Do you talk about computers, software, or web sites as manifesting human-like behaviors? Personally, I have.

At work, we manage several machines who collectively provide the GeorgiaVIEW service. When a machine is completely unresponsive, then we refer to it as having died. When a machine stops a performance issue, we refer to it as happy. I call my car cranky when it fails to run well.

Besides, electronics and vehicles, are there other examples?


An author who did a session at a conference some time ago asked me to take down 3 photos of him. I did. I just don’t like that I did.

  • I thought about making them Friends & Family so he could not see it.
  • I thought about replacing them with “Removed at the request of <author’s name>”.
  • I even thought about ignoring the request.

He didn’t say why. I thought about asking.


Information is only valuable when found. It is great someone took notes during the conference call, but four months later, when I do not recall the date of the meeting or who sent the notes, I’ll rely on my computer searching for it.

Thunderbird returns pretty quickly when it searches subjects only. So I will start there. I will try a few terms. Probably it will yield a few results without what I seek or too many results to browse through because people rarely use descriptive subjects.

Next, I will turn to searching the bodies of emails. As long as the notes were taken by someone technical, they will be text in the body of the email. So I will find them easily. Non-technical folks send the notes inside Word or Excel documents. So I won’t find the notes.

Not finding information because notes are inside attachments has burned me lately, so I have taken to copying out the text and sending it to myself as regular text.

Found My Soul

A few weeks ago when I got home from out of town, I could not find the remote to my TiVo. On the third day, I ran to Best Buy to acquire a universal remote replacement.

The replacement lacked critical usability features. Several buttons were simply missing:

  1. Select button to navigate the menus.
  2. Guide button to see what is worth watching.
  3. Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down to rate items.

I found the TiVo remote eventually. All is well again in the world.