The Lite Side

On Changing Light Bulbs

- 2002.03.27

Q. How many Microsoft employees does it take to change a light bulb?

A. 79: seventy-seven to buy or break all the spare light bulbs in town; one to get a patent on the ubiquitous light bulb socket (one way or another); and one to charge enough for screwing in the light bulb that it pays all the others' salaries.

Q. How many Apple employees does it take to change a light bulb?

A. 5: One to redesign the light bulb; another to redesign the socket. Another spends all his time installing the new sockets in strategic markets for free. One opens a new Apple Light Bulb and Socket Store, and one to tell us about it on an enormous stage while wearing jeans and a black turtleneck.

Q. How many Dell employees does it take to change a light bulb?

A. 2: One to knock a hole in a nearby wall, and the other one tells us the light from the hole is just as good as the light bulb would have been.

Q. How many Linux users does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Just one, but it takes about a month because that person has to blow the glass, try out different filaments, pump the air out of the bulb, and assemble the bulb - only to find it doesn't fit the socket without an expensive adapter.

Q. How many Compaq employees does it take to change a light bulb?

A. We'll have to get back to you on that because the light-bulb manager we used to work with got laid off after the merger.

Q. How many Gateway employees does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Just one, but odds are it'll be the wrong wattage. And you'll have to wait for it to be delivered to your house; they don't stock any at the store.

Q. How many Low End Mac users does it take to change a light bulb?

A. 2: one provides the old Mac SE/30 case, and the other tears up a lamp to mount inside it. Working together, they make a MacLampium.

Q. How many High End Mac users does it take to change a light bulb?

A. High end Mac users use fluorescent lighting in the table and counter surfaces and rarely have to change a bulb. Occasionally they have to rip out a countertop to put in a new ballast.

Q. How many Mac humor columnists does it take to change a light bulb?

A. All of them. Most of them are pretty dim bulbs, too.

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