Paul and Computers

Voice Card  -  Volume 30  -  Suzanne Card Number 7  -  Sun, Dec 12, 1993 2:56 PM

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul on his last trip out here. We went out to dinner at a crowded Chinese restaurant with John and Betsy. Of course the topic of computers came up, and I was informed that I am the keeper of the crummiest computer of any Archipelagoan. Ridicule ensued. My indignance went unheeded, as is usually the case when most of a group is having fun at the expense of another.

I bought my Mac Plus in 1988 and thought I was going to keep it until it broke or wore out. That's just the way I look at purchases. Why should I want to replace something that still works fine?

Well of course everyone told me why. New models are so much faster, more sophisticated in what they can do and more fun. Programs that talk to you and the things you can do with graphics. John showed me how on his computer he could pull up a photograph of me, crop it, then enlarge the image, paint my hair green, distort my facial features and give me purple warts. It was really quite something to witness. Just think, if I had my own up-to-date model, I could be doing the same kinds of things to photographs of him!

It seems like people are getting to think of computers the way they used to consider cars. You know, the way people used to trade in their cars every two years for the newest models. Now people tend to drive their cars until they fall apart. Maybe pretty soon we'll have computer payments, lease plans, computer insurance (lower rates for seniors, married people and those with good computer records).

John and Paul almost had me talked into buying a fancier computer. I'd been living my life thinking I was happy with the old one, but they made me realize that I'd been kidding myself. I started thinking, for example, about the experience of creating a new voice card on my system. When the screen says "This will just take a second," that's my cue to get up and take a shower or make dinner, and by the time I'm finished I can start writing the new voice card. If sometimes my titles don't exactly match the text of the cards, it's most likely because I forgot what I was originally going to say in the time it took to create the voice card.

For now, though, I guess I'm going to stick with the dinosaur I have. I've spent kind of a lot trying to furnish my new apartment and still have a little further to go, and the future of the company I'm working for is starting to look a little cloudy - but that's a topic for another voicecard.