Thursday, July 06, 2006

On Being Left Behind

NOW Shock!
I just came back from computer store. I bought a printer. I needed one that would be compatible with my Mac OS 9.1 so I could print out tons of templated things I've created over the years, like my CD labels and jewel case inserts. All of my graphic art is in applications created in 9.1. Jesus, when I told the techy what I needed, you know, the 9.1 shit, he looked at me like, "You dwadling old fool." Outloud he said, with no respect for me whatsoever, "9.1, heh-heh-heh...hey, Herman, come over here and meet a dude looking for a printer that is compatible with Classic 9.1. Are you crazy, my man? 9.1? You won't find any computer store in this huge town that has anything compatible with 9.1." "So, how, my computer whiz kid, the hell am I supposed to print out my stuff?...and what the hell's going on anyway...why is Apple just abandoning those of us Mac users who like 9.1 and want to keep operating certain applications through it?" I was pissed. Why have I got to constantly upgrade my hardware and my software everytime Steve Jobs or whoever the nerd is behind Macs decides to 1-up the PC world and redesign, make faster, nanner-nanner all their damn hardware and OSs--they suckered me up to a G4, a great machine, but then they popped out with a G5 and told me how backward I was not to have plopped down another $5,000 for a G5, and with the double-size plasma screen to boot. But no sooner had the G5 come out, than word up was that Apple was working with Intel on a whole new OS...and you could throw your G5s in the garbage; and a G4, oh crap, that goes on the scrapheap or on eBay for a buck. I feel like I have to hide the fact that I have an iMac G3, too, another great little desktop computer, tough as an ox, but now a joke if you say you still have one. And 9.1? Well, I've got my Macs running OSX, Panther, but even that is now obsolete, made so by Jaguar and then Tiger Xs, which with the new Apple-Intel Windows-compatible Macs is, too, now obsolete as the ultimate PowerMac operating system. Even with Panther, hell, I have to upgrade my software, like my PhotoShop, my Finale, my Dreamweaver, and that's expensive as hell.

But I love my computers. I hack out the narratives of my life hours a day on my computers. I surf the Internet night and day looking for information on my computers. I have a novel going on one of my laptops. I live on my other laptop. On my G4 I do all my business, my buying and selling, but I handicapped there, too, because since I run my business on my 9.1 platform, I can't use the great Mozilla Firefox--though I can use it on my Toshiba laptop running Windows XP. I play games on my computers--I have a whole virtual railroad, and I mean miles and miles of virtual track and many locomotives and much much rolling stock and long train trips through mountain ranges or across flat cornfielded farmlands, on my G4--some Russian programmers created it and it's supercool to me; it relaxes me to just go tooling out at a nice breezy clip on one of my big layouts. I read the newspapers on my computers, too. I listen to music. I listen to the radio. I watch movies. I watch my own homemade videos. I do my own artwork on my computers.

See what I mean? The constant changing of designs, of speeds, of operating systems, of memory capacities.

On my Toshiba laptop, I'm running Windows XP and I'm perfectly happy with it. But, hell, it won't be long before Bill and Melinda come up with a grander version of XP. It's maddening. It's like keeping up with entertainers, recording stars, the music world, the right haircut, the proper jeans, the proper sneakers, the proper visionaries...yeah, to hell with it being fantastic, let's make it even more fantastic. I know these computer geniuses know the Law of Diminishing Return, one of the first things I learned in Economics 101. It's all about shelf life. If they make computers like G4s that seem to want to run forever, then soon their sales will plummet and, whoaaa, hayburners, we gotta improve sales every month, not let 'em fall. So soon I'll be scraping up the bucks to buy me at least a young used new Mac and I'll be searching eBay for street-priced software so I can upgrade all my applications to fit my new high-speed, supercolossal, googlebyted Mac X-COSMOS Pluto 1 that is wireless in outerspace with a built in server and telephone system--it comes, too, with forehead chips which when implanted in your forehead give you instant Internet access with a plasma giant screen that will operate right behind your eyes off your thoughts (you'll see the screen through your mind's eye). And only $20,000. (I knew an early computer nerd who paid over 13,000 smackeroos for a prototype Toshiba color laptop way back in the glory days of the late eighties. Of course, that same guy paid over a 1000 bucks for one of the first walkmans to come out--his was one of the first Sonys; I paid $169 for my Aiwa, remember them?, a year later. That Aiwa lasted for 20 years; I just threw it out; last time I used it was when we had the black out here in NYC a small number of years back now. Boy, did some Ohio power grid screw us all over the East--the lights went totally out--I was in the dark and heat for nearly 35 hours. It was challenging to say the least. The biggest problem--besides breathing in the intense heat--was water. The city water was shut down by that damn corporate-created black out. You had to depend on guys from Jersey trucking in bottles of water in big huge ice chests--charging $2.00 for those little bottles that usually cost you 99 cents at the discount store. I bought ten the one day I had to survive--my lights being off until almost midnight--my part of Manhattan, I heard, was the last lights to come back on on the whole East Coast.

I guess we'll never be allowed to just cool it with what satisfies us and what we get used to and find works well for us.

for The Daily Growler

The Daily Growler Quote of the Day

"Language has not the power to speak what love indites: the soul lies buried in the ink that writes." John Clare, Fragment, from The Portable Romantic Poets, Penguin Books, 1978.
John Clare is described in this volume by W.H. Auden as "...a plowboy, tavern servant, etc. Largely self-educated, he fell under the spell of Thomson's Seasons, and began writing verses, eventually publishing Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820), which had a striking success. [His following publications]...met a less enthusiastic reception. His life of constant poverty was complicated by mental illness." Sounds like a Growler to us.

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