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The PC is 20 years old on August 12, but despite more power and gizmos, it still has the ability to annoy to the point of physical violence.
The IBM-compatible PC – the device that started as a geek toy, then conquered every desktop to create the knowledge revolution – turns 20 on August 12.
The first, mouse-less, mono PC hit clock speeds of 5 megahertz, while the latest multimedia PCs run at 1700 megahertz, but the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Chris Keall, editor of NZ PC World’s special commemorative issue, says while PC power has continued to double every 18 months, “numbskull software like Clippy keeps clawing it back” (a reference to the power-sapping animated help assistant in Microsoft’s Office 2000).
And while today’s PCs, with their internet connections and stereo sound, can do so much more than in 1981, glitches and crashes mean they can still annoy.
That irritation can lead to GBH of the PC, as a poll run on PC World’s website, pcworld.co.nz, shows.
The magazine invited responses to the question “ what's the lowest point you've reached in your relationship with your PC?, giving five alternatives. Readers’ responses so far:
What low point? We're friends 15%
Mild swearing 27%
Swearing and shouting 15%
Slap around the monitor 8%
Thumped or kicked PC 35%
“I pushed the monitor out of the window of my office (3rd floor). Needless to say, it smashed,” commented reader William Roddenberry.
Reader Mark Dennehy also admitted to violence, offering the brusque comment after his vote: “Biffed mouse against the wall for getting clogged with dust.”
The result indicated that New Zealand PC users were slightly more aggressive than their British counterparts. A similar poll run by UK magazine by PC Advisor found that, of 4200 respondents, 25% had physically attacked their computer.
About New Zealand PC World: NZ PC World is New Zealand’s best-read publication about computers or the internet, with an AC.Nielsen-rated readership of 132,000.