Congratulations on buying your new computer! You're now ready to embark upon the journey of pain and hatred that is Information Technology (or Infomatics, as it is known in the world of pretentious academia). Over the next year or two, your creamy beige box of noise and dust will help you in many extraordinary ways, some of which you hadn't previously considered. Here are a few:
- Wasting Life. Remember how, when you had nothing better to do, you would pick up a book or watch something on TV? Now you can kill your braincells in new, more extended ways. Computer games, should you get hooked, will reduce your cerebral connections to a pile of mush and gunge; if you are connected to the Internet, you will find yourself checking your e-mail and favourite websites more often than you speak to your loved ones. Soon you won't ever leave your home at all; don't worry, this is normal and desirable. The reduction of society into a collection of overweight people sitting unblinkingly at their monitors is known as the Information Revolution.
- Theft. Are you secretly craving the new Madonna album, but can't bring yourself to actually pay for it? Want to watch X-Men 2 in the privacy of your own home for no money at all? Now you can, through the magic of your computer, with absolutely no bricks or professional shoplifting techniques required. For a super-technological double whammy, you can download Kazaa Lite and steal from the people who make the software to steal from the people who make the music! It's like a great big circle of lawlessness, and it's going to power the new economy. Somehow.
- Armchair Philosophising. With a computer, you will know everything like an expert. Google is the new answer to those tired, old honours degrees; you can ask it any question and it will find the information you need, to the accuracy you require. As the Internet is full of people who are eager to share their hard-earned knowledge, you will soon be dribbling intelligence from your high-tech ears. Politics, holistic healthcare and unbiased news are just some of the reliable things you will find at your fingertips; perfect for stunning your friends with your well-founded opinions! And making bombs.
Setting Up Your Computer
Computers have progressed tenfold from the days when they had seventeen different types of port on the back. Luckily for us, the spaghetti-like mess of cables and plugs is no longer necessary.
However, if you would like your computer to function, you will still need to navigate this rubber minefield. The old-fashioned RS-232, 9-pin keyboard and 18-pin printer ports are a thing of the past; modern computers come equipped with the more expensive and lightly powered USB, USB2, PS/2 and Ethernet holes. You will not know the difference and inevitably will end up purchasing the wrong kind of peripherals; returning them will yield accusations of abject stupidity and rampant head-shaking from retail personnel. Not to worry! You can strangle them with a length of outmoded Laplink wire. It's hard to feel superior when you're suffering from thousands of tiny hemorrhages all over your body.
Plug the power plug into the power plug socket, the monitor plug into the monitor plug socket, the keyboard plug into the keyboard socket, the mouse plug into the mouse plug socket and any other plugs and cables you might have into the places they're supposed to go. Sorted.
Choosing an Operating System
An Operating System is the thing that makes your computer crash. Nonetheless, you will require one in order to run your computer properly, and there are a number to choose from. They all have their disadvantages and disadvantages; here are some of the main ones.
- Microsoft Windows. The Microsoft Corporation have a delightful campus outside Seattle, Washington; they let their employees play basketball and drink all the free soft drinks they can handle. They drive sports cars, "work out" and have saccharine inter-office relationships. Read Douglas Coupland's book Microserfs to better understand these wonderful people and their zeitgeisty Generation X antics. The software is everything you'd expect; like your average twentysomething, it looks pretty but doesn't have a whole lot under the hood.
- Linux. Pronounced leen-ooks by bespectacled freaks with ginger beards, this is what geeks like. And we all know geeks aren't fully paid-up, human members of society. Unless you enjoy using formal logic in your day-to-day office tasks, avoid this like you avoided them at school.
- Mac OS. Formerly known as System, they changed the name so as to sound less like some kind of quasifascist dictatorship. Whether you prefer Windows or this entirely depends on your coffee preferences; if you enjoy a simple filter coffee, the Microsoft way is for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a double decaf mocha with an extra shot of fairtrade espresso, the Mac is probably your soulmate. It'll fit into your Ikea office suite just so, you bourgeois piece of shit.
Once your computer is up and running, you're going to want to make it work for you. To do this you need Software - the electrical, binary equivalent of a cunning little slave. Software will type up your letters, fax them off and even delete the outraged replies. Some software, largely produced by the aforementioned Microsoft Corporation, will even drive you to psychotic distraction; Word is known to induce acute paperclipophobia in all but a very few distinct cases.
The best way to get software is to steal it. This, in a mad effort by computing enthusiasts to sound like cockney street merchants, is known as "Warez". You can find any software you could possibly want on Warez sites, although you may be subjected to a large volume of pornographic imagery as penance. Software theft should never be attempted by minors for this reason.
Now you've set up your computer improperly and populated it with a wide variety of illegal software packages, you're ready to begin your average computer experience. We hope it will be full of the rage, angst and hopelessness that has characterised ours since the very beginning; anything less wouldn't be fair.