She was in mid rant, and I was getting an uneasy feeling that it was going to turn out to be my fault. It wasn't my fault, quite impossible in fact, but it was definitely going that way. She was - and still is - a big player in the world of television. I had accidentally wandered into her office thinking it led to the gents and had answered her question as I passed.
The answer, as I discovered to my horror, bought me a front seat at something resembling Mount Vesuvius with a hangover. The question she had asked was 'what should I do with my computer'?
Alas, my lighthearted answer was 'throw it out the window and get a new one'. I know written down like that it looks a bit naff, but it wasn't as bad as it looks. And anyway, I'm a computer industry columnist - I'm allowed to be glib and unhelpful.
Actually, it is a must. Anyway, off she went, shouting stuff like 'I paid thousands of pounds for it, they never told me it would run out of steam four years later,' and 'all I want it to do is its job', and on and on. Obviously she has a point, but like I say, it's my job to be glib.
I noticed there was another chap in the room, he was cowering, so I assumed he was the poor unfortunate IT person that had bought the damn thing in the first place. I decided I would keep the fact that I was a columnist quiet on the off-chance she didn't like them either, but having been caught in the uproar I thought I would like to try and help.
I walked over to her computer and squinted at the monitor where the frozen application sat on the screen. It took a few seconds, but I realised it was Lotus Ami Pro.
This poor woman was using a 60MHz Pentium running Ami Pro under Windows 3.1. No wonder she was in trouble. But I couldn't say that because naturally I wanted to get out alive.
I told her that if she rebooted it should work and made quickly for the door. On the way it dawned on me that it was one of you lot out there who had sold this system to the poor IT chap. One of you lot had said: 'Of course Lotus Ami Pro will be perfect for your needs.' One of you lot had said: 'Oh this is a real investment. A Pentium P60 will be the top of the range machine for years to come.'
As I bought my false identity and forged passport, I wondered how many other people are having a rant about the kit that they paid top-dollar for a few years back that doesn't work now. It seems to me there are coops full of pigeons just waiting to come home to roost.
Of course, as a professional columnist, I'm not responsible for her troubles. And anyway, even if I had said anything at the time she wouldn't have listened to me.
All the same, I've decided to move to a place in the world where they don't use computers just in case.
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