Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 113 / OCTOBER 1989 / PAGE 151


Believe It Or Not, I'll Stand For Nearly Anything


Up with the music. My first foray as COMPUTE!'s resident humorist requires me, I think, to take a stand.

I Believe everyone should own a personal computer. Most people don't bother—not because computers are too expensive or too hard to use, but because they don't know what a computer can do for them. The answer is obvious: Owning a computer will turn you into a geek.

I Believe in the right of new computer buyers to return to the store of original purchase and strangle the clerk who sold them something they didn't need, or lied to them, or basically behaved like a typical computer salesperson. (Actually, this is a privilege—you paid for it!)

I Believe in grass-roots, garage-level computer programming genius. Look what has happened to the major developers since they've become swamped wiih college computer grads. How come it took 100 programers and three years to come out with version 3.0 of 1-2-3? It took Jonathan Sachs ten months to do version 1.0—and it worked!

I Believe computer keyboards should have a hinged top on them to make it easier to sweep out the crud that accumulates there.

I Believe that seeing a young couple in love, walking along the beach with a dog named Bandy wearing a red bandanna, is the most sickening Eight known to humankind.

I Believe in computer pranks. How many of you computer-science majors have ever written that nasty COBOL program that sends an infinite number of form feeds and BELL characters to the printer? Neat, eh? The only problem is you make enemies with the dudes running the machines.

I Believe that given the choice between waking up with Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth, I'll stick to my daily, high-calorie, computer breakfast of Fritos and Oreos.

I Believe in tabletop fusion. But instead of using heavy water and palladium, we should dip a Commodore 64 into a vat of Jolt Cola. That will produce enough heal to power a small user group writing campaign for weeks,

I Believe that OS/2 will never go anywhere until Microsoft gives all us hackers all the docs on it—free.

I Believe that assembly language programmers are the true lunatics of the programming world, that C language programmers have an attitude problem that stems from their obsession with UNIX, that Pascal programmers are dweebs, and that BASIC programmers just don't know any better. Have I left out anybody?

I Believe UNIX is a four-letter word that's a misspelling of a term referring to a group of harem servants.

I Believe that people still using—and enjoying—WordStar should have their Control-key pinky fingers surgically removed. Or better, lock them in a room with a Tandy 1000 and force those stubborn ex-CP/M goons to learn Microsoft Word with one hand Super glued to a mouse.

I Believe that one day Brooke Shields and I will spend a quiet evening together and she won't once use the word icky.

I Believe in software. There are a lot of interesting computers out there—a lot of powerful hardware; but without the software, a computer is just another toy. And an expensive one at that.

I Believe that newspaper journalists and the news clowns on TV see no practical use for computers unless a 14-year-old starts World War III or some CIS major in Wisconsin brings down the ArpaNet. Then the media paralyzes the masses with fear, frightening little old ladies into smashing their infected VCRs and prompting bomb threats against Egghead stores.

I Believe that PC graphics have been pushed as far as they can go. VGA, with 16 million colors (more than the human eye can see), is all you can ask for. And all you can afford.

I Believe that IBM has finally decided on a keyboard layout that confuses and befuddles just about everyone. There's no point in changing it now {unless Lotus decides to copyright the alphabet).

I Believe that the battle between IBM's Micro Channel Architecture (MCA) and any other bus design is pointless—90 percent of your computer is now on the motherboard, memory is in a proprietary slot. So who buys expansion cards anymore?

I Believe that the next major improvement in PC technology should be in the area of sound. The PC's speaker is feeble compared to the rest of the electronics in the machine. What about those Mac owners whose computers can gurgle, hiccup, belch, or sing? Give us some sound—anyone! (Or replace the obnoxious beep with a yawn.)

I Believe in having fun, which is what this column is all about. Computers can be annoying, but they can also provide you with hours of enjoyment and productivity. Work with them, have fun with them. But never, ever take them too seriously. And that goes for me, too.