Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Dude you gotta get a CLUE!

In one of the current Christmas adds (inexplicably still running) for Dell computers, we get to peek in on a child asking his dad for his dream system from Dell. Dad asks for a "Model number" and his son launches into a litany of geek speak - enumerating the actual components he wishes his dream computer to contain. OK, so far so good. I am that kid for all intents and purposes. Anyone who has built a home PC knows and loves this part. It's the silicone equivalent of popping the hood on your '57 Woody and comparing block sizes. But among the stream of desired components is listed an "Express PCI Graphics card". Ok every geek in the room just made the sour lemon face. This kid wants the sort of system that will make every child in the neighborhood rush over to his house and bask in the warm soft glow of digital sex in the window (my apologies to Mr. Jean Parker Shepherd) yet he asks for a piece of 2nd tier graphics technology.

For those of you who don't know - All PC's - except for the hobbled minimalist systems found in Bank Branches and insurance company cubical farms - have an AGP slot for the graphics card. Think of this as a direct connection between the computer's brain and your monitor. Basically an AGP graphics card - again standard in almost all systems - is a fire hose for pretty pictures. By comparison, a PCI graphics card uses a standard peripheral slot (the PCI slot) to operate the monitor. This means that the monitor is being served its information in line with the rest of the rabble the computer talks to - Ethernet card, dial up modem, fire wire card, USB card and the likes and has to wait its turn. Yes PCI video cards work just fine and dandy for most applications but it is definitely a sub par video adapter for computer gaming and lets face it - from the other components listed in this add, this kid yearns to frag.

So my point is this. We have a cute spot and a good idea but somewhere along the way, the writer forgot to actually ask a geek about the sort of components that actually go into making a 12-year-old's dream system. My guess? I bet the agency that wrote this pimple on the face of add-copy everywhere uses a Mac and simply cut and pasted random components from the Dell website into their script. Look, if you were planning to script an add that was going to air in every major market on Earth, wouldn't you think it prudent to ask your intended market if you got the fiddly details right before you pulled the trigger? I would.

And that's why I'm unemployed!