The Cameron Column #117
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I Want to Hurt my Computer
Copyright 2000 W. Bruce Cameron
http://www.wbrucecameron.com

      I want to hurt my computer.

      I want to buy a software program that, when run, causes my computer to suffer grievously, though not permanently. When my screen freezes or turns blue, I want a special button I can push to make the CPU start squealing like a motherboard.

      I want a device that stores an electrical charge in my telephone. For every minute I spend on hold waiting for technical support to answer, the charge would increase in intensity. When the guy from tech support finally answers, the electrical bolt of energy would be discharged into him. This should not affect my ability to hear what's going on at the other end of the line. A special function would allow the volts to double every time a tape-recorded message urges me to continue holding. "Your call is important to us," the featureless voice claims. I want my phone to be outfitted with a translation program which will reconstitute this irritating reminder into the truth: "Actually, we already have your money, so we couldn't care less about you. Our technical support department consists of two college kids, both of whom are busy playing Doom. Eventually, one of them will come on the line, but it will be the one who doesn't speak English."

      I want my modem to sense when my PC has committed an "illegal function" and issue a warrant to arrest Bill Gates. When my system crashes and I lose a file that has taken me more than an hour to create, I want someone from the computer company to come out and retype it for me.

      I don't understand why new, "upgraded" software creates files that cannot be read by old, reliable software with the same name. Is there no one in the computer industry who has noticed that word processor files all look alike once they are open? Why can't 6.0 recognize a 7.0 file? It's all just words, isn't it? There should be a rule that when software engineers buy a new car, their old cars should cease to function. If they don't understand why this is happening, they should call me and I will explain it to them.

      How come when my computer catches a virus, I'm the one who misses work?

      I want to know why my printer always jams on the last piece of paper or the last sheet of checks. When this happens, it makes me want to put sandpaper into the manual feed and print the Emancipation Proclamation.

      I want to know what good is a web search engine that returns 324,909,188 "matches" to my key word. That's like saying, "Good news, we've located the product you're looking for. It's on Earth."

      I want to know why, when I had a tiny hard drive, my operating system was virtually crash-proof and took up so little space. My new operating system is 5 times the size of my original hard drive. With every "upgrade," it seems to grow 75%. That's as if every time your mother-in-law came to visit she weighed another 500 pounds.

      Now I've found out that my PC no longer "recognizes" my floppy drive. How could they not recognize each other? They live together!

      Please understand: I don't hate my computer.

      I just want to hurt it every once in a while.


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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 2000
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