Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Waiting for the Teapot

What are teapots, you say? And why would one want to watch for them?

Well, that is an understandable question, seeing how young you are :) But honest, computers did not always multi-task, or work in background mode, or process as quickly as new games machines do today. And the screensaver would come on many times while you waited, unable to do anything else.

So many happy hours have I spent, in the 'Good Ol' Days,' while waiting for DOS engines to complete whatever task I had asked some piece of software to do...

See: I'm old. Way old in computer terms, since I began with Timex Sinclair that had a whopping 2k of memory and attached to my black and white TV... Worked my way up through Tandy 2000 to DOS 2.

Then I switched to Macs when we went overseas. Then back to DOS (5 by this time) when we returned. Made a semi-disastrous move to DOS 6, then Windows 3, 3.1, 3.11. (I skipped Windows 95 entirely, although some clients did use it, badly.) Other computers in the family ran 98, NT, 2000, me (by which you can see that games were never the reason or function for the computers, LOL.)

Once I did some OCR scanning of county documents (100s of pages) that took roughly a minute and a half per page to scan and 5 more minutes to run character recognition and save as text in Windows 3.11 -- which left me to spend hours every day for a week watching Microsoft's 3D pipes screensaver....

I saw lots of teapots then. It was cool!

I loved my pipes. They were beautiful, they were fascinating and relaxing, and helped deal with the very natural inclination to hurl the computer out the window.

These were PCs, remember, not MACs. MACs did not get mistreated, because they rarely abused their users. That may change, now that Apple has started incorporating PC stuff. :(

Believe me, Pipes was the ONLY thing I regretted about moving back to MACs several years ago!

And now? Now, thanks to my brother the computer guru, I have a PC specifically designed to run Second Life (because my current MAC is still running OS 9 and OS X.2.8 since I refuse to upgrade to an Mac/PC mule)...

This generic box runs fast, has AMD instead of Intel chips inside, does NOT have the neon lights and chrome typical of 'games' machines, and uses Windows XP (because, he says, Vista is too new to have the bugs worked out enough to run games well).

AND IT HAS PIPES!!! Oh, the joy, the joy!

Of course, it rarely ever takes long enough doing something for the pipes to come on, unless I'm watching a video on YouTube, or reading some long blog post... Sigh.

And now I have heard that it might not even HAVE the teapots any longer!

What insanity is this? Some stupid notion that, for security reasons, all the little undocumented code (referred to as Easter eggs) had to be removed. Snort. Like software manufacturers are going to take out all their back doors!

Not very likely, even if we could tell -- but they probably have removed our little harmless, entertaining teapots!


But no; wait. There are rumors that the teapots may still be there in Windows XP. Nobody who reports this on the Web has actually seen one themselves, of course.

But hope doth spring eternal....