What are they on about?

9th March 2001 at 00:00
David Newnham updates his hardware

I feel like Celia Johnson in that final scene from Brief Encounter: "I've bin away, my dahling. But now I'm beck. And I'm niver going to go away agin."

Not that I've been hanging around railway stations picking up GPs or anything like that. But I have been upstairs for quite a long time - deciding on a new computer.

Incredible, isn't it? Three years ago, the only keyboard in the house was my mum's old piano, and already I need a faster, bigger processor and tons more RAM.

I do. I really, really do. Because in that short time software has become more demanding of hardware, and my second-hand Mac (no, no, Celia - it's a kind of computer) is showing the strain.

You could say that the manufacturers have got us over a barrel. But you could also say it's a nice barrel - a sort of biscuit barrel, filled with chocolate digestives. Because if I've learned one thing during my brief encounter with the computerati, it's that these days you get a lot more bangs for your bucksI Oops, sorry. That just slipped out. The real me doesn't talk about bucks. I don't ven know what a bang is. But, like I said, I've been away fora while, moving in different circles. You pick up these expressions, window-shopping on the internet.

Well it's natural, isn't it? You have to think in megahertz and gigabytes, and pretend to know your peripherals from your core tasks. And then you have to learn new ways with words such as "shipping".

Shipping is nothing to do with trawlers or gale warnings. Apparently it's what manufacturers do when they send a product into the world. They roll it out, then they ship it. And if they want you to buy it, they'll ship it with something called a bundle.

"I wish it shipped with a longer USB cable," one reviewer might comment (notice that the product now does the shipping). "And I'm not impressed with the miserly software bundle," another will moan.

That's exactly how they were talking when I logged off, my research complete, my mind made up. And I've no doubt they will continue long after I have readjusted to polite society.

And I shall readjust. You'll see. Then I shan't ever go away again. Not until next time.


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