Sometimes I wonder why people do the things they do. Other times I wonder why I do the things I do.

Think my interest in Psychology was attempting to figure out answers to those questions. When I took Learning Theory it answered so many of my questions that I really did not feel a need pursue Psychology any further. (Guess it is good I took it my last semester.)

Of course, normal behavior is explainable and does not really interest me. It is the bahviors we call eccentric or crazy that interested me. The professor was talking about conditioning and a series of experiments to prove that conditioning did exist. Some people wanted to know what would happen if one randomly rewarded behavior. They found that the subjects developed odd behaviors that were performed just before the reward was delivered.

Let’s jump back to real life… computers are complex things that sometimes do things for reasons we cannot really fathom. So we just try things and hope that something we try actually works. The last thing that worked is what we will try the next time.

Is that a good thing? Sometimes. 😀

Many times we cannot really tell the subtle differences between one computer hiccup and another. The complexities of varying hardware interacting with varying software… the introduction of foreign hardware or software to a semi-stable computer ecosystem may be just enough to send it teetering into computer hell.

Throw into the mix a novice user. Someone who does not really know the difference between good behavior or bad behavior. They just want to read their email or find that recipe.

Of course, even uber-users often miss the signs of a computer falling apart. We think we know what is going on based on past experience or our understandings of how things should work. I recently was griping about how much of a pain it was to convince my computer that my default web browser should be MSIE. Netscape had taken hold and had fought it for about an hour. Had resigned myself to having to dig out registry keys to fix it. Also griped to a co-worker that MS should recognize the installed programs and allow you to select which one is the default. On a whim, I installed a recently released service pack… And lo, it installed a manager which lets me select no only my web browser but my media player, email program, etc.

I have been humbled.


  1. Yikes! Sounds like it was a mess for awhile.

    Had nightmarish afternoon over the weekend trying to figure out a conflict between Windows ME (which I’ve decided is the root of all evil in the universe) and my folks’ printer. Never did get it solved. Having installed printers zillions of times, the whole thing made me feel really really really inadequate. Its nuts I tell ya!!! 😀

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