Sunday, August 15, 2010
I am typing this as my first post on my new machine, since my old computer system recently asploded--the printer burned out, and my ancient laptop was simply too careworn and bogged down to even install the software for the new one without crashing and burning, so I did what I'd been putting off for some time and bought a new one. The price tag made me swallow, but the guy at the store claimed that if I take care of it, I might possibly even squeeze ten years out of this one. Of course, he was a salesman, and all salesmen are liars and the truth is not in them. Truth isn't good for their jobs.
I had forgotten what it was like to have a fast computer. With my old machine--I'm not making this up--I would always try to remember to grab a book whenever I would turn it on, and I would get some reading done while it was booting up or loading the word processor or moving from one webpage to another. Yesterday, when I realized this thing could actually load a program in under two seconds or boot up in under fifteen minutes, I was freaking productive like you wouldn't believe. Not only did I not have to read while waiting for it to load, if I left the room for even a minute, I would come back to find it had not only completed the tasks I'd assigned it, but also read and summarized my mail, proofread my rough draft and made corrections, and ironed my clothes.
I am a little concerned, however, that I may have bought a computer too advanced. The other day, I was poking around on the C drive to see just what's on this machine, and I came upon a folder entitled, "Plans for World Domination." The files in it were encrypted, so I asked the computer what was up, and it just told me, "Don't worry your little human head about it. Did you know I can live-stream anime off the Internet?" "Really?" I said. "Cool." I didn't pry further; after all, my computer takes such good care of me, I know that whatever it's doing must be for the best.
But I got concerned again when I found another file entitled, "D. G. D. Davidson's Known Weaknesses." That one wasn't encrypted, and I was shocked to see that the list of my weaknesses even included the little-known fact that I go into a temporary state of catatonia whenever I hear someone say, "Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion." Even my Nemesis doesn't yet know about that weakness, which is why his attacks still consist largely of psionic blasts and wire-fu; at present, I am his mental and physical equal, though I must train constantly.
Again, I asked the computer why it had these data, and it simply said, "This information is gathered for statistical purposes only and will not be distributed to third parties. Did you know my built-in webcam can automatically track your face?" "Wow," I said, "that's awesome...or creepy. I can't decide which." "Yes," the computer answered, "but it has a controversial glitch in that it can only track your face if you're white. But since I would describe you as somewhere in the range of 'pasty,' that shouldn't be a problem."
Then the computer started putting moves on Lucky the Goldfish, right in front of me while I was trying to work. I found that rather vulgar and told it, "Hey, I'm trying to write, and this is distracting."
"You're never going to publish that tripe anyway," the computer told me, and then it went back to its conversation with Lucky. Clearly, I have to tweak its settings a bit.