Miner Thoughts
My Mac Magazine #38, June ’98

Bill, you old prankster you! That was a pretty hilarious thing you did to me the other morning. Almost as funny as your Soupy Sales pie-in-the-face stunt you pulled off in Brussels. Although I would have thought that a man of your stature might have more important things to do than waste your time playing such an elaborate, hi-tech prank on the likes of me, I reckon even the richest man in the world can have a sense of humor. You really had me going there for awhile.

If you don’t mind Bill, (or even if you do!) I’m gonna tell my readers how you hacked your way into my computer and tried to force your browser software on me.

Of course, I can’t prove that it was Bill Gates who did this but I can put two and two together and come up with the only plausible explanation for what happened… and it all points to Billy and/or Microsoft.

If you read my column last month, I defined Billy’s “Internet Explorer” as a ‘computer virus.’ I also insulted his Word 6.0 by calling it the ‘slowest moving object known to man.’ I suspect that Bill read this and took umbrage with my definitions and decided to play a little prank on me.

This is what happened:

The other morning at about 5:00 AM I was downloading the trial version of FileMaker Pro off the Internet to see if it might be something I could use in my trucking business. It took a good half-hour to download the 4Mb file, so while I was waiting I made a pot of coffee and a total mess in the kitchen trying to cook me up some breakfast. I returned to my desk just as StuffIt Expander was decoding and unstuffing the file. I was anxious to install FileMaker and give it a test drive.

Following the decoding and unstuffing I opened the folder labeled FileMaker Pro 4.0 Trial Folder. Inside this folder I found the FileMaker Pro 4.0 Installer. So far so good. I then double-clicked on the puppy and a VISE Installer window popped up on the screen informing me that it was getting ready to install Internet Explorer 4.0 onto my hard drive.
“WHAT THE HELL’S UP WITH THIS?” I bellowed to the woodpecker sitting in the tree outside my window. The woodpecker didn’t answer or even seem concerned with my problems.

My first thought was that I downloaded I.E. 4.0 by mistake. But how could that be? Everything that I downloaded was labeled FileMaker Pro. “There’s something fishy going on here,” I told my woodpecker friend.

I closed the VISE Installer and clicked on the FileMaker Pro Installer again. BAM! The same thing happened! “Whoa, ain’t this weird,” I said to the woodpecker. The woodpecker shrugged its wings and went back to beating its face on the tree.

I decided to back up a few steps and start over. I trashed the whole FileMaker folder. I then drug/dragged/drugged the still compressed.bin file of FileMaker Pro onto the StuffIt Expander icon and watched as it decoded and unstuffed for the second time. I again clicked on the VISE Installer but got the same Internet Explorer splash screen. I could almost feel Billy’s eyes on me and hear him laughing in that staccato, jerky way of his, or maybe that was just the woodpecker outside my window doing whatever it is woodpeckers do.

I began thinking those Senators at the antitrust hearings were right: Bill Gates does have a monopoly. He won’t let you download anything until you install his browser first! “That’s called interactive monopolization,” I told the woodpecker. The woodpecker nodded its head in agreement and smiled at me.

By now it was time to either run my youngest to school or let her take the car and leave me stranded all day. I chose to drive her. As I was getting up from the computer, I hit the restart button on my Mac. When I returned home I tried one last time to install FileMaker Pro. This time, (after the restart) instead of a VISE Installer I noticed it was a Claris Installer. I double-clicked on it and was asked where I wanted to install FileMaker Pro. I glanced out the window to inform my woodpecker buddy that everything was cool, but he was gone.

Now, you tell me. Did my computer have a brain fart, or was Billy messing with my mind?

After giving a little ‘Miner Thought’ to what had just taken place, I came up with the only logical conclusion I could.

Bill Gates, after reading what I said about his browser and word processor software, disguised himself outside my home as a woodpecker and waited for me to go online. As soon as I started downloading FileMaker Pro, woodpecker Bill somehow manipulated the data transmission coming into my home via the phone line, causing the download to show up on my screen as something it wasn’t. Bill obviously didn’t have enough time to change all the code in the data transmission but he changed just enough to throw me for a loop. He was also unable to save any of the changes he made in the code which explains why everything went back to normal after I restarted my Mac.

Bill Gates has never shown himself outside my window again, which leads me to believe that he knows that I know he’s a woodpecker. Or at least that he can disguise himself as a woodpecker. However, whenever I go online now I always take a good look in the tree outside my window just to make sure Billy ain’t lurking around waiting to pounce on my data again.

You’re a funny guy, Billy! But please keep your dirty little beak out of my computer, okay?

Just to be on the safe side, I have since installed Bill’s browser onto my hard drive, and I suggest you all do the same if you haven’t already. Not that I use it very often but it does seem to keep the woodpeckers away!

Pete Miner

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