Scene 1—Tuesday, 1:15pm
“BrainSystems Tech Support, this is Jeff. How can I help?”
“Hi Jeff, my name is Cindy. My computer is frozen. It’s been like this all day!”
Jeff: Sounds like you have yourself a hardware problem, Cindy.
Cindy: Really? It was running fine just yesterday.
Jeff: Yea, well, hardware can break at any time, unfortunately.
Cindy: How do you know it’s a hardware problem and not software?
Jeff: Easy. All computer problems exist within the physical computer, right?
Jeff: …therefore replacing or fixing hardware is the way to fix all computer problems. See?
Cindy: Wait, that doesn’t make sense. Can’t software cause the hardware to crash?
Jeff: That notion is based on a false understanding of computers. Think of it this way. All software is contained within the hardware. You couldn’t run software without hardware, right?
Cindy: I suppose…
Jeff: And where is this “software” really located, anyway? Software is really just circuits, just tiny on-off switches and positive and negative charges on magnetic tape. There isn’t really any software at all—it’s just an epiphenomenon.
Cindy: A what?
Jeff: An epiphenomenon. A name we give to something that doesn’t really exist. What’s real is the physical hardware. What we call “software” is just a convenient fiction. If we start with fiction, we can only solve fictional problems, like trying to cure unicorn leprosy or something. We can only solve your real problem if we work with what is real. Don’t you agree?
Cindy: Um, I guess so. This has been a real problem. I have not been able to get anything done, and I have so much to do today! So what do you suggest?
Jeff: Well, we’ll need to do some diagnostic tests first, but usually this kind of thing is solved with a regular monthly CPU cleaning. We’ll mail you out a kit and you just open up your system and swab the CPU with some special chemicals. This helps keep things running smoothly. Are you still under warranty?
Cindy: I think so…
Jeff: Ok, then it’s only $47/month for the CPU cleaning kit. Do you want to pay with Visa or Mastercard today?
Cindy: Um…I’ll need to give this some thought and call you back.
Scene 2—Tuesday, 1:45pm
“MindTech Customer Support, this is Nancy. How I can help you today?”
“Hi Nancy, this is Cindy. My computer’s been frozen all day. I can’t get any work done, and I’m really frustrated. I called BrainSystems and they said it was a hardware problem and tried to sell me a $50/month cleaning package, but I thought I’d get a second opinion.”
Nancy: I’m glad you did. BrainSystems is a terrible company.
Cindy: Really? The guy I spoke to seemed nice enough.
Nancy: They don’t understand computers at all. They think all software problems are caused by faulty hardware.
Cindy: Yea, the guy—Jeff was his name—he was saying that software is just an “epiphenomenon.”
Nancy: Well, I don’t know what that means, but I do know they don’t understand computers. Heads up their asses.
Cindy: Well, what would you recommend for me then?
Nancy: Well, first off, you’ll need to clear out all the viruses and malware from your system.
Cindy: W-What’s that?
Nancy: Every computer is filled with negative programs that slow down and can even crash your system. These programs come from the internet, often installed with other beneficial software without you even knowing about it, or even just when you’re browsing around.
Cindy: Oh wow, I had no idea…
Nancy: Some come from corporations that make pop-up ads appear on your screen, trying to get you to buy stuff all the time…
Cindy: Oh yea! I’ve seen those.
Nancy: …others are more nasty and hijack your system to send out spam email, or even search your memory to try and steal your identity. They turn your computer into what we call a “zombie,” totally controlled by someone else, to where it’s not really even your computer anymore.
Cindy: Oh man, that’s terrible. Who would make such awful programs?
Nancy: Hackers who are out to steal your computer and use it for their own evil purposes. The internet is one big battleground between Good and Evil. Sometimes I think of myself as a Jedi Knight. *laughs*
Cindy: Wow, I never thought of it that way.
Nancy: Most people don’t—at least those who don’t work in tech support. Yea, the first thing we always recommend is to clear your system of all these viruses and malware. That will liberate your system from the control of all the hackers and corporations. You’re computer will be fully autonomous and back in your control again. Then you make sure they can’t get back in by continuing to run the anti-malware programs and updating them every week, if not every day. You want to install a firewall too, to keep out all the Potentially Unwanted Programs, or PUPs. And make sure to install only the right programs from then on.
Cindy: PUPs! How cute. How do I know which programs are the right ones?
Nancy: Well, you’ll want to only install programs that are going to maximize the potential of your system, so that it will be as fast and productive as possible, programs that are going to make your computer run successfully. And you need to be constantly updating these programs or they stop working. The internet is getting more and more complex at an exponential rate, and you’ll need to update everything constantly just to keep up, let alone do the really cool leading-edge stuff.
Nancy: We sell a customized Success Program Package here at MindTech for only $147/month. It will put your computer on the fast-track to successful operation for many years to come.
Cindy: Um, ok. That seems pretty expensive, but I guess it sounds right—or least better than BrainSystems’ solution. I have a question though: what happens if my hard drive crashes? Should I go to BrainSystems for that?
Nancy: No need. Our success programs will take care of all hardware failures automatically. As long as you have the right programs installed and updating constantly, you will never have any hardware problems again…
Cindy: Huh? How does that work?
Nancy: …well, I’ll let you in a secret, something that the hackers and corporations don’t want you to know…you see, BrainSystems has it all backwards…hardware doesn’t really exist—everything is software.
Cindy: What do you mean?!?
Nancy: I know it sounds strange, but it is the key to understanding everything about computers. Software is used to design new hardware. And software itself is designed by software. If you trace it all back, it’s all software.
Cindy: That doesn’t make sense though. I mean, I have a physical computer, don’t I?
Nancy: Not exactly. Everything that is on your computer can be transferred to another computer—the operating system, the programs, all the files, everything. Where the data is located is arbitrary. What really matters is the information itself, and your ability to choose that information. Information doesn’t have any location—it is unbounded and totally free from all constraints. Anything is possible with pure information. What your computer really is is this totally free, unbounded software. And you can do or have anything you want when you are free from hardware. The possibilities are unlimited.
Cindy: But Jeff said that all software is just circuits and magnets! I’m so confused.
Nancy: Jeff had it all backwards. You see, all our computer problems are caused by problems in information. I could transfer all of your data to another computer and it would just freeze up all over again. Until you change your programs, you will not change your reality. You have to get rid of all the negative programs and install positive ones, and continually run and update the positive programs. When you do, you will be totally free from all of your computer problems—forever.
Cindy: That sounds like a pretty exaggerated claim. I mean don’t all software programs have bugs?
Nancy: Many people believe that all software has bugs before coming to MindTech, so they don’t believe it is possible to work and live bug-free. But those bugs are actually all the negative programs you have installed that you don’t know about. You absolutely can have a 100% totally and completely bug-free computer.
Nancy: Cindy, we have people writing and calling in to us every day telling us how wonderful their computers are now that they’ve installed our customized Success Program Package. People are using their computers to make 5, 10, or even 50 thousand dollars more a month after the upgrade. After I upgraded, my life has never been the same. You, like me, want to be successful and live a bug-free life. I know you’re the kind of person who wants that kind of success, Cindy, or you wouldn’t have called MindTech today—isn’t that right? So would you like to pay for the package with Visa or Mastercard?
Cindy: Umm…I’ve gotta go.
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