Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Confessions of a Computer Liberal

My attitude of the past:

Political hoopla has invaded us lately much as Japanese beetles in a fruit tree orchard. Speaking of orchards, is it just me or does seeing Hilary Clinton's hideous images strike fear in your heart too.

I've seen some photos of her that paralyze me. Like in that dream I had when a peach orchard boar was charging at me and my legs felt like they were made out of Swedish memory foam.

I guess what frustrates me in the political arena the most is the lack of courage and leadership that most candidates demonstrate. "Tell me what the polls say, and I'll tell you what I believe. And I won't change my mind until I address the next special interests group".

I thought about this for a few nanoseconds once and came to the conclusion that I may actually have more respect for politicians who are clearly liberal-socialist-commies or scary right-wing-radicals more than the minions of so called moderates. When I say respect, don't misunderstand me. Respect does not equal agreement. But I reserve the right to disagree agreeably.

Moderates on the other hand in my book are basically cowardly liars who are really liberals, but don't have the courage to take, and stand by a position, any position. It's always easy to tell when they are lying because they always begin their sound bites by saying: "The American People want...".

Moderates are both democrat and republican, but they are all liberals. They have mastered intellectual laziness. The depth of their thinking is limited to buying votes by selling dependency. Their mantra is peaches and cream, world peace, free health care, money for nothing and the sky is falling. They are usually wealthy elites, addicted to power, whom work tirelessly to convince you that your money is really the government’s money and rely upon creating gallons of fear so you will go along.

It occurred to me a long time ago that computer operating systems are kind of like politics.

You basically have two kinds of people: Thinking people and Computer Liberals.

I remember becoming enamored by the Mac OS in the prior millennium. There were some brilliant nit wits out there that were plotting to overthrow the world economically while I was focused on atomic wedgies and engineering a wind up key for my '62 VW bug.

I thought it was so cool that I could sit down at my Mac and build a word processing document, create a spreadsheet, or design a logo without having to read a 400 page Windows thesis. I spent 15 minutes trying to get through one once. It reminded of me trying to master the definitions of FIFO and LIFO in my 8:00 a.m. accounting class after swabbing toilets in the auto-cad building at 4:00 a.m. My comprehension would have probably been ok if there had been more color photos. (Wow, I just had a major flashback.)

Any who, seriously, you practically had to have a masters in nerdology to understand what these geekdorks were talking about. All I know is that I could sit down and whip out some pretty impressive stuff. My kids got some pretty good grades on my projects too.

As these Mac Attacks would be launched, I would laugh when these factotums around me would espouse the virtues of Windows. While I was building complex graphics for the BugZapper Invitational, these guys would be giddy because they had just set a new endurance record for the amount of time it took to calculate a time-phase analysis for a system crash/update contingency schedule for an entire decade.

Now it wasn't the fact that they were wasting mega-time trying to keep their PC's working, it was the apparent addictive glee they seem to derive because of the sheer complexity involved in completing the most simple of tasks. I remember seeing the steely smirks when these guys were running a stack of punch cards through the univac in the 50's.

I remember taking all sorts of grief from these Computer Liberals. "Mac's aren't real computers, they’re more like toys" they would say. "I hear they're pretty good for the 300 people in the country that do graphics." "You can't get any real software for them." Meanwhile I learned how to do some pretty cool stuff without ever reading a manual. They were also curiously arrogant about their superiority, spending hours reading about how to do essentially nothing. Don't even get me started on Vista, Wow.

Why, you may ask, am I wasting my time writing this blog then? (Why are you wasting your time reading it?) Simply put, because my company decided they could save 500$ on a piece of hardware, they made the brilliant decision to force us to use Windows PC’s. I guess the justification was that the pen tabs we got were much slower, and there was an exponential increase in time wasted in figuring out how to use them, multiplied by about 3000 employees. The brilliant bean counters have a formula that actually shows an increased cost/benefit analysis.

My Conversion:

So the other night I was at home, on my MacBook Pro, and needed to print a PDF. I wanted to print it at 150%. Easy. File, Page Set up, type 150, click ok. Command P, ok. Done.

The next day. at work, using my snappy but clunky brand new Dell laptop with Windows, I open the same PDF. I go to File, Print Setup. No scaling option. So I intuitively think I'll look in the Print dialogue box. Nothing. So I do what any respectable Windows user would do with the most simple of tasks, I start looking around to try to figure it out.

Eventually I stumble upon an obscure button back in the Print Setup, located where you would choose the printer you want to use called PROPERTIES. Aha, say I, "It's like monopoly". In Properties I have 5 choices: layout, paper quality, output options, tec color and troubleshooting. I choose Layout and see several choices, but no scaling option. So I move on to output options, again no scaling. I repeat the process with the other three tabs. Nothing (but I did discover 2 to the 3 power number of options I could but, never in a million years would use).

So I go back to the Print dialogue box and search through again. Nothing. I try Print Set up again, repeat steps above for each tab. This in the tab I find another obscure button called "ADVANCED". Before clicking it I shout audibly, "Of course, scaling a document is a very sophisticated and complex process. How could I have been so stupid as to have not looked for the Advanced Button to start with. I'm an idiot".

Now I click the Advanced button and wonder of wonders, nestled in the middle of 14 additional, but very advanced choices is the Scaling option. I type 150, print and look at the clock to see it only took me 1/2 hour to perform this ADVANCED task.

I am giddy, I have mastered the complexity of simplicity. It if because I had to stuggle so hard to understand the complextity of simpicity, I finally understand what I have been missing all these years. I feel like I have had an epiphany equal to any spiritual manifestation rendered to man in the last 100 years. I can't resist from singing Handel's Amen chorus.

After pondering this for another hour I finally began to understand the enlightenment that my Windows nemeses were trying to sharing with me all these many decades. Euphoria set in. I swear I actually had an adrenalin rush. I felt ashamed for judging harshly, for I was blind and now I have come to the light. The sensation I felt was much like the rush I get in Dr. Reber’s office as he slides the lever to maximum on the Nitrous Oxide tank. How could I have been so wrong? How could I have been misled all of these years? How could I have been so harsh and judgmental of my PC brethren? I felt so ashamed.

I still use my Mac mind you. When I am forced to be productive and deadlines loom, I will close the curtains, dim the lights and complete my tasks. But my days are only truly complete when I can luxuriate is the security of the light and bask in the euphoria of complexity. “Simplicity manifest as complexity”. It is so obvious now. I only wish I had known sooner.

No longer will I weld the sword of scorn and spout harsh monikers. Proudly and with justified elitism I declare. I tuly am a computer moderate. I have pangs to let this new found insight flood over my political persuasions as well, for I perceive I am blinded by the obvious simplicity and consequences of social conservatism. The truth must really lie in the velocity of the inconsistency of political liberalism.

I am happy to confess that in order to write this blog today I had to replicate the Print Scaling process again. It was incredible frustrating. It was so incredibly fulfilling. After completely forgetting the process from last week, and replicating it again today, the tingles of joy flooded my senses with complete ecstatic fervor.


Dave said...

So you're saying you like Windows?

Tastes Kinda Minty said...

I love the way it makes me feel.

Amy said...

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

--Rev. 3: 16

Doug said...

You cannot sway me with your sarcasm.

Hugh said...

Am I the only one who sees the irony of Former Vice-President of the United States, Albert Gore Jr. serving on Apple's Board of Directors.

Doug said...