July 6, 2011

The Dinosaur

In the last few months (okay, years), I have been the subject to more than my fair share of mockery by my Robotics/programming/otherwise techie friends. This all started one day in AMA (pre-calc or trig, by other schools’ standards) when the teacher inadvertently showed his desktop and browser window to the class while attempting to project a PowerPoint.

Now, normally when I write I use “him or her” to represent a singular person of unspecified gender (an subsequently unspecified identity) so as to try to avoid using “they” as a personal pronoun (because it’s not). Yeah, I’m a grammar freak. But for the purposes of this story, “him or her” is really pointless. All of the programmers in this story are guys. All of the Robotics people in this story are guys. All of the otherwise techie friends in this story are guys. Ladies, we need to get it together.

So, the teacher shows us his internet browser. The following few seconds went something like this:

Techie Friend #1: Nice toolbars, there.
Techie Friend #2: Wow, look at that. The toolbars fill up half the browser window. Way to win.
Teacher: Shut up.
                [Okay, he didn’t really say that because he likes his job. But he thought it really loudly.]
Techie Friend #2: [to Techie Friend #1] Dude, he’s still on ie7.
Techie Friend #1: Does he not know that there are new Internet Explorer versions out there? Or Firefox? Or other numerous superior browsers out there?
Techie Friend #2: [laughs]
Me: … But I use ie7….it’s way better than the other browsers….guys……
Techie Friends #1 and #2: [combination of laughter and mockery]

And so began a year and a half of relentless ridicule.

I’m sorry, I like Internet Explorer. Firefox is too streamlined and Chrome looks like some shoddy programming a seven-year-old came up with. I am a creature of habit, and ie7 is what makes sense to me. Also, it’s really fun to watch these guys twitch when I tell them that I am on ie7 and they can’t make me update. (Although despite what I normally tell my techie friends, I actually would update to ie9 if I could. More on that in a second.)

The piece of shoddy plastic that I lovingly refer to as “The Dinosaur” and attempt to pass off as a computer isn’t really that old. We’ve only had it about four and a half years, and for the first two and a half years of that the computer was barely being used and it was in pretty good shape.

Then the computer became mine, and it’s been downhill since then.

I love my computer, I really do. It has spunk and spirit, and it tries really, really hard to be a real, working computer. (Picture Pinocchio crying out, “I’m a real boy!”)

But it really can’t. Let’s put it this way: my computer takes, on average, twelve minutes to boot up. That’s two minutes to get to the log-in window, two minutes for it to boot up, three minutes for me to realize that the computer has frozen mid-startup, one minute for me to hard-crash it, and four minutes for me to restart it. Then it takes another five minutes to open up an internet browser. My battery lasts about twenty minutes. Every couple weeks my computer tells me that my hard disk is out of memory, and as a result I can’t download any updates or new programs. The chassis is falling apart, and the computer basically cries whenever I ask it to do more than one simple task at a time.

This boots up faster that the Dinsaur.

But it tries really hard. I give it pep talks and encouragement whenever I can, but I sometimes lapse and my rage peeks through. I can’t help it.

I guess the guys thought I was exaggerating when I described the Dinosaur. Today I dropped off my computer with Classmate #2 because he has been itching to try to fix it for months now and I finally got around to letting him (mostly because I want to upload close to a thousand pictures from Girls State, leadership camp, graduation, my birthday, etc.). The scene was very similar to one you would see when a new babysitter shows up to take care of a group of youngsters for the first time. He (the babysitter) looked at the computer (the youngster) like it was something he was completely capable of managing over the next few days. I (the parent) looked at him like he was crazy. I begged him not to laugh me in the face when he saw the shoddy state my hard disk is in, and I then proceeded to go through the laundry list of things he needed to know about operating my computer – the ticks, the problems, the tricks to get it to pseudo-work – and I could see that with every new item on the list his eyes got wider and his morale sank. This was the point when the babysitter realized he is in way over his head. Not that he is a bad programmer or that he isn’t capable – I wouldn’t have given him the Dinosaur if he weren’t capable of fixing it somehow – it’s just that this is a behemoth task, and I recognize that.

I think my computer will be giving him nightmares for years to come.


  1. I'm ashamed of you for using Internet Explorer. Also, Google Chrome is beautiful, sleek, fast, and comes with a variety of very artistic themes.

  2. I love me some google chrome

  3. Internet explorer is the best ♥