May 20, 2004
Welcome to My World, Part VII: Big Mac Attack

Ok, look, I know there are mac users out in the world that aren't complete incompetents. I happen to be good friends with two. Out of the two mac users in the office, one seems very solid. But I swear to God, as someone who's worked with PCs of all sorts all his professional life, the ratio of morons to competents is noticeably higher in the mac world than in that of the PC. Case in point:

The Scenario: A "corporate" sexual harassment seminar (Evil Scott: "what? Are they gonna teach us how?" Good Scott: "Shaddup you").

The instructor has one of those nifty new Mac laptops (silver, looks like it could stop a bullet). I'd been told about this, and said, "no problem! Our LCD projector will work with it." Which, a few years ago, was true. Back then Macs used the universal DIN-9 VGA connector that everyone else in the civilized world uses. Every projector or monitor in the world can connect to that. So the next day she shows up, I get out the projector, and pull everything out in the conference room.

Me: "Great, we'll hook you right up."

Instructor: [proudly shows off shiny, sleek, connector-less Mac laptop]

Me: "umm... does it have ports?" Far as I could tell it didn't even have a damned power cord.

Instructor: [PAUSE] (I swear I could hear the claxons this time... *graunk* *graunk* *graunk* "All hamsters to battle stations! Prepare for maximum wheel RPM!" *graunk* *graunK* *graunk*)

Me: "Ports? ... Connectors?"

Instructor: [audible CRUNCH as the wheels engage the gears] "Oh! Sure!" and down flips an even sleeker cover to open the "port bay". I'll give them this, Apple laptops are to PC laptops what Queen Noor is to Margaret Thatcher.

Of course, what I'd forgotten was that Mr. Jobs, in his infinite "do-you-want-to-sell-sugar-water-or-change-the-world" design wisdom, decided to equip all the new macs with very avant-guard (and I'm sure quite superior) digital connectors. Which of course nobody else uses on their display hardware.

The mac people in the audience will be nodding their heads and thinking, "yeah, so what? That's what the adapter is for." Well dealing with a genuine Mac on my network for the past year has taught me a few things. I knew all about that adapter.

But I also knew all about typical social-work-major computer skills.

Me: "Ah! You have one of the new ones. We'll need your adapter." Watch this... 3... 2... 1...

Instructor: [spoken with the same "had-a-rock-shoved-in-their-mouth" way that, say, a Trobriand Islander would trying to pronounce "Inglebert Humperdink"] "Ah-dap-ter?"

Me: [inside my head, Evil Scott looks over at Good Scott and says, "told ya. Pay up asshole."] "Yeah, there was an adapter that came with your computer."

Instructor: [*blink* *blink*]

Me: [inside my head, Evil Scott looks over at Good Scott and says, "HA! I love double or nothing. Pay me."] "Small thing, white, connectors on both ends, thin wire between them?"

Instructor: "Oh yeah! I remember that!"

Me: [waiting expectantly]

Instructor: "Yeah, no, I don't have that with me."

Me: [inside my head, Good Scott looks over at Evil Scott and says, "what? Did you think I was going to fall for it twice?"]

Now, let's savor this one for a bit. A laptop is meant to be carried all over the place. That's the point. Without this adapter, 75%, hell probably 90% of the world's displays are not going to work. Why would you need to carry around something that important? Damn thing'll probably just get lost.

Me: [inside my head, a wrestling match ensues as Good Scott struggles to keep Evil Scott from pushing the "SPEAK: 'such a shame when cousins marry'" button] "Be right back."

So off on a quest I go. First stop, the actual Mac in the office. This has an adapter. Unfortunately it also has an employee sitting in front of it. Next stop, the guy who has our "loaner" laptop. "Him? He's gone for a presentation." So now we're down to the parts bin.

After some rummaging I managed to dredge up an old Toshiba laptop. I'm greeted with a "Windows 95" screen, the first one I've seen in perhaps six years (probably the last time this was turned on). But by God it has power point on it. Surprising how little laptops have changed, this one has the big green eraser in the center of the keyboard for a mouse, just like the ones today.

Instructor: "What, exactly, should I use for a mouse on this thing?"

[inside my head, Evil Scott says to Good Scott, "This is just too easy..."]

Posted by scott at May 20, 2004 03:06 PM

eMail this entry!

I agree - there certainly are many smart mac users out there (I'm engaged to one, in fact - though I am trying to convert her...). However,
I wouldn't lay this one at the feet of mac users. I would lay this at the feet of non-computer types. I've done this sort of thing as a job and have run into many of the same problems with my coworkers. Hell, some of them can't even operate our Ordering interface, etc. We actually had to have a class in HOW TO USE MS EXCEL!!!!!!!!

BTW, did you learn any new techniques for harassment?

Posted by: ron on May 20, 2004 03:24 PM

I can see someone who's not used to giving presentations having no clue they'd need an adapter. How would they know they'd need it? And there's no reason to carry some random part with you, adding weight to your laptop case.

Posted by: Sherri on May 21, 2004 02:24 PM
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