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renodino (6856)

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Perl Contrarian & SQL fanboy.

Here's my CPAN goods. []

Journal of renodino (6856)

Tuesday July 01, 2008
03:06 PM

There must be a word for this...

[ #36836 ]
I've experienced this far too often, and I know everyone else who has ever laid hands on a computer has experienced it. So there must be a word or acronym for it.

Essentially, its the intersection of Murphy's Law and PEBKAC.

E.g., I'm currently helping someone build some s/w on Windows. He's a Linux hacker, and quickly gets frustrated by the Windows "everything has to be a GUI" imposition.

Now, when I personally built this particular package, I had no problems. But I've been hacking Windows for years, and know how to install/setup Visual Studio by rote.

So when my protoge encountered difficulties, I was at a loss. Until I learned he had all manner of crapware on his laptop. And 2 versions of Visual Studio. And the wrong version of the software to be built. And was missing one of the prereqs.

And so, after scrubbing his system, I walk him through the build process. But I can tell he's frustrated, and he has other responsibilities, so he's also a bit distracted.

Then I get his latest email listing the errors issuing forth from the build process. I know he's probably fuming at this point, and probably suspects I'm a part of this diabolic conspiracy to thwart his progress.

Then I point out that he's fatfingered an extra quote in the initial command line, which subsequently causes Perl and the generated makefile to do various bizarre, non-Windows things.

After correcting his mistake, he's now progressing nicely. But I'm certain the experience has further prejudiced him against Windows, and probably Perl, despite the fact that neither suspect is particularly culpable for his frustration.

So is there a word for it ? Perhaps the opposite of "serendipity" ? Roughly defined, its the act of making a personal error which you blame on the machine due to having previously experienced numerous machine induced errors.

If there isn't a word for it, there certainly should be. And there should be at least one expletive embedded in it.

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  • I'm sure Freud discussed it (formally) first, but later it was also called the Stockholm Syndrome, I believe.

    It's the tendency for kidnap victims to develop powerful and quite unexpected emotional bonds with their captors.

    So why is it relevant here?

    Because Microsoft uses deliberate design decisions to beat you into submission.

    The frustration etc you discuss is the aim of the process.

    What goes thru your mind, below the level of awareness, is:

    o I have been conditioned to fear the bully, so I'm not game to swi

  • Why don't you invent one? To do that you should make one up, collect 20 similar stories, and publish it somewhere. Then encourage people to adopt it.

    One option is "confirmative blame". And the exact definition is that it is the tendency to confirm our pre-existing biases by wrongly blaming some one or thing. Particularly when we really should be blaming ourselves for our own mistakes.

  • Is this the same psychology responsible for people lighting candles and sacrificing chicken, when building C programs?

    When the irresistible force that is a sense of efficacy meets the immoveable object that is a chaotic world.

    Or is that the opposite of this phenomenon?