Let me start with this interview of Michael Lewis that comes from VOX.
“Michael Lewis on why Americans don’t trust experts
How a society that is so good at creating knowledge can be so bad at applying it.”
Here’s the link to the article.
Unfortunately, I understand this article all to well. Because I jam one of the experts people in the US abuse, belittle, and ignore.
The people I worked with at Northrop Grumman for 29 years knew this. As my former manager expressed it one day, while I was out on leave for Major Depressive Disorder (which was caused by my work for Northrop Grumman and the United States Department of Defense), by declaring I’d been out six months, and the people I worked with were still figuring out all the things I did every day I was at work.
The people at Best Buy/Geek Squad that worked with me knew this, and know this. As Aiden and Avery both put it, “You have no idea how much I learned from you.” and “None of it is in any book, anywhere.”
And here I am having retired at the age of 62 years and 6 months. I will never work for anyone another day in my life, no matter how much money they offer me. I will take what I know about computers and how they work to the grave with me. That information, everything I know and could spread, and could share, will simply cease to exist when I die. And I’m good with that. It is my vengeance against the cruelty, the stupidity, the torturous behavior I have endured in my career. It is my vengeance against the abuse, the bullying, the insults, the declarations that I’m an idiot and don’t know anything, the declarations I’m a prima-donna who expects to always get their way. The list is endless. And I’m done putting up with it.
Now, I get to sit back and know that I’m not alone in abandoning the US working world, and the US society. I get to sit back and know I’m not alone in waiting for the collapse of our arrogant, pride filled, “do your own research” civilization.
We stop valuing those with knowledge and experience at our own peril. We drive such people out of our society at our own peril.
As an expert, I can honestly say I can’t fix everything that breaks in a computer program or computer operating system. Maybe, given enough time, and enough resources, I can fix most things, but there are things that practically speaking, just need to be gutted and started over.
Let me explain.
Windows (the operating system on most desktop, laptop, and notebook computers) has a component called the Windows Registry. A lot of people have no idea what the Windows Registry is, of even that it exists. But, the Windows Registry is the heart and soul of Windows. It contains almost all the rules that tell windows how to process specific events, specific types of data, specific applications. It tells Windows things like, “When the human double clicks on a PDF file, run Adobe Acrobat Reader, and have it open that file.” It tells Windows things like, “This is they kind of keyboard attached to the computer.” and “When the user presses this specific key on the keyboard, send the key pressed data to this device driver, and let it respond to the key pressed.” It tells Windows things like, “When audio data shows up, send that data to this device driver.”
As you can tell from that description, when something goes wrong in the Windows Registry, Windows itself breaks. Period.
There are, literally, 100s of Thousands of settings in the Windows Registry. 100s of Thousands. No single human being on the planet can know what every registry setting is, what it does, and how to set it properly in every specific environment. It is simply not humanly possible to actively memorize that many settings, and to continuously update them each time a new application is created, each time an existing application is updated, and every time Windows itself is updated.
Perhaps a big enough neural network with oceans and oceans of deep learning might be able to figure out most of it, and keep it working under most circumstances. A single human can’t.
Almost always, when Windows is broken, the cause is something in the Windows Registry. Some setting (or several settings) located somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of Registry settings that its broken. To fix Windows all you have to do is fix the setting(s) in the Windows Registry. Simple, right? As people has declared to me countless times, “Even an idiot could do that.”
There are over 100,000 settings in the Windows Registry. Which setting, or settings, are the causing the problem? How do you find those settings to fix them? How should those settings be modified to correct the problems the computer owner is having with Windows? If you fix those settings, are there any cascading affects? Does fixing the settings break something else in Windows? Given there are over 100,000 settings in the Windows Registry, how do you know if the changes you make to one setting will break something else?
Being unable to actively maintain a working knowledge of over 100,000 Windows Registry settings, and how each setting is supposed to be set up in the Windows Registry means, as a computer expert, that you will get insulted, called an idiot, told you don’t know a damn thing, and otherwise informed that you are as useful as a pothole in the middle of the road, by virtually everyone who uses a computer that runs the Windows operating system.
In other words, the computer expert will be attacked, verbally, and perhaps even physically, a person that never even heard of the Windows Registry.
Of course, with an angry customer, the management of the company that computer expert works for will also be written up in the company’s records of individual personnel performance, and that person will be flagged as needing more training. If this happens several times, that computer expert will not be getting a pay raise, and may be informed they are being removed from the company’s employee list.
You can tell me this is not how things work, this is not how they are, this is not how businesses operate. But, I’m now closing in on 63 years old. I’ve worked for over 40 years in American businesses. I know the truth. This is exactly how the American population treats experts.
For the past week or so, Windows 11 has been showing me popup notices about two programs (LEDKeeper and CCleaner64) trying to write to a protected folder. I’ve been ignoring them.
Today, I started working to fix them. Guess where the fixes are. In the Windows Registry. I made changes to the Windows Registry. Deleted multiple registry keys, and even sections.
I seem to have fixed one of the two problems. I can fix the second, but it’s more risky. The LEDKeeper problem seems to be solved. Of course, I found the reference to LEDKeeper in a “folder” for AMD graphics adapters. I used to have one. The RX-570. I replaced it, over a year ago, with the RTX-3060Ti. That’s how long the LEDKeeper problem has been showing up, off and on. And there’s been an AMD service referenced in the Services list on the computer also.
So far, after rebooting, I haven’t seen any signs of the LEDKeeper reference. I did see one for CCleaner64.
Now. If it’s that confusing, and there are that many settings, that I had to take a guess at what was causing the LEDKeeper notice to pop up, can you imagine what normal people would do? It would never be fixed. They’d ignore it. Or they’d tell windows to let it write wherever it wanted to.
In honesty, I could have done the latter. LEDKeeper is an app from MSI, the motherboard manufacturer. I know the app is about setting the LED lights on the motherboard. Something I don’t need. And I don’t see why it should have to write that data to a protected folder every time I log on to the computer, and every time I wake it from sleep or hibernate modes.
So, I fixed it.
And if it was specific to the AMD GPU, I didn’t need it anyway. Since I don’t even have an AMD GPU.
But, you see. There I go. Editing the Windows Registry. Like it was nothing. Because, for me, it’s something I’ve been doing since Windows XP Pro was introduced in 2001. For me, it’s not that big of a deal.
I know I can destroy windows that way. But, I also know that I’m rather unlikely to do something that will destroy Windows.I know what I am able to do. I am a Subject Matter Expert. And what I just did is something that oceans of COMP-TIA Certified professionals, and Microsoft Certified professionals, can’t do. I know. I’ve had to do these kinds of things for them.
And here I am, at home, retired from the workplace. I’m going to take all that I’ve learned, all that I know, my 40 years of experience in working with computers, into oblivion when I die, whenever that is. None of what I know, none of what I learned, is going to get shared with others. Instead, I’m going to sit back in my chair, and laugh at the US Society from wherever we go when we die. I’ll laugh, and drink soda, and eat chips, and laugh more.
I’m going to enjoy every minute of watching the United States implode as it rejects knowledge, learning, and expertise in everything. Go ahead, people in my country. “Do your own research! Find out for yourselves!”
And when your computer blows up, don’t waste my time asking me to fix it for you. After all. I’m an expert. What do I know? Nothing, obviously. Absolutely nothing.