Thursday, December 20, 2007

How did Oprah make billions?

It's late and I can't sleep, and as I was flipping channels, I happened across the Oprah Winfrey show. On the show, there was a guy trying to explain to her how email gets from one computer to another. Oprah and her audience of acolytes were all amazed and impressed with the shiny colors and the "computer", which they had evidently never heard of.

Here is roughly how it went:
Oprah: So, email travels by wire?
Guy: Yes.
Oprah: It's an actual wire?
Guy: Yes.
Oprah: I thought it just shot out into the ether?
Guy: No, it's a wire
Oprah: A real physical wire?
Guy: Yes.
Oprah: A wire.
Guy: Yes.

I am not quoting exactly, but she literally asked five freaking times if email travelled by wire. I am not sure why she was asking that, and I have no idea why it was so important to her to establish definitively that email travelled via wire, but she rode that horse into the ground.

Next, when the guy finally got past the whole issue of wires and moved on to show Oprah how the email travelled (by wire, of course) from her computer to her company servos, Oprah almost had an aneurysm, all because the guy mentioned the Harpo servers. She said "There are servers in this building?" and the guy said "Yes. Just a couple of doors down from the studio as a matter of fact". Oblivious to the fact that by this point even her audience was laughing at her, Oprah actually seemed amazed that her multi-billion dollar media empire would have a dedicated server room.

Then the guy talked about routers, specifically how servers packet the data, send it to routers, which then distribute it around until it reaches it's final destination. Guess what? Oprah again started in on the wires, asking no fewer than four more times if the routers were physically wired to one another. The guy mumbled something about fiber-optic cables, but by this point it was clear that he wanted to stab Oprah in the throat. It was also at this point that I realized that staring at a blank wall is better than watching Oprah.

I can understand that not everyone understands computers, and I can understand that not everyone is particularly handy with them. However, I can't understand how Oprah has amassed a gazillion dollar fortune by asking such insipid questions repeatedly. I further don't understand how you could broadcast from the same studio for however many years she has been at that studio and not ever notice the big door that says "Harpo Server Room" on it.

It's great that she is now becoming politically active, because we can all watch her ask Barack Obama seventeen times if the signatures on a piece of legislation are actual signatures done with real ink.


1 comment:

mellymel said...

What?? e-mail travels through wires????
That just ruins my fantasies of highway and little envelopes driving down the HOV lanes!!
Stupid Oprah!