critter clears a path through the internet
Wednesday, September 17 2003
I had a miserable experience today at a computer client's house. It certainly didn't help that Gretchen and this particular client are friends. When I mix work and non-work in this way, anything less than the spectacular solving of all that is wrong seems to reflect badly on me personally. My problem on this particular visit was a recalcitrant McAlly Cardbus USB adapter in a G3 Powerbook (a laptop Macintosh just old enough not to have come with USB ports built in). There would have been no USB adapter and no problem if printer companies still made printers that use anything but USB ports, but they don't. If you buy a printer today, it can't possibly be attached to your computer unless that computer has USB ports. (There may be some exceptions to this rule, but they don't make much difference when it comes to consumer applications.)
So I spent a couple hours working on getting a device to work that for whatever reason would not. It certainly didn't help that the installation CD had been lost and McAlly.com is only the second computer manufacturer I've discovered so far who doesn't make drivers available for download on its website. (The first being Microtech.com.)
Oddly, there was another printer available. It was older and extremely cantankerous, and when I went to install its drivers, I was so frazzled that I forgot to do the second install that one needs to do when downloading a set of drivers whose first install merely places an installation folder on the desktop. This had me wondering why nothing was showing up in the Chooser. Was this computer possessed? Oh, it was a nightmare. I felt so lousy and unworthy at the end as I was being paid. Why, oh why, can't somebody pay me to make new things? I tell you, when a computer repair housecall is going badly, it is the worst kind of shitwork. It's the kind that tempts you to sneak out to your truck and drive away, a solution all the more impossible when the work is for a friend of the household.
After I came home, I unwound by watching the DVD All I Wanna Do with Gretchen. It's a movie about the antics of various individuals comprising a makeshift secret society of girls at an girls-only private school back in the early 1960s. As usual for movies about teenage girls, they hatch a number of ingenious plots to discredit opposition as it arrises: a lecherous teacher here, a busload of boys visiting from a boys-only private school there. Their biggest mission, however, is to thwart a secret board of directors plan to merge their school with the all-boys school.
Watching the movie, I was struck by the careful attention to socio-political details. For example, after one of the charismatic heroines gets assigned a dorky loser from the boy's school as her date, we keep seeing him making extremely nerdy observations - exactly the kind such a guy would make. Each time, of course, the heroine does her best to abandon him in mid-sentence.
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