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Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Run the Very Model of Maniacal Machinery

From the Technology Vault Dept.: This time I saw it coming: a hard-drive failure. I backed up everything just in time, and, fortunately, backed up the backup. But while buying its replacement, I splurged for a fast, new desktop unit that I'll be laboring for days to fill with the data I saved (there's much to be said for mirror-style backups). It led me to recall a new computer I acquired about fifteen years ago, and which I celebrated by rewriting the Major General's song from "The Pirates of Penzance." Oh, how dated those technology references are today! Apologies, as always, to W. S. Gilbert.



I run the very model of maniacal machinery,
To make it more amazing would no doubt be misdemeanory,
It wakes me in the morning and it tells me if it’s soggy out,
And if it’s really soggy my machine will let my doggy out;

It furnishes a schedule that’s filled with lots of latitude,
It welcomes all improvements with a charming sense of gratitude —
For instance, if I give the system’s motherboard a tweak or two,
It shows me how to put off all my other work a week or two!

You can add to any network its proprietary splinter-net,
It keeps a prime location buried deep within the Internet;
In short, when you get weary of the same computing scenery,
Go get yourself this model of maniacal machinery!


My renegade computer likes to mess with multimedia,
You’ll never see a system that can rasterize it speedier;
Invite a distant buddy to a dirty game of Doom with you:
You’ll swear that your opponent got imported to the room with you!

If your Pentium is hobbled when confronted with a floating point,
You’ll understand why I have travelled well beyond the gloating point;   
My system does division with precision that’s impeccable —
In fact, it does it to a point that’s hardly even checkable!

With a million applications all competing for my loyalty,
It’s difficult to designate the ones I’ll pay a royalty;
But Microsoft and Lotus and Novell would like my greenery,
For nothing makes their products run as well as my machinery!


Initially, computers weren’t always very usable,
You’d G P F without a board that’s shrewdly I R Q-sable;
They tell you that your VESA board will pale beside a P C I,
But all the wool that’s pulled around will leave you with a fleecy eye!

You’re L E D to slaughter if your notebook isn’t LAN-able,
And never mind the D-RAM that it munches like a cannibal!
And D M A — Oh, what the devil are these silly letters for?
They’re what the clever industry is turning us to debtors for!

So pack up all your care and woe, come over where its sensible,
By now you see my argument is clearly indefensible:
You surely must be weary of the same computing scenery,
Go get yourself this model of maniacal machinery!

– c. 1997

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