This Dave Barry column was originally published Sunday, August 27, 1995
Welcome to Komputer Korner, the column designed for technological morons such as -- no offense -- you. We can safely assume that you're a "low-tech" individual, because you're reading this article in a newspaper, which is a primitive medium invented thousands of years ago by ancient Egyptians who wanted to be able to read Ann Landers.
If you were a modern, "high-tech" individual, you would not be getting your news this old-fashioned way. Instead, you'd simply go to your computer and "log on" via your "modem" to an "on-line service," which would instantaneously send you back an "electronic message" informing you that your account has been "suspended" because your 14-year-old son, "Robert," has been using it to "screw around." That's what happened to us here at Komputer Korner, which is why we still get our information from the newspaper. We especially enjoy reading articles about the national debt, because our son will have to pay it back.
But the point is that there is a Computer Revolution going on, and if you don't adapt to the changing climate, you will go the way of the dinosaurs, who became extinct almost overnight as a result of their inability to operate fax machines. This is similar to what is happening today, as the Information Age is rapidly turning us into a society that has two distinct and unequal classes of people: those who own personal computers, and those who have several thousand extra dollars apiece. The choice is yours!
Of course purchasing a computer can be confusing, which is why at this time we are going to answer your questions, using a question-and-answer format.
Q. What's the deal with Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley?
A. We mean your questions about computers.
Q. Oh. Which model of computer should I get?
A. The best computer for your specific needs is the one that will come on the market immediately after you actually
purchase some other model. This is the key to computer ownership: There is always a newer, swoopier one coming out, and you need it. That is why we here at Komputer Korner have owned a series of progressively advanced computers, including 286s, 386s and 486s.
Q. What do those numbers measure?
A. Our manhood.
Q. What, specifically, should I look for when shopping for a computer?
A. You should look for a "Pentium" style computer containing numerous "megs of RAM."
Q. What do these things mean?
A. Nobody has any idea, but everybody agrees that they are very desirable. You should stress them when dealing with the computer salesperson, so he or she will know that you are a knowledgeable consumer and not just some random idiot:
YOU: Is this a "Pentium" style computer?
SALESPERSON: Technically, that is a dehumidifier.
Q. Why do I need to purchase the very latest model of computer?
A. So you can run "Windows 95."
Q. What is that?
A. It is a hot new "software" item from the giant Microsoft Corp. that has the computer world so excited it is making cyberweewee in its pants.
Q. Why is "Windows 95" such a big improvement over the old "Windows" software, which is currently being used on virtually every computer in the world and certain brands of toaster?
A. The problem with the old "Windows" software is that people, after years of intensive effort, are actually learning how to use it for some purpose other than playing electronic solitaire. This means that some businesses are in serious danger of becoming productive and possibly competing with the giant Microsoft Corp. It was therefore necessary to come up with "Windows 95," which is actually nothing like the old "Windows," and which will therefore confuse everybody and cause the U.S. economy to revert to the golden era wherein 93 percent of all business computing consisted of employees accidentally deleting each other's data.
Q. Are there some people whom you would like to mention in this column for no apparent reason?
A. Yes. They are Ken and Tita Ellis of Singapore.
Q. How does "e-mail" work?
A. It's very simple: Each person on the "Internet" has a unique e-mail "address" created by having a squirrel run across a computer keyboard, such as: "geek(at)boogr#2038*rpm(!)rbi." When you wish to communicate with somebody, you simply put that person's address on your message, give the "send" command, and within seconds -- no matter where in the world the addressee is -- your message is being read by dozens of teenage "hackers," who are also using your VISA card number to purchase Hawaiian vacations. Don't try to stop them: They can also launch missiles.
GOT A QUESTION FOR KOMPUTER KORNER?
Write it on a piece of paper and mail it via the U.S. Disgruntled Postal Worker Service.
© 1995 Dave Barry This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Electronic or print reproduction, adaptation, or distribution without permission is prohibited. Ordinary links to this column at http://www.miamiherald.com may be posted or distributed without written permission.