[EAS] Rage Therapy

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Wed Jan 5 14:05:15 EST 2005

Subject:   Rage Therapy

(from INNOVATION, 5 January 2005)

      Kent Norman, cognitive psychologist and director of the
Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes at the
University of Maryland, loves to kill computers. His lab looks like
a slaughterhouse for  surplus and obsolete technology: "… I thought
why not dispose of all this  stuff in a creative, vent-filled
manner? And I discovered it is fun, interesting and rewarding to
barbeque a mouse, crack open a hard disk, and bend a keyboard,"
says Norman. But his destruction has a point -- he makes technology
snuff films that he hopes will serve as a self-help tool for 
frustrated users driven to the edge. Norman has documented humans'
tendency toward technology abuse through a rage survey, which has
produced confessions like "I once shot a computer with a .50 cal
BMG sniper rifle" and "Threw keyboard into the swimming pool. Kinda
nice watching it sink."  In fact, based on Norman's research, about
10% of all new computers and tech gadgets given as gifts over the
holidays will suffer serious damage by frustrated recipients -- and
the worst abusers? Techies, of course: "While most techies have a
high tolerance for frustration when they go over the edge they can
be excessive. I have one report of a frustrated geek who took his
PC into the middle of a parking lot and doused it with two gallons
of gasoline. That's a bit much. Two cups would have been more than 
sufficient," says Norman. (Technology Review 24 Dec 2004)

Maybe in addition to the many gyms and spas that most shopping
plazas are turning into, there could be a rage therapy center
attached to the recycling portion of the local town dump?  --PJK

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