Recently, while trying to establish peaceable speaking terms between two recalcitrant computer modems, exasperation won out, and I drifted away to simpler times. Back then, before the pestilence of faceless electronic locusts had spread throughout the land, components carried the look and feel of their functions, and circuit boards smelled of fresh lumber. Resistors were carbonaceous aneurysms in copper arteries. Capacitors were capable of condensing when necessary. Vacuum tubes were glassy greenhouses where electrons coursed among grids and plates worthy of their names.