The Question to the Answer of Milo
by Milo Clark

I did it again. Against everything I know. In spite of anything reasonable or rational. I bought a new computer and that cost money and the last two weeks. When will I ever learn?

And today, I finally got it to work. Now I have some sense of what a new mother may feel. . . some sense, mind you. Even before I have wiped away the residue of old programs and operating systems, I whizzed out on the web and rattled the monitor screen with dazzling images and speed of capture. The new HP 870csi color inkjet got a good workout printing some beauties from a Tibetan images site ( Wow! There may be hope, yet.

The horror did some good, though. Kept my mind off the election. Kept me out of writing various polemics and rants about Eddingtons, foreign money contributions, hypocrisy, conceit, deception and other minor matters endemic to that process. I'll notice in passing that we have a Republicrat back as President and a Congress guaranteed to increase my personal cynicism for the rest of the century, no doubt. I may turn over a new leaf and bury myself deeper in denial. Meaner seems to be the keynote for the end of this millennium.

Windows 95 lived up to every possible rumor about its traumatic effects on naive users. I suppose if I were the kind who just turns it on and writes to Aunt Emma, it might be ok. Not me, though. I had to get involved in partitioning the 2gig hard disk with something called PartitionMagic. Nice box, good copy writing. Comparatively decent manual and such. Turns out to be one of those programs written by people who understand what they are doing and forget that nearly anyone else can't. I am one of those who thought I could figure it out and failed miserably. Couldn't or wouldn't or something less interesting. Got into some e-mail conversations with Wendy in techsupport. Called this morning to assure me that everything was ok. Nice thing for her to do.

Each new computer, this is my fourth, takes some unspecified time off my life. I end up learning a great deal about matters like MS/DOS, Windows 3.0, 3.1, 3.11 and now 95 which are absolutely dysfunctional to making my life fuller, brighter or better. This time, I gave up after two weeks of utter frustration in chasing things about. LPT? COM? Interlink? DCC? And CD-ROM? Microsoft techsupport? Nonsense. They had added personnel and ended up worse for the effort. Hard to believe that customers rate on Gates' list of acquisitions. I gave up. Packed up the computer and the associated toys. Took them back where I got them.

Got the owner's attention. Decent type, though. He came out today. Brought it back. Set it up. Did the partitioning. Loaded a couple of key programs. Ran Interlink so I could take everything off the old machine and put it on the new one. Puts me back on line.

I can remember my first C/PM machine called, wonderfully enough, "Zorba." Drove me absolutely nuts and I loved it. Lost immeasurable sleep. Suffered. Two 388K floppies and a keyboard with zillions of programmable keys. WordStar 3.3. I learned, at great pain, to make it dance and jump with joy. Even taught it how to do proportional spacing. Brother HR15 printer with interchangeable wheels to get a couple of fonts.

I wrote up a storm for a couple of years until seduced by a Compaq luggable. 10mb hard disk. How could I ever fill that? Windows 3.0. Impossible. Threw it out and went back to MS/DOS. Put in a 20mb HD. Added 2mb RAM to the basic 640K. Filled that one up too fast. Moved up to HP Deskjet 500. Now, that's printing. I mastered typographical techniques the computer didn't know were hidden inside. The printer responded. Wow! Helps to understand why women keep on having babies.

Time marched on and seduction won again. 486-33, 200mb HD, Windows 3.1. Disaster. Tamed it finally or it tamed me by going to Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and MS/DOS 6.21. Filled it up. Upgraded to HP Deskjet 550C, color entered my life. E-mail arrived. Web evolved. The waiting became interminable, the printing forever. Upgraded to 28.8 modem and 16550 UART on a new I/O board. Tantalizing but not enough. I knew she was out there waiting.

And then she swished by yet again. The Web of seduction descended. The hook of desire grabbed firmly. Couldn't shake it loose. Didn't want to. Obsessed, possessed, it was only a matter of time.

Reminds me of new car fever when cars cost what computers cost now. And so, after months of hesitation, reading magazines, driving friends nuts with indecision and confusion; I bit. And now, gestation compete. I'll clean up the male versions of afterbirth and such.

Want to see some pictures? Do you take JPEG or GIF?

Maybe later I'll tell you all about going to the mountain for white sage.

Published November 13, 1996
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