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Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. (R. Buckminster Fuller)
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A 90s Bedtime Prayer
Now I lay me down to sleep,
from the nightstand, buttons beep.
PC all set to download a file
and send the mail in a little while.
Then gather the news before the dawn
and all the scores from fans long gone.
The AC is set to cut back on cool;
Lights to blink, the burglars to fool.
Alarm clock set on delayed shutoff;
CD to play some, then cutoff.
Sleep-maker set on medium tension,
Voice mail set on no-wake suspension.
Burglar alarm on delay activate;
Carport lite on, for son who's late.
Mr. Coffee all set to percolate;
Dishwasher to run at ten of eight.
Air purifier cleans each hour tonight;
Water filter to fill the tank just right.
VCR to tape three good shows,
Something to watch during winter snows.
Motion detectors on, to check what moves;
White noise machine set to seaside soothes.
Camcorder is ready to film in a flash
Blender's all set, the fruit to mash.
Lord, Bless our all-electric domain;
Keep lightning away if it should rain.
Let no errant shock reset it all;
Watch over the breaker box in the hall.
I'm wide awake now from all this hassle;
God bless our multi-megawatt castle.
A computer was something on TV
from a science fiction show of note.
A window was something you hated to clean
and ram was the cousin of a goat.
Meg was the name of my girlfriend
and gig was a job for the nights.
Now they all mean different things
and that really mega bytes
An application was for employment
and a program was a TV show.
A cursor used profanity
and a keyboard was a piano
Memory was something that faded with age.
A CD was a bank account.
And if you had a 3 1/2" floppy
you hoped nobody found out.
Compress was something you did to the garbage
not something you did to a file.
And if you unzipped anything in public
you'd be in jail for a while.
Log on was adding wood to the fire.
A hard drive was a long trip on the road.
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
and a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with a pocket knife
and paste you did with glue.
A web was a spider's home
and a virus was the flu.
I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper
and the memory in my head.
I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash
but when it happens they wish they were dead.
Data Center of the Future
It runs 24/7 with only a man and a dog.
The man's job is to feed the dog.
The dog's job is to make sure the man doesn't touch the computer.
You know you're living in 2015 when...
- Cleaning up after dinner means getting the fast food bags out of your car.
- Every commercial on television has a website address at the bottom of the screen.
- Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first thirty or more years of your life, is cause for panic and turning around to go get it.
- Someone asks you what languages you know, and you reply French, Esperanto and C.
- Using cash, instead of credit or debit, to make a purchase is a hassle and takes planning.
- You 'beep' your son when it's time to eat. He emails from his bedroom, "What's for dinner?"
- You buy a computer and six months later it's out of date and sells for half what you paid.
- You carry an 24 gig flash drive to and from work.
- You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but you haven't spoken with your next door neighbor yet this year.
- You check the ingredients on a can of chicken noodle soup to see if it contains Echinacea.
- You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.
- You get an extra phone line so you can get phone calls.
- You have a list of fifteen phone numbers to reach your family of three.
- You hear the word 'Scuzzy' and the first thing you think of is not an adjective.
- You just tried to enter your password on the microwave.
- You look at a movie trailer and think, "I have that font."
- You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.
- You rig up elaborate mechanisms to do really basic tasks.
- Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.
- Your dining room table is now your flat filing cabinet.
- Your grandmother asks for a JPEG of your newborn so she can create a screen saver.
- Your idea of being organized is multiple-colored Post-it notes.
- Your reason for not staying in touch with some family members is that they do not have e-mail.
Growing Up Without a Cell Phone
When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious tales about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways...yadda, yadda, yadda. I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in I was going to tell my kids how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!
But now that I'm over the ripe old age of forty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!
- When I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog - and then find the book!
- There was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen and paper! Then we had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!
- Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to spank us if needed! Nowhere was safe!
- There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!
- Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished. Then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?
- We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it! Too bad!
- There weren't any cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOSH ! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.
- We didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!
- We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen.. Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!
- You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on TV! No remotes and no channel surfing! You had to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!
- There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little whiners!
- And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!
- And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you did chores!
- And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!
See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1970 or any time before!
- All of the biggest technological inventions created by man--the airplane, the automobile, the computer--says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness. (Mark Kennedy)
- Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
- Artificial Intelligence is the study of how to make real computers act like the ones in movies.
- Automatic simply means that you can't repair it yourself. (Frank Capra)
- Be brave. Computers can sense fear!
- Be careful about computer viruses, they can be terminal.
- Buying the right computer and getting it to work properly is no more complicated than building a nuclear reactor from wristwatch parts in a darkened room using only your teeth. (Dave Barry)
- A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. (Douglas Adams)
- A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history--with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila. (Mitch Ratcliffe)
- Computers follow your orders, not your intentions.
- Computers have lots of memory but no imagination.
- Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done. (Andy Rooney)
- Computers shouldn't be unusable. You don't need to know how to work a telephone switch to make a phone call, or how to use the Hoover Dam to take a shower, or how to work a nuclear-power plant to turn on the lights. (Scott McNealy)
- Computers byte!
- The danger from computers is not that they will eventually get as smart as men, but we will meanwhile agree to meet them halfway. (Bernard Avishai)
- Experts agree that the best type of computer for your individual needs is one that comes on the market about two days after you actually purchase some other computer. (Dave Barry)
- Fax is stranger than fiction.
- How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young? (Paul Sweeney)
- I do not fear computers. I fear lack of them. (Isaac Asimov)
- If there's artificial intelligence, there's bound to be some artificial stupidity.
- I'm an enemy of what I call 'computer theology.' There's a class conflict out there. There's a techno-elite that lives in a different world. (Walter Mossberg)
- In all large corporations, there is a pervasive fear that someone, somewhere is having fun with a computer on company time. Networks help alleviate that fear. (John C. Dvorak)
- In my next life, I'm going to have more memory installed.
- It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being. (John Stuart Mill)
- Keyboard: a device for entering errors into a computer.
- The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair. (Douglas Adams)
- Men have become tools of their tools. (Henry David Thoreau)
- Never let a computer know you're in a hurry!
- Of course machines have feelings. Otherwise, when the washer stops working why would the furnace break down?
- One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. (Elbert Hubbard)
- One reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.
- Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.
- Our policy is to ALWAYS blame the computer!
- A printer consists of three main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light.
- The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back.
- RAM disk is not an installation procedure.
- The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. (Sydney J. Harris)
- Since the invention of the microprocessor, the cost of moving a byte of information around has fallen on the order of 10-million-fold. Never before in the human history has any product or service gotten ten million times cheaper-much less in the course of a couple decades. That's as if a 747 plane, once at $150 million a piece, could now be bought for about the price of a large pizza. (Michael Rothschild)
- The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology. (E. F.Schumacher)
- Technology...is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. (Carrie P. Snow)
- Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.
- Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it. (Max Frisch)
- Those parts of the system that you can hit with a hammer are called hardware; those program instructions that you can only curse at are called software.
- Three computer company employees were on a car trip when they had a flat tire.
They got out to examine the damage.
The sales rep said, "That's it. We need a new car."
The service rep said, "Wait! Why don't we just switch a few parts around to see if that fixes the problem?"
The software rep said, "No. Let's just turn it off and on to see if that will fix it."
- User, n. The word computer professionals use when they mean "idiot." (Dave Barry)
- We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. (Alfred E. Neuman)
- Why do I have to press "one" for English, when they're just going to transfer me to someone I can't understand anyway?
- Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?
- Why is it that to stop Windows 98, you have to click on "Start"?
If Microsoft Built Cars...
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000 mpg."
Recently General Motors addressed this comment by releasing the statement "Yes, but would you want your car to crash twice a day?"
IF MICROSOFT BUILT CARS . . .
- Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.
- Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.
- Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail and you would have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you would accept this too.
- You could only have one person in the car at a time, unless you bought "Car95" or "CarNT". But, then you would have to buy more seats.
- Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, twice as easy to drive--but would only run on five percent of the roads.
- The Macintosh car owners would get expensive Microsoft upgrades to their cars, which would make their cars run much slower.
- The oil, gas and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car default" warning light.
- New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
- The airbag system would say, "are you sure?" before going off.
- Word processors never display a cursor.
- You never have to use the space-bar when typing long sentences.
- All monitors display inch-high letters.
- High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or some such governmental institution, will have easy-to-understand graphical interfaces.
- Those that don't will have incredibly powerful text-based command shells that can correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain English.
- Corollary: You can gain access to any information you want by simply typing "ACCESS ALL OF THE SECRET FILES" on any keyboard.
- Likewise, you can infect a computer with a destructive virus by simply typing "UPLOAD VIRUS." (See "Fortress")
- All computers are connected. You can access the information on the villain's desktop computer, even if it's turned off.
- Powerful computers beep whenever you press a key or whenever the screen changes. Some computers also slow down the output on the screen so that it doesn't go faster than you can read. The *really* advanced ones also emulate the sound of a dot-matrix printer.
- All computer panels have thousands of volts and flash pots just underneath the surface. Malfunctions are indicated by a bright flash, a puff of smoke, a shower of sparks, and an explosion that forces you backward.
- People typing away on a computer will turn it off without saving the data.
- A hacker can get into the most sensitive computer in the world before intermission and guess the secret password in two tries.
- Any PERMISSION DENIED has an OVERRIDE function. (See "Demolition Man" and countless others)
- Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be accomplished in under three seconds. Movie modems transmit data at a speed of two gigabytes per second.
- When the power plant/missile site/whatever overheats, all the control panels will explode, as will the entire building.
- If you display a file on the screen and someone deletes the file, it also disappears from the screen. (e.g., "Clear and Present Danger")
- If a disk has got encrypted files, you are automatically asked for a password when you try to access it.
- No matter what kind of computer disk it is, it'll be readable by any system you put it into. All application software is usable by all computer platforms.
- The more high-tech the equipment, the more buttons it has ("Aliens"). However, everyone must have been highly trained, because the buttons aren't labeled.
- Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three-dimensional, real-time, photo-realistic animated graphics capability.
- Laptops, for some strange reason, always have amazing real-time video phone capabilities and the performance of a CRAY Y-MP.
- Whenever a character looks at a VDU, the image is so bright that it projects itself onto his/her face. (See "Alien," "2001")
Is your computer male or female?
As you are aware, ships have long been characterized as being female (e.g., "Steady as she goes"). Recently, a group of computer scientists (all males) announced that computers should also be referred to as being female.
Their reasons for drawing this conclusion follow:
Five reasons to believe computers are female:
- No one but the Creator understands their internal logic.
- The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
- The message "Bad command or file name" is about as informative as, "If you don't know why I'm mad at you, then I'm certainly not going to tell you".
- Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.
- As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
However, another group of computer scientists (all female) think that computers should be referred to as if they were male. Their reasons follow:
- They have a lot of data, but are still clueless.
- They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem.
- As soon as you commit to one you realize that, if you had waited a little longer, you could have obtained a better model.
- In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
- Big power surges knock them out for the rest of the night.
Shift Keys FAQ
- Q. My shift keys have little arrows on them. Does that mean the *real* shift keys are located above them, and these keys are just little signs to point them out?
- A. Nope, they're the Real McCoy. The little arrows mean 'up', as in "look up at the screen". Your keyboard is telling you to learn to touch type and quit staring at your fingers.
- Q. What happens if I press both shift keys?
- A. Even bigger letters may show up on your screen. You should not use this feature, however, because these letters are also brighter, and may cause Screen Burn-In, which would be particularly embarrassing if you were typing something naughty at the time. You might consider obtaining the author's Shift Key Burn-In Protector program for only $139.95. Or you might not, it's your computer, but don't say I didn't warn you.
- Q. Are there shift keys on my Macintosh?
- A. Yes, although instead of the notation 'shift', the key may be labeled with an excited Mac face, something like :O. Press this key to use shift, and be thankful you're using a friendly Mac instead of a mean old PC with all them confusin' words 'n stuff on it.
- Q. I'm sick of pushing the shift key every time I want big letters. Is there another way to do it?
- A. This is the Modern Age of Convenience, and you may be able to activate the shift key merely with the power of your voice! Check to see whether your computer is equipped with speech-recognition equipment by saying the word 'shift' very clearly and slowly into its speaker. Then watch the keyboard closely to see if the Shift key moves down. Note that you may have to repeat this action several times to 'train' the computer to recognize your voice before the feature works reliably.
- Q. There are two shift keys, which should I use?
- A. Avoid unnecessary wear on either shift key by alternating between the two. Keep track of your usage of each key so that you press them in equal amounts. Your keyboard may be equipped with a small notepad; you should use this to make little tally marks in two columns for each time you shift. Remember, it's better to go to a little trouble than wind up with a broken shift key.
How to Install Software: A 12-Step Program
- Examine the software packaging until you find a little printed box that explains what kind of computer system you need to run the software. It should look something like this:
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS 2386 PROCESSOR OR HIGHER 628.8 MEGAHERTZ MODEM 719.7 MB FREE DISK SPACE 3546 MB RAM 432323 MB ROM 05948737 MB RPM ANTILOCK BRAKING SYSTEM 2 TURTLE DOVES NOTE: This software will not work on your computer.
- Open the software packaging and remove the manual. This will contain detailed instructions on installing, operating, and trouble-shooting the software. Throw it away.
- Find the actual software, which should be in the form of either a 3.5-inch floppy diskette or a CD-ROM, located inside a sealed envelope that says:
LICENSING AGREEMENT: By breaking this seal, the user hereinafter agrees to abide by all the terms and conditions of the following agreement that nobody ever reads, as well as the Geneva Convention and the U. N. Charter and the Secret Membership Oath of the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks and such other terms and conditions, real and imaginary, as the Software Company shall deem necessary and appropriate, including the right to come to the user's home and examine the user's hard drive, as well as the user's underwear drawer if we feel like it, take it or leave it, until death do us part, one nation indivisible, by the dawn's early light,...finders keepers, losers weepers, thanks you've been a great crowd, and don't forget to tip your servers.
- Hand the software to a child aged three through twelve and say, "please install this on my computer."
- If you have no child age three through 12, insert the software in the appropriate drive, type "SETUP" and press the Enter key.
- Turn the computer on, you idiot.
- Once again type "SETUP" and press the Enter key.
- You will hear grinding and whirring noises for a while, after which the following message should appear on your screen:
The Installation Program will now examine your system to see what would be the best way to render it inoperable. Is it OK with you? Choose one, and be honest: +---+ +-----+ YES SURE +---+ +-----+
- After you make your selection, you will hear grinding and whirring for a very long time while the installation program does who knows what. Some installation programs can actually alter molecular structures, so that when they're done, your computer has been transformed into an entirely new device, such as a food processor. At the very least, the installation program will create many new directories, sub-directories, sub-sub-directories, on your hard drive and fill them with thousands of mysterious files with names like "puree. exe," "fester. dat," and "doo. wha."
- When the installation program is finished, your screen should display the following message:
CONGRATULATIONS The installation program cannot think of anything else to do to your computer and has grown bored. You may now attempt to run your software.
If you experience any problems, electrical shocks, insomnia, shortness of breath, nasal discharge, or intestinal parasites, you should immediately swear, like this: *!@!$)$%@and*^)$*!#$_$*^
- At this point your computer system should become less functional than the federal government, refusing to respond even when struck with furniture.
- Call the toll-free Technical Support Hotline number listed on the package and wait on the line for a representative, who will explain to you, in a clear, step-by-step manner, how to adopt a child aged three through 12.
Computer Virus List
- ADAM AND EVE VIRUS - Takes a couple of bytes out of your Apple.
- AIRLINE VIRUS - You're in Dallas, but your data is in Singapore.
- ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER VIRUS...Terminates and stays resident. It'll be back.
- CLEVELAND INDIANS VIRUS - Makes your Pentium Pro perform like a 286/AT.
- CONGRESSIONAL VIRUS - Computer locks up, screen splits vertically with message appearing on each half blaming the other side for the problem.
- CONGRESSIONAL VIRUS (B) - Runs every program on the hard drive simultaneously, but doesn't allow the user to accomplish anything.
- DISNEY VIRUS - Everything in the computer goes Goofy
- FEDERAL BUREAUCRAT VIRUS - Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which do practically nothing, but all of which claim to be the most important part of your computer.
- GALLUP VIRUS - Sixty percent of the PC's infected will lose 38 percent of their data 14 percent of the time (plus or minus a 3.5 margin for error).
- GEORGE BUSH VIRUS - It starts by boldly stating "Read my text...No new files!" on screen, proceeds to fill up all the space on your hard drive with new files, and then blames it on the Congressional Virus.
- GOVERNMENT ECONOMIST VIRUS - Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says that everything is fine.
- HEALTHCARE VIRUS - Tests your system for a day, finds nothing wrong, and sends you a bill for $4,500.
- MARTHA STEWART VIRUS - Takes all your files, sorts them by category and folds them into cute little doilies to be displayed on your desktop
- OPRAH WINFREY VIRUS - Your 200MB hard drive suddenly shrinks to 80MB, and then slowly expands back to 200MB.
- PBS VIRUS - Your PC stops what it's doing every few minutes to ask for money.
- PROZAC VIRUS - Screws up your RAM but your processor doesn't care
- QUANTUM LEAP VIRUS - One day your PC is a laptop, the next day it's a Macintosh, then a Nintendo, etc.