules, even when these are unfair, and even if it means that they lose their personal freedom". Striking, no? And none too far from the current state of affairs...
Well, by "blanket statement" I simply meant (and still mean) the onerous attempts at labelling anything and everything using the strongest, most incriminating terms available, painting everything the same 'doomsday-colour' of criminal behaviour... As far as allegories, metaphors and other forms of poetic expression are concerned: this is an IT-related site, I guess I wasn't expecting them... :) ...but more seriously, they don't belong in statements that refer to legal accusations and indictments of a very specific nature - and better keep an eye on the court judge's brows, and heed his warnings, if you're going to 'wax poetic' while pointing your finger and crying "J'accuse!". :) (Although that would play well in 'Hollywodian' interpretations, no doubt...) Now, about people "not getting it"... I wouldn't even want to start down that tortuously winding broken-up path: I do not, right now, have the time that would require; and even if I did... Suffice to say that some people... will... not... give...; no matter the strength, logic, worthiness of your argument, or its simplicity, no matter how easy it may be to grasp: they... will... not... "get... it". Frankly, insistence with such individuals might just call one's own intelligence, wisdom into question, as it is the equivalent of repeatedly charging a brick wall, head first. The best and most appropriate way I can express my opinion on that subject is not at all through words, but a familiar-to-all gesture: throwing my arms up, palms turned upward, while shrugging. Best preserve your neurons. Save your nerves (whenever possible)... (Those with low tolerance toward stupidity and stubbornness should consider shaving their scalp to prevent tearing their hair out by the handful, because the people driving them mad "aren't going away"...) Ahh, whom am I kidding?! I'm not the Dalai Lama... Sometimes I can't help "phasing out" and staring into space... or wanting to hurl a receiver across the room... let's leave it at that - and that's already (far) more (of everything) than I should've given the subject. Sooo, changing it then... ...not partial to Kool-Aid then? That's wise... I heard Flavor Aid can be even riskier... ;) I'm glad to hear you don't swallow anything simply because someone hands it to you, and regardless how colourful the crystals may be! But I'm not suprised: if I thought at any time that you may be susceptible, you dispelled that notion by now. ...and no Tea Parties, huh? Yeah, I've no penchant either for sitting around a table, sipping tea from a fragile, delicate little porcelain dish, waiting for some tempest brewing up in it, then gossiping about that storm in my teacup... ;) But sometimes I do empathize... so in the spirit of all that, I'm going to go now, and will throw a teabag into the lake! :D "Down by Law" popped into my head just now, because I'm thinking to myself : a good egg... Or, as I recall from the movie: "Hi ame a goode hegg." :) (Damn, doing this while keeping busy with something else has again led to a long reply; sorry. I'll post it anyway - maybe you'll get a smile out of it - I got one out of yours, after all, and "fair is fair"...) -cheers! - and I mean just that, and cheerfully, for a chage!
He uses it as an allegory, to explain to others why he doesn't work for free, and why he doesn't help others bypass licensing to obtain music, videos, or software for free. I've done the same thing. I've even met people who couldn't understand my objections to their attempts to obtain software without purchasing a license when explained in those terms. And I don't drink tea...or Kool-Aid. :D
I got the point he was aiming for - it doesn't take a genius of your standing to grasp that... I manage with what I have. So let him make that point without cheap tricks (someone copies a song and they gain all the benefits of the work's creator: authorship, royalties and all - pffft!) I just happened to have reached my fill of all these blanket statements coming from dime-a-dozen moralists and street-corner philosophers, who then proceed with the wildest, least factual exaggerations. Reign it in already and get back to some semblance of sanity and reason. Everywhere you look: "piracy" this, "theft" that, "copyright", "damages", "lawsuit", "losses", "clamping down", "infringement", etc. - threats, finger-wagging, complaining and laments, waah-waah-waah... Besides which, not all "free" things are "stolen" - don't tell me you've never been a beneficiary of a free service, advice or information... Having said all that, I'm not in the least saying that we should all just give away everything (I'm not saying you shouldn't, either - that's anybody's personal business). As for TLDNR - I was fresh out of one-liners, sound bites and jingles, sorry... but there are plenty of those around and you shouldn't have any trouble finding some - though you seem adept enough at them yourself. Worst-case scenario: attend a rally of your local Tea Party chapter... jingles and sound bites galore, and a hoot too, if you find "fuzzy logic" funny! Anyway, I'm well aware it was overlong, but like I said, it's been building for a while, and after reading his references, my cup filled and spilled, I was venting - obviously, not against him, principally... plus, apparently, I had a lot to say. And would you believe, there's more where that came from: like Monsanto and our farmers, one I won't even start, because it makes me spit blood and my head explode... Thanks for even attempting to read it... at least I took you to faraway galaxies, huh? cheers, and stay upright...