Dave Gustafson, 1997
You sit down in front of your computer and flip the "on" switch, just like always. The machine starts buzzing and grinding and churning out unending meaningless numbers, just like always. But don’t be fooled… because today will be no normal day. Soon you start to hear a strange grinding noise that you’ve never heard before… this catches your attention - what’s going on ? The grinding gives way to a sickening chuncking sound, and a strange image pops into your head of tiny men inside your computer smashing your motherboard with sledgehammers! Well…thiscan’t be good - you start to worry. What’s wrong ?!? Strange letters and numbers dance on the screen in a morbid medley of digital death, and finally six simple words appear at the bottom - "Hard Drive Failure. Insert Boot Disk." [gasp] The epitaph of computing. Your heart sinks as you realize that, contrary to all the advice you received, you never made a boot disk -where’s your "Real Men Don’t Need Boot Disks" attitude now?! No matter how many times you hit the "Escape" key, the monitor still stares at you, unchanged, cold white letters in a vacant sea of black. As a last resort, you pray for divine help. Oh, Patron Saint of software, help me in my time of need !!! [Pause….] But Bill Gates never answers. You let your swimming head fall on the keyboard, knowing that your life as you know it is over. So what was wrong with that picture, besides the fact that it seemed suspiciously like an advertisement for a memory backup tape? The problem was that that particular person’s life actually was over because of a simple computer failure. You know those science fiction movies and books where someone’s personality can be downloaded into a computer? Well, that’s pretty much what this poor guy has just done - and he lost everything. You see, over the last few years it seems that everyone has been struggling to transform themselves from a normal human...
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