Calling Planet Mac

by Eric Del Pozo | 11/25/98 6:00am

Recently I broke down and bought myself a new computer. Or should I say, my computer broke down, and I bought myself a new computer. If people who were prone to breaking down constantly bought themselves new computers each time they did, they would barely have enough money left to afford new purple neon jumpsuits. Or, for that matter, their organic chemistry textbooks.

Needing this new computer, which I obviously did, if for no reason other than the simple fact that my old computer was, in fancy computer lingo, "not blue," I took a walk over to Kiewit early one morning. Apparently, I was too early -- Kiewit was closed. It was Sunday. No blue computers sold in Kiewits on Sundays, no sir. What kind of a computer megastore was this place, anyway? It didn't even have a cafe. The restrooms were nice, though, and that ought to count for something, I thought. So I decided to withhold judgment until I visited again on Monday or maybe Tuesday. Whichever came first.

I went back on Tuesday. I let go with a rash, albeit fair, assessment: Kiewit, although it housed the only computer store in Hanover, was also, remarkably, the only place in Hanover that one could purchase a computer. What were the odds? Next thing you know, there'll be only one phone service and only one electric company and only one registrar, which may explain the lines, and only one number to call and order a pizza delivered by a guy named "Mark" until two in the morning. Unless Ramunto's hires someone named "Mark." (Note: the registrar should also hire someone named "Mark.")

I walked up to the counter at the computer store nonchalantly and with a sense of purpose in my eyes. I needed to have that checked before it got serious. Anyway, for every step I took toward the counter, I felt as if the counter took a step away from me. Would I never reach my new computer? Would technology forever elude me? Was I just not hip enough? Not cool enough? Not smart enough? Then I realized the problem -- I was on a treadmill. Damn treadmills. Always providing laughs for bored computer store attendants.

After getting in a good workout, I asked the nice man behind the counter what he had in terms of snazzy computers. He immediately showed me the brand-spanking new snazzy line of Apple G3s. "These any good?" I asked. "Oh yes," he said. "Much better than their predecessor, the Apple Macintosh K9. That was just a bunch of dogs running around haphazardly inside of a large box. And to think, we recommended it to the Class of '99."

I was impressed, but not overly. I let him know this. "I am impressed," I said, "and overly so. However, do you have anything in stock that not only has the power of a G3 processor, but that could, in an emergency, should the strange need ever arise, double as a toy space helmet?"

He promptly sold me a new Apple computer affectionately known as an iMac, which is an abbreviation for its complete name, "Fred I. Mac." What I noticed right off of the bat was that my new computer was blue. However, upon closer inspection, I also discovered that it cost a lot of money. Hidden features galore, that iMac. Not to mention the fact that its sleek, futuristic design and blazing-fast processor only served to confirm a notion that I had held for several years: I am the undisputed Buck Rogers of e-mail.

The iMac has been advertised as a computer with "attitude." I haven't seen this side of it, except for the day I got it, when it jumped out of its box, plugged two of its cords into the wall, started up and began laughing at my Performa 636 sitting across the room. As if it was saying, "Try that, Performa!" To which my Performa sharply responded, "There is not enough available memory for me to try that."

The iMac has been such a hit with students and small children alike (did we mention it is blue?) that Kiewit and the Student Assembly recently set aside 16 of the useful machines for the useless purpose of being blitz computers in such fittingly useless locations as Collis, Thayer, the gym, West Lebanon and regular Lebanon, in the Middle East. Current Assembly President Josh Green, who won last spring in a landslide, apparently made it his second act as president to fulfill former President Roosevelt's Great Depression ideal of an "iMac in every dining hall." Green's first act as president was, naturally, voting to have himself rescued from the landslide. "It is extremely difficult to properly represent the student government while caught in this landslide," were his exact words.

I was initially disturbed that all iMacs come factory-ready without a floppy drive. An entire week later, this does not bother me as much. The iMac will soon be replaced by an even newer breed of Macintosh, which will not only come without a floppy drive, but also, early reports from Apple suggest, without a monitor, a keyboard or any type of internal storage capability. "These are the wave of the future," says Apple. "Who needs things like 'files?' Just look! They're fire-engine red!"

Of course I will buy one of these new ones, just to be on the safe side. If the aliens in question ever descend upon earth to reclaim their toy space helmets, I want no part of it. They can even have my floppy disks if they like, too.