[ISN] Learning to love the computer, warts and all

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sun Jan 06 2002 - 23:20:26 PST

  • Next message: InfoSec News: "Re: [ISN] Instant Messenger flaw fixed; hackers criticized for little warning"

    Published Sunday, January 6, 2002 
    Dave Barry
    At least once per day, without fail, my computer, like every computer
    I have ever owned, has some kind of emotional breakdown. It simply
    stops working -- often when I'm not touching it -- and it puts a
    message on the screen informing me that an error has occurred. It does
    not say what the error is, nor where it occurred. For all I know, it
    occurred in New Zealand, and my computer found out about it via the
    Internet, and became so upset that it could not go on.
    When this happens, I have to turn my computer off and start it up
    again. When I do, my computer puts a snippy note on the screen
    informing me that it is scanning its disks for errors, because it was
    shut down improperly.
    ``But I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!'' I shout, but my computer ignores me,
    because it is busy scanning its disks. You just know that if it finds
    any errors, it's going to blame me, even though I don't even know
    where its disks ARE.
    While my computer is busy, I scan my wart. I have a wart on my right
    leg. It has been there for many years. I call it Buddy. I keep an eye
    on Buddy, in case his appearance changes. I've read that it's a bad
    thing, medically, when a wart suddenly changes appearance. If I ever
    look down and see that Buddy has turned green, or he's wearing a
    little pair of Groucho glasses, I'll know it's time to take some kind
    of medical action. Such as quit drinking.
    But my point is that because of computer weirdness, I regularly see an
    entire morning's work -- sometimes as many as 18 words -- get blipped
    away forever to the Planet of Lost Data. Needless to say, I use
    Microsoft Windows. I've been a loyal Windows man since the first
    version, which required you to write on the screen with crayons. Every
    year or so, Microsoft comes out with a new version, which Microsoft
    always swears is better and more reliable, and I always buy it. I
    bought Windows 2.0, Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1415926, Windows 95,
    Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows RSVP, The Best of Windows, Windows
    Strikes Back, Windows Does Dallas, and Windows Let's All Buy Bill
    Gates a House the Size of Vermont.
    My computers keep having seizures, but I keep buying Windows versions,
    hoping I'll get lucky. I'm like the loser in the nightclub who keeps
    hitting on the hot babe. His shoes are squishing from the piņa colada
    she poured on him, but he's thinking: ``She's warming up to me!''
    I bring this all up because now Microsoft has a new version out,
    Windows XP, which according to everybody is the ``most reliable
    Windows ever.'' To me, this is like saying that asparagus is ``the
    most articulate vegetable ever.'' But still, I am tempted. ``Maybe
    this will be the one,'' I say to Buddy, as the two of us wait for the
    disks to be scanned.
    If I do get Windows XP, I won't try to install it myself. I no longer
    mess with the innards of my computer. The last time I tried was a
    disaster, even though I enlisted the aid of my friend Rob Stavis, a
    medical doctor who is the most mechanically inclined person I know.  
    Rob can disassemble and successfully reassemble a live human being. He
    and I recently spent an entire weekend trying to solve an allegedly
    simple computer problem. We wound up at the computer store, talking to
    guys who were trained by the Monty Python Institute of Customer
    US: So, what do we need to make it work?
    THEM: You need a model FRT-2038 expostulating refrembulator.
    US: And that will make it work?
    THEM: No.
    Finally, I hired a guy named J.C., who is a Microsoft Certified
    Technician. He was in my office for the better part of two days, most
    of it on the phone with Technical Support. It was fascinating for me,
    a layperson, to hear the technical terminology that J.C. used to get
    the information he needed: ``DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD, DO YOU HEAR ME? DO
    NOT PUT ME ON HO... HELLO? HELLO?? YOU (very nontechnical term)!''
    In the end, J.C. solved the problem. So now I'm thinking about hiring
    him again. Because the more I think about this Windows XP, the better
    it looks, sitting over there by the bar, drinking a piņa colada. All I
    have to do is make my move, and I'll have what every guy dreams of:  
    computer reliability!
    I worry about who will take care of Buddy.
    ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org
    To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY
    of the mail.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Jan 07 2002 - 09:55:41 PST