The Computer That I REALLY Want!

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I sit at my desk most days keeping at least two computers humming desperately to keep up with my demands. I have two screens and two keyboard/mouse inputs. I could use an automatic switch to use the same keyboard and mouse to control both computers, but that’s too easy. While I’m waiting for something to finish on one machine, I’ve started something else going on the other. It’s not that I’m such a whiz, it’s just that computers are so infernally stupid and slow. I constantly have to explain what I want in the most minute detail. And I have to do it with my decrepit old fingers.

I tried vioce recognition. Let me tell you. We’re just a hair’s breadth away from making that work. I’ve already dictated most of two magazine articles using the VR that’s built right into Windows 7. It works just fine, once you get it trained.

But why do I even have to talk? Here’s a sunrise to look at while you’re thinking about that bit of craziness:

Good morning sunshineI want a computer that’s built in. I don’t want to have to plug anything into my neck or my belly-button. When I’m stumbling down the street in Amsterdam, I want to be able to think, “Beelzeebubba, show me the way to my hotel.” You see, my computer’s name is a nonsense word that I’d be extremely unlikely to use normally. That’s how the computer knows that I’m asking it and not some stranger on the street or I have used its name in casual conversation. (except in the extremely unlikely case in which a telepath named Beelzeebubba happens to be standing close to me)  That’s why the old Star Trek  thing of saying, “Computer!” every time you want something from it won’t work. Every time you speak (or think) the word ‘computer’ the stupid thing answers back, “Huh?, Waddaya want?” You would certainly not want to name your computer Uhh or Hmm.

I should be able to ask questions like, “If I jumped out of this plane, how long would it be before I hit the ground?” The computer, knowing that I”m on United 12 from Kewanee to Kankakee (no such flight, by the way), knows exactly where I am and at what altitude. It also knows the elevation above sea level under the plane. It should come back with something like, “It will take three minutes and twelve seconds plus or minus five seconds with a 90% confidence level.”

I would be comforted by the knowing. Here’s another sunrise while you digest that:

Getting brighter - GO SUN!

My computer should be powered by my own metabolism. If Beelzeebubba seems a little sluggish, I just eat more and the peppiness will return. If I’m putting a little air in my spare tire (my tire is presently very spare), I just think, “Beelzeebubba, calculate the value of π to 10 googoplex places and send it to my CNN IReport account.” and I’ll lose a couple of kilos. The exertion of that task will consume some of my excess body fat and I’ll return to my svelte normality.

Here, calm your frayed nerves with this mind number (as in numbing your mind). Your hands will feel like two balloons:

The Torch

I want to be able to think, “Beelzeebubba, get me to Rangoon by Friday Noon and charge it to Bill Gates.” I would like to muse, “Beelzeebubba, could God be manipulating the universe through quantum entanglement?” (one of my pet theories) I would like to ponder, “Beelzeebubba, what do women want?”

Beelzeebubba would obey my commands and answer all of these questions and more. Here, stare at this a while. Stop when you feel dizzy:Good morning sunshineBeelzeebubba would communicate with me by direct connections to my optic, auditory and other essential nerve fibres. I’d ‘hear’ it speaking to me and ‘see’ what it wants to show me. The visual stuff would appear as a ‘heads up’ display in my field of vision. The spoken voice would sound like Olivia Newton-John. In the background there would always be the faint hum of roller skates.

Beelzeebubba would also monitor my state of health, if I want it to. Constant nagging about not smoking and “that’s enough beer” could be filtered out. “You are about to have a heart attack!”, I might not want to filter. Or maybe I would. It would, of course, perceive everything that I see, hear, touch, smell and taste. It would advise me if I were drinking the wrong wine with pressed duck. More sunrise action? Okay, have this one:Coconut Point SunriseThat’s Coconut Point.

I’d be able to command Beelzeebubba to, “Write me an article for Niugini Blue  called Heart of the Hunter.  Use what I’m currently thinking about as the theme. ( I now let my mind wander around in the subject matter.) Use the images that I’m imagining. Fill in any gaps in my knowledge from the web. Have it ready in a half-hour.”

In the evening, when I’m ready for some sack time, I could think, “Beelzeebubba, knock me out until 05:00. Schedule six variations of what I’m going to think about for the next sixty seconds as my dream sequence. Keep it clean and no violence or ethnic jokes. Oh, and I don’t want to hear anything about Britney Spears!”

That’s the computer that I want.

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5 Responses to “The Computer That I REALLY Want!”

  1. Steve Goodheart Says:


    That was great stuff, MadDog! You set my mind off on flights of fancy and all kinds of science fiction novels flashed by. I want my own version of Beelzeebubba….rather than a Biblical (Canaanite?) devil name, I might go for something like Shakyamooney or Boodohboodoh or Buddhabuddy. 🙂

    What a great series of sunsets..the last one was the “cup de grass”…..btw, I’m totally psyched because tonight I climbed one of the highest hills near Berkeley and saw one of those sunsets of a lifetime over the Bay, San Fran, and the Golden Gate…got dozens of shots and can’t wait to see them….and then, ahem, get them into the Berkeley nature blog waiting impatiently in the wings.

  2. MadDog Says:

    Earth to Steven . . .

  3. Steve Goodheart Says:

    “Ground control to Major Tom…..”

  4. Matthew Says:

    the sight of these illegal buai sellers disgust me. these horrible highlanders from the way their features show are a bunch of horrible menace from illegal settlers in and around madang that are in line to be evicted shortly. no wonder they are the ones responsible for the rapid spread of the deadly cholera disease. hope the provincial government evicts the settlements, the sooner the better and rid madang of such filth

  5. MadDog Says:

    Okay, Matthew. I was with you on the first sentence. I do think that what they are doing is not in the public interest. In fact, it does disgust me. I think that I made that clear.

    However, I have to say that I usually wouldn’t allow the remainder of your comment to stand on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi. I think that, if you’ve been reading this journal for very long, you would have understood that I do not believe that racism and ehthic rivalries are ideas that we should allow to control our thinking. I recognise that it’s impossible to ignore situations in which it seems that outsiders are the source of your problems. It’s human nature to do so. That doesn’t make it right or even useful.

    Evicting the settlers is never going to work. The government has neither the right nor the power to do so. Cerainly, you can burn their houses and destroy their gardens, but they will soon be back in even greater numbers. So, if they are here to stay (just as the Chinese are here to stay), then I suggest that we stop trying hopeless ways to get rid of them and start finding ways to make them even more productive members of our community.

    It’s going to be a long road. I sympathise with your feelings and recognise that they are shared by many. For myself, I choose to search for other solutions.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.