MS Paint Is Dead — Errr, Wait A Minute

So Microsoft announced that MS Paint was going to go the way of Outlook Express — i.e. die because they just aren’t interested in maintaining the old horse anymore, and it’s to the glue factory it will go.

Then, 24 hours later, after a storm of protest from longtime Paint users, Microsoft backtracked and said that Paint wasn’t going to disappear completely; it would just not be included in future releases of their operating software — it would have to be downloaded as a separate operation.

What bullshit is this? I’ve written before that Microsoft’s corporate strategy team, if they have one, should get a kick in the teeth for fucking over longtime customers just at the behest of Engineering who, despite Dilbert’s efforts, should never, ever be allowed to set policy. And product longevity is precisely what should be decided by Marketing, not by Engineering or Production, because the people most affected will be customers — and despite Dilbert, again, Engineering doesn’t understand customers.

I’ll spell it out for Microsoft (and I won’t need SpellCheck either): you guys are a bunch of fucking idiots.

There are millions of software users who don’t need sophisticated software to address their everyday needs. This is true whether it’s word processing (people who are only interested in writing letters, papers or novels), doing basic budget preparation (households and small businesses) correspondence (people writing simple letters or memos to a few people), and basic photo / picture editing (family photos, articles, blogs) . In other words, LetterPerfect 1.0, Lotus 1-2-3 v.3, Outlook Express… and Paint. In Microsoft parlance, it’s not the bloated juggernaut known as MS Office, it’s the MS Works crowd. And just to repeat the original thought: there are millions and millions of such people and I, one of the earliest Microsoft PC customers, am one of them.

I fucking hate Outlook, Office and (just to be fair) Adobe Photoshop. They’re all too much for my needs, and I’m sick of having to learn to go through a multi-step process just to be able to do something that used to be a one-click operation.

My only comfort is that I’m no longer young, and my time to have to deal with all this nonsense is shrinking. But it gives me no comfort whatsoever to think that Microsoft believes that this is the reason not to worry about me — that I and my kind are a shrinking market, which gives them the right to fuck us, and ignore us.

Saturday Morning, Again

Ah yes… last night.

Pretty much the same cast of characters (The Englishman and Reader John M. — Mr. Free Market had to stay late at work: celebratory drinks after some successful capitalist venture, no doubt), the same products of Messrs. Wadworth and Company, same wonderful fun, same pub. Same final result, of course.

Back when the skull-hobgoblins have finished their Happy Dance…

Perspective, And Numbers

I read in some article in the Dead Tree Telegraph this morning about how the BritGov (thanks to the foul Tony Blair’s NuLabour governance) has been spending £4 for every £3 it collected.

Yeah, we can all do the ratio on that one. But how much more effective would it have been to use the same ratio, only with actual proportions, i.e. “The Government has been spending £400 billion for every £300 billion it collects in taxes.” Same ratio, far more effective; and if I may say, also more truthful.

I don’t wanna ask what the USGov’s ratio has been, under Urkel Obama’s stewardship.

Merger News

I see that CBS and the BBC are going to join forces:

CBS News on Thursday announced a new “editorial and newsgathering relationship” with BBC News “that will significantly enhance the global reporting capabilities of both organizations,” the networks said in a joint statement. “CBS News is completely committed to original reporting around the world — a commitment clearly shared by the BBC,” said CBS News President David Rhodes. “There’s no better partner to strengthen and extend our global coverage than BBC News. I look forward to working with James Harding as we increase the capabilities of both organizations.”

Of course, to conservatives like us this would be, in Orwell-speak, “doubleplusCommie”.

I’ve been watching BBC-TV while Over Here, and needless to say, I can think of at least one good reason why people here aren’t allowed to own handguns. The attrition rate of TVs would be horrendous.

Bye Bye Volvo

According to a report I read in yesterday’s Dead Tree newspaper (online link), Volvo has decided to stop making gasoline-powered cars altogether; all future Volvo models will be exclusively electrically-powered.

Let’s be honest about this. Volvo has always been a niche brand in the U.S. — even the venerable 240D wagon was pretty much beloved only by academics and a few soccer moms of the period — so it appears that the Swedes (or Chinese, if you prefer their actual ownership) have decided to make the brand even more niche-ier: trading the twenty or so people who wanted to buy Volvos for the nine people who want to buy electric cars (or the two people who want to buy specifically a Volvo electric car).

That’s for the U.S. market, of course. Maybe this will work for Volvo in Europe, where they only have to travel a few miles between destinations and the electric cars there need weekly recharges (instead of hourly, in America). Who knows? stranger things have been known to happen Over Here, but I have to tell you, I just don’t see it.

I was going to end this post with “Sic transit Volvo“, except that “volvo” in Latin means “I roll” so the phrase would make no sense. But you know what I mean.

Quandary

Back in the U.S., I normally play the lottery each week (shuddup, it’s my retirement plan and it’s only a couple bucks “investment” each time), mostly when the payout is respectable.

So this past Tuesday, I bought a Euromillions lottery ticket because the payout is €70 million ($79 million). The tax on that $79 mill works out to about $32 million — except that all over Europe and the U.K., Euromillions lottery winnings are not taxed. This is not the case in the U.S., of course, where the godless fiends of the IRS will swoop down and take Uncle Sam’s 40% (pound of flesh) share at gunpoint.

Which leads to an interesting thought.

$79 million is an awful lot of “fuck you” money — a lot more than the post-tax $47 million. Needless to say, U.S. citizens are forbidden to have overseas bank accounts without disclosing such accounts and their contents to the IR fucking S, so that Uncle Sam, in this case, could collect the aforementioned 32 million pounds of flesh.

But the lottery is paid out Over Here, not in the U.S.

What would stop the winner from saying a simple “fuck you!” to the IRS, give up his U.S. citizenship, refuse to pay them their “goodbye” tax (“fuck you again”) and take up residence somewhere like Monaco, Liechtenstein, or one of the several tax havens scattered around this part of the world? (Believe me: show up at one of those countries’ embassy or consulate with $79 million cash and ask for “asylum”, and they’d get into fistfights to get you to pick their country over the others.)

In other words, at what point does one say that citizenship isn’t worth the price one has to pay for it — especially when all the USGov will do with your money is piss it away on the usual government wastage like Solyndra subsidies or welfare for illegal aliens?

I know I probably sound like some liberal asshole who doesn’t want their tax dollars to go to military spending, but in my case it’s the exact reverse sentiment: if I could pay my “windfall” lottery taxes direct to the Pentagon, specifically earmarked towards a new aircraft carrier, F-35 or couple of M1 Abrams tanks, I’d do it in a moment, without hesitation. But you can’t do that, can you? Tax dollars go into the “General Fund”, and are then siphoned off by the usual suspects into subsidies for objectionable art projects or even worse, to federal funding for Oberlin College, while the Pentagon gets fractions of a penny from the tax dollar, literally.

I’m making something of a joke about this situation because I’d never do it — my citizenship is too precious to me, I’d feel like I’d betrayed my adopted homeland, and I could not face never being able to visit my kids, family and friends back in the U.S. for the rest of my life.

But I have to tell you, I wouldn’t attack someone who made the opposite decision. Which should tell you how far our beloved government has fallen in public esteem — because if I, one of our country’s proudest and most grateful adopted citizens can even be tempted to thinking about this option, how badly have they screwed things up?

So come on, all you loyal Americans out there: what would you do with $79 million sitting in Europe, waiting to be given to you? Stay over there forever, living in luxury, or pay the taxes and live here in 40% less luxury?

And just to put this thing into perspective: assuming you dedicate 10% of your new non-taxed fortune to housing (and that’s not a bad principle), what you could get for your money in the Principality is the top floor of this little thing: