Cabbages & Kings: Columnist considers a ride on the information highway

I'm weakening.

A few months ago, if anyone would have told me I1d be going over to the other side, I'd have laughed.

But here it is May 2000 and I'm almost convinced that buying a computer may be in the cards for me.

I call computers the other side because I still believe the technology that we're awash in will come back and kick us in the posterior before too many more years pass.

But until the kicking begins, it might be fun to take the ride.

If I decide to become a computer geek, I will shock my friends and especially my relatives.

My cousin Bob who sometimes reads this column via the Internet at his home in Wisconsin (Hi, Bob, if you are today!), has admonished me several times about not having a computer.

Bob is no spring chicken either - in his 70s I believe - but he talks like a master of the on-line set.

He doesn't hesitate to tell me that if I went on-line, I'd be able to communicate more effectively with my other relatives "Back East."

Closer kinfolk such as my oldest daughter all have personal computers.

They sometimes use weird jargon that I can only barely understand and giggle when I ask what the deuce they're talking about.

Even my oldest grandson, who is 6, knows the inner workings of PCs.

I haven't had the courage to ask him some particular questions but if I do get a computer, I'll be able to e-mail him and find the answers without having to embarrass myself - at least in front of people I know.

So young or old, computers have has most of the Bucci clan in their grip and until the kicking starts, I'm sure they won't let go.

I'm fired up about computers, e-mail and such because I now have the Internet installed on my computer at the Miner.

An entire world of information is opened up to me now but the trouble is, just because it's on the Internet doesn't make it true information.

From what I understand, most anything can get on the 'net and if it's not true, well, the buyer beware.

I've been reading with interest about the viruses that apparently anyone with a brain for computers can concoct.

Millions of computers - corporate and computer - can be knocked out if the 'bug' gets in 'em.

Which brings me back to the original kick of this column.

If it's so easy to knock out entire computer systems, can the demise of ALL computers be that far away?

In which case, should I bother plunking down a grand of my hard-earned cash on a computer and make a down payment on a motorcycle instead?

Colleagues Ken Hedler and Abbie Gripman are pretty computer-savvy.

Ken has written a couple of columns on the pitfalls and pleasures of computer ownership.

But imagine what a world without computers would be like ...

€ There'd be a real run on writing tools such as pens, ink, pencils and paper.

About the only folks who use those things now are in jail or live in Third World nations.

€ The library would experience an upswing in use.

Kingman's library is one of the best things in this community and is usually pretty well used in spite of computers.

I know you can use the computer at the library but I consider that to be sacrilege.

That electronic piece of junk in the midst of the Classics.


€ Clerks in stores would actually have to read the price on the purchased item and ring it up on the crash register rather than run one of those bar codes through a computer.

€ In the days before the first computers, newspapers were produced accurately, on deadline and relatively free of spelling errors (thanks to proof readers).

In fact, deadlines at newspapers have rarely changed for the better, even though newspapers can be produced much quicker now than with hot metal and zinc plates.

€ There would be some privacy left in our society.

Well, that does it.

After thinking long and hard about this , I've decided to strike out feebly at technology and put my money in a couple of CDs - not CD-ROMs.

I cuss enough at my computer at work.

Sorry, Bob.

* * *

Cabbages by the crate to the businesses in town who boosted their prices to further empty tourists' wallets over the holiday weekend.

No wonder more and more folks are staying home for the holidays.

A well-deserved King this week to Jace Zack of the Mohave County Attorney's Office.

Jace was worried that he'd get a Cabbage for prosecuting the severely disabled woman.

Not so, man.

In fact, I agree with you.

People who sell drugs should go to jail.

I've seen nothing in the Arizona Revised Statutes that offers special treatment for disabled people who commit crimes.

And until there is, the laws must be enforced and the punishment meted out.