One of my favorite rap songs is Weird Al's
It's All About the Pentiums. In some ways the exaggerative style of the lyrics have protected the song, and it has aged relatively well, given the subject matter, but even so there are some parts of it that just seem like they could stand to be modernized. Here are a few of my suggestions. (Note that I'm only listing the parts I suggest changes for. The full lyrics, if you don't know them, are available elsewhere.)
|original lyric||comments||suggested revision|
|Defraggin' my hard drive for thrills||While defragmentation is not entirely obsolete|
as such, it seems a lot less relevant now than
ten years ago, and indeed there are much
geekier things one can do with a filesystem
these days than defragment it. Unfortunately,
tuning the filesystem parameters for
performance doesn't seem to fit the metre
here, so I had to go with something older,
older even than defragmentation, but something
all geeks still do from time to time.
|Partition my hard drive for thrills|
|Installed a T1 line in my house||While residential frame relay is still geeky|
in general, T1 is no longer the same kind of
overkill that it was when the song was
written, and many ordinary consumers
have that much bandwidth from DSL or
even cable modem service. My revised
lyric, however, should be good for at
least ten years more.
|Installed an OC3 at my house|
|Upgrade my system at least twice a day||The first line here would have been fine |
as it stands, except that changing the rhyme
makes the next line easier to work with.
This latter did not age well and is arguably the
worst lyric in the song. (The part about Y2K
was laughable within six months after the song's
release, and probably should not have been
included in the first place.) The line can't even
really be upgraded with a modern equivalent,
because there isn't one. PnP is a very bad
memory for most geeks, with no modern equivalent
really, and nobody is very much afraid of 2038,
most software having already been upgraded to
64-bit datetime values as I write this.
That makes this line a good choice to slip
in something that wasn't on most people's
radar when the song was written in the
nineties. Network security and reliability
Social networking and user-created content are
another option, but security seems more
likely to still be an issue in ten years.
Threading and Unicode seem too technical,
managed code too likely to be taken for
granted in another ten years.
|My battery backup is certified green.|
|I'm strictly plug-and-play, I ain't afraid of Y2K||My generator's clean. My firewall is lean and mean.|
|You think your Commodore 64 is really neato||No one could have predicted in 1999 that the|
Commodore 64 would be cool again in 2007, but
the retro trend, among teenagers and gamers,
has really changed the flavor of meaning
this line carries. A small brand substitution
should restore the original sentiment.
|You think your Packard Bell is really neato|
|In a 32-bit world, you're a 2-bit user||Yeah, there is still a lot of 32-bit stuff|
out there, but the cool CPUs now are all
64-bit, and the days of 32-bit software
are numbered. I wouldn't have revised the
song for this, and it may even be a little
ahead of its time, but since we're making
changes, this should be updated too.
|In a 64-bit world, you're a 2-bit user|
Wow, look at that. With only six changes (and most of them are very small changes, and two of them scarcely even necessary) a song from 1999 feels current in 2006. Given the subject matter, that's actually fairly amazing. It's hard to find a computer book from 1999 that's worth the paper it's printed on, so these lyrics really have aged quite well.