Maybe you spent several hours updating a Word document, assuming it was autosaving, only to have Word collapse in a heap, erasing all your changes.
Maybe your IT department has an antivirus scan scheduled to run weekly that mysteriously starts in the morning. You can’t kill the process, and it’s using all the system resources, making it impossible to get any work done.
Maybe you spent an hour fine-tuning your profile on your favorite social networking site, only to have it all washed away when you click Update.
This happened to a guy on Mix this week. He said in his feedback “I may return to Mix after I regain my normal breathing rhythm again.” We haven’t been able to pinpoint what caused his problem, and it turns out he wasn’t that peeved. He was just venting.
I can relate.
The more we rely on computers, the more emotionally attached we become to their contents. Paul had his Macbook Pro stolen out of his office recently. He mentioned family pictures as the worst thing he could lose from the theft. Luckily, he has a backup, but we all know that hot flash fear you get when you think you’ve lost some important data.
This attachment we feel quickly turns against computers when they don’t perform. Ironically, the monitor usually takes the brunt of any beatings that frustration elicits. Like the classic “Bad day” video that’s been floating around since 1997.
Software inspires fanaticism too, both for and against, e.g. the cult of Mac, Linux and Open Source, anti-Microsoft sentiment, etc.
The question is why do we put so much emotion into software?
On the one hand, it seems odd to be frustrated by software, but we depend so heavily on all kinds of software to do everyday tasks that when it’s borked, life is bad.
Think about how you feel when your car isn’t cooperating, and all the stuff that you can’t do without a car. Software’s the same way, we need it to work.
I don’t have a good answer. What do you think? Why are we so attached to bits and bytes?