Peter Bromhead: An army of computers in cyberland

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Cartoon / Peter Bromhead
Cartoon / Peter Bromhead

The caregiver is concerned at the number of computers encircling my desk, suggesting a stockade of wild-west covered wagons, waiting for the Indians to arrive.

My "studio", which is poncy-jabber for a home office, is, I freely admit, packed with electronics, all pinging away and giving the casual observer the impression that I'm cyber-efficient.

But the caregiver believes I'm running technology with the cautionary mindset of somebody still submerged in the environment of the late 18th century.

This is because I prefer to have different machines for separate functions, even though technical experts assure me my latest laptop has the capacity to deal with the workload of a busy medium-sized office and is easily capable of swallowing my meagre contributions to cyberland without so much as a blink.

However, instead of trusting everything to one memory chip, I have several computers allocated to different tasks, such as processing cartoons.

When I explain that my silly drawings would be uncomfortable sharing data space with my literary files (I'm writing a lofty work for a British publisher on a Polish philosopher whose ethereal speciality was astro-metaphysics), the caregiver becomes speechless, seemingly bewildered at my illogical reasoning for requiring an additional computer.

Meanwhile, a third laptop is reserved purely for writing newspaper essays, because I wouldn't want any of the philosopher's existentialist prolixity to slip unintentionally into a newspaper column, allowing fellow hacks the opportunity to dump me unceremoniously into Private Eye's pseud's corner.

My fixation with plural computer ownership recently drove the caregiver to introduce me to a "cyber expert" to sort out my operating methods.

He laughingly assured me I had enough grunt in my latest machine to hold the Bible, never mind my collection of paltry meanderings.

I could only defend my operating methods by explaining that when my grandmother salted down her runner beans in stone jars, she made sure she preserved the produce in several small ceramic pots, rather than compressing all the vegetables in one over-sized jar. It was a simple precaution against losing the whole crop if botulism, or something equally dire occurred.

Oddly, while I related this cautionary tale, the cyber expert suddenly appeared restless, remembered he had another appointment and hurriedly left.

However, reflecting on the glazed look in his eyes, I think he got the message.

- NZ Herald

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