09 January 2009

Tables and Mice

Here in outer Scheria, my Purple Heart as an early Amazon foot soldier misleads less techie folk into treating me as a one-eyed king of the keyboard. I do not disabuse them.

A common question: "Master, is the plural 'mice' or 'mouses'?"

I look grave, nod and stroke my beard.

'Good question, grasshopper. When you are ready for the answer, I will let you know. Meanwhile, use 'mouse plural' to get around it ... but I suspect it is 'mouses' to distinguish them from the scurrying furry kind so conveniently used by the ladies to leap shrieking onto stools or throw their helpless selves into our arms.'

Well, gosh - I wuz wrong.

Here in the newspaper I no longer read, the write-up on Windows 7 spells it out: mice.

Other points on which I shall no doubt pontificate:

  • If "Microsoft is aiming for Windows 7 to be able to interpret inputs from human fingers" then it ain't for people like me who seem incapable of maintaining a clean screen even by using a wireless keyboard with the laptop 18" away. I'm sorry, 45.72 centimeters.

    I can't stand a smudgy screen but I make it worse by using THE most unsuitable tissues to wipe the screen with even less suitable household sprays.

  • 'Table-sized computer'?? I'm typing this on a table of modest proportions which would still accommodate six laptops each with their own cordless keyboard. The idea of a single computer taking up that sort of real estate makes me think of those clips of 'puters of old - nerdy looking chaps in white coats and pencil holders solemnly reading output from hermetically sealed behemoths.

    Steve Ballmer: Every time I see mention of 'Wild Man' Ballmer I have to smile. I worked very briefly for Microsoft's PR company 'of record' (whatever that means) and I think there were only two managers licensed to be in the same room as SB.

    It was as if he was some highly unpredictable and dangerous animal - well, no 'as if'; word had it he was - and encounters with the press would set us all in a tizzy trying to anticipate what could go wrong that would attract more ink than the technology we were promoting.

    It always amused me that I was allowed minor briefing roles in the presence of Bill Gates but that it was generally felt that my British accent might not go down so well with Stevie B. I could have put their minds at rest.

    One day on campus I went to have a pee and in walked Ballmer. Blimey, I almost halted mid-stream and bolted, so brainwashed was I by that time.

    "Yo! What've you got for us today?" he asked amiably.

    "Me, I've got ten minutes max on the Visual FoxPro 5 beta."

    "Listen, man - read my lips. You don't need 10 minutes. Ten seconds is all ... listen to me: Fuckin'. Awesome. Got that?"

    I gave a polite snort of humour and made to leave.

    "Hey, man - I like the accent."

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