The Gutenberg OS

While I’m catching up on a weekend’s worth of e-mail and other stuff, here’s something to amuse you folks who both read and use computers (which, almost by definition, includes nearly everyone who visits here). Enjoy.

Thanks to my pal Deven for passing this on.

32 Comments on “The Gutenberg OS”

    That is truly funny.
    I even shared it with my Austrian roommate and now we are deep in discussion about the history and orgin of European languages.
    A fine topic for a Monday evening.

  2. HA! Even funnier when you’ve actually had discussion about user experiences and how they interface with data and referenced how everybody knows how to use a book, but how many people know some silly website design interface. Ha!

  3. What I really want to know about, is that minority of people who visit the Whatever, yet are neither owners or users of personal computers?

    That film reminds me painfully, of trying to explain computers to some of my relatives.

  4. I work in a call center, helping people who have problems with their cordless phones among other things. I find this scarily realistic.

  5. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, father of pangolins

    I saw this on BoingBoing but didn’t check it out. That kills me. It’s like explaining computers to my in-laws, or the CD player to my mom.

    Thanks. I needed a good laugh.

  6. According to the person calling? Very big sometimes!

    I think that you’re seriously underestimating human stupidity and how far it can go, John. I used to do that too, before this job.

    Fair enough, if it’s an elder person whom it’s all new to, I can understand, but some customer never cease to surprise me.

    Besides – most people have more than one phone today.

  7. In the real world of IT call centers, the technician would simply tell him to close the book and open it back up again, and see if that fixed the problem. If it did not, the tech guy would be at as much of a loss as the user.

    Wait, am I letting on about my AOL background again? Damn, I just can’t seem to keep that under wraps.

  8. Let’s at least hand it to the guy in the clip that he actually listens to the guy helping him and follows the instructions he’s given.

    In that regard, I’d count him as a good customer.

  9. “No putting on the shelf for the padre, the text may fall out. The book will only sit on the desktop.”

    It’s running in kiosk-mode.

  10. Oooh man. I’m glad I don’t have that job anymore. A year and a half was enough.
    “Log off.”
    “Did you log off?”
    “I restarted the computer…is that ok?”
    All day, just banging my head against a wall.

  11. HAHAHA this reminds me of trying to explain computer usage to my mother… and I was like 16, my father was a computer programmer, my younger brother was going to go into CS and I was an art major with a pretty high tech background thanks to my dad. Trying to explain how to just turn on the computer was like trying to tell her which wire to cut to defuse the bomb.

  12. I searched for Norwegian book at youtube and found one called Norwegian Help Desk which has subtitles in English.

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