Homes and offices are currently being plagued by an invasion just as bad as junk mail and spam emails1. This is the horror of the Free Internet CD. Unlike junk mail, they can't be easily shredded and recycled and unlike email, they can't simply be deleted. Most people feel that a CD is a useful and innocent object, and therefore they are often not thrown away.
The content of the CDs are mostly of the same pattern, with a few frills. A few of them offer shareware programs to entice you to insert it into your CD-ROM drive. These programs, on use, are found to be completely useless without the included Internet connection to the advertised company. This connection is no better or worse than any other, but will be much applauded on the packaging as the best possible method of connection.
The CD itself comes in a flat plastic or card wallet. This is also useless. The CD label is brightly coloured and will display a particularly gormless catchphrase - like one of the following:
- 'Get that Career - ZOOM Free Internet'
- 'All New'
- 'Free! Easy! Fun! Fast!'
Instructions for the CD are usually included either on the CD or on an accompanying leaflet. These instructions are specially written and are edited to the industry standard. The net result is that the instructions are bright pink and have randomly sized and placed headers saying things like 'Enjoy!' and 'Read!'.
If you install one of the CDs, your hard drive is instantaneously filled with a whole load of junk that you really don't need. Once you connect to the Internet, even more junk will be downloaded without you even asking. Your computer will no longer be yours - it now belongs to the creators of the CD. If you do not permanently use their connection, and their email services, and their supported browser, and shop on their online shops, your computer could suddenly produce random bugs which may result in the eventual collapse of your computer, along with any vital work stored on it.
In the old days, when this kind of software was distributed on floppy disks, a solution to the problem was obvious. Insertion into the computer was followed by a quick formatting routine, and a blank, useful, free floppy disk was produced. Sadly this cannot be achieved with a CD, and so millions of people are left with an ever-increasing pile of Free Internet CDs which they are sure will come in handy one day.
Uses for Unwanted CDs
Something obviously has to be done about this problem. Certain inventive minds have come up with a number of uses for these CDs, thus avoiding space wastage and also preventing future generations making the mistake of coming across these CDs and inserting them into their computers.
The current most popular use is to use them as frisbees. They don't fly very well, they break easily, but there's plenty more where they came from.
They can be stuck (label first) onto the wall in a pattern as a nice modern art decoration.
They make great novelty beer mats.
You can use particularly shiny ones as shaving mirrors.
Superglue them all together, and use as a large-volume, small-capacity Smarties2 tube, as extra-secure cable insulation, as small coffee tables, or as rollers for transporting large furniture.
Become a physics lecturer and use them to demonstrate refraction of light.
Glue one to the back of your hamster's wheel so it can use its reflection as a pace setter while exercising.
Propose to your beloved and present it as a novelty engagement ring.