Choosing Wrong

If one doesn’t know better, it’s probably inappropriate to say that any choice has been made, much less a wrong choice.

Wilt Chamberlain

I heard NPR’s ”This American Life” episode 590 (”Choosing Wrong”), one part of which was Malcolm Gladwell’s story about Wilt Chamberlain and his wrong choice. Wilt was a very successful basketball player who had a clear weakness — he sucked from the free throw line. During his career he had seasons when his successful free throw percentage was as low as 40%. During an historical match in 1962 that percentage was an amazing 87.5. Wilt had changed his free throwing style during that season to the ”granny shot”*, swinging the ball up from between his knees instead of shooting overhand with his hands above his head. The new style was clearly better, but Wilt nevertheless changed back to the more ingrained style and naturally his results followed – he was back to sucking at free throws.

The ”ingrained free throw style” with computers

”How does this relate to computers and you, Koneet Kiertoon?”

Customers constantly come in with ”oldish” Windows computers which have slowed down beyond the pain threshold of the customer. The computer is slow to start up, programs start slowly, virus-checker needs updating, along with java and adobe and who knows what other programs, not to mention Windows itself, which also needs updates. And the downloading and installation of updates can take a seriously long time, sometimes requiring multiple restarts (slow ones) during the process. But ”that’s just how it is when using a computer”.

A better choice for using a computer

There are any number of reasons for a computer to slow down or ”go nuts”, but most of the time it’s just a matter of Windows tripping over itself.

The most economical and in our opinion smartest solution is to replace the system with a better one. Currently we’re using UbuntuMATE. It’s a replacement for Windows. It’s more secure, lighter, more reliable and clearer. One doesn’t need to use virus-checkers with it, updates are installed once for all programs quickly and most of the time on-the-fly (without restarts). It stays quick over time and because it’s lighter, it doesn’t put as much physical stress on the computer.

n. 10v vanha läppäri päivittäisessä käytössä

Author’s own c. 10-yr-old laptop — still being used.

Then why isn’t everyone using this, I’ve never even heard of it?

As I asked up top, is doing things a worse way necessarily a choice if one doesn’t know any better? The most common reason people aren’t using this system already is because they simply don’t know it exists.

Of course it doesn’t help that Microsoft has made deals with computer manufacturers to have Windows pre-installed on new computers.

Koneet Kiertoon is doing its own part by informing people of the alternatives and installing UbuntuMATE for those who want it. It’s available in Finnish (and many other languages) and includes all the usual programs: internet browser (Firefox), office suite (LibreOffice), photo-editor (GIMP), video viewer (VLC) and photo arranger (Shotwell). Note also, that the system itself does not cost a cent and that someone with the know-how can install it themselves absolutely free. Also all the included programs are free. Koneet Kiertoon is, at the time of this writing, charging only 59€ for installing and testing the system.

*For the benefit of the readers of the English version of this posting: In the Finnish version I didn’t know how to translate ”granny shot” and instead called it ”like a girl”, including quote marks. I used the phrase with reservation and linked to the following video, a fantastic spot about ”like a girl” on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs

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