Rendered Fat Content


Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo:
God the Father Supported by Angels in Clouds, II (c. 1759)

"I once insisted that I would somehow maintain my naive state …"

I foolishly swore an oath when I was first introduced to what I referred to then as Barbie and Ken Computers. I referred to the so-called personal computers, those handy, steadily shrinking little machines we're not supposed to take too awfully seriously but do. My oath insisted that I would do everything in my power to remain a naive user of the damnable little things because I'd seen otherwise sentient beings disappear into some passionate swirl of technical engagement. Whether that attention went into coding or merely formatting didn't matter. My nonrefundable time mattered to me, and I swore my oath in the naive belief that I might somehow possess the power to make good on it, which, of course, I didn't.

To engage with technology inescapably transforms anybody into their own TechSupport.
No exceptions. Just like nobody can do anybody else's marketing for them, the technology owner, however otherwise technologically hapless, will be called upon as their own first responder. When a Pastword goes missing, nobody else will even notice. The Pastword will have been blocked by the ambiguous messaging insisting that someone enter an undifferentiated Pastword, just as if at least a lazy half dozen weren't lurking around, each one more forgettable and, indeed, more forgotten than its cousin. The first panicked hour will certainly distract our erstwhile protagonist from whatever job he imagined at hand in favor of performing work in which he never once ever intended to engage. He might well prove inept and incapable of resolving the technical issue. Still, that state will in no way disqualify him from giving away some of his jealously held non-refundable time engaging in it.

I have not learned to create code with my Barbie and Ken Computers. I nonetheless code, as even the most minor task undertaken with the machine involves some form of coding. Even filling in some seemingly labor-saving templates amounts to coding. Just see what results when you accidentally try to enter some hexadecimal paradox into one of the innocuous boxes. Suddenly, notions of file sizes and pixel heights might not seem like such alien concepts, and a world primarily kept invisible suddenly fills the entire visual range. A slight obsession might even initiate, some point of focus so compelling that for a time it becomes one's life purpose, a concept that never once existed a few minutes before becomes the user's purpose in life, an experience with which everyone with an actual title like TechSupport totally gets and has experienced: The Grand Obsession, which, of course, is anything but grand.

My blog ecosystem started with a simple aspiration: a new story daily, illustrated with an open-sourced illustration. Iterated since 2006, the result might be the largest website ever posted. Weighing in at just under 3 gigabytes. Thanks to those illustrations, most of which I downloaded from the world's greatest museums. They serve museum-quality images, averaging maybe one or two mg, though a few stretch to five or even more. In my natively naive state, I only really noticed once loading my daily stories started resulting in reliable crashes. The TechSupport of the first recourse stepped in and reported the issue to the blog software's TechSupport. He poked around for a short while before losing interest. He did notice the size, which surprised him. He offered no instruction about responding to the size "problem," which I'd previously and naively presumed was just a feature.

There are ways to modify an image to reduce its native size. The image accompanying this very story began the morning as a 1.2 MB .jpg, for instance, but through a form of magic of which I was blithely unaware until yesterday, it now resides on my blog as a 114 KB facsimile, visually indistinguishable from its original. The transformation took some technical interference, some of which Brian, my go-to TechSupport guy of second resort, provided, but I managed to solo on this morning. In addition to writing my daily story and posting references to the same into five (count 'em) five different domains, each a technological marvel with which I remain distinctly unaccomplished, I still manage the technological wonder of successfully posting my story to each. I have started contemplating how to rework those four thousand obscenely fat images so I no longer crash my load attempts or needlessly clog up my storage. And to think that I once insisted that I would somehow maintain my naive state and never become my own first TechSupport!

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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