David Jaggard's

Quorum of One

Issue number 28          May 21, 2000


Wet humor on the Web since 2000


This issue:





The eminent Viennese physician and father of modern psychiatry solves the hardware and software problems of the disturbed and deluded.



Tech Support, this is Sigmund, how may I help you?
Please help me! First we were being bombarded constantly with radio and TV waves! Then we got satellite communications and portable phones! And I guess that wasn't enough, because now they're making the Internet available by cell phone so we're all going to have the entire World Wide Web coursing through our bodies and brains every second of our lives!
Well, in a way that's true, but I assure you there's absolutely no health risk due to...
Oh no, I don't care about that! I'm calling because I want to find out how I can tap into those invisible waves going through my head and surf the Net on the inside of my eyeballs!  Then I won't have to pay an access provider!
Are you the same guy who called me some years ago when I was in private practice claiming to hear police band radio through the fillings in his teeth?
Think how cool it would be! I could look up my favorite sites any time!  It'd be like virtual reality!  Only real! Also I could check out the porno sites while lying down so I wouldn't have to...
Spare me the details, would you please?
But how could I download files?  Hadn't thought of that. And what about e-mail?
I think I have another call here.
Wait a sec! What if I download a virus into my brain?!
I hope
I have another call
Tech Support, this is Sigmund, how may I help you?
 [To someone else in the room:
OK, OK, but I still think this is a waste of time.]  Uh, hello?
Tech Support, this is Sigmund, how may I help you?
Yeah, I uh...  Look, I don't really need tech support, it's just that, ah...
Yes, please go on.
I don't really have a problem or anything, it's just that my wife made me promise I would call because of some little... ah, things
that have been happening to me lately.
What kind of "things"?
Oh, you know, little stuff.  It doesn't really mean anything.
What kind of "little stuff" do you mean?
Oh, little stuff, you know... Like sometimes I can't get my system to boot up.
Yes, go on.
And sometimes I'm in the middle of a manipulation and the cursor seems to just sort of get stuck and I can't do anything for a while.
And sometimes -- well, all
the time if you want to know the truth -- my system runs slow.  Real slow. In fact, it's been running slower and slower for about the past six months.
Did anything happen about six months ago that could have triggered this?
Not that I can think of.  But it did start about the time my boss upgraded his system to Windows 2001.  And I figured that if he upgraded his then maybe I should upgrade mine at home too.  But I don't have the same hardware as he does.  Since I can't afford to buy a new machine right now, I just put the new system on my old Proteus GB200.  It has an Intel 4200 TX, 54 megs of RAM, a 4-gig hard disk and...
Wait -- let's talk  more about your boss.  Your boss is obviously a strong Gates figure to you.
My boss?  Well, he always has the latest model of everything and the latest OS and the latest upgrades of all the software. He even has the latest games and he doesn't even play them!
And how do you feel about that?
About the games?  Doesn't bother me, I never play computer games either.
I see. Tell me this: what kind of system did your mother have when you were a child?
My mother? Well, Ma had a Mac Plus with no hard drive, 1 meg of RAM and a big, clunky pin printer that took all afternoon to print a ten-page document, during which time you couldn't do anything else on the computer.  But it was so expensive she would never let me touch it! Once I spilled grape juice on her $500 external 450K floppy drive and after that she kept it locked up in her bedroom closet.
I think we're getting somewhere now.  Go on.
So one day I sneaked in there when she was out of the house and found the Mac hidden under a pile of her hose and lingerie.  I found a "system" floppy disk, booted it up and was trying to open MacWrite when she came home and caught me.  Boy was she mad!  I was grounded for six weeks!
OK, I think I'm beginning to understand what's causing your trouble.
Great! Cause I really need to solve this problem fast. I can't get any work done until my computer's running right again.  So what do I need to do?
I'm sorry, your time is up.  Call me back at the same time next Thursday.
But what about my problem?
You'll have to keep calling every week until we get to the bottom of it.
But when will that be?
That's going to be up to you.
I mean, days, weeks, months -- what?
Call me next week.
Wait a minute!
Be sure to ask for Sigmund.

Tech Support, this is Sigmund, how may I help you?
Hi! I'm having trouble with my modem connection.  I've got an Antheon 1400B that I souped up with 120 megs of RAM, a 10-gig HD and an Extel 3800 B5...
What kind of screen-savers have you been seeing lately?
Yes.  Our screen-savers can often be the key to the actual inner workings of our CPUs.
Well, I only have one.
Ah! You have a recurring screen-saver?  Very interesting.  Would you call this a good screen-saver or a bad screen-saver?
Gosh, I don't know, it's just a standard one, you know.
Hmmm... ambivalent... But describe this "standard" screen-saver to me.
Well, it's got these little toasters that move toward the bottom left of the screen. And pieces of toast.
With wings.
The toasters have wings?
Yes, they're flying toasters.
I see.  A household appliance can often symbolize a piece of hardware.  It sounds to me like a pop-up "toaster" would represent your CD-ROM drive.
My CD-ROM drive?
Yes, and the fact that your toasters have wings is very telling.  Obviously, your CPU is trying to tell you to get a better, faster CD-ROM drive.
That must be your problem.
How do you figure?
I'll connect you to sales.
Wait a minute, the screen-saver doesn't have anything to do with...
Hold, please!

Tech Support, this is Sigmund, how may I help you?
Maybe this isn't really a tech question, but I hear you're a medical doctor and I'm calling because I'm afraid I'm getting repetitive stress injury.
Why do you say that?
Because every day after work I feel all numb and tingly in my forearms and hands.
What kind of work do you do?
I'm a headline editor for a newspaper.
Tell me about your job.
I sit at the computer all day and make up headlines for the day's stories and then I copy them from my files and paste them into the layout in Pagebreaker 8.4.  We're using Unix on Futon 400Xs with 80 megs of RAM, Notel 12 processors, 5-gig HDs, 2-bit...
Wait a minute! Go back exactly 34 words.  What were you saying?
Ah, "I copy them from my files and paste them into the layout"?
There's your problem right there.
What do you mean?
It's because you work with headlines.  Most of the text you handle every day is in bold caps with font sizes of 24 or greater, right?
Yeah, so?
So obviously it takes a lot more physical pressure on the keys and the mouse to move those big letters around.  Haven't you ever noticed that to delete a 38-point extrabold "W" it takes a lot more pressure on the backspace key than to delete a 10-point italic semicolon?
Well, actually, no.
Try converting all your text to Times 12, pasting it into the layout and then
converting it to large bold caps.  And call me in two weeks to let me know if you're feeling better.
You sure you're a tech support expert?
Sir, I have three doctorates from the University of Vienna.
In what -- communication?
You want to tell me about any screen-savers you've been seeing lately?


Tech Support!  This is Sigmund, how may I help you?
Here's my question: If I were traveling at near the speed of light and therefore everybody and everything not traveling with me would be getting older faster than me, and I poured a glass of wine out of a bottle, would it age just enough faster due to the air drag as it goes into the glass that it would be like 100 years old by the time I drink it?
Ahh, did you have a tech support question?
Isn't this "Albert Einstein's Guide to Gracious Living"?
No, no -- you should have pushed 5 after the message "Push 8 for support".
I did that and I got "Joseph McCarthy's  Advice for Men Who Love Too Much".
That can't be right -- you can only get Joe by pushing 6 after the message "Push 13 for Jean-Paul Sartre's Suicide Hotline".
I never got that one.  I only got "Push 1 if you really want to push 4".
And did you push 1?
No, 4 of course.
There's your problem.  That's the number you push if you didn't want to call this service in the first place.
I know.  And that connected me to "Thomas Hardy's Frank Talk for Teens".
And what did you say?
I said I wanted to talk to "Frank".
Was that supposed to be funny?
And then I was disconnected.
Hmmm.  And how did you feel about that?
How do you
feel about it, beard-brain?




 (c)2000 by David Jaggard.  All rights reserved worldwide.