95.5.21- School Computer Rant

Is it just me and my server and the fact that I read everything two weeks after it was posted, and that I'm overworked and cranky, or have there been an inordinate amount of lame, inside-jokey, nerdy-geeky, "heh-heh-lookameMa-I-made-a-funny-one-word-response" dominating alt.slack this month?

Could be just me... I spent 2 days "working" instead of "lurking" and when I turned on alt.slack tonight, there were 793 posts sitting there, about half of them labeled "ZOOGZ...something," and... what happened to the WEIRD SCIENCE? The COSMIC PROOFS THAT POLITICS AREN'T THE ANSWER? The ANGUISHED CONFESSIONS? The long essays on newly-invented explanations for all physics? The lively banter between hale fellows well met? Sounds like a fuckin' sf con lately.


And moreover, if Zoogs gets TWO newsgroups, shouldn't I be getting like .25 percent of a newsgroup at LEAST, just as a ROYALTY?

But that wasn't why I started this. I have an important computer-related question, and an announcement.

Firstly, my family was given a beat-up old IBM computer. I don't know JACK-STANG about IBMs, and I wanna know whether it's good for anything or if I should put it in a garage sale for 25 cents.

On the front it says IBM "XE".
On the bottom, on the metal serial number plate, it says it's Model 5160.
That's the only clue I have as to the guts of this gigantic box. There's a monitor with it that's some off-brand b&w thing that displays yellow text on a black screen. My son was able to make it work, and even print stuff out on the room-sized printer that came with it. Unfortunately a helpful individual tried to show us how to set the system up RIGHT the day after we got it, and he crashed it, wrecked whatever system it DID have in it, and then left town.

My question to you experts is, assuming that this example of that model hasn't been modified, is it any good for Internet use? Will it run Windows? If I put a decent monitor on it, would it look purty, like a modern-day computer, or would it continue to be a useless DOS-looking, retarded piece of shit operable only by someone with a degree in computer science?

And should I sell it for $1, $50, or $200 or $500?

DON'T IMPRESS ME WITH JARGON, please. It has no slot for a 3" floppy, only for those great big floppies that were actually floppy. The plate on the bottom says 1982.

Should I bury it? Or will it serve a purpose in today's world?

Please answer in email, as this poor newsgroup's back is about to break with cheesy one-liner fanboy frivolity unwitnessed since ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW conventions.

Pardon me if I sound cranky, I am.

I have, however, discovered that I can quickly "scan" an umpromisingly-titled and unpromisingly-contributed thread by simply looking at the last two posts.Those usually contain the gist of what the whole thread's about. I still haven't GIVEN UP on trying to read and selectively capture alt.slack myself, but I sure have been using shortcuts. I know that somewhere in the billions of inane one-word responses to two-word posts, there must still be a few sustained thoughts, even if they're no more complex than, "Isn't Slack tricky?" At least that would be THREE words.


I'll tell you why I'm cranky. School let out and my wife, a schoolteacher, was allowed to bring home the classroom computer "to learn it better." I was pretty excited about hooking her up to the Net so she could check out rec.gardening.organic and soc.edu.(her brand of educationese jargon here), and so on. It's a Mac LC 575, about 8 fucking times smarter than this wonderful machine I'm using. It runs CDs and can have 10 programs running at once. Needless to say I was looking forward to seeing how various programs look when they're running the way they're SUPPOSED to, but mainly I just wanted to see that this fine piece of equipment wasn't being WASTED.

Well, according to the laws of the bureaucracy, IT MUST BE WASTED.

The school's "computer specialist" installed this doofy protection program on all the machines so that nothing in the system can be changed... nothing can be erased. That makes sense; these computers are being used by FIRST GRADERS. But it also means nothing can be ADDED to the hard drive except when generated by the programs already there. We asked that "specialist" how we might add a few things, like INTERNET ACCESS PROGRAMS and Photoshop and Pagemaker and a few minor things like that, and were told that WE CAN'T DO THAT because ANY PROGRAM ADDED TO A DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT COMPUTER must be REGISTERED AND PAID FOR with the company that invented it. Well, that's pretty Conspiracy kiss-ass, but... okay, rules are rules. The SCHOOLTEACHER in the family wouldn't be using Pagemaker and Photoshop anyway. (Her teenage SON might, seeing as how he wants a career in graphic arts, but that would be CHEATING.) I can ALMOST understand even THAT.

But to hook this schoolteacher up to the Internet -- the single most important aspect of advanced all-around human education going right now, no offense -- would only require FREEWARE and SHAREWARE. Stuff that was invented to be UNLICENSEABLE and UNREGISTERABLE from the git-go. Or at least affordable. BUT WE CAN'T DO THAT!!! Because it HAS to be registered and paid for. If the main programs that form the backbone of WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT cannot BE registered or paid for, then that means you CAN'T USE 'EM in DALLAS SCHOOLS. Godamighty, the Conspiracy's Catch-22s must number in the billions now.

(You wanna know something REALLY INSIDIOUS?? Before I learned there was a protection program to defeat, the first thing I attempted to install in my wife's school-Mac was the America Online Disc (sorry, but... long story). Well, the fucking AOL installation program was able to BYPASS the protection program and put itself there, entirely workable, illegal or no. But nothing else has been able to do that so far. Funny how the Conspiracy is able to bypass Conspiracy restraints.

Think about it. A schoolteacher in a plain ordinary American public school is NOT ALLOWED TO USE ANY PROGRAM in a SCHOOL-OWNED MACHINE without its being registered through the school. WELL I guess that eliminates pretty much anything AFFORDABLE, CUTTING-EDGE, or COMMONLY-USED except by CORPORATIONS and RICH FUCKs. And why? Because the highly paid computer experts in the district administration know about as much about computers as the rest of the school district administration-degree holders do about HUMAN CHILDREN.

This and Phil Gramm are why the Japanese are gonna invent the time machine and matter transporter before we do, and our grandchildren will be the slaves of Japanese overlords. Well, all power to the Japs. It'll serve us fucking right. Let's IMPROVE THE ECONOMY and FIX TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES by making any learning not ALREADY learned a SIN, and anything not in the Bible ILLEGAL, and anything IN the Bible illegal... and, well, if it isn't normal according to that old man in that suit at that desk, let's KILL IT. Let's not even ASK him if he thinks it's normal enough. 'CAUSE IT'S EASIER ON OUR STUPID BRAINS THAT WAY #%@^$*&#^#^%@%@%@54

And my wife was DEFENDING these assholes' right to WASTE a $2,000 machine just because they'd PAID for it (with MY FUCKING TAX MONEY)! It's as if the Navy not only bought a hammer for $250, but told the sailor he could only hammer in ONE NAIL with it, or he'd be court-martialed. And the sailor said, "HEY, why would anybody want to use this hammer for more than one nail, ANYWAY?"

Here's another reason America is doomed to become nothing but the main world WHOREHOUSE, the BANGKOK of the universe: today I bought the GERMAN BOOTLEG CD of the old Jimi Hendrix album, RAINBOW BRIDGE. Nothing to complain about... excellent sound quality and 3 bonus tracks. The problem is, Rainbow Bridge was one of Hendrix's only 5 "studio" albums, >ONLY< one of the single most influential albums ever recorded (it's not unlikely that I'd be DEAD but for the rendition of HEAR MY TRAIN COMIN' on that particular album), AND THERE'S NO STANDARD CONSPIRACY-APPROVED CD RELEASE OF IT. You can't buy the RAINBOW BRIDGE album in ANY modern form LEGALLY in AMERICA. Because of a bunch of LAWYERS. Because MCA, or REPRISE or Warner Brothers or whichever the fuck bunch of pink boys in tight pants and neckties and nice neat haircuts and $500-a-day bullshit martini-drinking jobs, would rather split the disputed material up amongst a dozen bullshit "collections" and REMIX THEM FOR THE 90s AT THAT!!! (May Alan Douglas fry in Normal Hell for eternity.) So a Hendrix nut like me, good American that I am, is forced to scour the Hey-Joe mailing list and ascertain that my BEST DEAL is gonna come from a GERMAN BOOTLEG.

We LOST World War II and sometimes I think maybe that was for the BEST. Phil Dick's THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE will come true without any "alternate realities" even being REQUIRED. WE DESERVE IT if the best the average American can do is HELP THE CONSPIRACY JACK ITSELF OFF. I'd feel a lot better about it if they'd at least COMPLAIN when their ARMS GET TIRED, but hell no, they just grip that Frankenstein dick tighter and REDOUBLE THEIR EFFORTS.

Well, fuck the Conspiracy anyway. I took it easy this weekend and JACKED WITH FRIVOLOUS SHIT MYSELF. You ought to see my Mac desktop now. It was already as SubGenius-customized as it could be... every aspect of it. The desktop background is a Mavrides-designed row of BULGING BLOODSHOT EYEBALLS. The Apples are all Dobsheads, or smoking Pipes. The start-up is a Numens Remissionis KILLER Dobbsgraphic. Key file folders appear as Dobbsheads. But then I downloaded a bunch of "Grateful Dead Mac Icons" from the Dead website, and now EVERY file folder is on fire, or psychedelicized, or a skeleton, or a Zig Zag papers pack, or whatnot. It's even cheerier than before. (Mac users only can cop those icons from http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mleone/dead.html)

SPEAKING OF WHICH --- if you've read this far, you're probably either worthy or bored enough to know that the slow-growing OFFICIAL SUBGENIUS WEBSITE at SUNSite has opened up a bunch more stuff. The last time you checked it out, it was probably just two pages that really did nothing more than point you to High Weirdness by Web, SirWill1's links to all the other Subsites, BDB's, M.I.T.s and a few other things. Well, this whole time there's been work in progress by Rev. David McConville, me, and David's lovely assistant, "Phil."

Some of the new assemblies by David and "Phil" are now accessible. It starts with the "Online Stark Fist" -- actually a misnomer, as the actual "Online Stark Fist" is up to me to finish, as you and me are only up to page 1,034 so far. But there's some keen shit there.

You got your "BOB'S" SLACKTIME FUNHOUSE, from which one may download some games for the Mac that are INTERESTING INDEED. (It'll carry the DOS-type games and etc. too, they just haven't been made comprehensible to me yet, and McConville hasn't had time to monkey with 'em himself).

You got your ONLINE SHORT DURATION MARRIAGE CEREMONY, which... well, it's "interactive." You'll just have to check it out. Have a spouse-to-be ready.

AND you got your "ONLINE PAMPHLET #2".

The Online Pamphlet #2 is to the standard old Online Pamphlet what Habafropzipulops is to damnable wog hemp. Wait, that's not a good comparison. It's what an orgasm is to one exhalation or ordinary breath. It's what a REVELATION X is to a PEANUTS strip.

Onscreen, it's nothing but the old Pamphlet #2. But it looks EXACTLY like the printed Pamphlet #2. The otherworldliness is in the LINKS. Every 5th word is a link. Sometimes those links are so "literal" as to be hilarious, and you don't need to CONNECT to them; just knowing what site they WOULD link to is "funny" enough. Others aren't quite so literal... at first. Anyway, it's a Web Pamphlet you can fool with for hours.

Take advantage of it while you can. As yet, none of the booby-traps meant for the SubSite are in place, but when they are, they'll mess with your mind AND YOUR GEAR. Believe it or not, once you get into the SubSite you won't be able to stray far FROM it. But I don't wanna spoil the surprises...

Suffice it to say, it won't be as passive as it is forever. It'll be one of the first, if not THE first, AGGRESSIVE Websites.



Now that summer's begun at UNC, we'll probably be seeing more progress on the fucker. McConville & co. had to stop and work with Mark Hosler on the Negativland site, which they're doing simultaneously. And I have had to stop and work on paying gigs. But by Gobbs, it'll be done. It WILL be done. And somebody's BRAIN will be WELL done. Hope it ain't mine this time. Let McConville get microwaved in the head. There's not much left in my head to cook.

That's my report. I'm gonna be skimming most surfacely on this newsgroup, if even that, for a couple of weeks, because it's time to cut 3 videos and 6 Hours of Slack. Different mind-set. Don't expect email responses for awhile.

And when the FIST PRINT VERSION kicks in... well, I don't even want to think about it, and I certainly WON'T, THEN.

Yore Old Pal,

Rev. Stang

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