You kids get off my memory

And out of my system tray and quick-launch bar.

I know this is going to date me, but I spent a ton of time early in my gaming career optimizing “low” memory, trying to get as close to 640k free as possible, because games were horrible about it. I’d use experimental mouse drivers, all kinds of bizarre loadsys parameteres, whatever it took to get Wing Commander running.

So today, I looked at the running processes on my box, because I’m having weird mouse issues. What’s in there?

A bunch of corporations running things without my permission. I can’t decide what’s worse, that they think it’s cool to run all the time, or how amazingly bloated these things are.

OrderReminder.exe: HP wants to use 2 megs of memory forever so once in a while it can remind me to check my toner and order more from them. Ancient Art of War didn’t take 2 megs of space. And you couldn’t just run at startup, notice I didn’t need toner, and then go away?

qttask.exe: I hate Quicktime. Apple is the worst about this kind of hidden bloatware. I’m spending 3 megs on the off chance I’ll come across and want to run Quicktime. SIGN ME UP!!! And by the way, could you throw a Quicktime icon I’ll never use in the system notification area, where it totally does not belong, and the quick-launch part of the taskbar, even though I’d really prefer you didn’t? Outstanding.

Thanks Apple. Design is king, and consideration is the boy who stands by the table so nobles can wipe their greasy fingers on his hair.

My whole freaking process list is like this! It’s ridiculous!

How do I fight them? Well, let’s crack open MSCONFIG shall we?

What are those blank ones? That “Location” might be… helpful. Maybe I can expand or otherwise scroll… no, of course not. That would be something I’d want to do. Is there a way to get more information on an item? No, of course not. Awesome.

It’s part of this whole anti-consumer attitude expressed in EULAs as well: your computer is ours to fuck around with. Buy a printer? We’re going to bug the shit out of you. Install a program? Why would we ask you if you want shortcuts – our software’s so awesome we’ll just go ahead and put them everywhere.

Would you like us to somehow reimburse you for using a chunk of your memory all the time, for no reason? Don’t be silly, why would we do that?

Mainstream vendors are now spyware vendors with better PR departments. What a great development.

4 thoughts on “You kids get off my memory

  1. Anonymous

    My fondest memories of early gaming:

    “This new game won’t be out for another month. It will take 10 hours to download.”

    -cut to 10 hours later-

    “This game sucks.”
    “Can I play?”
    “No, it sucks.”
    “Okay.”

    -repeat throughout junior high-

    BM

  2. DCT

    You actually can expand the “Location” field. Use the scroll bar at the bottom to scroll all the way to the right, after which you’ll see a divider to the right of the “Location” header (a light gray line like the one between “Command” and “Location”). You can then drag the divider to the right to expand the size of the column.

  3. Chris

    We must be absurdly close in age and progressive nerdhood, because Wing Commander is the exact game that first had me downloading a pirated version of QEMM from a BBS in like 7th grade. Then somehow learning the difference between expanded/extended memory, juggling the exact load sequence of device drivers, creating different autoexecs for different computing sessions… good times!

  4. Anonymous

    Simple Economics.

    Price of more RAM < Price of developer to improve code.

    Welcome to the 21st Century.

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