(I thought about putting this first one in the Pet Humor, but then I decided that geek-types would be more likely to get the jokes...)
Congratulations on your purchase of a CAT Unit! This model contains the following features:
Production Details: After basic KIT construction, the unit undergoes six weeks of onsite ROM programming and burn-in testing. Listed features are installed during this period. Since MOMCAT uses local suppliers, there may be variations between units.
Transportation: A suitable transportation case should be used for transportation to the operating site. Failure to properly ship a CAT unit may result in loss or damage to the unit and/or serious injury to the end user.
Installation Procedures: Upon receiving the CAT unit, the user should examine the unit to verify that all I/O channels are operational. Look for minor bugs in or on the system. Bugs are indicative of the MOMCAT production environment. The user may manually remove any bugs.
Bring the CAT to operation in an environment temperature at 20 deg. C (+/-3 deg tolerance). Use a quiet room with the primary user(s) present. Open the transportation case and let the CAT unit autoexit. Initialize the self-learning program Katfind(tm) by displaying the input bins. These should contain H2O (liquid state, room temperature, 99% purity) and dry energy pellets. Immediately afterwards, display the output bin.
If the user already has a CAT unit successfully installed, it may be possible to transfer BASIC routines to the new CAT. For the first day or two, the CAT will stay in self learning mode. When the learn buffer overflows, the CAT will autoswitch to sleep mode. This is normal. The MMU system will store the new information to permanent memory. After 72 hours, the CAT will be interacting with the operating environment.
The unit may be placed in direct sunlight. CAT units are operational in all axis: standing, sitting, or laying down. If all basic environment requirements are satisfied, the CAT system will produce a slight hum. This is normal.
A new CAT should not exit the primary site facility. Full portability comes after extensive burn in. Some users never let the CAT unit autoexit the site. The advantages are longer unit life and fewer bugs. Contact with pirate CAT units may lead to unplanned BATCH iteration. Contact with untested CATs may lead to virus infection. If allowed to exit, fatal errors may happen. If you decide to let your CAT out, it should have a READ_ME.TXT file with a system address and URL which identifies the host site.
Your CAT should have a system name. The name may need to be reinitialized repeatedly until the system can read it correctly. This lets you issue voice commands to bring the unit to an online state. Many owners give their CATs a secret password as well. You can also get the CAT's attention by booting the system. While this is effective, it is discouraged.
Applications: At present, there are few productivity applications for CAT:
MOUSE is a killer app. This is pre-installed.
Most owners use their system for game playing. CATs play best when they are new. Older units suffer a system timing decay which leads to reduced response and flexibility. Some CAT games are:
The CAT will CACHE a data string. Similar to the K9 unit game, but the object must be smaller.
Move the data string through the air. The CAT unit will reach new heights of operation.
Place the unit in front of a mirror and watch it attempt to parse itself. Some units may ESCape. Reboot the system by calling its name.
Played between two CAT units or a CAT and a K9 unit. Units take turns as one is the data and the other attempts to parse it.
DANCE and SING
Offer fishy data code to elicit a range of audio output.
Maintenance: CATs will self-recharge. This takes 20 hours in a 24 hour cycle. CATs are self cleaning and require little user maintenance. Do not clean the unit with alcohol or benzine-based solvents. This may lead to a violent explosion.
A CAT unit should be taken once a year to a VET for a system checkup.
Do not attempt to open a CAT. There are no user serviceable parts inside. If a unit emits unusual smells or sounds, it should be serviced immediately by a VET.
You may examine the CAT system to determine if it has a male or female SCSI port. If the port is male, then the CAT unit may emit a non-toxic aerosol. The VET can remove this component.
CATs with female ports are plagued by periodic heating problems. The VET can fix this permanently by removing an internal part. Such systems should run unix.
Warning Notices: CAT systems are normally user friendly. However, in certain documented situations, a CAT may pose a danger to the user. Repeated jamming or obstruction of I/O ports may lead to deployment of auto-defense systems. Never attempt a first strike on a CAT system. Its CPU clock rate is made to milspecs and thus classified, but JANE'S FIGHTING FELINES notes that a unit was seen by ham radio operators to be apparently moving at 500 mHz. Twin D-shaped five-pin connectors have an average seek rate of 3 nanoseconds. The manufacturer is not responsible for injuries to the user. Children should not poke anything into the CAT's I/O ports. CAT may BYTE. In dry, cold weather, a surface electrostatic charge may build up. To avoid electric shock, stand on an insulated surface. Do not operate the CAT above water. This may lead to end-user damage. Carry the CAT firmly. Do not swing it by its "tail."
If you properly care for your CAT, it will give you years of loyal service. Many users get a second unit, to enjoy the ability to run complex simulation games.
User Groups: CAT users can find other users and FAQ on the Usenet newsgroup rec.pets.cats.
Lifetime Warranty: The CAT unit is guaranteed against catastrophic failure. Nine coupons are included.
Documented Problems: The Ctrl key on most CAT units is defective. This may lead to serious performance problems. Do not install a BIRD unit at a site which has an operational CAT unit. These tend to disappear.
Contacting CAT Technical Support:
Our highly trained technicians are ready to help you. As soon as they wake up from their nap.
This next piece is written in a spirit of fun, but trust me--having been married to my own geek since 1998, it's scarily accurate. Mikki Halpin has also published a book on this same subject, entitled The Geek Handbook, which can be purchased at Amazon.com.
So, your crush on the bass player [HA! --C&S Webmistress] from Vibrating Sandbox has finally died a whimpering death and you're wondering where to go from here. All the sinister dudes are either dating a series of interchangeable high-school riot girls in baby doll dresses and an overdose of manic panic, or permanently shacked up with some bitter old lady who pays all the bills. Which will it be, a wifely prison or a humiliating one night stand? Into this void of potential mates comes a man you may not have considered before, a man of substance, quietude and stability, a cerebral creature with a culture all his own. In short, a geek.
Why Geek Dudes Rule
Where The Geek Dude Lurks
While they are often into alternative music, geek dudes tend not to go to shows too often. Instead you'll find them hanging out with their friends, discussing the latest hardware revolution or perfecting their Bill Gates impressions. You know how some people wear t-shirts with their favorite bands on them, thus showing that they went to certain shows? Well, geek dudes wear t-shirts with the logos of different software companies on them, thus showing that they are up on the latest, um, releases. A small, though convivial, rivalry may be detected here amongst the geek dudes. Try wearing one yourself and see if he strikes up a conversation.
Of course the best way to meet a geek dude is through the Internet. All geeks harbor a secret fantasy about meeting some girl in cyberspace, carrying on an e-mail romance in which he has the chance to combine an activity he is comfortable with, computing, with one he is very uncomfortable with, socializing. To many geek dudes, cyberdating is just an advanced form of some kind of video game, but they are frustrated by a lack of players. Their lack is your strength.
You might notice that these men harbor some strange ideas about how the world works and some particularly strange ideas about women. There is a reason for this. Because they've had limited interpersonal experience, geek dudes must look elsewhere for behavior models. Lacking a real world social milieu, geeks often go through a transference stage with such narratives, and try to model their interactions on them. Thus, certain media images and themes come to have an overly cathected, metaphorized reality to them, while the rest of us view such programming as mere entertainment. Case in point, our next topic...
The Trek factor
If you're not up on your Star Trek, you can forget about getting or keeping a geek dude. And I'm not just talking vintage-era Captain Kirk and Spock either. You've got to be up on your Next Generation, your Deep Space Nine, your Babylon 5. Armed with your own knowledge of Federation policies, you can better gauge when and how to act. The sexual politics of Star Trek are pretty blunt: the men run the technology and the ship, and the women are caretakers (a doctor and a counselor). Note the sexual tensions on the bridge of the Enterprise: the women, in skin tight uniforms, and with luxuriant, flowing hair. The men, often balding, and sporting some sort of permanently attached computer auxiliary. This world metaphorizes the fantasies of the geek dude, who sees himself in the geeky-but-heroic male officers and who secretly desires a sexy, smart Deanna or Bev to come along and deferentially accept him for who he is. If you are willing to accept that this is his starting point for reality, you are ready for a geek relationship.
Once You've Nabbed Him
Of course, catching that geek guy is only half the battle. Keeping him by your side is another story altogether. I was privileged to speak with Miss Victoria Maat, who not only got herself a geek guy but was also clever enough to marry him just a few short months ago. She interrupted her newlywed bliss to give us a few tips on the care and feeding of a geek man:
Geeks are sensitive and caring lovers and husbands. If you can hang with the techno-lifestyle, they make the best mates. They are the most attractive people, not flashy or hunky, but the kind who get cuter and more alluring over time (I told you she was a newlywed). Definitely give geeks a chance.
Geeks tend towards packaged, junk foods since they prefer to work and think and aren't all that into cooking for themselves. Make sure that your geek understands that you are not merely a replicator, and provide him with home cooked food. A batch of chocolate chip cookies will let him know that you love him. You do have to monitor your geek for weight gain, however; remember that most of their days are spent sitting and staring at a monitor.
The geek dude has long work habits and tends to bring his work home with him. He seems permanently connected to his hard disk. You must at least appear interested in his work. Generally, a solid understanding of the computer is a must; if you cannot master this, you should at least be able to talk the talk. Remember most geeks are anal and they get stressed about details which appear insignificant. Be understanding, put on your best Deanna Troi face (see above) and empathize.
To relax, geeks love to play the latest computer games. Let him play Myst or Chuck Yeager's Air Combat for hours if he wants to. Act concerned if he's stuck or has just been ambushed by three MiGs. My geek loves to try to help people on the Internet who say that they are stuck in Myst. He comes up with clever riddles instead of directing them point blank. Geeks also like to go to sci-fi and Japanese animated movies, again, a basically harmless vent for your man.
Many geeks extend their work friendships into what they jokingly refer to as RL (Real Life, also known as "that big room with the ceiling that is sometimes blue and sometimes black with little lights"). The greatest thing about your geek's buddies is that you can feel secure in setting them up with your girlfriends. They may feel awkward around females at first, so don't overwhelm them. In time they will come out of their shell and realize that you are into the same things they are.
I thank Victoria for the above advice. I must say that when she read my draft of the piece, before writing her section, she asked her husband which one he thought she was more like, Deanna or Beverly. Howard, the devil, immediately replied that he had always thought Victoria was actually most like Ensign Ro Laren, a cute character with a slight authority problem who is always in trouble (this is fairly apt). This exchange is interesting for several reasons:
Howard had already thought about who she was most like.
He could summon up characters from seasons past with ease.
Victoria actually knew who he meant.
Folks, I think this marriage will last.
One Last Thing
Because they have been so abused and ignored by society, many geeks have gone underground. You may actually know some and just haven't noticed them. They often feel resentful, and misunderstood, and it is important to realize this as you grow closer to them. Don't ever try to force the issue, or make crazy demands that he choose between his computer and you. Remember, his computer has been there for him his whole life; you are a new interloper he hasn't quite grasped yet.
Geek dudes thrive on mystery and love challenges and intellectual puzzles. Don't you consider yourself one? Wouldn't you like a little intellectual stimulation of your own? We thought so.
Access denied - na na na NA na !
Backup not found: (A)bort (R)etry (K)ill something
Hardware: the part of the computer that can be kicked. If you can only curse at it, it's software.
Hit any key... with what?
To continue, strike keyboard with forehead
Where's the CNTRL-ALT-MAKE SENSE button?
Never let any mechanical device know you're in a hurry
42? 7.5 million years and all you got was......... oh, you were running Windows
HAL 9000: "Dave, put those Windows disks down... Dave...DAVE!"
Microsoft will make something that doesn't suck when it starts manufacturing vacuum cleaners
Software isn't released, it's allowed to escape
Unable to read User's mind: Disconnect (Y/N) ?
Bad command. Bad, BAD command. Sit! Stay!
If you can't beat your computer at Chess, try Kick-boxing
Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?
Artificial intelligence usually beats real stupidity
Failure is not an option; it comes bundled with the software
Backups? We don't NEED no steenking backups
(A)bort, (R)etry, (I)gnore, (V)alium?
Error: keyboard locked--try anything you can think of
Press any key to continue... no, no, no, NOT THAT ONE!
RAM disk is not an installation procedure
The computer is mightier than the Pen, the Sword, and usually the Programmer
The Definition of an Upgrade: Take old bugs out, put new ones in
C program run. C program crash. C programmer quit
For Sale: One computer, slightly used. One bullet hole in screen.
Computer problems? Have you checked the loose nut in front of the keyboard?
Ohnosecond: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake
Bad or missing mouse. Spank the cat? (Y/N)
Do witches run spell checkers?
Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.
COFFEE.EXE Missing - Insert Cup and Press Any Key
2 + 2 = 5 for extremely large values of 2.
Computers make very fast, very accurate mistakes.
Computers are not intelligent. They only think they are.
My software never has bugs. It just develops random features.
C:\WINDOWS C:\WINDOWS\GO C:\PC\CRAWL
C:\DOS C:\DOS\RUN RUN\DOS\RUN
<-------- The information went data way -------->
Best file compression around: "DEL *.*" = 100% compression
BREAKFAST.COM Halted...Cereal Port Not Responding
BUFFERS=20 FILES=15 2nd down, 4th quarter, 5 yards to go!
C:\ Bad command or file name! Go stand in the corner.
Why doesn't DOS ever say "EXCELLENT command or filename!"
As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.
Southern DOS: Y'all reckon? (Yep/Nope)
... File not found. Should I fake it? (Y/N)
Ethernet (n): something used to catch the etherbunny
A mainframe: The biggest PC peripheral available.
CONGRESS.SYS Corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/n)?
Does fuzzy logic tickle?
A computer's attention span is as long as it's power cord.
Disinformation is not as good as datinformation.
Windows: Just another pain in the glass.
SENILE.COM found . . . Out Of Memory . . .
Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?
Ultimate office automation: networked coffee.
Shell to DOS... Come in DOS, do you copy? Shell to DOS...
All computers wait at the same speed.
DEFINITION: Computer - A device designed to speed and automate errors.
Enter any 11-digit prime number to continue...
ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI!
E-mail returned to sender -- insufficient voltage.
All wiyht. Rho sritched mg kegtops awound?
Error: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue.
DOS Tip #17: Add DEVICE=FNGRCROS.SYS to CONFIG.SYS
Hidden DOS secret: add BUGS=OFF to your CONFIG.SYS
Press any key to continue or any other key to quit...
Excuse me for butting in, but I'm interrupt-driven.
Sped up my XT; ran it on 220v! Works greO?_~"
Error reading FAT record: Try the SKINNY one? (Y/N)
Hit any user to continue.
I hit the CTRL key but I'm still not in control!
Disk Full - Press F1 to belch.
Backup not found: (A)bort (R)etry (T)hrowup
Backup not found: (A)bort (R)etry (P)anic
(A)bort, (R)etry, (T)ake down entire network?
(A)bort, (R)etry, (G)et a beer?
If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.
Programmers don't die, they just GOSUB without RETURN.
Programmer - A red-eyed, mumbling mammal capable of conversing with inanimate objects.
Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again, then they push again, jump on again, and so on.
The terminal is almost empty, with only a few prospective passengers milling about. The announcer says that their flight has just departed, wishes them a good flight, though there are no planes on the runway. Airline personnel walk around, apologising profusely to customers in hushed voices, pointing from time to time to the sleek, powerful jets outside the terminal on the field. They tell each passenger how good the real flight will be on these new jets and how much safer it will be than Windows Airlines, but that they will have to wait a little longer for the technicians to finish the flight systems.
Once they finally finish you're offered a flight at reduced cost. To board the plane, you have your ticket stamped ten different times by standing in ten different lines. Then you fill our a form showing where you want to sit and whether the plane should look and feel like an ocean liner, a passenger train or a bus. If you succeed in getting on the plane and the plane succeeds in taking off the ground, you have a wonderful trip... except for the time when the rudder and flaps get frozen in position, in which case you will just have time to say your prayers and get in crash position.
The terminal is pretty and colorful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off. After about 10 minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.
Just like Windows Air, but costs more, uses much bigger planes, and takes out all the other aircraft within a 40-mile radius when it explodes.
All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are told you don't need to know, don't want to know, and would you please return to your seat and watch the movie.
Each passenger brings a piece of the airplane and a box of tools to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, they build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations. All passengers believe they got there.
The airline has bought ancient DC-3s, arguably the best and safest planes that ever flew, and painted "747" on their tails to make them look as if they are fast. The flight attendants, of course, attend to your every need, though the drinks cost $15 a pop. Stupid questions cost $230 per hour, unless you have SupportLine, which requires a first class ticket and membership in the frequent flyer club. Then they cost $500, but your accounting department can call it overhead.
There is no airplane. The passengers gather and shout for an airplane, then wait and wait and wait and wait. A bunch of people come, each carrying one piece of the plane with them. These people all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they're building. The plane finally takes off, leaving the passengers on the ground waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. After the plane lands, the pilot telephones the passengers at the departing airport to inform them that they have arrived.
After buying your ticket 18 months in advance, you finally get to board the plane. Upon boarding the plane you are asked your name. After 6 times, the crew member recognizes your name and then you are allowed to take your seat. As you are getting ready to take your seat, the steward announces that you have to repeat the boarding process because they are out of room and need to recount to make sure they can take more passengers.
The passengers all gather in the hanger, watching hundreds of technicians check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at least 10 engines and seats over 1,000 passengers. All the passengers scramble aboard, as do the necessary complement of 200 technicians. The pilot takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.
You have to pay for the tickets, but they're half the price of Windows Air, and if you are an aircraft mechanic you can probably ride for free. It only takes 15 minutes to get to the airport and you are chauffeured there in a limousine. BeOS Air only has limited types of planes that only only hold new luggage. All planes are single seaters and the model names all start with an "F" (F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18, etc.). The plane will fly you to your destination on autopilot in half the time of other Airways or you can fly the plane yourself. There are limited destinations, but they are only places you'd want to go to anyway. You tell all your friends how great BeOS Air is and all they say is "What do you mean I can't bring all my old baggage with me?"
Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes, ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself. When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, and the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, "You had to do what with the seat?"
Looking for more geek humor? I found this site most amusing...