January 27, 2005

Computer Geezer

It's been estimated that for every human year, a dog or a cat ages, physically, seven years. It's a wondrous little bit of relativistic calculation. I imagine scientists got together one fine day, looked at a one-year-old dog, and decreed "Well, it LOOKS like it's seven," and so it was.

Of course, the calculation flies out the window when a dog or cat lives for 20 human years or so, and suddenly you have to step back and think, "jeez, Rover doesn't LOOK like he's 140 years old."

At any rate, it's not my intent here to tear apart the physical age calculation between man and pet. Far from it. Rather, I'd like to see even more chronological guesswork done on other, inorganic, items. Specifically, I'm referring to computers.

Let the record show that I, Ryan Rhodes, hereby decree that one human year of existence equals, roughly, 40 computer years. After over a decade of owning and operating personal computers, I feel I'm especially competent to make this calculation.

My current home computer is two years old in human years, but I can say, without hesitation, that it now functions as if it's 80 years old.

When I had my PC built back in 2003, it was a dream machine. I could ask it to perform almost any computer task, and it would perform like an athletic 16-year-old. No task was too demanding for my wonderful new machine.

Then, it started getting older. Within a couple of months, the digital read-out that kept track of the computer's internal temperature went on the blink which, in human terms, is kind of like requiring glasses. It wasn't a major malfunction, but it was a benefit that was no longer available.

About one year into its existence, my computer started rejecting certain software applications, informing me that, in order to install a given application, I had to first install all sorts of patches and fixes. In human terms, this is like changing your dietary habits, because your system just can't handle pizza and beer all the time any more. You have to get some fiber and greens in there to keep everything working okay. Again, it wasn't a huge deal, but it was an indication that things were starting to falter.

Now, two years into its existence, my computer is the human equivalent of an octogenarian trawling an oxygen canister behind them. There are viruses it just can't quite get rid of, its DVD drive doesn't work, its main Web browser can't browse the Web and its incapable of installing required updates.

Its latest and, quite frankly, most devastating failing, is that it can't install DirectX 9.0c (required to continue playing Star Wars Galaxies) because, in its own words, "A cabinet file necessary for installation can't be trusted."

So, there you have it. Not only is my computer a physical wreck, it's also paranoid. If my computer were a human being, it would be an 80-year-old, sitting on the porch, waving a threatening cane at people passing by, saying "I know you're from the Andromeda galaxy, come to steal my precious penguin dust!"

All of which simply means it's time to reinstall Windows XP, plug in some additional RAM, maybe buy a new DVD player, and basically start from scratch. At least I don't have to put it in a nursing home, because that would be sorta sad. Sexy chick. Another damned sexy woman. Sexy, sexy, sexy. I guess Alicia Silverstone is kind of sexy, too.

Posted by Ryan at January 27, 2005 01:12 PM

So... what you're telling me is that my work laptop is 240 years old? It's from 1999 and totally & completely sucks hairy nutsac like you wouldn't believe. If I try to run Outlook, Word, and a web browser all at once, it almost always pukes out any other program that might try to start up. Fortunately, I only have to use it when I work from home, and even then I only use it as remote access to my work desktop (which is about 30 years old, according to your calculations).

Posted by: Rick at January 27, 2005 02:29 PM

In that case I'm a computer pedophile. I'm playing on a 12 day old laptop. That's...lemme see...carry the one...

...really young. But she takes it like a champ, I tell you what.

Posted by: Jim at January 28, 2005 04:18 AM

Now Apples definately age more gracfully, I have a G4 Tower from 99 that still tears it up. Of course the G5 2.5Ghz on the way will make the G4 look like an old gray mare.

Posted by: e. at February 7, 2005 10:40 AM
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