Eeky Geeky: Weekly Peeky at the Freaky

Carl Brooks

Nothing exciting has happened with computers for a while. That may surprise many of you who obsessively read Tom’s Hardware and Ars Technica and wear designer grounding straps. Well, you are the truly mighty, the tweakers extraordinaire, and no amount of shivering outside of Microcenter in the pre-dawn to ensure your grip on the godly will shake you from your perch.

For those of us that actually use computers, however, we have entered a plateau of electronica, a period previously notable only for its briefness, where technology takes a little breather. We’ve pretty much hit the limits on silicon, to the point where the only people who need to care about computing power already have a multi-million dollar organization backing them up. For the home user, a vintage 2001 PC is the same, for all intents and purposes, as a 2003 model. Sure, the 2003 is louder than your lawnmower and can reheat your coffee, but unless you render 440-point real physics simulations in million-color animation, you won’t notice a difference.

Sure, there was DDR and new high speed hard drives, and yeah, you can get 466 FSB and better, but really, your chances of being able to play that new video game depend more of which video card you’ve got than anything else, and the internet is only as fast as your ISP says it is.

Same goes for home electronics, cameras, etc. Buy now, rest assured you have at least a year, maybe two, before you are heinously out of date.

The big news this week is that the holiest of holies is up for sale; that’s right, Google wants an IPO. My brain quite literally froze at the news; I had to get cycled with a whack to the back of the head before I could even think about this. Google, the extra brain of us all, mighty, impartial observer of the internet, quite possibly the most useful thing ever, selling out and going whore? I am overcome with a sick, familiar dread. Going public means, inevitably, that your great idea will much like a crack whore, become infected with disease, and slowly, but surely, get raddled, stinking, and loathsome to behold, and yet you will hang on out of loyalty to the pretty young thing you knew before, even as they suck out your brains and empty your wallet.

Can Google avoid this syphilitic end? It’s going to be rough. See, public companies have this monkey on their back, called The Shareholder, which holds above their bowed head the glittering cleaver of litigation if not fed four times a year with higher dividends. It means greedy assholes can sue your ass for not making money fast enough, no matter what you thought you were trying to accomplish. And what, may this geek ask, exactly is the point? Google does everything it’s supposed to; I’m hard-pressed to think of any market penetration they don’t have, and their ad business is booming. It’s kind of like Jesus deciding he needs to tweak the message a bit.

Now, Google, as evidenced by their product, is run by very bright people, and they are trying to go about the IPO in a very bright fashion. Microsoft wanted to get a piece of them and torture them to death (that’s its business model); they said no. Google only wants to offer up $2 billion in shares, when they are probably worth 10, and in defiance of the usual raw-meat-in-a-shark-tank IPO, they might restrict sales to only the really nice people. Yeah sure, whatever. All small companies with moral standards try that junk out.

Beware, o holy Google; that the mind-blowing crack of stock market cash is hard to resist. The first time everything will be great, everybody gets a new Ferrari and new offices, but then, you need another $2 billion, and another…