Hello. David’s taking a day off. I’m sure I need no introduction. I am R. Collins Farquhar IV. After writing all the good parts of David’s book and not getting any credit whatsoever, I’ve spent the last couple of years working as a playwright, trying to follow in the footsteps of my slightly more famous ancestor, George Farquhar. It went OK. My ideal job, though, would allow me to sit on the floor all day and pontificate, and people, wowed by my vast intellect, would pay me.
I’m still waiting for the phone to ring. Something is very wrong with this world.

But a good friend did pass me an invitation last night. He’s a French nobleman, the closest thing I’ve found to being worthy of my company. His name is something along the lines of Jacques Luc Pepe “Ham’n’Cheese” Croissant Crepe de Raunche. He’s not quite worthy of my company, which is why I never bother to remember his proper name completely. He gets annoyed when I just call him Raunche. He gets even more annoyed when I call him Steve.

Raunche invited me to the new home he just finished building. “Will you be joining me for cigars and old cognac tonight?” he wrote me. “But of course,” I wrote back. And I offered to provide the music. In typical French fashion, he declined. Rudely.

I was going to fly in my private jet, but Raunche is in the habit of letting his dogs roam free on it. I didn’t want to dirty up my plane, so I drove. Well, actually, I was driven. I couldn’t help but notice he lives off a road called Bentley Park. It’s very appropriate, what with a Bentley being a car for a man who can’t quite handle a Rolls. I told him that upon my arrival, after he greeted me in a gruff voice.

He said he’s already got one.

Vivaldi was playing in the background. How cliche. I told him that too. He said something about taunting me a second time.

I’m still wondering if I went to the right place, because there were no cigars and no old cognac. No new cognac either, for that matter. All he had was Girl Scout cookies and chocolate soy milk. And Vivaldi. He didn’t even have the decency to play it on a tube receiver. It’s impossible to hear music the way it was meant to be heard on transistor equipment. But he insisted on playing it on — get this — a COMPUTER.

Was I wondering whether I went to the right house? Strike that thought. Playing Vivaldi on a computer is just like Raunche. He’s always more interested in trying to show off his computer skills than he is in doing things right.

So we sat around and talked about what he needed for his firewall. David fancies himself the computer expert in the family, but his intellect is no match for mine. He can’t possibly know as much as I know. He doesn’t even know as much as Raunche. So Raunche and I laid out some plans, and I tried not to think about David being out and about, doing middle-class things:

Intel D850MV motherboard (dual processor)
(2) 2.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
4 GB RDRAM
Adaptec 39160 dual-channel Ultra160 SCSI controller
(2) Seagate Cheetah X15 36LP 36-GB hard drives
Pioneer DVD-305S SCSI DVD-ROM drive
1 Quantum DLT 8000 40/80 GB tape drive
Asus V8200 GeForce3 video card
Intel Pro/1000 XT Gigabit Ethernet adapter
Microsoft humpback keyboard
5-button Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer optical mouse

Raunche and I argued about the specs for a long time. I wanted Fibre Channel hard drives, but Raunche didn’t like that idea. Finally I relented. This isn’t going to be a serious computer, after all. It’s just going to be a firewall and a router. Raunche asked about GeForce4 cards, but they’re still a little bit hard to find. I wouldn’t put anything less than a GeForce3 in a server-class machine, but I’m not too interested in waiting for a GeForce4. People say we never get anything done and just sit around pontificating too much already.

Raunche said the board would only take 2 GB of memory, but that’s nonsense. I read somewhere recently that Linux will run in as little as 4 MB of memory. Obviously that was a typo and they meant to say GB. So if Linux requires a minimum of 4 GB of memory, we should get 4 GB of memory. Obviously if we build a computer so that it will run Linux well, it will also run Windows well. That’s just common sense. Still, computer hardware has gotten so cheap, he’ll be able to build himself a nice simple little firewall for around $10,000.

I really wish Intel would go back to making memory and high-end video chipsets and cards, and I wish they would get into the SCSI controller business. There are two hardware companies I trust: Intel and Microsoft. Raunche agrees.

With our plans laid out, Raunche bid me adieu late in the night. I’d have liked to have stayed and debated longer, but the upper crust need their sleep.

As I left, I thought it was rather nice of me to drive in rather than flying in. That way I wouldn’t awaken his neighbors by taking off in a jet late at night. Not that they care, I’m sure. One must make provisions to live in such close proximity to the upper crust.

In fact, I’m sure some of the neighbors were disappointed not to get the chance to see my plane. I’ll have to get on to Raunche about having his runway cleaned.