Embedded chips (humor)

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From the Electronic Telegraph (London): http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000154642417163&rtmo=gYnZkZVu&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/98/10/15/ecrimo15.html

In My Opinion: My fridge has all the answers

Memories of microchip marvels should be more than enough to inspire the flagging computer industry, says Charles Shaar Murray

ONCE upon a time, when we were all young and starry-eyed and computers were big, mysterious things owned by governments and corporations rather than civilians, the microchip was a gateway into an ocean of possibilities. In the early Eighties, a friend of mine went into a frenzy when he got his first answering machine. When you called him, you'd be greeted by his droning impression of a robot announcing, to the muted accompaniment of some student plonker diddling around on a one-finger monophonic analogue synthesiser, "Your telephonic communication has been intercepted by a microchip". Oh, we were so modern then.

Fast forward to 1991 and an excited younger me taking delivery of a sliver-grey chunk of pure, raging digital power in the form of a second-hand Apple Macintosh Ilex with a whopping 8Mb of RAM. "You now have on your desk," another friend portentously informed me, "more computing power than anybody outside the Pentagon had 15 years ago." I was so thrilled I nearly ordered an air strike on Johannesburg.

Nowadays, you can barely give a Mac Ilex away. By current standards, its Motorola 68030 chip, limping along at a footsore 16Mhz, is so slow that it practically goes backwards, and 8Mb of RAM won't even run the latest version of the Mac operating system, let alone any current applications. My fridge probably contains a more powerful chip than that old Mac, which means said fridge has more computing power than Nasa used to put the first geezers on the Moon. As for the Pentagon, forget it. Its record over the past four decades speaks for itself. They weren't even as smart as the average modern electric kettle, which at least knows that when something boils over it's time to stop applying the heat. And if anyone had consulted my fridge as to whether the Vietnam War was a good idea, it would have beeped contemptuously until someone closed that particular door.

And the microwave! Now you're talking. The microwave is really smart, especially the oven part. It knows how long to preheat something before beeping to tell you to slam the food in. It even knew, way back last year, that the Asian tiger economies weren't bulletproof, that holding them up as a model for the rest of us to copy was like volunteering to assist the suicide of someone who doesn't want to die.

And washing machines? Don't get me started. Some models now come equipped with "fuzzy logic". This means the machine can actually make decisions concerning your socks and underwear on, er . . . the fly. Freaky or what?

There is, we are told, a world glut of microchips. Workers at the about-to-close Fujitsu plant have been laid off, presumably as punishment for their own lack of foresight in choosing to work in an industry so vulnerable to predatory dumping by all those nasty South Koreans (including, I guess, the company that made my fridge).

There is, of course, a solution. Keep the factories open, keep making microchips, and install them in absolutely everything. Why can't all food and drink packaging come supplied with microchip-controlled thermostats to keep your sandwich warm and your beer cold? Why can't all windows have microchips that close them automatically if it rains while you're out?

-- Amused Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 26, 1999


Git, who doesn't seem Old

My Kids embedded some chips in my carpet. I wonder if they are compliant?

-- Deborah, who tries sometimes to be funny (Bombs@most.ofthetime), February 26, 1999.

Ah, Deborah, the secret of getting old is staying young in spirit!

Now for those chips in your carpet. Let's hope they're NOT Y2K compliant so that they disappear at midnight on the fateful day. I've noticed that if you leave organic things long enough, they usually disappear. (Exception: if they're in the fridge, they grow green or grey fur coats.) Napoleon was of a similar bent--he refused to open his mail until a month after he had received it, saying that by then most problems had resolved themselves.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 26, 1999.

But when Napolean was getting mail - it was a month old when he got it!

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.R@csaatl.com), February 26, 1999.

Bunch of cows got in my yard and embedded a bunch of chips all over the place. Checked with Ag. They're compliant!

-- Mark Hillyard (foster@inreach.com), February 26, 1999.

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