Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Stoked up the old laptop and got nothing for a minute. Then came the sans serif messages.


Uhhh... hi yourself. 

We've updated your PC. 

Good of you. 

All your files are exactly where you left them.


You are a naughty boy, aren't you?


So no, I didn't get that last one, but rather a message concerning new features to get excited about (NB: No excitement followed) and a warning to not turn off the PC while they updated

But I think I'd almost rather they used a stentorian tone and all caps. 


The sly, friendly approach comes across to me, anyway, as more Killer Clown than Mr. Rogers. Like something sinister is going on....

Microsoft probably tests these things with consumers, but they may be consumers from Seattle, which shouldn't count. Seriously, I think a lot of us are put off by the fake-friendly approach these days. Best-case scenario is someone is trying to sell us something. Worst case is someone wants our mortal remains to wind up in his crawlspace. Eventually.

The problem is that we don't hear it when we get the stentorian tones and all caps. ALL CAPS has become the medium of the most mentally feeble Internet trolls. And there's just such a vast quantity of noise. Warning labels on meds have to come with black boxes around the important bits, because for the one or two warnings about things that will kill us, there are 452 warnings about reactions suffered by the hypochondriac-American community. Most of all, we are all adolescents now, and used to ignoring the shouts from Mom and Dad.

Look, Microsoft, I promise I am paying attention when I ramp up the PC and see what looks like the old Blue Screen o' Death, okay? No need for the soft sell. Just write "Updates have been made to your PC software" and tell me what to do. You can even use serif fonts. I won't panic, I swear. 

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