The Internet, the Philippines and Internet in the Philippines
    Issue 18 July - August 2000 I S S N   0119-7088

Batteries Not Included

By Larry Johnson

Do you have technophobia? Are you Unreasonably afraid and intimidated by today's technology?

Maybe you have heard it called *computerphobia* as it relates to computer fear.

Well, this is meant to ease your mind and put you in charge of that piece of equipment with which you are battling.

Here is a little system that I use when dealing with overcoming an unreasonable fear:

  1. Recognize and accept that there is a problem.
  2. Give it a name. (Like "computerphobia")
  3. Make a plan to deal with the problem.
  4. Work your plan in a systematic way.

I first realized that there was a problem when I got my new computer home and tried to set it up and turned it on.

The first screen message was, "Error...Windows incorrectly configured."

"Houston, we have a little problem here."

As the day progressed I frequently got the warning, "You have performed an illegal operation. This program will be shut down and you will lose any unsaved information."

In desperation,I yelled, "Give me a break ! You are just a machine! I own you! See this receipt!"

Apparently not understanding my plea, the computer continued to shut down. My first crash.

Back to the manual...." restore your machine after an illegal shut down, please refer to your owner's manual and follow section C, parts 2,3, and 6. For assistance, dial our support number during regular business hours 8-5 EDT."

Once I had the darn thing back up and running, I received another warning: "Since your computer was shut down illegally, it is performing a systems check to determine if there is an error on drive 'C'. To avoid similar problems in the future, please exit Windows and shut down your computer properly."

"I didn't shut you down at did it," I shouted!

Time to deal with the problem, Houston

First, I had to give it a name.

I called my computer "Charlie." No particular reason. It just seemed like a friendly, unassuming label for it.

By naming the thing, It allowed me to talk with it in a more or less personal way. To develop a rapport, a relationship that would not otherwise be possible.

Here is our exchange on the monitor:

"Okay Charlie, here's what is going to happen. I am going to give you some directions and you will perform them."

Charlie countered with, "Please insert CD ROM disc and hit enter."

To which I replied, "Sure, Charlie, I will do that, but first we are going to have an understanding about who is in charge here."

Continuing, I said, "You are a machine. Incapable of feelings, thinking, desires, fantasies or compassion. I am a human with all of those qualities and more."

I was on a roll. "Furthermore, you are tied to the wall by the need for electricity. Oh, sure, I realize that some of your laptop cousins are capable of wandering about. They are dependent on batteries, however, and eventually have to rely on us humans to replace or re-charge them."

"Humans, Charlie, are independent of the restraints that you have. We do not need electricity or batteries to keep us functioning. We can come and go as we please."

The monitor became obviously brighter as I realized I had struck a chord in Charlie's hard drive.

"Your creators, Charlie, were humans. I know... I know. That is a little difficult for you to process at your tender age. I mean right out of the box and you get a stunning jolt like that. Well, it had to be there!"

At this point I noticed a blink from the LED light on the CPU. I knew for sure I was getting his attention.

"I can turn you on. I can turn you off. I can sell you to a salvage dealer who will melt you down and turn you into a doorstop."

A faint increase in the humming noise from inside the computer case revealed the hypertension that Charlie was now experiencing.

Undoubtedly, he was beginning to realize that I was not the "average" human that he and his peers could intimidate at will.

"We can have a really nice relationship, Charlie. If you follow my directions and behave yourself. I will give you freedom to search for exotic places and digest volumes of information from endless resources. So, what do you say, Charlie. Have we got a deal ?"

At this point I felt it was time to get some more feedback from Charlie. I turned on his speakers and asked him for his reaction.

Charlie sat quietly for a few seconds processing and organizing his comments. Then in a very submissive voice he said, "Batteries aren't included in humans?"

I patted his mouse and said, "That's right, Charlie, batteries are not included."

From that day forward, Charlie and I have been great friends.

Larry Johnson © 2000. All rights reserved.

Larry is an author and publisher of the business e-zine, The Biz Site Biz E-zine. This free weekly publication Gives you powerful tips and concepts for marketing and promoting online. Come on down and join us !

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