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Mixed (up) Media
by Mark on 2/24/2004 (3)

Digital to analog aversion.
I started my first temp job at Memory Maniacs with great anticipation.

Brushing crumbs from my breakfast chimichanga from my slacks, and knotting my jackalope spotted red tie, ala G.W.B, into a hangman's noose around my neck, I grabbed my briefcase and headed in for my first day of work in 6 months. I managed to land an 8 week temporary stint at a computer memory firm called "Memory Maniacs".

With 10 years in the PC business, this job should have been a cinch...right?

I introduced myself to my new boss, Joe Sooch.

"How do you do...my name is Mark..."

"Yeah, yeah...from now on your name is 'Temp', so save your breath...here's your desk. No smoking, no web porn, and NO hittin' on my wife Mary, and we'll see things eye to eye, got it?"

I glanced nervously at Mary. Mary glanced back

"Y-yeah...I got it."

"We at Memory Maniacs pride ourselves on our product line and our product knowledge. I want to give you a little test."

Joe led me over to a table covered with dozens of various memory stick media.

"Which one is is a 128MB XD picture card?"

I picked up a small purple stick

"No. That's a 64 MB smart media card. Tell me what this one is..."

"T-that's a digital camera media card...for storing pictures...r-right?"

Sooch eyed me peevishly

"Yeahhh...but what kind? I'll tell ya'...It's a 512 MB compact flash. I'll give you another shot. What's this?"

Nearing panic, I croaked

"Duhhhh...a memory chip?"

Sooch tossed the chip down sneeringly, barking

"Noooo...it's a 512 MB 144 pin SDRAM SO dimm for a Planarium laptop...I thought you said you knew your stuff?!"

My eyebrows started doing pushups

"Look, Mr. Sooch, I've been outta the Bizz for 6 months, and these new products pop up like cops and hooters on Fat Tuesday, so quit acting like a know-it-all jerk and gimme a few weeks to get caught up, o.k.?!"

Needless to say, 5 minutes later I was on my way back home. I mustered a razzy "Nice tits!" to a queerly grinning Mary on the way out, and mailed in my job card for the 6 minutes I worked for Memory Maniacs to the Temp agency.

Damn shortest job I ever had.

Is it my fault if technology changes overnight and I can't keep up with every new piece of hardware that hits the marketplace?

I stopped at a gas station to fill up. I swiped my debit card three times, each time to a shrill beep. I buzzed the attendant.

"Hey! I can't get my card to work!"

"I'm sorry sir. we just installed a new card reader that only takes the new microchip embedded card. You'll have to pay in cash or I can't sell you any gas."

Sluicing 5 rusty quarters from the floor mats, I pumped enough gas to get home. Kicking back, woefully pondering the future, I cracked a beer, and tossed in a new CD I burned at a friends house. The drive burped a few times, and puked out a "media class not registered" error.

Whatever happened to good ol' standardization? Back in the old days, maufacturers made great attempts to standardize new inventions to prevent the industry from producing a hodge-podge of incompatible, proprietory variations. Standardization was practiced by the Union army in the Civil War, so the idea is hardly new.

Thouroughly defeated at failing to comprehend the ceaselessly changing technical world around me, I grabbed a roll of Charmin and a magazine, and headed for an American Standard of my own. At least there's one place in the wor


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