Phill Jupitus: My technology

For his first computer, comedian Phill Jupitus was seduced by a Mac iBook, which he uses to send pictures and keep in touch with his family while on tour
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The Independent Online

There is about half an hour of material that I use in my recent tour that has been inspired by having last year bought my first computer, an iBook. In short, I am not so scared of technology that I am a Luddite and likely to smash up a computer, but our relationship is rather like the one between a stepparent and a child: the iBook is the parent and we've developed an uneasy truce.

There is about half an hour of material that I use in my recent tour that has been inspired by having last year bought my first computer, an iBook. In short, I am not so scared of technology that I am a Luddite and likely to smash up a computer, but our relationship is rather like the one between a stepparent and a child: the iBook is the parent and we've developed an uneasy truce.

For example, on my last overseas visit I was able to connect to the internet, and yet I had to phone England and get hooked up to the Demon service provider because I don't understand how to arrange a connection to a local provider. It's ridiculous and annoying to be ignorant about technology, and in this case it cost me international rather than local phone charges.

On the other hand, I believe that the truism about only using three per cent of our brains applies also to a computer: we only use about three per cent of its facilities. I've found that people can make computers sound excessively complicated. One reason why it took me five years to buy a computer is because my brother is a computer repair man and engaged me in time-consuming arguments over the comparative qualities of Mac over PC and confusingly (and wrongly) claimed I would need this or that software.

I think that Steve Jobs aims for sexiness with the iBook and the iMac, which is something that Bill Gates never did: Gates is the Beatles and Jobs the Rolling Stones. And the latest G4 cube is even sexier than the iMac and iBook. In general, using a Macintosh product seems exclusive. There is a mentality that my friend Stephen Fry described as the Robin Hood and the Merry Men siege mentality among Mac users. It's that evangelical spirit that drew me to the Macintosh rather than a PC, and I am increasingly enjoying the subliminal pleasures of the iBook. I particularly like the way that it opens up like a sandwich maker, and the sensual round edges.

Other than looking sexy, I use it with my Canon digital Ixus camera to keep in touch with my family wherever I am in the world. Sending photographs is a really good way of staying in touch with my children when I'm overseas. For instance, I was recently in Canada at the Montreal Comedy Festival and photographed Daddy's hotel room and the kid's presents and sent those photographs to them through e-mail as a JPEG. I really like that because it makes travelling a whole lot less painful.

Otherwise I aim to keep its use confined to office work and communication. I never play games on it because then I would never stop and do any work, and I don't write material on it because that's all in my head. Sadly there's not a gag sharpening software because that would help me out. However, I do write articles and scripts on the computer.

I am slightly annoyed that I didn't wait and buy the G4 PowerBook with a DVD drive because then I could've watched films on the road rather than the crap they churn out in hotels. But otherwise there is a lot you can do on the iBook that I am discovering little by little even though the list of what I need to do on the computer is quite small. I don't think that will ever stretch to tasks like banking or shopping because I like the lady smiling at me through the glass in the bank.

It's not until you've horsed around with a computer that you get a true understanding of what they can do, and the buzz of knowing that the only limitation is your own imagination. And now I'm considering becoming a member of a local Mac user association!

Phill Jupitus is presenting The 2000 Bafta Interactive Entertainment Awards held in association with ICL on Thursday 26 October, for information www.bafta.org. For more information on Phill Jupitus's current tour, www.philljupitus.co.uk

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