386 Horsepower Henry
"Hello, yeah, Tim. I've got this computer. A friend gave it to me and it is only a couple of years old but he got a new one so I'm trying to install windows on it and it doesn't seem to be working I think it is because the keyboard doesn't have enough keys." Now that I'm a computer expert I think it is about time I set up one of those internet things at home. So when my friend offered me this excellent desktop computer to go with my laptop I just leapt at the opportunity.
"Ok.... So, what kind of computer is this?" Tim the computer store guy sounds a bit confused. I feel sorry for him, but we can't all be genius superheros, now can we.
"It's kind of a beige colour, and box shaped," I explain helpfully.
"Um... Is it a Pentium three?"
"No, I only have one of them." Tim needs to learn how to listen a bit more carefully. Seriously, where did he get the strange notion that I have more than one? "Anyway I just want you to tell me what the problem is so I can get Windows installed."
"Does the computer start up at all?"
"Yes, but then it doesn't work."
"What kind of error message do you get?"
"None. It just doesn't work."
"Ok, can you tell me how old it is?"
"I don't know exactly - about two years." This sure is taking a long time. I thought these guy knew what they were doing.
"And which version of Windows are you trying to install?"
"What size is the hard drive?"
"Twenty I think."
"Twenty Gig. No problem there. What about memory? How much RAM does it have?"
"Um, it says three hundred and eighty six megabytes."
"Um... that's a strange number unless..."
"Sorry, no that's not it. It has four gigabytes of RAM."
"So where did you get the other number?"
"Oh that. It's a three hundred and eighty six horsepower Pentium computer. That's what it says on the front."
There was silence for a moment. I guess the penny has finally dropped and he has worked out a solution to my problem. "So, there was no error message from Windows, such as one telling you that Win98 requires sixteen megabytes to install?"
"Well yes it did say that."
"So, what you have, then, is a 386 with four megabytes of RAM and a twenty megabyte hard drive."
"A two year old 386?" There is a hint of extreme skepticism in his voice for some reason.
"Well it might be a bit older than that."
"You can't install Windows 98 on that machine."
"Oh.... Um.... Can't you cross-post it?" I've heard a bit about this cross-posting thing and how it is supposed to make your computer better. Yeah, sure some people seem to think cross-posting is a bad thing, but I figure they're just working for the big bad corporations. "Or what about if you fax me some more memory?"
"You mean upgrade? Yes you can. Take it to a very tall building and throw it out the window. That should do it."
"Then it will run Windows 98?"
"If you have insurance it will."
Soon I have a brand new Pentium 4 supercomputer. I am now complete.