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Stephenson ©February 2001|
Editor's note: The following article originally appeared in Usenet's comp.os.os2.misc
All of this fascinating discussion of the ins and outs of how to install essential
system upgrades like FP15 makes me wonder what it would be like if IBM made cola.
Please don't try to spot too many literal parallels. Focus on the mind set...
There'd be a cunning Content Extraction Tool (CET), whose version would change
daily but absolutely had to be matched to type and version of the drink.
The "extraction" of different kinds of cola would have to be done in
this order: diet-caffeine-free, classic, diet, jolt, caffeine-free, cherry. When
banana flavour was invented, that list would become obsolete and a new order would
be needed. Don't ask what would happen when guava flavour was invented.
If you intended to drink straight from the can, the procedure for "demounting"
the BAACD (Beverage Access Aperture Capping Device) would differ from that for drinking
from a glass, which in turn would differ from what a group would do if intending
to pass the can around. Pouring, performed by the product-specific Beverage Decantation
Tool, would be too complex a topic for this summary.
Periodically, colas would be updated, distinguished mainly by the details of
a long product number buried amongst small print. To be fair to IBM: (a) updates
of packaging and flavour improvements would continue for years after each kind of
cola had been taken off the market; and (b) the Ingredients list would be the most
comprehensive on the planet, overflowing into 47 impenetrable booklets, downloadable
from a URL which was impossible to commit to memory but did have numerous natty
graphics and sub-pages.
Every use of the CET would result in paperwork, which had to be retained for
when you wanted to throw the can away, else you'd keep on finding bits of it forever
after: in your pockets, down the back of the couch, under the car seats,...
IBM-Cola would of course have its fanatical adherents and crazed proponents,
who somehow between them by their antics would manage to drive away herds of potential
and actual users. (And God help anyone who even suggested sub-contracting
manufacture of any of the cola variants.) Some would insist that IBM-Cola
was popular with many bars and places of public resort. Bill Gates, formerly a major
fan of the beverages, would often be accused of attempted sabotage, to destroy a
rival to his own product, Drinks[TM].
Although probably the finest cola in the world, IBM-Cola would never be advertised.
Officially IBM would have no knowledge of its existence, saying instead, "We