Friday, September 12, 2003

Computers are so fast, I have no more time to daydream

There was a time when installing software involved the juggling of 20 1.4MB diskettes. You would sit there, the drive would grind, it would ask you for the next disk. To be a computer tech, you needed to learn the slight of hand of remembering which disk you were on.

Then came CDs, which made the world a whole lot easier, but then the computers were slow that you would sit there for several minutes again watching the drive grind away as the software publisher showed ads of how great their software was and advocating the benefits of registering your machine.

It wasn't too much faster than diskettes, but it would take numerous minutes of watching a time bar fill to capacity, which made it a very opportune time to day dream. I would just sit read the titles of books on people's shelves, marvel at the innovations of office supplies, examine in detail the postcards from around the world contemplating my own travels. It's like watching grass grow, but in an office without windows.

One time when I was fixing a client's computer, I was sitting there watching the machine process and he says, "Is this what you do all day? Stare and watch computers?" Slightly joggled from my daydream, "uh, what? oh, yeah. well, no, not really. but sometimes." (I didn't want to look like I'm a total waste of university funds so I made a joke of it.) "well, yeah, basically. It's not a bad life." Then I tried to justify it saying, well, you have to watch the machine cuz something might happen in the middle and mess the whole thing up, you can't just walk away and take a coffee break. I don't think he bought that. But fortunately, his computer was working now and well, even if I do just sit there watching a computer screen entertain me with graphics of flying sheets of paper traveling from one folder to another, something in doing that made the computer work, which it didn't before. He couldn't really complain.

But now, computers are running dual processors and the like and run through installations at blazing fast speeds. Stuff that took several minutes, now takes seconds. Damn. I think I can still kind of fake like it's taking a while, but not for long. I'll have to find some other time and place to day dream. But it was nice getting paid to day dream, well, not really, but you could see it that way.

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