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Failures in capitalism

About ssenkraD fo rorriM s'feK

Previous Entry Failures in capitalism Aug. 19th, 2012 @ 09:27 am Next Entry
Microsoft Windows has a bug and they do not care.

What the bug is is unimportant, but I'll explain it anyway. I find the US-International keyboard layout quite handy for handling works with accents and the like. Well, in Windows 7, I am unable to assign a keyboard shortcut to this keyboard layout. I can assign keyboard shortcuts to other layouts like Japanese and US English, but not US-International. It pretends to assign it, but it doesn't work, and soon it drops all pretense of having assigned it -- it will say "(None)" for the keyboard shortcut. This is very annoying; I don't want to use the mouse just to change layouts, especially since I'm often mid-sentence when I switch.

However... because the number of people affected by this issue is tiny (fewer than 1% of their users, surely), the impact of this bug on their sales is going to be approximately $0. That means the effort they'll want to spend fixing it will be $0. They don't even want to hear about it. There's no way to report a bug to Microsoft except to call them up on the phone and pay a fee just to report a bug, which they might refund if they decide it's an actual bug. (Of course, since the ball is in their court at that point, there's pretty much nothing keeping them from saying "not a bug" even if it is one.) And because the ability to type in more than one language isn't exactly a feature advertised on the box or anywhere else, you can't nail them for false advertising. I never had this problem in Windows XP, and you don't expect software upgrades to make your life worse, but there it is, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

I didn't spend $200 on Windows with the expectation that it would be broken. But here I am with broken software, no obvious way to fix it, and no way to even complain. Switch to Linux? Hardly an appropriate solution. Even boycotting MS would be entirely ineffective because so few people have or would care about this particular issue. People only bother to boycott stuff if they have a personal interest in it, after all.

And this, my friends, is a failure in capitalism. The system is fundamentally flawed. I'll admit I'm conflating "capitalism" and "free market economics" to some extent, but I don't really care. What I do care about is that the system is not doing what it was designed to do. The system was designed to encourage the betterment of our lives through market forces such as competition, and to only introduce regulations when companies cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Well, there must not be enough regulations, because MS cannot be bothered to provide stuff that works. This is a problem with many companies, in fact: they don't want to provide proper customer support because it is not to their advantage to do so. Well, I don't care if it's to your advantage or not. I want stuff I paid hard-earned money for to work properly. Is it too much to ask?

I hate the world sometimes.
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Date:December 27th, 2014 12:12 am (UTC)
But you're a programmer, aren't you? You should be able to create some kind of hack or workaround, e.g. a script or app that manually sets the keyboard layout (via Windows API); you could then create a shortcut to that app, and in the Properties, assign the desired shortcut key to it. Certainly a hassle, but doable.
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