#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

An Open Letter to Bill Gates

Dear Mr. Gates:

Please stop changing things!  Every time I learn a new program, you re-mystify the thing, pronto.  You do realize, don’t you, that we Baby Boomers still represent a sizable portion of your demographic?  That we use computers and most of us have some disposable income?

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t continue to innovate–there are a lot of tech-savvy folks out there, I realize that, and you have to hustle to keep up with those wildly creative people over at Apple if you want to stay in the game.  I get that.  But why don’t you offer OPTIONS when you “upgrade” Word or ‘Excel’ or whatever?  Let the hot-shots have their bells and whistles, but let the rest of us keep what we already like.  What a concept.

I earn my living on a computer, Mr. Gates.  I have been using Windows and Word since you rolled them onto the show-room floor, so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with your products.  What galls me is, after about the third major shift—(that Vista thing was a great idea now, wasn’t it?  Not.)–is that I’m still trying to figure out how to use simple features in my manuscripts, like headers, and getting the spellchecker to add one of my invented names or words to the dictionary, all things I USED to do with ease.

And, while we’re chatting, what’s with this weird circle on my monitor screen?


Linda Lael Miller

35 comments to “An Open Letter to Bill Gates”

  1. Kelly Driver
      · August 5th, 2013 at 9:42 am · Link

    Bravo, Bravo!!! I love it and completely agree.

  2. Andrea Lammly
      · August 5th, 2013 at 9:47 am · Link

    I agree! Love the letter. Thanks for saying what so many of us are thinking.

    Have a great day Linda!

  3. marilyn hurst
      · August 5th, 2013 at 9:50 am · Link

    switch to mac it’s so much easier!!!!

  4. Rebecca aka Becky Hicks
      · August 5th, 2013 at 10:14 am · Link

    Hope you REALLY sent this to Gates! Now, copy it to the Apple people! Problem is the same. Used Word for years, esp. for creating materials for my English classes. Got a MacBook Pro a couple of years ago for a variety of reasons. Now I have two really different document programs that update/change just about the time I figure something out. And I’m older than the baby-boomers! I struggle not to let the frustration get to this Type-A personality. Just call my techie son, daughter-in-laws, etc. I know they get really tired of my incessant questions!

    • Rebecca aka Becky Hicks
        · August 5th, 2013 at 10:16 am · Link

      Just re-read, and–yikes–that is “daughters-in-law.” Need to remember to proof before I send!

  5. Ruby Norwood
      · August 5th, 2013 at 10:40 am · Link

    YOu tell them Linda, i feel the very same way and i do hope you sent that letter. Have a good day!!

  6. Kristie Wilson
      · August 5th, 2013 at 10:43 am · Link


  7. Alice Johnson
      · August 5th, 2013 at 11:03 am · Link

    Certainly agree with you, get so tired of having to learn something new, again!! I am 78, began my computer experience using DOS in 1975. Finally went to Windows 3… & Word Perfect, I still use WP, even though every cpt have bought has MS Word on it! Kept on upgrading! Loved XP, Vista was OK, love WN 7, but I bought a new laptop with WN 8, sent that sucker back! One of the problems with it was that you never knew if CAPS LOCK was on! Really causes problems when trying to enter passwords! Of course, that was a keyboard problem, but it was the “straw”! Hated it, now having to get a new one, with special order of WN 7! Not sure what I will do when you can no longer order WN 7. Probably would have been OK, if I could have gone to Community College & taken “continuing education class”, but at this time, am recovering from knee replacement surgery, so that was out.

  8. Shirley Trego
      · August 5th, 2013 at 11:06 am · Link

    My sentiments exactly. It seems every time I learn how to navigate Word, Excel or PowerPoint then they change the game and I have to learn all over again.

  9. Debbie Koziel
      · August 5th, 2013 at 11:21 am · Link

    MAC is the ONLY way to go!!

  10. Sherry Wallace
      · August 5th, 2013 at 11:49 am · Link

    Haha – amen – you tell him, lady

  11. Linda Pegher
      · August 5th, 2013 at 11:53 am · Link

    I could not agree more. I personally loved Windows 7. I finally can deal with Vista, although not happily. I have received Windows 8 as a gift, but am afraid to install it due to all the changes. I wish there was some way to keep things that work well the same without forcing the rest of us to change. It would be great if someone at Microsoft would pay attention to your letter.

    • Debby Fellows
        · August 5th, 2013 at 12:37 pm · Link

      Bravo Bravo thanks for speaking up for us little people

  12. Darnell Davis
      · August 5th, 2013 at 12:37 pm · Link

    Thank You! I thought it was just me that couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do the same things I used to do with ease. So sick and tired of Spell Check highlighting MY name. And exactly what do all the upgrades do? I think they do it just to mess with us baby boomers. As soon as they roll out an upgrade I can see them rolling around on their office floors laughing at us. Hey Chuckles keep it up, the world wouldn’t be so funny if we were eating Apples, now would it? :lol:

  13. Cheryl Messer
      · August 5th, 2013 at 12:50 pm · Link

    LOL, I totally agree with you, I am a little younger, but still not extremely tech-savvy, and just as I get ‘used to’ a program, it ‘craps-out’, needs to be fixed, only to need an updated, newer version which is completely different….Grrrrrr! And being that the computer is your bloodline, I can feel for you on that!!! :-?

  14. Juanita Rice
      · August 5th, 2013 at 1:32 pm · Link

    LOL!! I’m right with you, Linda!

  15. Joanne Ozment
      · August 5th, 2013 at 1:44 pm · Link

    Couldn’t agree more. You know something’s a problem when you tech guys at work have to google a problem with Excel.

  16. Linda pitts
      · August 5th, 2013 at 1:45 pm · Link


  17. marie
      · August 5th, 2013 at 1:47 pm · Link

    THANK YOU LINDA. Gosh I am not computer literate at all but I beg all the big shots, do not move things around, explain things better, etc.etc. I recently lost my send button on my email, and after lots of laughter and giggles and rolled eyes and a frustrating new program, turns out I had a virus attached to an update. and I have two anti virus programs. People still laugh when I tell them I had lost my send button. go figure.

  18. Patti
      · August 5th, 2013 at 1:57 pm · Link

    Are you struggling with Microsoft 8? I know I am. Although, it is also my first laptop. I think both are working together to defeat me. But I have not given up.

  19. Susan Rose
      · August 5th, 2013 at 2:14 pm · Link

    My sentiments exactly…Thank You! I want something easy to use and easy on the eyes without hunting and pecking. I feel the same about my new LG appliances. Who needs or uses all the extras?

  20. Hilda
      · August 5th, 2013 at 2:32 pm · Link

    Linda, I agree, I hate learning new things when the old things work perfectly well! Unfortunately, this letter should be addressed to the current person in charge of Microsoft. Bill Gates is busy granting lots of money to low income people and countries where they need much help in imroving their lives, and then get to the point where they have to learn something new on their new computers every 3 or 4 years. While it’s true that Bill encouraged constant, non-stop change and innovation, it’s now in the hands of his protogees (sp?). Maybe Melinda Gates is an LLM fan and will read this blog, and then pass this along to her husband, who will pass it along to the appropriate people! :lol:
    (Just to be clear, I think Bill Gates is one of the most fabulous human beings on this planet.)

  21. Karen
      · August 5th, 2013 at 2:51 pm · Link

    Have to say Amen to this post
    Seems that my “quicky formulas” did not migrate with the update from MS Officr 2093 to the 2010 version and somehow my keyboard repeatedly changes fron US International towards UK or even Dutch settings,resulting in typing sigbs that aren’t even on the keyboard :-/

  22. Karen
      · August 5th, 2013 at 2:57 pm · Link

    Oops, we migrated from 2003 to 2010
    I’m probably no longer around when 2093 will be the IN thing

  23. Ida C
      · August 5th, 2013 at 3:08 pm · Link

    Thanks Linda, I’ve been wanting to say stuff like that for quite a while. You hit the nail on the head. Hey Big Guys, leave well enough alone for us little folk. Some of us like it simple and would like the option for that. Enjoy the start of another fabulous week.

  24. Liz M
      · August 5th, 2013 at 3:14 pm · Link

    Thank you for this Linda!! Us baby boomers are smart but we like to have things a certain way! We need more voices such as yours. So from this baby boomer to you I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

  25. Norma Stanforth
      · August 5th, 2013 at 4:00 pm · Link

    Good for you Linda, you go for it girl. God bless you.
    As always you friend,

  26. Sue G..
      · August 5th, 2013 at 5:37 pm · Link

    That letter is another reason your my hero!!!!

  27. Pam G. Fraser
      · August 5th, 2013 at 6:03 pm · Link

    Thank you Linda from all of us out here muttering to ourselves over arcane, ridiculous programmer-showing-off changes that are making us crazy. Did anyone mention Windows 8 by chance, hmm? May I personally say it is like quantum physics to try and understand it and no doubt invented by the Devil. We were given a lovely laptop as a gift that came with Windows 8 installed – complete disaster IMHO. What on earth were they thinking to inflict such a nightmare on us? Any yet, they never change anything that would make things more elegant, e.g. for years one could customize the color used in one’s emails by using a color-wheel and to this day Windows stubbornly sticks to their oh-so-boring choices, bleech.

  28. Debbie G.
      · August 5th, 2013 at 6:47 pm · Link

    WOW! Way to go Linda. I think when someone more famous than myself writes to another famous person the matter is more closely look at. Hopefully, he will do something about this computer problem, for the baby boomers. In fact isn’t he within our window of age or minutely younger.

  29. Diana E
      · August 5th, 2013 at 7:01 pm · Link

    I’m so afraid of Windows 8 if I ever have to update, I cringe. I’m very un-tech savy. You sure hit the nail on the head, Linda. I hope someone is listening. Blessings to you.

  30. Pam Brewer
      · August 5th, 2013 at 7:10 pm · Link

    Thank you! Perhaps they should include actual consumers in their focus groups instead of pre-determined “they will like the change” members. At least give us the option of continuing to use the older versions within the updates.

  31. Lois Rotella
      · August 5th, 2013 at 7:53 pm · Link

    Hear Ye, Hear Ye !!!! I am not computer genius. Everytime they change things the more problems I have with the computer and don’t know how to fix it. I wish like you they would give you an option before they automatically change it.

  32. Paula Frick
      · August 5th, 2013 at 8:59 pm · Link

    I so love this – with the move to Windows 8, and I haven’t even touched W7. I have a new laptop for work and it has W7 – haven’t opened it yet! Thank you for being a voice for all of us boomers!

  33. Cathie Brown
      · August 5th, 2013 at 9:36 pm · Link

    Linda, I agree with you 100%. It is frustrating that you figure one thing out and then something changes.
    Just keep writing. I love your stories.
    These “new fangled” things are sometimes difficult for our generation.

    Thanks again for your writing. I appreciate it very much. always looking for your new books. (I like your earlier ones too, especially the McKettrick family.)

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