Written 8 months after getting my first computer - Zac 1994
Computers demand your total devotion and a house-load of notepaper. They have written their own manuals simply to deter
human interaction with themselves. Our manual, which is the condensed version, has 393 pages and right in the middle of page
9 is a two-sentence paragraph titled `Before You Begin', which sends you to chapter 15. This chapter is 137 pages of double-column,
very condensed print...(bit of a worry).
To learn as painlessly as possible, pick one subject from the index and DO NOT let the manual side track you (which THEY have designed it to do).
For instance, chapt 6`(Working With Files') sends you to chapters 8, 9, 10, 13 and pages 83, 91 & 105,
where you will learn alot about what you cannot do, definitely must not do and should not do, but not very much about what to do.
One thing really intrigued me - just because you delete something, it does not mean it has gone for good.
You can get HIM to track it, but HE will not always give it back to you in its original state.
Always remember that HE will take every opportunity to outwit you. The chapter titled `The Survival Guide'
which is usually found towards the end of the manual, needs to be read very, very early.
Don't ever smile in front of a computer, as there is a little man in there who believes a smile
eventuating from achievement, is really a sign of smugness. He will very easily change that smile to an
expression of total utter astonishment. You now correctly begin to suspect that it is a fallacy, that computers are not capable of emotion.
Computers (like humans) are programmed from birth and they predominantly work in 2 languages - human
(which they still have not completely mastered) & code.
- A menu is not a variety of foods, but a list of options of what to do.
- Fonts are letters & numbers and not basins in a church.
- Bullets have nothing to do with guns but are associated with numbered lists.
- Resolution does not mean great determination (which you will need) but is the number of dots that make up an image.
- A Buffer (also known as a clipboard) is now a temporary storage place for data and not something that lessens the effect of impact (but you will need that also). You transfer the data by cutting (no scissors needed) and pasting (no glue needed).
- A Field is now a small area on the monitor and not an expanse of grass.
- A Port is not where ships tie up but is a socket to plug in the keyboard, monitor & mouse.
- As for the mouse, that is another story.
I thought there was only the 4-legged type that tried to scare the living daylights out of us humans.
You will soon learn there is a variety of these meeces and they need a driver. Does it remind you of Planet of The Apes?
- The Monster wants you to believe that Windows are not made of glass but are micro-soft and need to be operated with a mouse
- That a wild-card character is not a joker but a pretty perfect shaped star,
- That a byte is not what a dog does but is the amount of space to store 1 character.
- A byte is also equivalent to eight bits and please do not ask "Bits of what?"
- A kilobyte is not 1,000 bytes but 1024.
- No longer is a ram a male sheep, but is the memory used to run a program, which is not really a program but software.
- A floppy disc is not floppy- it is hard.
- The hard disc is fixed and a drive is not what you take in the car, but concerns, which disc you, are using.
- A switch is not what you touch to turn on a powered appliance, but is an upward slanting dash.
- A batch has absolutely nothing to do with scones or a place to stay at the beach,
- ....Nor does a chip have anything to do with fried potatoes.
- Using the keyboard does not mean you will hear music. It is one way of conversing with the monster.
- If you are told to `repaint the screen', you will not need to go rushing down to the local decorating shop and you will
not need water and detergent when it is suggested you wash the disc.
Computers are occasionally prone to getting a virus (ha!) which makes them do crazy things. As the viruses are caught from other computers,
do not let them mix, mingle, and if the worst happens do not call the MD as this now means "Make a Directory".
The monster will be unfaltering in maintaining an up-todate record of how many attempts and the length of time it took you,
to finally compose a document. Sometimes, he will even tell all and sundry, at precisely what time of the day you worked with him.
This is not to help you, but to curtail any deception you might have in mind.
When told to reboot the computer, definitely do not put you foot through it (as much as you might feel like it), just press the reset button.
The cutest thing so far is the Kermit protocol. It has nothing to do with little green frogs but concerns binary data transfer to
a remote computer.
If you like interior decorating, you will be able to change the wallpaper in Windows until your hearts content and be able to change
the colours on your desktop (which isn't really a desktop, but a monitor). Did you think trees only grew in dirt? You will learn the
computer also grows them and hangs your programs off them. You will have to learn about the paths in these trees and how to expand the branches.
When instructed to load a program, you do not put it on top of the computer, but actually inside the thing. The first time I did this,
I envisaged the monster gobbling it up and returning it to me in a mangled mess, but he gave me a very false sense of security
and it was returned in its original state (I think...).
Finally, by now you will have heard of the cursor. It is the little flashing thing that indicates where anything next appears on the monitor.
The nearest word to cursor that I could find in any dictionary was the word curse,
which means an utterance expressing extreme ill will towards some person.
This sums up the whole attitude of........These darling little machines.