The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Actually, I've gotten over the cravings and now wish to divest myself of these classic computers

Sean Conner, a collector and network administrator from Lake Worth, agrees that older computers are ideal to learn on.

“The older a computer is, the easier it is to understand,” he said. “You can crack open my first color computer [Jamie Malernee probably didn't know to capitalize Color Computer —Editor] and say, ‘Here is the CPU [Central Processing Unit], there's the memory— here's how it all works.’ On a modern system, they're just monsters.”

That isn't why he is a collector. Conner prefers older systems for their quirks and bold forays into the unknown. For instance, a computer called the Amiga, made by a now-defunct company named Commodore, had video and music editing capabilities in 1985, a full decade ahead of IBM's Personal Computer, he said. But demand for the computer died because it wasn't advertised enough and customers thought IBM computers were more practical for business needs, he said. “There are products from 10, 20 years ago that failed, but maybe it was because they were too early [for their time], or it wasn't marketed enough, or because it was bundled with other products that were a dead-end,” Conner said.

S. Fla. computer collectors crave vintage hardware

Back in April, a call for Classic Computer collectors who lived in South Florida went out on the Classic Computers Mailing List, and I was one (I think the only one) who responded. I was then given the contact information for Jamie Malernee, the reporter, and she interviewed me over the phone (a few times in fact).

As reporting goes, this is pretty fluffy, but the basic information is correct, if sparse.

A satirical look at satire. Or is it?

While at the grocery store, I mentioned to Wlofie that the Week ly World News was closing down (you know, the “newspaper” that reported about Bat Boy). We then got into a conversation about other satirical newspapers that were having problems these days, but is it any wonder why?

Do you know Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison?

If you do, don't approach them. Call 911 and order up a SWAT team. They're believed to be in the vicinity of McMinnville, Ore., where they're a clear and present danger to the community. Mashburn and Cornelison were recently charged with five counts of felony sexual abuse, and District Attorney Bradley Berry has pledged to have them registered for life as sex offenders.

Oh, by the way, the defendants are in the seventh grade.

Swat somebody's butt, and yours belongs to the the D.A.

Where can satire go after that?

I ask you? Is this satire? Or real?

What is a nerd? Mary Bucholtz, a linguist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been working on the question for the last 12 years. She has gone to high schools and colleges, mainly in California, and asked students from different crowds to think about the idea of nerdiness and who among their peers should be considered a nerd; students have also “reported” themselves. Nerdiness, she has concluded, is largely a matter of racially tinged behavior. People who are considered nerds tend to act in ways that are, as she puts it, “hyperwhite.”

And what about this?

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

“You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration,” said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. “Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?”

I hate to say this, but the second quote, written in January of 2001, is supposedly satire while the first quote, written yesterday, is supposedly not.

How can The Onion compete with 12-year long studies on nerdom?

Okay, one more example, this time, about the Sultan of Brunei's private airplane:

What happened to his private, luxurious A-340 or B-777 (all decked out with gold poopers and seating for ten people)?

It's in the shop being remodeled. The poopers are now being replaced with swiveling models that can be turned to face away from Mecca when the plane is on certain routes. Until now the plane often had to change course during pooping, which led to trouble with the aviation authorities.

True, or false?

A few years ago, I would have said that's just plain silly. But now? What with Canad ians complaining about their health care system and English kids looking up to Hitler, reality is giving satire a really good run for its money.

And given how Muslims are touchy about their religion, I can easily see the Sultan installing swiveling toilets in his plane. But in reality, it's not clear if it's true or not.

Which, I guess, is the best that satire can do these days.

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