Friday, 8 August 2008


My computer seems to be on the blink. Every time I try to paste a photo, it goes offline. Mind you, it is, like its owner, getting a little past it. I'm convinced it's much slower than when I bought it. It's as if, when I try to perform some simple task, the computer says, "Ah, yes. Just give me a minute to get myself sorted out, will you? Now, where did I put that file?" And the irritating little orange light that shows the hard drive is working just wibbles away to itself whilst I sit and wait. And wait.

There must be a special word for the degree of impatence occasioned by a slow computer. It was not always thus, however. I grew up in the era of the first generally available personal computer, the Sinclair ZX81. A whole raft of magazines grew up around Sir Clive's machine, containing programmes for your computer. These consisted of lines and lines of code that had to be typed in by hand onto the weird little keyboard. And I would sit there, hour after hour, patiently typing this stuff in when I should have been doing something more useful. After what seemed like a month of patient typing, I would run the programme, and the computer would draw a circle on your screen. And that was about it. Except that sometimes the programme would have misprints in it, and the programme wouldn't run at all. I did hear a rumour that one of the Apollo spaceshots was very nearly a disaster because someone missed a comma out of the ship's computer programme. Perhaps they had been looking at the same magazines as me.

I'm glad I've lived to see an era where computer games, etc. do what they say on the tim. In the early days of computing, games were sold on audio cassette type tapes and downloaded to the computer by pressing the "play" button on your tape recorder. The cassette boxes always had fantastic images on them of aliens, spacecraft, spectacular explosions, etc, but the game itself was always a bitter disappointment in comparison to the piccy on the box.

It's probably time I bought a new computer.


Stevyn Colgan said...

My money is on 'Bitrage'. Or maybe 'lapstrop'?

chris hale said...

Stevyn - knew I could rely on you!

I've also thought of words covering puzzlement at why the damned thing won't work (compusion), and the ennui that eventually sets in when you couldn't care less any more (keybored).

Keep 'em coming!