Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Windows on Waikato

Rememberances of life in Mooloo country where I first learned about puters.

Memories rekindled on hearing there are Maori versions of Windows Office and XP out now. That must be software that breaks in to online bank accounts, inserts spelling mistakes into Word documents, takes forever to load, messes up your files, uses other people's bandwidth, then quits unexpectedly :-)
Microsoft worked with the Maori Language Commission and Waikato University's School of Maori and Pacific Development to create the software
My Alma Mater! As a School of M&PD graduate, I'm flushed with pride. I bet Te Taka Keegan (onerously) translated the bulk of the 2500 tech terms into (jaw-breaking) Maori techno-jargon. Bless him! I'm really rapt.

Have heard repeated criticism of Bill Gates & his Evil Empire. Possibly the most derided man alive -- after my beloved Dubya, that is. But never understood the vilification of William. Being a tech-dummy helps, I guess, but also for 3 other reasons.

1. He embodies the
self-made, rags-to-riches, American dream, man. I applaud his triumph. "Too much, you!" as they say on the Coast. Not trying to win any magnanimity awards, but I'm rarely, if ever, tempted by 'the sin of envy' (as for 'gluttony', 'sloth', and 'lust'... that's a whole other story). I think he's amazing. Blockbuster autobiography stuff.

2. I hate Apple. Never recovered from two traumas in formative geek years. Student blues. Panicking last-minute to get essays printed, rushed from Language Lab (Macs) where I worked to Main Campus (PCs - or whatever you call non-Macs) where my printing account is. Psychological disintegration & painful first lesson in digital racism [not all computers like each other] ensues.

Next time, having wizened (and acquired Mac-owning friend), I casually stroll to Main Campus, floppy in hand, only to find friend doesn't have Clarissworks on his laptop.
Nervous breakdown #2

ps - years later, now the proud owner of PC and printer, I finally found the Mac computer & printing rooms on main campus (that had been there All That Time).

3. Unix? Linux? Sheesh, I can't even spell it. Have barely the vaguest half idea what this wikipedia-type, self-help, do-it-yourself Windows alternative is all about. Much less how to install or use it. So, 'til then, stuck with Bill's wares that at least have decency to already "be there" when you buy a new computer -- and save newbies untold hassle.

Ahhh, those were the days before I discovered...

'Print Preview'. How many trees had to die pre-WYSIWYG days for the sake of mere 'proper paragraph alignment'. My education cost thousands, most of it spent in computer printing rooms going, "Damn, that still doesn't look right!"

'Page Break' - and used to go Enter/Enter/Enter/Enter/Enter to begin a new page.

'Advanced Search' on google. How many trillions of irrelevant unnecessary links have I wasted my life reading? Sometimes horrifyingly. I typed 'All Blacks' once - tons of guff & surprising numbers of links to African American porn. My rugby-loving heart skipped a beat!

What Alt/Ctrl keys were about. Those shortcuts must be saving me bulk on future medical bills for overused mouse hand, arm & shoulder.

The more I learn about computers, the more paranoid I am
about everything... DPF warns that when you click on Kiwiblog, he can tell:
  • The pages you browse on his site
  • The referring page or link you came from
  • The search engine query you used to find the blog
  • Your IP adddress
  • Your machine name
  • Your web browser version
  • Your operating system
While not begrudging DPF (to the contrary, he's a good fulla), assuming your Average website-Joe can do similar, it's quite frightening (in my scaredy-cat opinion) that other's "know" so much about you while surfing.

True Personal Cyber Horror Story, hazily remembered: Aimlessly surfing, encountered ad for Internet Security program. Ad said, "Click Here," so I clicked there, lo & behold, there's an exact 'photo' of my My Documents folder, complete with customised folder names & everything. As if website could "see" into my machine. Mortifying! Didn't log on to web for days after.

System Restore on Windows XP is also a bugger. Install software, weeks later uninstall it, weeks later restore puter to earlier time and find previously uninstalled program has mysteriously returned. That's weird & creepy, as if you can NEVER really purge your system of unwanted stuff.


noizy said...

"it's quite frightening (in my scaredy-cat opinion) that other's "know" so much about you while surfing."

Install sitemeter on your site, and you too will be able to spend aimless hours looking at stats that tell you that most people use Windows, most people surf blogs from work, and that most google searches are for porn.

"there's an exact 'photo' of my My Documents folder, complete with customised folder names & everything. "

that's just an iFrame set to display the contents of your C: drive. Nothing sinister about it (other than the fact that someone's trying to freak you out enough into buying their software) - it just displays your folder structure exactly as it would if you typed file:///c:/ into the location bar of Internet Explorer. Looks scary, but isn't.

phil said...

Thanks JG, (whose photo keeps mysteriously changing)

You're gonna call me a liar, but I've oftened wondered about that iFrame thing and if it was a 'con' or not. Persoanlly, I LOVE computer terror tales: viruses, worms, hackers, phishing, stolen identities, Skynet... The Works. "When Computers Go Bad" is one of my favourite phobias.