Want to know why computer support (and Information Technology support) keeps getting $$$ signs associated with it and why service that used to be free isn't any more? How about why IT support jobs that used to be done in the U.S.A. are being increasingly outsourced to India and other countries where call centers can be run -- relatively speaking -- for pennies on the dollar?
Look no farther than the replies in this recent article: RANT: I don't want the freakin' toolbar!
Many of the replies are along the lines of just shut-up, take what the developers give you and live with the defaults that exist in the installation packages. I'm told to basically quit frettin' over issues, don't give myself an ulcer or a heart attack over little things. I'm also told to smack the crap outta the users I help support and make them spend their very valuable time -- that is supposed to be spent doing other important work -- to learn all of the gotchas that might come up with every installer and every updater that they might encounter.
I'm disappointed in several of the replies in that thread because in those replies I see exactly why things are getting worse -- in many ways -- and not better in the IT world, with more bloat and more problems.
Want to know why the ultimate pain-in-the-rump UAC exists in Vista? Look at the replies there. Sadly, even though UAC does exist, it doesn't solve these same problems because end users still don't know what they are getting when they click 'Allow' and let software install on their systems, but meanwhile people that do know what they are doing are inconvenienced by UAC regularly (or they turn it off completely if they are too annoyed with). Basically Microsoft has, yet again, bloated up their OS with add-on protection that doesn't work as intended because they can't get around the social engineering problems that exist on all ends of the spectrum.
On one end of the spectrum we have apathetic users that just take it and roll over, or worse bitch at other users (like myself) that are bitching about the problems and tell us to just shut up and not worry over these things. On the other end we have users that just don't know and yet who rely on using PCs for e-mail, office applications and other daily use who wind up allowing installation of add-on tools and apps that aren't needed because they don't know they don't need the add-ons when they are installing or updating the one part they did need.
Meanwhile Microsoft's OS gets more bloated along the way, and more add-ons get installed making the system drag down over time, having it perform more slowly, and having the IT support staff get a bad reputation for delivering a poor product to their customers.
As I spoke up in a reply to that thread and mentioned above, a lot of these problems are the root cause for why support is no longer included in the purchase price. Not the only reasons, and maybe not the primary reasons, but definitely part of the reason. Back when Microsoft and their friends could sell their applications for hundreds of dollars at a time, and when the users were only likely to call a few times during installation and/or for some tough configuration problem later on, the numbers of calls that were received were much lower so the support costs could be easily absorbed back into the sale price of the software (or license to use the software in the words of the developers).
Over time the numbers of calls received went up (as more users started using the software, and more problematic users started making more calls to determine how to do things with the software) and the developers realized that they couldn't keep passing on enough cost to all users and still sell product so they divorced the support costs from the sale price and instead started selling support by the incident or by a contract that adds the price in after the fact.
As I said, this is also why companies that do provide support have continued to outsource that support and ship it over-seas. It is cheaper for them to get labor in other areas, so they set up shop there and put in a call center, or work in some big call center that actually houses many support centers within because it can be a lot cheaper that way. Or at least it's cheaper until the outsourced support centers piss off the customers because their employees don't speak English in a way that the customers that are calling understand.
I'm reminded of George Jetson as he rides on the treadmill over and over again and is yelling at his wife "Jane, stop this crazy thing!" If people want to be apathetic about pushing for and demanding changes and demanding better from the people that make the software they use that's fine. Eventually they wake up and find out that they've created a monopoly that isn't acting in their best interests (see Microsoft vs. European Union as an example. I wish I could point at Microsoft vs. Department of Justice, but our current DoJ sold out to Microsoft and took a self-created punishment from Microsoft rather than putting the hammer down on them as they should).
Educated users, people that can do from themselves will go out and find other solutions, many times much better solutions (Linux anyone?) and use them and leave the common folk to suffer the fate they deserve as their systems keep getting slower and slower and the techies get to benefit from the improvements in hardware speed that will be needed to make up for the burgeoning and bloated software that is running (poorly) on the common folks systems.