Windows 95

So, Windows 95 is out. Yep, August the 24th, the big day, came and went, without a whimper of hype or advertising. Not!

But you won’t see me complaining about the hype. Nope. Not me. I like the hype surrounding Windows 95. I like the Rolling Stones jingle, I like the advert, I like the way they showed the nerdy insomniacs who decided to go buy it at midnight.

But most of all, I like the way I won a free copy from a radio station by answering a really easy question (which by some miracle noone else knew, or shouted fast enough or loud enough) out on St Kilda Road yesterday.

What a job that must be. Driving around in the Black Thunder or the Triple Thunder or the FM ThunderCrew Wagon Thundermobile (why do all the radio stations name their vehicles after thunder?), and giving away stuff. You’d end up thinking you were the most popular person on the planet. Everyone would always be pleased to see you.

"Hey Jim, here, take these fifty copies of Windows 95 in the Black Triple Thunder Machine, find a crowd of people and give them away!"

"What are they Ben?"

"Aww hell, I dunno, I work in radio. Something to do with windows."

"Okay, we’ll head down to the Glaziers’ Conference in William Street…"

But you know what got me? The media. For once they get a chance to talk about computers without mentioning the dreaded "I.S." cliche, and what do they do? They pretend they’ve never touched a keyboard. Trying to appeal to the common folk. Does anybody believe that journalists, even TV journalists, never use computers???

Some nameless gimboid on "NBC Nightly News Without Tom Brokaw" (Tom didn’t bother to turn up) says it’s got "something to do with computers…", and Ray on A Current Affair says after the story that the reporter was "the only one in the office who understood it." Yeah. Right. "Please folks, we’re common people here on TV. Even if we do earn millions of dollars a year for reading an autocue."

Coming of The Vomitron!

From the womb he came. At first, he ate, slept, wet. But three months later, he had become… the VOMITRON! Projecting his spew through the air – to land on the unsuspecting parent. No t-shirt is safe, no jumper provides protection from… the VOMITRON!

PC’95

I went to the PC show last week. That’s one of the perks of being a "computer professional" – you get to go to a big building, walk around for a couple of hours with your friends having brochures stuffed in your face, then go and claim it on your time-sheet.

The PC show is a trade show. That’s what they tell everyone. I presume it’s to keep Joe "technologically challenged" "what is this Internet Superhighway thing anyway" Public out, and encourage Ron "professionally speaking, I’m responsible for ARGH million dollars of computer spending for my company" Professional to come along and be wooed by the flashing lights.

To this end, they say it’s $15 to get in. $15 for a ticket. Yes, that should keep the plebs away. And naturally, to get the right people in, they give free tickets to anyone who (a) has a tie, (b) has a business card, or (c) has both a tie and a business card.

The registration card included the immortal "check here if you do not wish to receive any literature". We all know what this really means. It actually means "if you don’t put your tick here, you will receive copious amounts of junk mail that has almost no relevance, including but not limited to an offer to join a horse racing syndicate." No, really, that was one of the things I got last year. Maybe they had a mix-up with the mailing list disks at the advertisers’. But the most worrying thing is, I haven’t learnt – I didn’t tick it this year either.

Once inside, the actual show was okay. The power grid was probably straining, having to power that many computers. Most stands would try and thrust something into your hands as you walked past, some even employing people in cartoon character suits, apparently to stun you for a few seconds so you wouldn’t resist them giving you the brochure. "That wasn’t really a giant rat was it… hey, where did these leaflets come from?"

Most of the other company employees were in the standard company expo dress, which for some reason or another seems to consist of (for the men): black formal shoes, dark coloured formal trousers, and a company T-shirt.

Sony has to get an award. They managed to give me the hugest bag possible. With absolutely no material in it. Let’s hope they’re just trying to get brand name exposure, without wanting to tell me about the marvellous product they’ve thought up. But I can’t complain. By the time I left, I had several deciduous forests worth of paper; more than enough reading material to keep me busy for the tram ride home.

Automatic doors

Automatic doors. What an innovation. Above them, the sensor waits for people to come along. It lights up when it detects someone, and the doors open, generally just a tad late, so you end up slowing down in anticipation of them opening. I’ve been playing with the ones at work. Playing "Chicken" with them. As I come power-walking down the corridor, will they open in time? Will I keep walking beyond the "point of no return", the point beyond which if I walk too fast, they won’t open in time and I’ll get a flat nose?

Car advertisements

Is it me, or are car advertisements getting exceedingly wanky? It must be a difficult job, trying to convince people to part with thirty-odd thousand dollars of their hard-earned cash. So what do they come up with?

There’s the Jeep ad. Love the jingle. Dum da da da da… But this image of the suited business man riding a horse seems a bit odd to me. What are they telling us? That driving a jeep is like riding a horse? But you don’t have to watch getting manure on your shoes?

And what the hell are the Eunos people on about? Their ad features people in skin-tight silver lycra, stroking the bonnet of the car! Does this really convince ANYBODY to buy it? I’m surprised we don’t see middle-aged men in brown overcoats hanging around the Eunos showrooms going "Wooooooooaaaahhh!!!" Beer advertisements are now banned from presenting beer as an aid to sexual fulfilment. Perhaps the Eunos people should take note. Perhaps they need a subtitle cautioning that: "Buying a Eunos will in no way cause skin-tight silver lycra clad people to come to your house and stroke you."

(The computer’s dictionary did not contain "wanky". It did, however, know about "wank", "wanks", "wanked", "wanking")