Digital Hell, three

Thanks for being patient. The first two parts of this story are here and here. I could have posted this much any time, but I have actually been working on finishing the story. I am hopeful that yet this week, you will be able to read the ending (part four). For now, here is the end of the mid-story stall, bringing the past up to the present.

Details, Details (continued)

3.

So things got started. I didn’t think much about it at the time—except that I didn’t get my Quadra. That peeved me. But since I really didn’t know what I was missing, except by reputation, I didn’t particularly miss it for long. We were working too hard.

I got used to the new interface, I guess. Having no choice. After about nine months it was normal to go to the top right rather than the left (do Republicans automatically love Windows?) to close the window. I got used to the rectangular look of things and that awful jagged cursor arrow.

But it all seemed so clunky. I knew that this version of Windows (NT) was way better than what we had used before, and it felt better. (And I had clearly used a mouse before, bud.) This Windows cursor joggled around crazily and felt eons behind my hand movements on the mouse. (Little did I know that Windows was going to continue to feel that way for nearly twenty years.)

And I was simply being pouty. I wanted my Macintosh. Because I certainly couldn’t afford to own one myself. Working as a wage slave in corporate marketing, punching numbers, was not going to put a $5000 computer on my desk at home—not that there was a desk in my obscure and tiny apartment in the “less desirable” part of town.

So I got Windozed, numbed into the norm for a couple of years. And I stayed that way through many changes, including a job change—more bookkeeping and more document (read: corporate report) creation (I was pretty good at that). When one of the bosses migrated elsewhere, I got an offer, for my “skills,” as he called them, to get some more pay to switch to his department in a new company. Money is money, so I went, and there I kept punching (using computers, we are seldom “crunching”) numbers and developing pretty charts to reveal what the numbers meant (or what my boss told me to make them appear to mean). New company, same old cubicles in warehouse-sized, fluorescent-lit buildings dozens of floors into the sky.

There I learned to make “presentations.” This was all new to me. I’d heard about such software for a while without ever using any, but thanks to my abilities to create documents for business meetings, my boss wanted “slideshows” (we still called them that) to be more impressive. Of course, he didn’t want to create them himself (his time was too precious), so I got to meet PowerPoint—first 3.1 and then fairly quickly 4.0. It didn’t matter that I had never created visuals (except spreadsheet charts), or that making art was going to require a whole new set of “skills” than my reports had needed. Did he somehow know about my graphics arts experience with my brief girlfriend? All I know is that I got graphic, and in only a couple of months being the “graphics guy” in the department got me my first Mac, which now had moved into my tiny private office, where I was supposed to work uninterrupted.

I’d had to fight for the Mac, of course. The new company’s tech gurus thought Macs were just as much trouble as my old colleagues. But they had also begun to stereotype Mac users as those artsyfartsy types, and I was being assigned to work something at least partially graphic, so after about six weeks, I got my way, although I don’t think my boss has forgiven me yet for the hit on his departmental budget.

Even so, he had promoted me to this better workstation, as of three days ago.

And now this.

Just what did my computer have to tell me about my future?

Once it’s up, you can read Chapter 4.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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