If computers are so powerful, and so good at memory, how come everybody at my office has post it notes stuck on their computers?
———- from Aida Audeh of Mount Vernon, NY
Those are there to help the computer operator remember small things, like where he put his lunch, or what his name is. Working in front of a computer all day does a pretty good job of erasing volatile memory from the pre-frontal lobes. The post it notes keep the operator living and working in this time and space, while his actual brain is drifting somewhere back at the end of the last ice age. I’ve seen notes reading Remember to go home at night, or You own a dog. The little things, that make life almost worth living.
———- from John Kaplan of Milpitas, CA
UNIX was an easy-to-use language developed by unusually demented geeks who couldn’t read or write Fortran. First licensed by Radio Shack for use in their House Buddy computers, it allowed you to copy recipes onto 3 x 5 cards at the rate of one per hour. Eventually it was supplanted by Basic, and taught to chimpanzees who were able to write programs with an error rate approaching 50%. While not good, they fared better with Basic than UNIX, so the language was allowed to die a natural death. Today it’s only used in Albania and parts of Western Kamchatka.
———- from Brad Silverberg of Redmond, WA
As laptops continue to get thinner, eventually they approach razor sharpness, and that’s where the bleeding begins. Whether it’s the user’s legs, an unlucky passerby or the port quarters of a stewardess pulling one of those drink carts down the aisle of a crowded flight, someone’s going to sport a red badge of courage thanks to your need to be on technology’s cutting edge. A Navigation Bar is a bar frequented by sailors, most of whom care little about computing.
They say that on the Internet, no one can tell if you’re a dog. How many household pets really log on in a given day?
———- from Mark Gorenberg of Emeryville, CA
It depends on the cycle of the moon. Come a full moon, many pets grab the nearest mouse and start clicking. I’ve heard it said that most of the creatures logged on in chat rooms after 10 p.m. are animals, usually domestic pets with an axe to grind. Cats usually use foul language and are the source of much of the call for net regulation. Dogs tend to be much more moderate, loyal, and dull. By the way, the symbol for e mail slobber is ampersand asterisk.
———- from Steve Perlman of Sunnyvale, CA