Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Return of the Any Key

I had a rush of deja-vu to the head yesterday. This computer doesn't have a floppy drive (for younger readers, a floppy drive is what you put floppy discs into - and if you don't know what they are then the rest of this post is going to make very little sense. So, to keep the yoofs entertained while us oldies get on with things, here's a really fuck ugly painting of teen pop idol Michael Jackson (I think) that I just found at fineartamerica.com - $300 Dollars and it's yours to burn in the privacy of your own bonfire.

Where was I? [Gods! that is ugly.] Anyway, this computer doesn't have a floppy drive and on Saturday, at a car boot sale, between buying DVDs of films I'll never get round to watching because they are all too good and serious Art Films - not the explosion ridden crap with sweaty large-breasted women in that I usually watch - I bought a portable 3½" drive that plugs into a USB hole. It was a quid. The man who sold it me asked why I wanted it - the tenor of his voice suggesting he thought this was a totally obsolete piece of shit and that I was some kind of weirdo. I told him for the same reason I still had a Betamax player - you never know; one day it might come in really useful. Thus, I suspect, confirming his suspicions.

Saturday evening I plugged it in and lo and behold! it worked! Fine, brilliant, great and dandy! Oooh! I've got an A: drive again! Long time since I've seen one of them. I grab a few discs off the top of the tottering pile 3½" floppies in the office and spend a happy half hour finding they are full of stuff that I can't work out why I kept. After a while I got bored with trying to fathom why I thought I needed to keep copies of every autoexec.bat I had ever modified, put the discs back on the pile, and went on to play with other simpler pleasures, like looking up the stories behind favourite crappy movies on the IMDb.

And thence to bed.

Sunday morning, I turn on the computer, go off and make a cup of coffee while it fires up, come back coffee in hand to find the screen suspiciously black with some sort of message in white lettering... oh oh! This is usually not good news.

'Non system disc or disc error. Replace disk and strike any key to continue.'

Panic. Oh gods! The machine just died! What the hell is a 'Non system disc or disc error...'? It took a few moments but the penny finally dropped. I'd left a disc in the floppy drive. I ejected the disc and hit the any key. A wave of pleasurable nostalgia washed over me. I used to do that all the time. Panic I mean. Every time.

So that was it. Another exciting day at JunkMonkey mansions. I'm off to bed now to listen to a recording of a 56K modem on my battery powered early 80s Phillips Skymaster 3 personal cassette player:

Shit, but that Michael Jackson picture is ugly.

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