Vintage Mac Living

The Secret Life of Computers

- 2006.07.27

We all use our computer day in and day out for some task or another. But what happens when we shut them off or put them to sleep at the end of a long workday? Well, gentle reader, put you mind at ease because you're about to hear a story that those of us at Vintage Mac Living like to call

The Secret Life of Computers

Once upon a time, in a house far far away, there was a computer lab filled with Macintosh computers.

The two oldest machines were General McCoy (a Macintosh 512K) and his wife Lisa (an Apple Lisa, just in case you didn't guess that), and their 13 children: Pulses (a Mac Plus),Little Seezers (an SE), Big Seezers (an SE/30), Classy (a Mac Classic II), Elsie (a Mac LC), Porty (a PowerBook 170), Vicki (a Power Mac 8600), Fred (a 9600), Gee (a Beige G3), Blue (a Blue & White G3), Bondi (a Bondi iMac), Indy (an Indigo iMac), and Jay (a Sawtooth G4).

One night, after their owner had turned them all off and gone to bed, they all turned themselves back on and decided to play a game.

"What game should we play?" asked Indy.

The computers looked at each other, knowing that Jay would step in and suggest a game that he could play better than the rest of them.

"We should play Quake 3," said Jay.

General McCoy"No way!" said General McCoy, "We should play something that everyone is good at! I'm too old to play anything like that, and so is your mother."

Of course, everyone already knew that!

Bondi didn't really want to play that game either; her old Rage Pro Turbo graphics couldn't hold a candle to her brother Indy's Rage 128, let alone Jay's AGP Radeon 7000.

"Okay" said General McCoy, "Pulses, Little Seezers, your Mother, and I will play a networked game of Chess."

"All right. Why don't Big Seezers, Classy, Elsie, Porty, and Vicki play Spectre?" asked Jay

"That sounds good," said Vicki

"And the rest of us can play 4x4 Evolution," said Bondi.

So it was decided, and everyone was going to play a game that they were good at.

They all opened their programs, and disaster struck! General McCoy crashed!

He got the infamous "Sorry, a system error has occurred" message.

So he restarted himself, and it came up again on top of the "Welcome to Macintosh" screen.

So he restated himself again, and this time he managed to start up.

"Boy, do I have a headache," said General McCoy. "I think I need to backup and make a new startup disk".

"Do you want to do it now?" asked Lisa

"No, I don't need to do it now. I'll do it tomorrow.

"Come on guys, lets have some fun!" said General McCoy.

So they all opened the games once more, and everyone started playing.

General McCoy and Lisa started playing their game of chess, as did Pulses and Little Seezers.

General McCoy was really good at chess, and easily beat Lisa,a nd they both had a good time.

After they quit the game, they both went online so do a search for other games that they could play.

They both liked Missile Command and Pac Man. They downloaded both games but decided to save them for another night.

Pulses and Little Seezers got bored with chess and decided to play Pac Mac.

Pulses wasn't doing too well while Little Seezers was doing great. But then Pulses went online and got the cheat codes to the game. He got though the entire game in just three minutes.

So Little Seezers logged into Pulses via AppleTalk and moved his System File onto the desktop. Needless to say, Pulses crashed and couldn't reboot.

General McCoy was angry at Little Seezers for what he had done to Pulses, so he told Little Seezers to shut himself down.

So he Shut Down, but before he did, he apologized for what he had done to Pulses.

General McCoy was upset about what Little Seezers did to Pulses, but he knew there was nothing he could do. His owner would have to fix him.

General McCoy was tired, as was Lisa, so they decided to shut off for the night and let the kids finish the games that they were playing.

Meanwhile, Big Seezers, Classy, Elsie, Porty, and Vicki were all playing Spectre, an old first person shooter.

Vicki was the fastest machine playing that game, so she was doing the best. She was shooting everyone in her path and grabbing the flags faster than anyone else could. But after a while she got bored with the game and decided to shut down for the night.

Big Seezers won, because he had played the game a lot more than the others had.

While all of this was going on, Fred, Gee, Blue, Indy, and Jay were all playing 4x4 Evolution.

It was a short race, only 5 laps.

Jay thought he was going to beat everyone else, so he drove a Ford Excursion with an automatic transmission.

Blue decided to do something different. He decided to drive a custom car that his owner wrote for the game, a 1990 Acura Legend with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Indy ran a Chevy Blazer with an automatic transmission, Bondi ran a Lexus RS300 with an automatic transmission, and Fred ran Nissan Xterra with an automatic transmission.

The race started and, as expected, Jay took off in the lead. But that only lasted for a few seconds, as Blue started gaining on him and passed him in just a few seconds.

That 5-speed Acura Legend has a big advantage, and Blue knew that. He had read all about Acura Legends, because his owner is always reading about them in online forums and email lists.

Soon Jay and everyone else were left in Blue's virtual dust.

Jay tried to take a few shortcuts to get ahead of Blue, but he ran into a bunch of trees, slowing him down more.

Fred, Bondi, and Indy knew that this was a war zone, so they left the game and shut down, leaving Blue and Jay to go head to head for the last two laps.

Jay managed to gain on Blue in the last half of the last lap, but then they hit a hard corner. Jay flipped his Excursion, which reset him to the last checkpoint.

He started to gain on Blue again, and Blue saw that.

It was the final stretch of the race, only about two city blocks to go. Jay was right on Blue's tail when Blue hit the NOS button and raced far ahead of him, winning the race by about 100 feet.

Jay was really mad and wanted a rematch, but Blue declined.

Blue was tired and said, "It's almost time for our owner to get up. We should both get some rest."

Jay agreed, and they both quit 4x4 Evolution.

But they were too late. By the time they had gone to sleep, it was already sunrise, and their owner was getting up to check his email.

Their owner went over to Jay, only to find the Games window open.

"I wonder what kind of mischief you have been up to," said the owner. "I swear sometime I think you're all alive." LEM

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