I use a transitive verb called "microsoft," as in "Darn.  I've been microsofted again."  I say that when I am working along, happily minding my own business, when abruptly, without warning or provocation, Word or some oother MS application jerks control of the process out of my hands and does something I don't want it to do.  It's as if the computer is saying to me, "Oh.  I know what you want.  Let me do that for you."  Then it mauls my document in some way that I don't want and often it won't permit me to get back to the point it began interfering with me.  Here's another: Windows starts behaving in a different way than it did before.  No warning.  No information.  It simply behaves differently.  Sometimes it's little, like a change of font.  Sometimes it's major, like not being able to access files I could the day before.  (I know what you're thinking: "This dumb asshole has a virus and doesn't know it."  Wrong.  I monitor that.) 

Here's another:  Your error messages and warnings are usually completely devoid of helpful information.  An ugly little red box shows up in the middle of my screen and it says something like, "error 3v99se0332fi7, registry over flow," or "error cur8whatadummy39rf6 solenoid malfunction (maybe)" or "error 59fiwsmqrvifo54 your guess is as good as ours. start fiddling around or go buy a new computer"  or "error hcuioert9" start guessing what's wrong," or "cataclysmic error #2 dilythium crystals irretrievably depolarized please step away from the computer immediately."  Well, not all of them are that bad, but almost.  Then if I dare do anything else but click the "Okay" button, like try to preserve the results of labors since my last save, the little box jiggles obnoxiously at me like a grumpy old librarian wagging her finger at me.  Please put a more truthful message on the button, like, "I resign myself to my fate," or "Clicking this button, which, by the way is my only option, I indicate that I absolve Microsoft of all liability for damage done by its software to my documents, my person, and my property near the computer," or "Sorry, Buddy." You're screwed." and put a button that will print a coupon to buy a discounted Apple machine. 

And you'd think by now Windows would be stable.  At least once a month, my monitor jumps around as if some giant cyber pit bull were violently killing my process.  The screen goes all blue and shows incomprehensive code that Bill wrote when he was still in his garage.  Whatever project I was working on is launched straight into the stratosphere never to be heard from again.  Of course, the absolute worst is your "Help" process.  Almost always when I start using your automated help process, I drop straight through the menus, which takes fifteen minutes, and end up with a final comment, something like, "Sorry. No can do," or "Sorry.  We recommend you turn off your computer and go do something else for a while."  You could dress up the whole "Help" process by putting up wallpaper of a brick wall behind the dialogue box. 

And you are getting such a long message here because I am seizing the opportunity to fire off a message in the direction of a human being who works for Microsoft who doesn't have a thick Bengali accent and is weirdly enough named David or Allen.  Actually communicating with a human at Microsoft is impossible.  I have no hope that a human will actually read this message. 

Knock.  Knock.  Anybody there?  Phone home.  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

August 12, 1997

Dear Tyler,

    Has your dad ever told you about the smell of floor wax?  There are a lot of good smells in the world.  For example, have you smelled your crayons?  Red smells just like black to me, but they all smell different from anything else in the world.  Attics have a sad smell for me.  I think about all of the toys and puzzles no one wants to play with any more.  Your pillow has its own smell too.  Sniff it tonight after the lights are out and the house is quiet. You’ll see.
    The fall has smells that remind me, and probably your dad, of being a little boy. Leaves crackle when you walk through them, but they have a smell too.  Crumble one up in your hand and smell it.  Sometimes you can smell someone burning leaves or having a fire in the fireplace in the house.  There were more fires inside of houses and outside in yards and gardens when your dad and I were young.
    Also in the fall, Grandma bought your dad and me new shoes.  New shoes smelled like stores, not like somebody's stinky feet.  There was only one kind of play shoe, which we called sneakers back then and that was Keds.  And there was only one kind of Keds, the kind that laced to the top of your ankle.  Every pair had a flat, round piece of rubber as a mark on the outside of my ankle, but I could get different colors: black, blue, white, and red.  Brand new shoes smelled like a store and the rubber sole squeaked when I rubbed my finger on it.  After about a month, my sneakers began to smell good, like baseball dirt, grass scuffing, and dogs.  Grandma also bought us clothes so that we could go back to school in new clothes instead of the old, comfortable ones with the holes in the knees.
    And always the first smell I smelled on the first day of school was floor wax.  The janitors had worked all summer to make the schools clean and ready for us.  The last thing they did, on the day before we came back to school, was wax the floors.  My shoes squeaked on the fresh wax.  Every time: new wax on the floor and new sneakers on your feet.  Squeaks is what you get.
    So whenever I smell floor wax, I remember long ago in the fall.  I bet your dad does too.  If he hasn’t told you so yet, ask him.  He knows.  He’ll tell you.

Uncle Chris