Before Dilbert, before joke web sites, before Douglas Adams (well, no, not before Douglas Adams), there was Gigglebytes, the first and still longest-running humor column devoted to computers and technology.

I started writing Gigglebytes as bi-weekly humor column for Northern California Computer Currents in 1986. It would eventually run in various magazines and Web sites all over the world. Burned out on the 900-word column format, I gave up the column in 2008, after nearly 22 years of publication.

Gigglebytes existed long before publications started posting their articles on the Web. And the columns that were posted that way are, for the most part, no longer available on their original publication web sites (primarily because the publication no longer exists). I therefore created this blog primarily to post favorite old columns, each one back-dated to the date of original publication. I occasionally may write a new Gigglebytes piece for this blog, but not often.

Lincoln Spector


3 Responses to “About”

  1. 1 tsfortner March 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Power Outage
    The right utility collection can protect you from productivity
    August 5, 1997
    If you think owning a PC, a monitor, an operating system, a printer, and a few applications is enough, think again. You need a first-class utility collection to keep everything from falling apart.

    For the purposes of this review, I looked at one such collection whose name is synonymous with falling apart: Glockenshpiel’s JackHammer & PowerSaw 97 for Windows 95.

    The installation went smoothly. It let me select a program folder (I chose to install it over my existing JackHammer & PowerSaw 95 installation) and then dumped most of its files into C:\Windows. Eventually, it asked if I wanted to create an emergency floppy. I clicked Yes and was prompted to put a floppy disk into drive A:. Five minutes later, it told me to remove that floppy, label it “JackHammer & PowerSaw Emergency Disk 1: Programs needed in a real bad situation,” and pop in another floppy. After removing that floppy and labeling it “JackHammer & PowerSaw Emergency Disk 2: FAT, Registry, INI files, and Solitaire scores,” I popped in a third.

    After “JackHammer & PowerSaw Emergency Disk 18: Nonstandard wallpaper, WAV files, and animated cursors,” the program let me see the Readme file. It told me how to properly uninstall the product: Run the uninstall program and manually remove every relevant file and Registry entry. Then the Readme file concluded with “Congratulations! You have just installed JackHammer & PowerSaw 97. WARNING: If you install JackHammer & PowerSaw 97 over a JackHammer & PowerSaw 95 installation, the program will replace the Windows Registry with WAV files of every fundraising phone call ever made by Vice President Al Gore.

    Luckily, I was able to restore the Registry with the help of a backup I had stored off-site in Nepal.


    The first JackHammer & PowerSaw module I looked at was the crash recovery program N-Burn. N-Burn is designed to run in the background and warn me if my system is about to crash-presumably so I can take cover. It worked: Immediately after I launched it, N-Burn told me that my system about to crash. I clicked O.K. and went on with my work.

    Next I launched the defragger, ShatterDisk, which caused N-Burn to pop up and warn me that my system was about to crash. I clicked O.K. and continued to inspect ShatterDisk.

    The program comes with a dizzying array of options, from “Defrag only fragmented files with Rs in them, leaving empty space all over your drive” to “Defrag all files, moving C:\Windows to the beginning of the drive, all empty space to sector 0, C:\My Documents to a floppy, and the swap file to every third cluster.” By running multiple defrags using all of these options, I was able to cut my average drive access time by half a percent!

    Next, I tried running the package’s drive diagnostic and repair program, Slipped Disk. After clicking O.K. in response to N-Burn’s imminent crash warning, I was presented with a wide choice of options. Did I want Slipped Disk to test the integrity of my FAT? Fix cross-linked files? Check for orphaned long file names? Thoroughly test the surface of my drive for bad sectors? For very bad sectors? For downright evil sectors? I selected all of the options, held my breath, and waited to see what would happen.

    After 10 minutes of checking my hard drive very thoroughly while displaying an animation of a hard drive surface being hit with a rubber mallet, Slipped Disk gave me a brief but educational report: “Your FAT has been cross-linked to a file with a lost long filename that has been moved to a downright evil sector. Solution: If you don’t run Slipped Disk anymore, this won’t happen again.”


    Next I loaded Files Be Gone, JackHammer’s archive and destroy utility. The program took 20 minutes to scan my hard drive to decide what files deserved to live or die. When it finished, it asked if I wanted to remove large files, unused files, or duplicate files. Then N-Burn warned me that my system was about to crash.

    I clicked O.K., then picked the option to view-for possible deletion-every file that had not been accessed in the past 90 days. Within two seconds, I was presented with a list of no files. Of course. When Files Be Gone scanned my drive, it had to access every file.

    If I couldn’t clean out my hard drive, I figured I could at least tidy up the Windows Registry using JackHammer & PowerSaw’s Nuclear Warfare. The program opened with a warning: “In order to do its job, Nuclear Warfare must temporarily replace the Registry files with a large collection of dirty limericks. If the program is not allowed to complete the process, these files will be wiped out and Windows will cease to function.”

    I held my breath and clicked O.K. Five minutes later I was turning blue and decided to breathe again. The program was still doing its job when N-Burn popped up with its usual warning about an imminent crash. I clicked O.K., and my system locked up.

    Time for another trip to Nepal.

    (c) 1997 Lincoln Spector. All rights reserved.

  2. 2 Lincoln Spector March 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Hi, TS. I take it this is an old favorite of yours?


  1. 1 Can I Turn On My Smartphone? | Technology Trackback on April 4, 2011 at 8:29 am

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