Barry Smith: Time to sober up and face the gigabytes |

Barry Smith: Time to sober up and face the gigabytes

Although the technological revolution has promised to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, computer use has become a tragic addiction for many people. Maybe even you. Take this simple quiz to determine just how out of control you really are. Make sure you use a No. 2 pencil.


1. Are you using a No. 2 pencil, like I said?

A: Yep. Got one right here. And a spare in case this one breaks or gets dull.

B: Well, not exactly. I’ve actually scanned this quiz and converted it into a text document using OCR software. But I will be highlighting my chosen answers using a two-button mouse. Does that count?

2. OK. Let’s begin. Have you ever become so engrossed in your computer screen that you’ve forgotten:

A: An important meeting?

B: The day of the week?

C: Your name?

D: To breathe?

3. Have you ever:

A: Taken your laptop to the bathroom with you?

B: Taken your desktop to the bathroom with you?

C: Taken a mainframe to the bathroom with you?

D: No longer need to make trips to the bathroom since I installed Microsoft Office 2002 with new AutoExcreter 3.0.

4. Do you wish your computer had:

A: A more easily understood instruction booklet?

B: A larger screen?

C: Better technical support?

D: Reproductive organs?

5. Do you use your computer to:

A: Balance your checkbook?

B: Manage your schedule?

C: Raise your kids?

D: Absolve your sins?

6. You just received the current issue of “Computer Shopper” in the mail. Do you:

A: Throw it in the trash without even glancing at it?

B: Give it to your technologically inclined co-worker?

C: Take it to an empty stall in the executive washroom and do something the Pope would not approve of while ogling the “New Products” section?

7. Would you like to throttle the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” guy?

A: Yes.

B: Actually, that’s me.

8. What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say, “PowerMac G4 with dual 1.25 GHz processor, four 72 GB Ultra 160 SCSI drives and a GeForce 4 Titanium 126 MB DDR SDRAM video card?”

A: Get the hell outta my face.

B: Please hold while I transfer you to the Fruitcake Department.

C: How much longer is this quiz going to take?

D: Dude!

9. Complete the following: “If I had a hammer …”

A: Oh, wait, I know this one … um, “I’d hammer in the morning.” Right?

B: What do you mean “if” I had a hammer? I already have a hammer. Who doesn’t have a hammer? What does this have to do with computers?

C: I’d upgrade it to Microsoft VirtualTools(r) 4.0 with optional NailDriver(r). Then I’d probably boost my RAM, as VirtualTools(r) requires a minimum of 256MB.

10. You wake up to a house full of smoke. Do you:

A: Immediately wake the rest of the family and get them outside to safety, remembering to stay low in order to avoid smoke inhalation. Once everyone is accounted for, go to the neighbor’s house and call 911?

B: Same as “A,” except you check your e-mail before waking everyone else?

C: Calmly boot up your computer and launch FlameStopper(r) 6.0, which is part of the Microsoft Home Calamity system?

D: After a quick mental check to confirm that, yes, just yesterday you backed up all of your data and secured it in your flameproof safe, you roll over and go back to sleep?

SCORING: Using Microsoft QuizScorer(r) 3.1, enter your answers for each of the above questions and you’ll receive a printout detailing your level of computer addiction and what actions should be taken. You can leave the No. 2 pencil on the desk as you exit.

[Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Monday and Thursday. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at]

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