Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

10 habits of superstitious users

Filed under
Misc

In 1947, the psychologist B. F. Skinner reported a series of experiments in which pigeons could push a lever that would randomly either give them a food pellet, or nothing. Think of it as a sort of one-armed bandit that the pigeons played for free. Skinner found, after a while, that some of the pigeons started acting oddly before pushing the lever. One moved in counterclockwise circles, one repeatedly stuck its head into the upper corner of the cage, and two others would swing their heads back and forth in a sort of pendulum motion. He suggested that the birds had developed “superstitious behaviors” by associating getting the food with something they happened to be doing when they actually got it — and they had wrongly concluded that if they did it again, they were more likely to get the pellet. Essentially, they were doing a sort of food-pellet dance to better their odds.

Although computer users are undoubtedly smarter than pigeons, users who really don’t understand how a computer works may also wrongly connect some action of theirs with success (and repeat it), or associate it with failure (and avoid it like the plague). Here are some of the user superstitions I’ve encountered.

1: Refusing to reboot

Some users seem to regard a computer that’s up and running and doing what they want as a sort of miracle, achieved against all odds, and unlikely ever to be repeated … certainly not by them. Reboot? Not on your life! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why take the risk?

rest here




More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • GTK3 Download Manager `uGet` 2.0 Released
    uGet 2.0 was released recently, bringing support for multi-thread downloading and mirrors for the curl plugin, individual download speed limiting, new settings dialog and more.
  • Drop-Down Terminal `Guake` 0.7.0 Released, Available In PPA
    Guake is a drop-down terminal inspired by computer games consoles such as the one used in Quake, which slides down from the top of the screen when a key is pressed (F12 by default in Guake).
  • 4MPlayer 12.0 Beta Is a Linux Distro Used Just to Play Video Files
    4MPlayer is new interesting Linux distribution that has been built with a single use in mind, to play any kind of video files, including CDs and DVDs, without having to boot an entire distro and its desktop environment.
  • RcppAnnoy 0.0.6
    A few days ago, Erik released a new version of his Annoy library -- a small, fast, and lightweight C++ template header library for approximate nearest neighbours -- which now no longer requires Boost. While I don't mind Boost (actually, quite the opposite), it appears to have been a blocker in getting the Python part of Annoy over to the world of python3.
  • virt-manager 1.2.0 released!
    Today I released virt-manager-1.2.0. You can read the release announcement here...
  • Calligra 2.9.4 Office Suite Released with Multiple Krita Improvements
    After a bogus Calligra 2.9.3 release, the developers of the number one open source office suite for the KDE desktop environment released Calligra 2.9.4, which brings multiple improvements to the popular Krita digital painting software.
  • KDE Applications 15.04 Is Now Available for Kubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)
    On May 4, the Kubuntu developers had the pleasure of informing their users about the immediate availability of the recently announced KDE Applications 15.04 software suite for the Kubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) operating system.
  • Plex Media Server Now Supports PlayStation 4 Audio Transcoding
    The modern and powerful Plex Media Server, a free and cross-platform media server software for GNU/Linux, BSD, OS X, and Microsoft Windows platforms, has been updated recently to version 0.9.12.0.

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming

Android Leftovers