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R a N d O m A c C e S s H u M o R RAH! RAH!

Volume 0 Number 1 October 1992

A rag-tag collection of fugitive humor, some of which
is vaguely related to the BBS/Online System world.

Editor: Dave Bealer

Copyright 1992 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved

Random Access Humor is an irregular production of:

VaporWare Communications
32768 Infinite Loop
Sillycon Valley, CA. 80486-DX2
USA, Earth, Sol System, Snickers

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
The "look and feel" of Random Access Humor has been specifically
earmarked, spindled and polygraphed. Anyone who attempts to copy
this look and feel without express written consent of the publisher
will be fed to rabid radioactive hamsters by our Security Director,
Vinnie "The Knife" Calamari.


TABLE OF INCONTINENCE:
Editorial - Data Highway to Heck...................................01
The Joys of Being Me...............................................02
Sharing Those Hard to Find Peripherals.............................03
As the Hard Drive Turns - Pt 1.....................................05
Musical Tech Support...............................................06
The Twit Filter: Modem Vendor Shills...............................07
Grunged Glossary...................................................07
Taglines Seen Around the Nets......................................07
Masthead - Submission Information.................................A-1

Random Access Humor Page 1 October 1992

Editorial - Data Highway to Heck
by Dave Bealer

It's been a long and rainy month here in Lake Winnebago, my home
town. Oops, wrong script! Anyway, I've been up to my wazoo in File
Requests, so word about RAH must be getting out.

We've picked up several distribution sites this past month as well.
It's nice to actually have RAH available in places that aren't on one
of the coasts. Everyone likes colorful BBS names, and some are more
colorful than others. We are now privileged to have on board as a
gateway one of the most colorfully named systems I've encountered.

"The Depths of Hell" is located in Bayonne, New Jersey. Some might
think this an attempt by the Sysop, Eric Knorowski, to make a comment
about Bayonne, or perhaps New Jersey in general. Others may think it
a sign that Eric needs professional help. Of course, everyone
involved with this newsletter probably *does* need psychiatric help,
especially you, the readers.

I spent my birthday flying to Birmingham, Alabama for a business
trip. What a present that was! At least I was fortunate enough to
be able to attend the highlight of the Birmingham social calendar,
the annual Paint Drying Festival. The flight home became interesting
when the pilot engaged in some Air Combat Maneuvers somewhere over
the Carolinas. Or maybe he was just doing bomb damage assessment.
I'm not knowledgeable enough about this flying stuff to be sure.

Once safely home and washing the peanuts out of my hair, I began
thinking about all this talk about a national data highway. I'm not
entirely sure this is a good idea. Having high speed comm lines
going virtually everywhere is a good thing, but first comes the
construction phase. I keep having nightmares about the cones set out
along the fibre optic cables. All of us with V.32bis modems crawling
along at 300 baud, giving us plenty of time to read those dreadfully
stupid "Temporary Inconvenience, Permanent Improvement" signs. This
one has me waking up screaming every time.

Vaporware Communications made an important addition to the RAH staff
this month with the hiring of Bernard Krumb, well known investigative
reporter, formerly with PC Weakly. Bernie's talent at witch-hunting,
er, that is, ferreting out corruption wherever he thinks he'll find
it...will be a welcome addition to this new cutting edge publication.

Random Access Humor Page 2 October 1992

(Editor's Note: The following article was submitted by VaporWare's
illustrious CEO. It has been published unedited, in its entirety,
on pain of death.)

The Joys of Being Me
by Luther Lecks

The moron that edits this rag said you folks might like to know a
little more about me, the guy what runs this joint. I can see that,
since everyone loves me and wants to be like me.

First off, it's great to get a chance to bare my soul to you, the
little people. You have absolutely no idea how wonderful life is
for me. You never will either, 'cause you'll never be as great as
me.

My story starts in Sausalito, California, where I was born and
raised. My mother was an artist, and we lived in Sausalito because
it was an artist colony kinda place. She also wanted to be near my
father, who was doing time in Alcatraz.

When I was sixteen I borrowed a car and started to drive around,
seeing America. In New Mexico I met the man who changed my life,
Ronald Frump. Ronnie could sell anything to anybody, and taught me
how to land the mark everytime. Ronnie even smoothed it over when
the fuzz came lookin for that car I borrowed.

Eventually Ronnie moved to Las Vegas to make his fortune in gambling,
which he did. Fact is, Ronnie is one of the very few people on Earth
who is richer and better than I am. Ya know, I oughta have that
editor puke do a story on Ronnie sometime. Anyways, I found out that
I could only handle so much desert living and moved on to greener
pastures.

Eventually I buckled down and got my college degree from The Degree
Factory in Cleveland. I was thinkin of getting my masters right
away, but was a little short of cash at the time. I was workin in
the insurance business in Venice Beach when I became interested in
computers and electronics. My specialty was burglar alarm systems.

Around this time I met this real smart Chinese guy, Kung Hoo. Kung
was workin on one of his doctorates at USC and used to come down to
Venice Beach sometimes to chill out for a few hours. The guy is a
real workaholic and will probably die young. Kung had some real
nifty ideas about electronics, so we started talkin about a business
deal. Kung had the technical background and I had the business
smarts and salesmanship. It turns out we made a great team.

Dr. Hoo, as most people call him, already had several patents to his
name. I saw to it that all his future patents were obtained in the
name of our company, VaporWare Corporation. This was purely for his
protection, of course.

Random Access Humor Page 3 October 1992

After Kung finally finished school, we moved north to the SillyCon
Valley. This area wasn't nearly as developed as it is today. I
didn't really care where we were, as long as we made money and it
wasn't a desert. Kung wanted to be near Gilroy, so he would have a
steady supply of fresh garlic for the stir-frys he makes in his
laboratory.

VaporWare started out small. We went from sales of a few hundred
thousand in 1973 to the industrial juggernaut you see here today.
We're now listed on the stock exchange and take in hundreds of
millions each year. This is just the beginning, though. We have
some great new products in development that could revolutionize the
entire computer industry. Provided, of course, Dr. Hoo ever manages
to get them working correctly.

Well, I got lots of important stuff to do, so I gotta stop writing
now. If you're lucky I'll have time to write more some other time.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sharing Those Hard to Find Peripherals
by Dave Bealer

These days it seems that every organization boasting more that two
PCs has them wired together in some fashion, at least to share some
peripheral devices. For readers who are unfamiliar with peripheral
devices (commonly just called peripherals), they are electronic
devices connected to computers by wires. The peripherals themselves
cannot be seen when looked at directly. You can only see them out of
the corner of your eye. How eyes can have corners, I'm not sure.

In fact, the only certain way to locate a peripheral is to find a
wire coming out the back of your PC that you think leads to a
peripheral, then follow it until you come to something which feels
like a small, warm plastic box which may or may not be vibrating.
This is not always as easy as it sounds, since the area behind most
PC workstations resembles the nest of some great prehistoric bird. A
bird that uses all sizes, colors and lengths of wire and cable as
building materials; all tightly braided together, of course. A
machete may therefore come in handy during this search. For maximum
safety a rubber-handled machete should be used.

The most popular peripheral device is the printer. Printers take the
information which the computer has sorted, collated and julienned and
writes it out in a form which, at least in theory, is readable by humans
without electronic aid. How accurate this theory is depends greatly on
the type of printer being used.

The first PC printers were dot-matrix printers. These still remain
in wide use due to their relatively low cost. Modern dot-matrix
printers are capable of producing "near-letter" quality output. This
usually means that the characters produced are slightly better formed
than letters written by a relatively backward four-year-old. The
four-year-old would be slightly less noisy as well.

Random Access Humor Page 4 October 1992

Daisy wheel printers were very popular during the early phases of the
PC revolution, mainly because they produced true typewriter quality
output. Unfortunately they also tended to sound like jackhammers,
which are not commonly found in an office environment, and for good
reason. Although still recommended by the manufacturers of earplugs
and aspirin, daisy wheel printers are mercifully rare these days.

Today the most popular printer is the laser printer. They are quiet,
and produce very sharp, clear output. Many small companies, and work
groups within larger organizations, share a single laser printer
between several PCs. No matter how many people share a laser
printer, none of them ever seem to know how to change the toner
cartridge, assuming someone actually remembered to order spares.
Even adding paper seems beyond the capabilities of many laser printer
users. The excuse most often given is that the user can't find the
printer in the first place. Of course, they all seem to be able to
find the printer when they need to retrieve their output. It can be
quite a humorous sight, watching users make their way along a printer
cable, glancing sideways, trying to catch an actual glimpse of the
laser printer as they move towards their quarry.

The stealth characteristics of peripherals have been much discussed,
and have found their pinnacle in the laser printer, which has the
added advantage of being fairly quiet. The probable reason for this
feature recently came to light when it was revealed that laser
printers are all components of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Yes, that's right! All those innocent looking (when you can see
them, that is) laser printers actually contain a second laser, which
can be fired skyward to defend our nation against incoming enemy
missiles. Now you know why all laser printers have those labels in
them that say "Danger: no user serviceable parts inside." Every
laser printer repairman you've ever met is actually an Air Force
technician. Recent federal budget cuts may explain why it's so
impossible to get a laser printer repaired these days.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
(9/18/92, East Entropy, SD. (TCP/IP))
The International Association of Moderators announced today the
creation of new multi-network conference, to be called OFF TOPIC.
The *only* messages which will be on topic in this conference are

messages informing some user that their previous message was off
topic. A spokesperson for IAM stated that this conference was
designed to meet the needs of moderators suffering from withdrawal
symptoms caused by a dearth of off-topic messages in their own
conferences.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Sound Byte:

Was Wile E. Coyote a member of MENSA?

Random Access Humor Page 5 October 1992

As the Hard Drive Turns - Pt 1
by Rob Novak SysOp, Outside the Wall (1:261/[email protected])

Behold - what follows is a tale of such strife and woe that some
squeamish readers may want to have some sort of bucket handy. Parts
of this can get pretty graphic. Easily offended readers should
probably zark off and go read the TECHHELP echo.

A SysOp is the lonely, dreary beast who in a fit of madness decides
it would be fun to let total strangers abuse his/her computer
equipment. This fit soon turns into an obsession, wherein most SysOps
pawn their blood, cars, and sell members of their family in order to
pay for system upgrades. SysOps are easily distinguished by the
bloodshot eyes (from staring at a monitor for hours at a time),
cramped fingers (from hand-typing BBS configuration files), profusive
drooling, and tattered pocket-protectors. They are wretched souls,
indeed.

Dan was an ordinary human until he bought a modem. He talked to his
friends on a regular basis, he attended social events, and even took
his girlfriend out on occasion. The modem changed all that.

The day he brought it home and unpacked it, the modem was a gleaming
silver box with a plethora of lights winking and blinking across the
front panel. Dan marveled at the wonder of it all. He began calling
BBS's at an alarming rate. He had a great time. Free downloads,
lots of interesting conversation on the message areas - it was all
that he could ever ask for.

Then came the offline readers.

Dan started downloading large message bundles on a regular basis.
His girlfriend was ignored, he stopped going outside, and his
eyeglass prescription tripled in strength. The mountain of paper on
his desk grew so high that when it finally collapsed, it wiped an
entire colony of paper mites out of existence and injured the cat.
Still, Dan typed furiously at the keyboard night and day.

The dark cloud grew over his head. Then one day he spotted BBS
software available for download on a local board.

"Wouldn't it be neat if...." he thought. The moment the idea flashed
through his brain synapses clicked, neurons welded together, and
thought processes were warped inter-dimensionally. He sat in a daze
for a half-hour while a small puddle of spit formed in his lap. His
brain, overwhelmed by the idea of running a BBS, had turned into the
consistency of cold oatmeal.

The file transfers began. After a number of hours, all the necessary
software was in a subdirectory on his hard drive. Warning bells were
ringing in his head.

He ignored them and typed "PKUNZIP MAX200-1".

From that moment on, he was doomed.

(To be continued in Part II - The Installation!)
Random Access Humor Page 6 October 1992

Musical Tech Support
by Bernie Krumb

Technical support is a problem for most companies in the PC industry
and VaporWare Corporation is no exception. One of the most pressing
problems facing most technical support departments today is the
recruitment and training of qualified, motivated staff to man the
phones. There was a shake-up in the VaporWare personnel department
recently after a slight misunderstanding caused serious problems.

The recent rapid expansion of the various VaporWare divisions caused
the need for a greatly expanded Tech Support force. The Personnel
Director, Merrill Wainscott, thought he had scored a major coup when
he managed to secure the services of a group of Silican monks to form
the backbone of the expanded support department. The Silican monks
are widely known, of course, for their many scholarly articles and
books on computers and data communications.

Silican monks would seem to be perfect for the job of tech support,
given their deep technical knowledge and their well known patience
with even the thickest and slowest of users. Unbeknownst to Merrill
Wainscott, however, the monks of the order of St. Silicon take a vow
of silence upon joining the order. Well, not complete silence. They
are allowed to hum. In fact many of their services involve a great
deal of humming. This led to slight difficulties when it came time
for the monks to actually start answering the phones.

Customers quickly became confused when they called VaporWare tech
support and heard nothing but humming on the other end. Some callers
though that they had reached a data or FAX line. This caused some
consternation in the monks when carrier tones became the commonplace
response to their musical answering hum. One of the monks, Brother
Serial, found that he could actually make 2400 baud connections with
some of the incoming modem calls if he hummed just right.

This reporter managed to interview Merrill Wainscott as he picked his
personal possessions out of the VaporWare dumpster, where they had
been placed for "safe keeping." When asked how this could have
happened, Wainscott replied, "I had read their books and articles,
which were brilliant. All the arrangements to hire them were made by
e-mail. How was I supposed to know they took a vow of humming?"
When asked what his plans were, Wainscott admitted that he planned to
commit himself to the Danforth Quayle Hospital for the Terminally
Confused.

To most people outside the computer field the Silican monks are best
known by their mascot, the Silican Seal. The seal performs at malls
and state fairs though out the country, bringing joy to the hearts of
young and old alike. Brother Chip, who cares for and trains the
seal, had been a marine mammologist at Sea World of Omaha. He later
saw the light and joined the order. The silican seal is a harbor
seal named VLSI. Although the name is a little hard to pronounce,
the monks hum it beautifully.

Random Access Humor Page 7 October 1992

The Twit Filter: Modem Vendor Shills
by Dave Bealer

There are users out there in the modem discussion conferences who
like to shill for their modem vendor. These yoyos bash anyone who
even *dares* to think that another modem can compare to the ultimate
modem. Said ultimate modem always happens to be made by a company
they own stock in or for which they are a dealer.

The latest travesty seen committed by one of these bums was the
claim that all other vendors make a "commodity modem." Huh? Aren't
all modems commodities? Sure they are. Unless your modem happens to
be a gold electroplated, gem encrusted reproduction of the original
Hayes 300 baud external, issued by the Franklin Mint. This classic
comes complete with a certificate of authenticity from the World
Modem Historical League. This collector's item is, of course, a
limited edition, and will only be available until they run out of
people dumb enough to buy them. BTW, I'm saving up for one of those.
Meanwhile, all modem vendor shills go into my twit filter.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Grunged Glossary
by Dave Bealer

Welcome to the Grunged Glossary, a cockeyed look at computer/online
terminology. This time the Grunged Glossary covers some common
units of time:

milliesecond
- the amount of time it takes to walk the Presidential pooch.

nanusecond
- the time it takes Mork of Ork to link-up with Orson.

picantesecond
- the amount of time the average consumer of "Old Brushfire" Texas
Hotsauce waits after eating the stuff before starting to guzzle all
the water, beer and other potables in the vicinity.

waitasecond
- a variable length of time, usually longer than even the speaker had
imagined.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
--- Taglines Seen Around the Nets:

If I save the whales, where do I keep them?

ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI!

Captain! The UARTs kenna' take these speeds!

Graduate of the Darth Vader School of Personnel Management.

Psychoceramics - the study of crackpots.

Random Access Humor Page A-1 October 1992

Random Access Humor Masthead:

Editor: Dave Bealer

Acting Deputy Assistant Editor: Scott White

Contact: The Puffin's Nest BBS
FidoNet: 1:261/1129
Internet: f1129.n261.z1.fidonet.org
BBS: (410) 437-3463 (1200-14400/V.32bis)

Regular Mail: (Only if you have no other way to reach us!)
Random Access Humor
Infinite Loop Communications
P.O. Box 595
Pasadena, MD. 21122 USA

Random Access Humor (RAH) is published monthly by Dave Bealer as a
disservice to the online community. Although the publisher's BBS may
be a part of one or more networks at any time, RAH is not affiliated
with any BBS network or online service. RAH is a compilation of
individual articles contributed by their authors. The contribution
of articles to this compilation does not diminish the rights of the
authors.

Random Access Humor is Copyright 1992 Dave Bealer. All Rights
Reserved. Duplication and/or distribution is permitted for non-
commercial purposes only. For any other use, contact the publisher.
RAH may only be distributed in unaltered form. Online systems whose
users cannot access the original binary archive file may offer it for
viewing or download in text format, but the text MAY NOT be modified.
Many of the brands and products mentioned in RAH are trademarks of
their respective owners.

Copies of the current issue of RAH may be obtained by manual download
or Wazoo/EMSI File Request from The Puffin's Nest BBS (FREQ: RAH), or
from various sites in several BBS networks. Back issues of RAH may
be obtained by download or file request from The Puffin's Nest BBS.

Article contributions to RAH are always welcome. All submissions
must be made electronically. File attach your article to a netmail
message to Dave Bealer at 1:261/1129. E-mail may also be sent via
Internet to: [email protected]

Tagline and filler submissions may be made via e-mail. Article
submissions should be made via file. Submitted files must be plain
ASCII text files in normal MS-DOS file format: artname.RAH; where
artname is a descriptive file name and RAH is the mandatory
extension. Your text should be less than 70 columns across for
widest readability. If your article does not conform to these simple
specs, it may get lost or trashed. Also note that such imaginative
names as RAH.RAH might get overlaid by the blatherings of similarly
minded contributors. If your hardware is incapable of producing file
names in the proper format, you may send your article as one or more
e-mail messages. It will not be possible to make private responses
to any submissions or correspondence received.
Random Access Humor Page A-2 October 1992

The editors reserve the right to publish or not to publish any
submission as/when they see fit. The editors also reserve the right
to "edit", or modify any submission prior to publication. This last
right will rarely be used, typically only to correct spelling or
grammar misteaks that are not funny. RAH is a PG rated publication,
so keep it (mostly) clean.

RAH can accept only the following types of material for publication:
1) Any material in the public domain.
2) Material for which you own the copyright. If you wrote it
yourself, you are automatically the copyright holder.
3) Authorized agents for a copyright holder (typically an
organization) may submit material on behalf of that holder.

In writing jargon, RAH is deemed to be given "One Time Rights" to
anything submitted for publication unless otherwise noted in the
message accompanying the contribution. You still own the material,
and RAH will make no use of the material other than publishing it
electronically in the usual manner. If you want your copyright
notice to appear in your article, place it as desired in the text
you submit. Previously published articles may be submitted, but
proper acknowledgement must be included: periodical name, date of
previous publication.

RAH Distribution System:
(sites bearing the designation will accept your
contributions and forward them to the editors.)

The Puffin's Nest Pasadena, MD. Sysop: Dave Bealer
FidoNet> 1:261/1129 (410) 437-3463 14400 (V.32bis)
(RAH Publication Site)
Complete Writers Guidelines: FReq: RAHWRITE
Complete Distributor Info: FReq: RAHDIST

RAH Gateway Systems:

My House -=FBBS=- Cheasapeake, VA. Sysop: Scott White
FidoNet> 1:275/6 (804) 424-0394 14400 (V.32bis)
RaceNet> 73:108/1 4X4Net> 44:2600/6 SportsNet> 73:108/6
RecoveryNet> 12:2600/6 Flynet> 196:30/0 PetNet> 73:108/6
InterSports> 103:1032/0

Pooh's Corner Fells Point, MD. Sysop: Mark Truelove
FidoNet> 1:261/1131 (410) 327-9263 14400 (V.32bis)
RBBSnet> 8:936/206 FilNet> 33:410/0 CandyNet> 42:1031/1


The Depths of Hell Bayonne, NJ. Sysop: Eric Knorowski
FidoNet> 1:107/813 (201) 437-5706 14400 (HST)
FishNet> 21:102/101 CandyNet> 42:1011/1 ChateauNet> 100:5801/100


007LZ Southfield, MI. Sysop: Gary Groeller
FidoNet> 1:120/636 (313) 569-4454 14400 (V.32bis)
GlobalNet> 51:1400/0 W-Net_fts> 66:636/1

Random Access Humor Page A-3 October 1992

The Edge of Sanity Dearborn, MI. Sysop: Tom Smith
FidoNet> 1:2410/279 (313) 584-1253 9600 (V.32)
SogNet> 91:7/4279

H*A*L Muskogee, OK. Sysop: Lloyd Hatley
FidoNet> 1:3813/304 (918) 682-7337 14400 (V.32bis)

RFNet> 73:102/1 RANet> 72:918/21 LuvNet> 77:101/1
DoorNet> 75:7918/205

The Shop Mail Only Flushing, NY Sysop: Steve Matzura
FidoNet> 1:2603/203 (718) 460-0201 14400 (V.32bis)
ADAnet> 94:7180/1 JayNet> 17:99/100 WorldNet 62:4400/200
MusicNet.FTN> 88:8001/12

RAH Official Distribution Sites:

Automation Central San Jose, CA. Sysop: Radi Shourbaji
FidoNet> 1:143/110 (408) 435-2886 14400 (V.32bis)

Wit-Tech Baltimore, MD. Sysop: Doug Wittich
FidoNet> 1:261/1082 (410) 256-0170 14400 (V.32bis)

Da Goober's Place Burleson, TX. Sysop: Don Teague
FidoNet> 1:130/82 (817) 447-2598 9600 (V.32)

Milliways Pittsburgh, PA. Sysop: David Cole
FidoNet> 1:129/179 (412) 766-1086 2400

Supernova BBS Scotstown, Quebec Sysop: Ian Hall-Beyer
FidoNet> 1:257/40 (819) 657-4603 2400


Big Bob's BBS Portland, OR. Sysop: Bob Moffatt
FidoNet> 1:105/94 (503) 286-9367 14400 (V.32bis)

Cold Fire BBS Wichita Falls, TX. Sysop: Bob Lennard
FidoNet> 1:3805/14 (817) 696-5771 14400 (V.32bis)


The RAH distribution network grew from five systems to fifteen
systems in just one month. If we maintain this rate of growth,
there should be more than 2.6 million distribution sites for the
first anniversary issue next September.


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