Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tom & Mikes Computer & Tropical Fish Store

my friend norm needed a computer. allow me to expand on that. my friend since the first day of first grade, went to HS and college together, he stood up for my wedding, I played organ for his, THAT norman. He brought in the old one last time he came to Milwaukee. It had given good service, but now its 4g (as in 4 gigabytes, less than one DVD's worth of data) HD was being overloaded by Windows, Java, Office, updates, email archives, etc., and could no longer find room for its print buffer. I cleaned it up, temp files, compressing, taking out unused apps, and we got a little over a quarter of the HD back (that's only 1 GB). He took it home, and it worked again, but all the Windows updates saw the available space as an opportunity to make up for lost time, and by the end of the next week had filled up the HD again. Time for Tom & Mike's.

Tom & Mikes is the latest incarnation of a loose organization of computer enthusiasts who had been around since the DOS days, back when Phil Katz still walked the earth. Their store is in a huge strip-mall space on Milwaukee's south side. The glass windows which line the walls are usually fogged up from the fish. The fish! And in winter, if you wear glasses, you can't see at all, because of the oppresive humidity. As you walk in, there is a small 'museum' of old computer equipment maintained by Gordy Kraemer, one of the pioneers of PCs in Milwaukee. There's a Commodore, an Apple IIe, various tape drives, 7" floppy drives. A very good collection, nostalgic for those born before the WWW was invented by Al Gore.

The showroom isn't very much, because the stuff gets sold before they have a chance to set it up. Best to call ahead. Tell him what you want, and they'll give you choices. Last year's technology for sure, but how many people wouldn't find last year's technology would be an improvement on what they have. My specific work order for this trip had been "My friend Norm needs a computer to do emails and word processing, and he doesn't have much of a budget." Tom said, "how about a Gateway 3Ghz, 1/2g ram, 300 MB HD, DVD burner, XP, $269?". I called Norm, Norm called Tom, they made a deal, and I offered to scoop it up and ship it. I suppose if I wanted to dicker on the price, he would have thrown in a few fish. But this was a computer that, except for the ram, is better than anything I've ever owned. And cheaper. Keep yer sushi, just throw in one a them ergonomic keyboards, and a new USB mouse.

I got the machine home, the next challenge was to package it for safe shipping to Madison. The Magic Selladuck Ebay Shipping Center was a little slow because Ebay sales are on a short furlough until the end of the summer, and I had been using the workbench to mix mortar for some glass block replacements last week. As I was taping the completed carton, I noticed that some of the mortar from the glass block had stuck to the sides of the box. White powder - Post Office - not good - I could be spending the rest of the night in the waterboard room! I took a damp cloth and wiped the mortar off. But, this dampness prevented the tape from sticking. You do what you gotta do. It was an hour and a half since i had left work. But now, all that remains is dropping it off at the post office. Little did I know what an ordeal that would be...

continued tomorrow - we go postal.

Thanks for listening and contributing. For up-to-the-minute thoughts, come on over to twitter.com I'm @dimbulb52

1 comment:

Lydia said...

HA!!! SERIOUSLY - Computers and fish??? That is like something out of a Douglas Adams novel - are you sure you're not at the end of the universe????

Can't wait to hop to postal.

Glad u didn't get DTWBTV'd.

WV - hessirea - as in, HeSsirea-sly went into a computer store that sells fish.