The Story of Moo

The Story of Moo, and How I Installed My Own CD Player (with a little help from my friends)
One Step Closer to Geekdom.

Last December or so, I was running around telling a very corny joke. It went like this:
“Knock, Knock”
“Who’s There?”
“Interrupting Cow”
I grew up on a farm in Missouri, so I have an extremely convincing Moo in my repertoire of animal sounds.

The joke is one that you either love or hate. Some people I’d tell, they’d fall out laughing. Others would look at me blankly….Uh….OK Beth. Either way, I’d be cackling my head off (my hen sound is pretty good, too), and snorting (ditto the hog snort).

In January of this year my local Mac guru gifted me a rebuilt 7200/75 with monitor, keyboard, external hard drive, and mouse. All I needed to do was buy a little RAM and a modem, and I’d have a nice little home computer. Since the computer had been used for a parts machine, it was sans CD-ROM drive, but at the time I didn’t want to make the investment. The CD slot sat empty for months, useful only for storing sandwiches so I wouldn’t have to leave the computer in the middle of my chatting.

My friend asked me what I wanted to name the computer, and I kicked a few ideas around. Finally the obvious came to me: call him Mooo. On January 18th, 1999, Moo came alive in my home. I had never “hooked up” a computer by myself before, but I did OK. It only took me about an hour of fumbling around to get online. (Let’s see… hmmmm… this cord looks like it might fit… here!) Imagine my delight when I first started him up to see a little cow icon with the text Mooo to represent the hard drive. I’m easily amused.

The first thing I did was record a Moooooo to use as my new mail notification. It just cracks me up to hear the computer “interrupt” me this way. “Moooooo!!!!” It beats “You’ve Got Mail” hands down.

The second thing I did was email my friend to boast of my success. I was online! At home! And I plugged it in all by myself! He mailed me right back. Mooooooo!!!!!! I felt like a big girl. Out of diapers, into training pants.

The third thing I did was log on to Besides hosting the weekly My Mac chat at 5pm Pacific time on Wednesday evenings, this friendly and professional group of folks hosts the nicest chat forum on the Internet, where all ages and platforms are welcome. Their regular events are hosted by the Global Community Staff (GCS), who help everyone feel welcome and safe. Their weekly calender includes several Macintosh related chats, in addition to other events. (My very first time chatting was the prior November. I stayed late at work to visit the My Mac chat which hosted John Farr. Oh, you’ve not met the incredible, irascible Mr. Farr? Hurry on over!

My limited world suddenly opened up to include the entire globe. I had something to look forward to at home after work each day; Mooo. Mooo who connected me to the world. I began to venture to all sites Mac related. I was hungry to learn how to do more than start up and run applications. I wanted to know how the computer worked. (Ones and zeros?…get out of here! *snort* *cackle*…yeah, right, ones and zeros my foot.) New words began to enter my vocabulary; CPU, Bus speed, GUI, RAM, ROM, SCSI, motherboard. I was learning, slowly but surely. I was wading through a world of knowledge which confounded and frustrated me, but excited me at the same time. I was becoming a Babe in Boyland.

One day I found out that there are hundreds of radio stations which broadcast over the net, and I was in heaven. You mean, I can chat and listen to Jim Ladd at KLOS at the same time? Now all things became possible. Singing, dancing, chatting, writing, emailing, learning, I felt multi-talented. Sure, RealAudio had streaming problems, and the sound that came out of the built in speaker was somewhat tinny, but it was worth the aggravation.

Then fortune smiled on me again (they don’t call me Lucky Lock for nothing). I fell into a set of Benwin computer speakers They arrived one fine day in my mailbox and when I picked up my mail at lunch, I couldn’t resist the side trip to run home and hook them up. Easy, easy, lemon squeezy! Even I in training pants had no problem. The sound that came though these speakers was far superior to the cheap little CD player I own. Plus, it was way across the room and heaven forbid I interrupt my chatting or surfing to go change the CD. I thought to myself… hmmmmm… maybe it’s time to invest in that CD-ROM drive., the perfect CD-ROM drive at the perfect price; $19 plus shipping. I immediately placed my order. My Macintosh guru reminded me that I needed something the make the CD-ROM work when it finally arrived, so off to I went to downloaded Audion and its 15 day free trial, after that $17.95. Not a bad price for an excellent piece of shareware.

Three days later the CD-ROM arrived. Plus, the part arrived with two small plastic dogs. (Small plastic dogs? I’m easily amused.) But what’s this, no instructions? I had only opened the computer once before, and that was to install some RAM. Could I do this? All by myself? The very thought made me soil my training pants Timidly I opened the case, and found three groups of wire thingys that weren’t plugged in, which fit perfectly in the slots on the back of the CD-ROM. (Hmmmm… I thought to myself, this little doo dah looks like it might plug in… here!) So I plugged them in; so far so good. But, alas, it didn’t work. Mooo didn’t recognize there was a new drive.

I was confounded. I sent dozens of emails. “Help me, boys, help me!” I whined in my best Babe in Boyland font. Much good and helpful advice came in, but after all, I was HERE and they were THERE. And “the little black thingy with the pretty gold pins” didn’t really convey that what I was actually looking at was a SCSI plug. Once again I opened the box. (Computer tip: you have to push HARD on that SCSI plug.) OK, whew! figured that out, Moo finally recognized there was a new drive. But, now it wouldn’t recognize a CD when it was inserted. “OK, well… fine”, I thought. “I’ve traded a sandwich slot for a dandy cup holder.”

Determined to have my music, though, I plodded ahead. I wanted to do this as much by myself as I could. After all, I a big gurl now! And it was at this point I ran into the baffling world of extensions. You have to have the darn things checked! But which ones? As far as I could tell, I had them all checked. But when I inserted a CD, I got an error message which said “Apple CD cannot eject.” What the… ? Then the light dawned. My CD on the computer at work works. Why don’t I just open up the Extensions Manager there and see what’s checked? Which I did. And I learned something else I didn’t know previously. There are messages which come with the extensions, that tell you what they are and what they do. And the message I read said “Apple CD/DVD replaces Apple CD.”

Ah Ha! I rushed home, opened the Extensions Manager on Mooo, and guess what, faithful readers? I had both extensions checked! So I unchecked Apple CD, restarted, opened Audion, selected CD mode, held my breath, slid in Van Morrison, and suddenly, joyfully, blissfully out of these fabulous Benwin speakers I heard o/~…I wanna rock your gypsy soul, just like back in the days of old, and together we unfold, into the Mystic…o/~ The saxophones carried me into another expansion of my world. And I cried in joy as I danced merrily around the room. (Babes in Boyland are allowed to cry.)

At last, music. Music to fill my life with joy. Macintosh music. My loyalty to the platform once again is affirmed. And hey everybody, I figured it out by myself, er… uh… all by myself… with a little help from my friends. Time to discard these training pants and move up to color coordinated iBra and panties.

Now, where to store this darn sandwich?

Mooooo!!!!!! Hey, I’ve got mail!

Beth Lock

Websites mentioned:

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