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Tucson Weekly Media Mix

JANUARY 4, 1999:  POETIC INJUSTICE: Over the past year, we've had great fun with the error messages discovered by people of questionable fortune (no matter how intriguing the punchline, these were, after all, error messages) in Windows '95. (For example, see Media Mix, Tucson Weekly, June 18, 1998.) So as we edge ever closer toward electronic doomsday, we print-media Luddites are here to remind you it's important to keep one's sense of humor.

With that, we offer you the following technological revelations. If you're a stickler for facts, rest unassured we've exerted no effort to look into this matter: As we go to press, we only have three shopping days left! And we're anxious to spend all our dough before it potentially gets zapped into the ether thanks to some early programmer who thought it would be a helpful shortcut to leave the first two measly digits off the 20th century. What a hell of a labor-saving device that turned out to be. Amazing, the course of human evolution.

So anyway, now is not the time for truth in advertising, people! Just read on, and enjoy:

"In the wake of the anti-trust suit against Microsoft, Sony has announced its own computer operating system now available on its hot new VAIO laptop.

"Instead of producing the cryptic error messages characteristic of Microsoft's Windows 95, 3.1, and DOS operating systems, Sony's chairman Asai Tawara said, 'We intend to capture the high ground by putting a human, Japanese face on what has been, until now, an operating system that reflects Western cultural hegemony. For example, we have replaced the usual impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with our own Japanese haiku poetry.' "

The chairman purportedly went on to give examples of Sony's new error messages:

A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

The website you seek
cannot be located
but endless others exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Aborted effort:
Close all that you have.
You ask way too much.

First snow, then silence.
This thousand-dollar screen dies
so beautifully.

With searching comes loss
and the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen
is not the true Tao, until
you bring fresh toner.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
your expensive computer
to a simple stone.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,
but the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
but we never will.

Having been erased,
the document you're seeking
must now be retyped.

Rather than a beep
or a rude error message,
these words: "File not found."

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.


Cruise missiles over Baghdad, politicians resigning like lemmings, Luciano Pavarotti recording with the Spice Girls...what's left to surprise us in the End Days? Certainly not a little haiku. But, feel free to send any predictions on the subject to mari@tucsonweekly.com.

Otherwise, we'll see you after the first of the year...assuming the world doesn't implode in the meantime. Happy New Year.


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