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Techfluenza: Technological Concepts Interfering With Physical World Functioning

February 12 2005 – 02:19pm

Computer lingo is full of metaphors for the physical world. You have a “desktop,” “trash,” “wallpaper,” “folders” and you “surf” the “web.” We have created a world which mimics the physical world to make the transition to computer use easier.

But sometimes, excessive computer use can have us doing strange things when we’re in the “real” world. Merlin Mann of 43 Folders is experiencing this problem. Apparently, he uses Markdown, which enables him to write his posts in a unique sort of textual shorthand that converts into valid XHTML. He uses it so much, that when he is writing in the physical world, he is now making asterisks instead of dots when writing a bulleted list, among other less-efficient annoyances.

This reminded me of some frightening symptoms of Techfluenza I have had in the past. The first time I experienced this problem, I was organizing a file cabinet for CDs of Architectural project images. They were stacking units, and I wanted my Inbox to stay on top, so as I was writing the label for the Inbox, I began to place an exclamation point before “Inbox” so it would read “!Inbox” (for those unfamiliar with this practice, placing an exclamation point at the beginning of a file or folder name will ensure that it will remain at the top of the list of your file browser). Another time I was struck with Techfluenza, was when I was building my carpet sample rug. I was trying different configurations, and changed the tiles around, but decided I wanted them back the way they were before. So, as I summoned my “undo” command, I embarrassingly (if you can be embarrassed when you’re alone) realized I was not in Photoshop.

I don’t spend enough time in the physical world to have more examples. Do you have any?

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This post is filed under Humor, Society, Technology.