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June 22nd, 2011

It’s All About the Pentiums, 12 Years Later

Long, long before “Weird Al” got into a pseudo-tussle with Lady Gaga over his parody, the man put out a track which spoke to me as a geek. His riff on Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins” was, simply, brilliant: “It’s All About the Pentiums”.

But like anything having to do with technology, “Weird Al’s” parody has aged… kinda… poorly. Let’s take a quick, bulleted list look at the items referenced in the video and lyrics.

  • COMDEX: Al performs the song to a suit-and-tie crowd at COMDEX, a computer trade show which shut down in 2003.
  • “…chillin at Hewlett-Packard”: They mostly go by HP now.
  • “Defraggin’ my hard drive for thrills”: I’m guessing most people don’t do this anymore, but defragging used to be absolutely essential to optimize hard drive performance. Yeah, yeah, nerd, I know.
  • “I got me a hundred gigabytes of RAM”: Impressively, this is still a lot when it comes to memory. Hard drives, not so much.
  • “I’m strictly plug-and-play…”: There was a time when plugging devices into a computer included a lengthy, awful, tedious set up process. Now, almost everything just works.
  • “…I ain’t afraid of Y2K”: It’s 1911!
  • “You’re usin’ a 286? Don’t make me laugh”: A granddaddy to the titular Pentium and comically slow now.
  • “You could back up your whole hard drive on a floppy diskette”: Floppies are dead, as are flippies. Hard drives are in a slow decline. I suspect this line will make no sense in 10 years.
  • “And postin’ ‘Me too!’ like some brain-dead AOL-er”: Surprisingly dated now that we look back. Naturally, you need to look at Eternal September, as well.
  • “You’ve got your own newsgroup, ‘alt.total-loser'”: I’d like you to ask anyone under the age of 20 what this means.

The majority of Al’s song is put downs of the CPU variety, an activity which fewer and fewer people partake in today (although they’re usually paid well and are called “pundits” or “bloggers”.) But to be honest, I still found the song entertaining today – even though it’s more of a nostalgia piece than anything else.

Posted in Pop Culture, Technology

Paul June 22, 2011, 2:23 pm

Oh, and I forgot to call out Drew Carey. I give the guy props for changing up his look, for 1999 and 2006 Drew are pretty much the same.

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