D’ya hear yer man

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Ctrl Alt Obliterate

The Programma 101 was the first commercial desktop computer. It was launched at the 1965 New York World’s Fair.

Since then man’s relationship with Information Technology has been a love/hate one.

While I often reminisce about innocent times before computers took over our lives, I also recognise the value they add to society.

For example, without Wikipedia, I’d have been stuck for an intro to this week’s column.

Technology is both a blessing and curse.

Thanks to computers a person is able to multitask without getting off their seat. While sitting at your PC you can surf the Internet, send a Tweet and play a few games of solitaire whilst simultaneously writing a strongly worded email to your local MLA about inconsistencies regarding bin collections. The beauty of a personal computer is as long as you’re hammering away furiously at the keyboard the boss has no idea that you’re not working.

However the same PC that puts the world at your fingertips is regularly responsible for causing you to consider reaching for a claw hammer to perform the ‘Ctrl Alt Obliterate’ shortcut.

Show me a person who has never cursed when faced with a ‘Programme not responding’ message and I’ll show you someone who has obviously never seen a ‘Programme not responding’ message.

As things move forward there’s even a certain nostalgia about the processes that are being replaced as technology begats technology. Gone but not forgotten are the days of floppy discs, dial-up Internet and the talking paper clip who used to guide you through writing a letter or composing a CV.

Sadly, given the rate at which Information Technology is developing, there will come a time when people watch the Matrix films and consider them to be period dramas.

One of the most gauling things about Information Technology is that our total reliance on computers to do our bidding has given godlike positions to IT professionals, who in turn make a mockery of the uneducated masses by making us use their messed-up language.

They must have a right laugh every time some bloke in his sixties is forced to enquire about a dongle.

There is no justification for words like dongle.

Likewise cookies.

Cookies are delicious edible treats. There is no link whatsoever to web data stored to build up profiles of regular visitors to specific websites.

By using terms like dongle and cookies IT people are trying to make IT cool. It isn’t and never will be.

I’m tempted to hack into the computers of the prats who come up with these ridiculous terms and steal their stored web data just so that when I’m caught I can go down in history as the Cookie Monster.

The silent and steady march of Information Technology is littered with atrocities. Its degenerative legacy is best summed up in the following short film that I’m hoping to have commissioned by Channel Four, BBC 3 or even ITV 2. I’m not fussy.

It’s called The Degenerative Legacy of IT and it goes a little something like this...

An illegally downloaded music track plays as the camera zooms in on the screen of a brand new laptop.

The laptop’s user is watching a 10 second YouTube clip of a dog sneezing.

When the clip ends the user opens another tab to reveal a Facebook post by a divorcee from Glamorgan about an ingrown toenail that has received 1.5 million ‘Likes’.

We follow the cursor as it minimises Internet Explorer and clicks on an 300 Gigabyte folder entitled ‘My Pictures’. An error message reading ‘Programme not responding’ appears.

The user returns to the Internet and watches another 10 second clip of a dog sneezing.

The camera pans 180 degrees to reveal the user to be a Basset Hound.

The Basset Hound sneezes.

The camera zooms out to reveal that the entire short film was itself a YouTube clip being watched on someone’s iPhone.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: CURRENT, BY, DEW, LOAN and ATE.all have homonyms - words that are pronounced the same way, but spelt differently - CURRANT, BUY, DUE, LONE, EIGHT.

Here’s this week’s teaser: What is the only anagram of SPRINGIEST?