I demand infinity

So, I’m currently trying to teach myself Spanish, because quite a few of the people I care about are Mexican and I’m tired of not understanding a word they say.

To this end, I’ve been using a popular but outrageously-expensive piece of language-learning computer software.  You’re probably familiar with it, since it has ads on television and kiosks in shopping malls.  And, the software works.  It’s not perfect by any stretch, but I am, in fact, learning Spanish.  I can’t yet speak or listen worth beans, but I can write a little, and I’m getting surprisingly decent at reading.  That may not seem like much, but considering that four months ago I thought that the band name Yo La Tengo was jibberish, I’d say I’ve come an impressive distance so far.

(In case it’s not immediately obvious to non-Spanish speakers, Yo La Tengo is not jibberish, but rather Spanish, at least to whatever extent that Spanish is not jibberish)

In about a week, I will finish the main part of the software’s language lessons.  To continue, I will need the advanced language disks, which are sold separately from the original lessons.  I could simply have bought them online, but they cost something along the line of a billion dollars.  So, like everyone with a computer who earns less than a medium-to-high-six-figure salary, I hoped to pirate the software, as I so cheerfully did with the original lessons.

The base program, and the regular lessons for an absurd variety of languages, are casually available on any number of conventional software piracy websites.  There is a giant file floating around containing the complete language library, which every computer expert worth his salt seems to personally own just for the sake of having it.  I got my copy from one such noble individual.

But… the advanced disks don’t seem to be out there.  My associate has looked, even asked, and yet cunning as he is he cannot find the advanced language lessons anywhere.

This tells me two things.  First, even though everyone and their brother has these language programs, I am apparently the first ever person to actually use them for more than the cultural capital of having them on a hard drive.

Second, the internet… has limits.

How is this possible?  He’s looking on the internetEverything is available on the internet.  Dirty underwear is on the internet.  Dogs in sweaters are on the internet.  Vintage Optimus Prime toys are on the internet.   An upside-down woman in a bathtub squirting poop on herself is on the internet (seriously, don’t click that last one; I’m only providing the link to make a point.  You don’t want to click it.  I’m not joking).  How can advanced language disks for a commonly-taught language not be on the internet?  The internet is infinite — it must be in there somewhere, right?

I’m left with a vague feeling of disappointment and dissatisfaction.  I know perfectly well that I shouldn’t have any sense of entitlement about this — the sheer scope of resources available online for basically no cost is boggling, so I can hardly begrudge the occasional disappointment.  Still, the grim reality seems to be that something I was rather counting on isn’t available.  To my surprise, I’m actually considering buying a legitimate copy of the software.  That seems ill-advised given that it costs a billion dollars.  Those little shiny disks are really expensive.  I suppose that the value of learning a language is itself significant (which is presumably how this company can charge so much for little shiny disks), but that’s still a lot of money.  There are undoubtedly other ways to learn Spanish, but since I’ve found something that seems to be working well, I’m loathe to part with it.

At this point, I’m basically putting all my hope and faith in one dedicated and savvy computer expert, who certainly has better things to do than find me software, but with luck will try anyway just to avoid my whinging.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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