As much as Andy Rooney might have turned himself into a caricature over the years, he is an iconic crank, one of the best there ever was. His retirement from 60 Minutes after tomorrow’s show is the end of an era. And one of the best rants of his storied career took aim at something close to our hearts, traditionally an extremely deserving target: the Windows PC.
It’s easy to shrug it off as the ramblings of a grumpy old man, but in fact this commentary demonstrates the value of Rooney’s insights. The Atlantic analyzes the Windows rant and makes a reasonable case that Rooney has been a valuable and perhaps even influential voice in the crusade to improve how we interact with technology.
At the outset of the commentary, Rooney draws a bead on Bill Gates. But as it turns out, the Microsoft co-founder felt Rooney’s pain.
In fact, Gates was even better at ranting about it.
Back when Gates retired from full-time work at Microsoft, I was putting together a package of stories for the Seattle P-I newspaper, where we worked at the time, and in a forgotten file from one of the company’s court cases I came across probably the most incredible internal memo I’ve ever found, which had somehow been overlooked until then. It has come to be known as the Movie Maker Rant.
It was both comforting and disturbing. As in, yes, even Bill Gates has to suffer through this stuff.
KIRO radio’s Dave Ross gave a dramatic reading the day after we published the memo, and thankfully somebody has posted the audio to YouTube for posterity.
So with apologies to Andy Rooney: And now, a few minutes with Bill Gates …