My Windows '95 is double glazed

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The Independent Online
Today I am opening a surgery for casualties of the Microsoft Windows '95 campaign. You are welcome to access it by e- mail, Internet, fax, letter, phone call, postcard or - to go back to a simpler, and possibly more honest, era - just by coming round and knocking on my door and asking, "What's all this Microsoft Windows '95 bloody nonsense about then?"

Hey! Hey! Can you hear me in there?

Yes. I can hear you. There's no need to knock so loud.

So, what's all this Microsoft Windows '95 bloody nonsense about then?

It's about the next generation of technology. It's like Gutenberg with knobs on. It's about computers growing up. It's about flowers and chocolates and champagne. It's about suddenly seeing what life is all about.

All right, then. What is life all about, smartypants?

It's about icons and accessing. It's about getting hold of Salman Rushdie on the Internet and interviewing him live. It's about dragging a whole generation of computer users smiling and laughing into the 21st century. It's about making a lot of money for Mr Bill Gates. It's about the most significant advance in PCs since the last significant advance in PCs. It's also about time somebody explained it all very clearly and easily.

That's easy enough to say, but what has someone like, oh, I don't know, someone like Will Carling got to say about Microsoft Windows '95?

Nothing. Will Carling's phone has been engaged for the past four months and we can't get through to him. We went round to his place and banged on his door and shouted through the key-hole, "What's all this Microsoft Windows '95 bloody nonsense about then?" but all he did was say very softly, "Could you hold on for a moment your Royal Highness?" and then shout very loudly, "Bugger off, you hell hounds from Canary Wharf!

Is it true that Bill Gates paid the Rolling Stones over $8m for the use of their 1981 hit single, "Hey, Man, Let me have a go on the Microsoft Windows '95 when you're all through smoking it"?

Yes.

Well, look, I bought that single when it first came out in 1981, so what does that entitle me to?

Nothing, unless you paid $8m for it at the time.

Er, no, I got it second-hand and paid pounds 1.20 for it.

Well, tough.

I wonder if you can help me. I was in my flat in Shepherd's Bush yesterday, just minding my own business, when suddenly there was this loud knock at the door and, when I answered it, there was this big bloke standing there, with a very threatening hat on, and he just looked at me and said: "Have you got Microsoft Windows '95 installed?" Well, I'm only a single-sex parent, but I have actually scraped and scrimped enough to get Microsoft Windows '95 installed, because I think it's very important for my little girl, Drusilla (of course she doesn't know she's a little girl yet, I have encouraged her to think of herself as a person now and decide what gender she wants to be later). I think it's very important for Dru to have the right computer games early in life, and so I said, "Yes, I have got Microsoft Windows '95 installed", and he said, "Then I think you ought to get your Windows '95 double-glazed. I can do a very good deal for you; pounds 100 in cash", and I said: "I didn't know that Windows '95 COULD be double-glazed", and he said: "Lord bless my soul, you're in for a very bad winter if you don't get it double-glazed now", and with that he turned my computer into a sort of mini-conservatory by slapping glass round it, and it only took him about 10 minutes but he insisted afterwards that I had agreed to pay him pounds 500 for the whole process, and I said: "No way!" and suddenly a team of lawyers leapt through the door and slapped a subpoena on me.

What does that mean?

I don't know, but it hurt quite a lot.

Doesn't it make it difficult to get at your computer if it is totally surrounded by glass?

Yes, especially if there are lots of palms and small temperate plants growing in the interstices.

Interstices?

Bless you.

Thank you. Any other questions?

Just one. Why is everyone getting so excited about Windows '95 if nobody knows what it is, and those who do say it is not unlike things that Apple Mac has been doing since 1987?

Because Windows '95 is truly wonderful and inspiring. It really is.

Have you been paid by Microsoft to say that?

Yes. Everyone has. All the journalists in the world are getting a free lunch on Microsoft today, plus a free litre of house wine.

And is this copy of your column absolutely free to all readers?

Of course. It always is. As long as you pay full price for the rest of the paper, of course.

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