I am a geek. Not a run of the mill geek- a computer geek. I love computers. I like to hang out in computer stores. If they put a coffee bar in CompUSA I WOULD NEVER LEAVE. I love to buy computer magazines with headlines like “Undocumented Windows Secrets Revealed!”
When you are a computer geek your geek friends become your enablers. One geek friend brings me The New York Times technology page and says, “Look at this digital video camera. It has LANC. LANC is key to editing. You can even use it as a still camera. We need it.” The funny thing is he’ll say, “WE need it.”
But HE doesn’t buy any of the stuff. He is practical. He has a family. He owns a home. WHAT A WASTE! The only reason to buy a home is if it is packed with technology like Bill Gates’ home. When you visit Bill Gates’ house you get an electronic pin which knows what movies and music you like. As you walk into a room your favorite music plays and your favorite shows come on the TV.
Is that it? He is worth 400,000,000,000,000 dollars and that is all his house does? With that kind of money, he should have his guests’ favorite bands play LIVE. “Hi, I’m Bill Gates, welcome to my home. Ladies and gentlemen, the Rolling Stones!”
I buy a lot of computers and now I don’t know where to put them. I live in an apartment smaller than the tree the Keebler elves live in. My big screen TV was taking up all the room and the computers were fighting for space. The TV was so big I had to put it out on the balcony to watch it. Not on my balcony- the balcony of the apartment across the street. I have to call my neighbor to turn it on. “Listen, when I come home alone again, turn it to the Spice channel. Thanks.”
Whenever you buy computers, the salesman brings up the three-year “service warranty”. What do I get for the $400 warranty? “Oh, well, once a year you bring in the computer and we open it up and get the dust out of it”, he told me. $133 a year to remove some dust bunnies? For $400 they should dust my whole apartment.
The problem with a warranty is that in 6 months the computer will be as cutting edge as a four-slice toaster. If you bring a two year old computer in for service the technicians fall down laughing and roll around like the cartoon guys on those “YOU WANT IT WHEN?” posters. “You have a 486?” the technician asks, biting the inside of his mouth to keep from crying out in laughter, “What do you use if for? PONG?”
Since I have no room for my “old” computers I decided to bury them. I started my own computer graveyard; here are a couple of the headstones:
Lying below is my favorite Mac
It met my every demand
And though in software it did not lack
I used it mainly to play Missile Command
My best friend is below this ground
A Compaq Presario with awesome sound
It cost three thousand when I bought it new
In one year it was worth fifty-two.
Half the fun of being a computer geek is getting computer magazines and yelling at them out loud. “Of course the iMAC tested lower in graphics speed! You only had 2MB of graphics RAM. You need all 6MB! You stupids!” Then I hear the downstairs neighbor rapping on his ceiling with a broom handle, “Shut up, geek! Shut up!”
The best part of a computer magazine is the letters-to-the-editor:
Dear PC Universe magazine,
I’m writing in response to your article on virus software. You chose Geeksoft’s VirusStopper as your Editor’s Choice for 1998. This rating gave me the confidence to buy VirusStopper. Two days after I installed the software, my computer was infected with the Trojan Horse virus. VirusStopper failed to detect this virus. Trojan Horse melted down my computer and then infected every appliance in our home. I am writing this note on the back of a grocery bag by the light of a Goofy candle my wife bought at the Disney Store in Las Vegas during Comdex two years ago. We have no insurance for this type of catastrophe. Enclosed is a bill for $47,000 for all of our appliances and electrical repairs to our ‘82 Pacer. You have done your readers a disservice by recommending this product. We demand satisfaction.
In the dark,
I like all the new computer technology. It doesn’t have to be useful. It just has to be cool. For example, I have a camera on my computer that allows people to see me when I talk to them. People don’t really need to see me when I talk to them. It’s just cool. Of course, there are drawbacks. People don’t want to see me in my pajamas and Donald Duck slippers and hair that sticks up like a geyser at Yellowstone. To remedy this I have programmed my computer with images of me in a tuxedo with a beautiful model on my arm. No matter what time of day you see me on the videophone I look like I’m ready to go to the Academy Awards. Or wait tables.
Some software is cool even though it doesn’t work. I just bought a voice recognition software package. I talk into a microphone and the computer types the words on the screen. At least, that is what is supposed to happen. What actually happens is a little different. I say “I played golf today” and it types “I stayed full, hooray!” I say “He reads the paper every day” and it types “He needs a Quaker every pay”.
It won’t even get single words right. I say “scumbags”. It types “lawyers”.