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Monday, October 20, 2008

[O/T] Microsoft Ate My Muse

I wanted my keyboard the other day.

Not just any keyboard. My keyboard. My keyboard, an eight pound brick of 80s technology and indestructible by any means short of a nuclear bomb or Bill Gates' relentless need for profit. 101 full sized keys that make an audible "click" when you press them. The very antithesis of the $9 made-in-China crap that passes for keyboards now and which can be be snapped in half, Bo Jackson style, by your average five year old.

A real keyboard.

***

I spent a lot of time reading this weekend. I knocked off two books - Dan Jenkins' latest novel, The Franchise Babe, and David Giffels' All The Way Home. It was Jenkins that made me want my keyboard. I'm not convinced he's the greatest writer - if anything, he's probably overrated. The Franchise Babe isn't serious lit. It is, however, funny as hell, especially if you can deal with the fact that Jenkins seems to hate pretty much everybody except Texans. He's crusty - Andy Rooney but with a sense of humor - crude and quite probably racist. Who else could write "If you looked at a list of LPGA scores in a newspaper, you'd think our ladies were being invaded by Chinese takeout" and get away with it?

I'm not a writer, but I was feeling inspired. What I needed was a keyboard.

***

I can't remember when exactly I came into possession of the keyboard. It was salvaged from somewhere, a leftover from when someone upgraded their systems. It could have been retrieved from my dad's office. It may have been acquired from the same University surplus store that long ago provided me with a 110 baud acoustic modem that you stuck the handset into. I may have snagged it from one of my other jobs. Who knows?

The keyboard served me well through several upgrades of my own. I went from a clone to a castoff to a custom-built Pentium to a Compaq. Each time the keyboard came along for the ride. I had to buy adapters over the years as the plug didn't match up with the latest technology, but I always found a way to make it work.

Until one of the more recent versions of Windows came out. Adapter yes, but software recognition no. Damn you Microsoft. Damn you to hell.

Since I didn't have my keyboard when I needed it this weekend, I didn't write. Kind of like I haven't written for years. Since whenever Windows XF or whatever came out and left me to plug away on kiddie keys.

I read instead.

***

To me the sign of a good book is that I'm inspired when I finish reading. I was inspired to write when I finished Jenkins, and I was inspired to do something HGTV-worthy after finishing Giffels. His book is an account of fixing up a dilapidated Tudor Revival mansion in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Actually, dilapidated might be too charitable, but I can't think of a better word that says "seriously fucked up". He and his wife have been fixing the place up for ten years, doing as much as possible themselves and on no budget. I read about the book courtesy of a stray link to a review in the NY Times and spotted it at the library last week. Gripping stuff. I stayed up way too late finishing the whole thing.

After the initial post-reading inspiration has worn off, I think I'm glad that my hometown has no notable architecture. I'll stick to painting and ill-advised yard projects, thank you.

***

So that was my weekend.

I think I better not read any books about winning the World Series of Poker or climbing Mount Everest. I have yard work to do and an old keyboard to find. I wonder if they make 8 pin to USB keyboard adapters?

2 comments:

Biggestron said...

softwaregrabber.stores.yahoo.net/31607.html

Item Code: 31607

$320.82

Biggestron said...

or -

[ASUSB] USB TO SUN 8PIN KEYBOARD/MOUSE INTERFACE CONVERTER
$89.44

www.txctechnologies.com/asusb-usb-to-sun-8pin-keyboardmouse-interface-converter-p-359265.html