Friday, October 11, 2013

DotTeeVee: Komputer Kindergarten

You've got a desk covered with office supplies, an alarm clock for some reason and a giant typewriter. You fear change and instinctively hate anyone even slightly different from you. So far, no problem. But then the so-called "computer" had to come along and you're faced with a choice of either making that big leap forward or becoming irrelevant. What better solution to this problem than a patronizing how-to video over-flowing with similes and constant reminders not to panic.

Yes, it's time to meet the "Komputer Tutor" Kim Kommando. Well at least we now know what she's wearing under all that bright red.

This showcase, featuring things we found in a storage locker, can be yours if the price is right!

Miss Kommando welcomes us to "Komputer Kindergarten" and then immediately laments the bad old days of relying on things like clocks, tape and "don't forget the white out!" All of these products have, of course, been rendered obsolete by computers and no longer exist, so I apologize if that last sentence made no sense. 

We meet the computer and the case that covers it. Kim tells us that this outer shell shouldn't be an issue. But I wanted to see the little mechanical hamsters that turn the wheels that power this miracle device! Anyway, "what is it anyway?" The general gist is it resembles a TeeVee, isn't a TeeVee, but has a lot in common with the TeeVee. This is getting way too complicated. Can we go back to talking about erasers and tape and other non-electronics as our go-to analogy? 

It's like your brain is a soda, but not a soda, but gets treated like a soda.

We're told we'll be needing a "printer." Sadly we don't get highlights of paper-jams and flashing lights and "the printer couldn't find itself!" and all the other disasters typical of that device. I guess if we delved into that it would be a ten hour video ending with K.K. laying into the printer with a fire ax and renouncing all technology forever, so it's probably just as well.

We talk about discs and how it's similar to a VCR. Kids, ask your parents.

They can store several paragraphs worth of text!

Then we are actually shown a VCR, to really hammer the point home. She stops just short of "you know, that box you tape NFL games on without express written consent, thus committing a felony?" But what if I hit the wrong button? "Does it blow up?" Maybe? What happens to a VCR deferred? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load? Or does it explode?

Back to the disks. Which one goes in what slot? How do you slide it in? We're told it's easy, but I've got plenty of embarrassing stories I could tell that challenge that assertion.

I reckon sticking farr crackas in mah sex box was a bad eye-dee-ah.

We talk about something called "Windows" which I'm sure is yet another dated reference with no current relevance. "Everything's in pictures!" That's certainly preferable to those terrifying "words." Time to set the clock on the computer. Why? If we don't the computer will think Jimmy Carter is still in office and we'll be forced to relive that waking nightmare. To keep history's greatest monster in the past where he belongs, follow these instructions...

She makes a mistake, but nothing blows up. See? Totally safe. We're then told what "press any key" means, which would have been really useful for 300 lb. Homer Simpson. Later, we'll set up one of those dippy drinking birds.

"Help me Kim Kommando!"

More analogues! Waiter, adding machine, house-cleaning, filing cabinet it's all that and more! Time to use a mouse. With her hand twitching in a manner that suggests the methadone isn't working she tries with limited success to get that perfect finger spread. We learn to point, click, drag and rage quit. Really. She declares a hand of Solitaire unwinnable and ends the game early. Miss Kommando must do a lot of on-line gaming, that's all I'm gonna say about this.

You know I'm gonna lose/And Solitaire's for fools/But that's the way I like it baby

Now to free us from the cruel shackles of the typewriter forever. Guess what, it can be replaced with a program on your computer! You probably already guessed the name. Yes, it's called "Write." The amazing thing is I just installed "Write13" and it might be the best iteration of this long-running and well-loved application so far.

It's just like a typewriter, but better! No bells going off, no smudges, you can lose hours of work if the power goes off or a file corrupts, etc. The "hourglass" is explained. It's the computer's way of telling you "Hey, I'm workin'!" I never really imagined my computer having the voice and personality of a teamster, but I certainly will from now on.

"Hey, the file can't be found, ok? Fuggitaboutit." 

We wrap it up with unearned praise and "look at all you learned!" which assumes a lot. The typical viewer of this is probably by this point naked, battered and bloodied, covered in wires and packing peanuts, pointing the remains of the mouse at the broken monitor and clicking wildly. Yup, great job! "Nothing even blew up!" Set your parameters for success low enough and you'll always win.

Komment Korner 

She's actually real and has an active youtube channel o.o /user/kimkomandoshow

U can tyoe with ur computer... I didnrt know that, despite the buttons have letters on them o_O roftol

This lady is right, I typed this comment and..........NOTHING EVEN BLEW UP!!

Does her last name mean what I think it does?

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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