Re: Buried the lede
"Imagine what computers would be like if "ease of ownership" had kept pace with memory, CPU power, or network bandwidth."
It did. However, computers also gained extra functionality. You can have a really simple computer if you only want it to do a few things. If you're interested in it doing lots of different ones, things get more complicated. Just like you can have a car which is easy to drive, but if they made one that could also fly and sail on water, you'd expect some more buttons on the dashboard and items sticking out the sides.
"Of course, if that happened, we wouldn't have "dumb users" to kick around, and where would the fun be in that? And I know all you IT admins, jealously hoarding your hard-won knowledge like dragons sitting on your treasure,"
Now really? I'm not in IT (programmer), but I have done my share of admin and support and I don't want to guard my knowledge. If people stopped coming to me and asking me to fix their broken stuff, that would be great. If there was a miraculous way to never have problems so I could just write my code, I would really like that. There isn't. There won't ever be, because when people try too hard to get it, they break things silently and then the users come to the technical to fix it. For example, Apple really likes hiding information from users to make things easier. This meant that, when they changed the filesystem they wanted to use and their computers didn't complete the change correctly, the users had no clue what had happened or why. They brought them all to me for me to fix the partition disaster and perform reinstallations as needed. By the way, I would be very happy if Apple didn't make any mistakes and I didn't have to do that.
"ultimately wouldn't you rather live in a world where you didn't have to deal with all that crap and could focus on challenging, interesting, and high-value stuff instead (or just have a lot more free time for play, whatever)?"
Yes, I would. And when you have a way to get there, let me know. Until you have that though, there will be a need to keep users from making security holes or operating critical activities on unreliable systems.