go to contents of current issue contents.jpg - 1911 Bytessee what's new -- the latest uploads to Festivale Digit-Ali, the column of Australian writer Ali Kayn

Winter 1997

Digital Memories
"I hate housework - it killed my mother." Susan Saint James, Love at First Bite

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I'm with her. Nasty stuff, housework. Lots of equipment designed by men, man-sized, used by women. Words cannot express the satisfaction and support I felt when a doctor (female) ordered me NOT to vacuum because of my back injury.


But I like neat. I love the look of clear, clean surfaces and neatly alphabetised rows of books, videos, magazines, clothes (organised by colour and type). Okay, so I'm told I am a taxiphiliac. Dunno if there is such a thing, but it's to do with liking things sorted out. Which brings me to housekeeping on the computer.

Movie Reviews Index Are you one of those people who doesn't delete anything until your computer's hard drive whimpers and cannot find a sector to spare?

I'm not.

Unlike cleaning up the house, which leaves me feeling spent and inadequate because it's so damn difficult, awkward and endless, computer housekeeping gives me that warm glow of achievement without any more effort than making a fresh cup of coffee to keep me going.

Which brings me to the subject of computer filing - which is a particular gripe-fest of mine, and which I will discuss some time. This issue, I want to share with you some of what I found last time I did a big clean up.

The cleanup began when a CD writer entered my precincts. Which meant that once again I could archive off all those computer files that had been shunted onto my trusty old DOS 286 (AT, for those of you who remember such things).

In five years of e-mail and (mumble) years of magazine submissions, short stories, novels, and scripts (watch for a rave review of Scriptware - BUY IT!), I found scraps of brilliance ripped from the readership by uncaring, insensitive authors, and odd bits of correspondence regarding jobs that never eventuated and berating the inadequacies of everything from the USAmerican school system to WordPerfect defaults, through a mountain of bitter argument with Autodesk, and on to those peculiar correspondences that we writers are so found of.

"Screwing isn't easy. There's the question of which one. Will it fit? And how to do it. Should one force it, or maybe change the angle. And if it's stuck, how to get it out. I suppose it could be a question of technique. Maybe as one becomes more experienced the damn things don't shoot off everywhere. And of course, it's harder when one is under pressure. One doesn't want to seem ineffectual before others."
Ali Kayn

If you belong to the Melbourne PC User Group, you missed this purple prose, deleted from an article on CD-ROM drives. It was replaced with a footnote reading, "after some initial problems with screws". Sigh.

For those of you who haven't discovered the answer to this problem -- it's CORDLESS SCREWDRIVERS. Mine's black and goes whrrr, and gosh it's consistent and effective, and takes hours to run down.


Gary Yost, Autodesk. A term he thought complimentary that he used to refer to his users.

Subject: its a joke!
Date: 03-Oct-94 at 05:14
From: David Gerrold,
To: Ali Kayn (Australia),

"We don't have weather in Los Angeles. We have seasons though. Earthquake, fire, flood, and riot."

David, of course is the subject of one of our features this issue. He has the sad punsterism that afflicts so many wordsmiths, science fictional ones particularly.

Well, since I was the one who suggested that Melbourne seagulls communicate by internest, I cannot claim a complete innocence in that department myself.

Date: 10-Aug-94 at 15:59
From: David Gerrold,
To: Ali Kayn (Australia),

The care package was much appreciated. We had some problems with customs. Seems somebody had snuck some vegemite into it and customs seized it, but they released the rest after I promised you wouldn't do it again.

Gosh, everyone know's the secret to eating Vegemite. Take a slice of bread. Coat with a generous layer of butter. Then add your vegemite. The trick is that there should be less butter than bread, and less vegemite than butter.

And that's your fine dining tip for the month.

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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 26-May-1997 : Last updated: 26-May-1997 : Last tested: 16-Jul-2014: Last compiled: 08-Aug-2014

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