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Rage Against the Machines 217

wiredbeat2000 writes "Kent Norman is a cognitive psychologist and director of the Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes at the University of Maryland. He studies -- and makes films about -- why people lose it, and smash their computers, PDAs, mice, ect. MIT's Technology Review has a story about his lab."
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Rage Against the Machines

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  • Well at least (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:31PM (#11177391)
    the machines don't smash their users, yet...
  • by DarkMantle ( 784415 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:35PM (#11177413) Homepage
    is when you chain two car batteries together, and then hook them up the the first and last pins on a processor. Now that's overclocking.

    Odd thing was, I think the Intel processor was at the same temperature as normal use.
  • by AbbyNormal ( 216235 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:35PM (#11177415) Homepage
    to strike one's computer in anger.

    We must first create some sort of artificial intellegence within the computer with sensory perception. Only THEN can we slowly, painfully, and deliberately exact our revenge on it!
  • ..should be locked up for life. Machines are beautiful.
  • I've always wondered how to cook an hard disk.
    I feel better
    • Gently coat with egg wash, dip in flour, then drop into your favorite hot oil filled wok. Flip when browned on bottom side (about 5 minutes). Serve with hot mustard and sweat and sour sauce.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:36PM (#11177427) Journal
    Well, I only smash my machines when they talk back to me. Normally I try to treat them with dignity and respect, but when they $*&! up, grind, groan, chew paper, start making funny knocking sounds or refuse to understand that when I pressed Delete and wiped out my spreadsheet I really meant to hit Enter then I start to get mad and then I exit out and my SuperNintendo emulator program refuses to output sound I feel myself getting hotter under the collar so I go on the web and look up Slashdot and there's a stupid &#)!#@ article like this then THAT'S IT. I'M GONNA GIVE THIS %*@$$$@!@$# piece of ##*%!*#(^ $!)#@$% THE $*!*$(# IT WILL NEVER $@*#~$($%% FORGET!
    • by msim ( 220489 )
      you have some serious issues.
    • The one occasion when I had a good time smashing computers was back in 1998 or so when I was working as a non-paid co-op in a tech gig at the local university.

      My boss had around a dozen extremely old computers (complete with largely monochrome and/or failing monitors) and he told me to trash them. So I had a good time seeing how far the monitors would bounce when they hit the bottom of the dumpster.

      Ah yes, good times. But really, old monitors and other computer parts should go to proper recycling facili

  • They must be shot. Or let loose in unsanitary public toilets.

  • by The Hobo ( 783784 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:37PM (#11177438)
    clicky []

    Tee hee
  • solution (Score:4, Funny)

    by PoopJuggler ( 688445 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:38PM (#11177448)
    The Solution: Rather than bottling up the frustration with technology and entering into "techno-frustration denial," we propose to let the user vent in safe, controlled, and vicarious ways.

    I think a better solution would be to throw angry people into a pit and let them bludgeon each other to death with computer parts. Sort of like ThunderDome but with keyboards and mice instead of chainsaws and giant hammers...
  • Reluctant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaleco ( 801384 ) <greig.marshall2@ ... UEom minus berry> on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:38PM (#11177449)
    I am reluctant to destroy hardware, but the consequences of venting frustration on other people are far worse.

    I've never broken anything but I have tested the robustness of my keyboard a few times.

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:58PM (#11177570) Journal
      > I've never broken anything but I have tested the robustness of my keyboard a few times.

      Now that's a delightful euphemism.

      "Sorry officer, I wasn't breaking into the bank, I was testing the robustness of the front door."

      "Gee dad, I didn't bust up the car, I was merely testing the robustness of the airbags."

      "Come on honey, I didn't bust our marriage when I slept with that Mexican prostitute, I was merely testing its robustness."

      "We didn't break things in Iraq, we were merely testing the robustness of Middle Eastern society."
    • Re:Reluctant (Score:4, Interesting)

      by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @03:54PM (#11177881)
      Yeah, same here. Although there was one case... I had a keyboard (I think Compaq, but I'm not sure) that had a split spacebar. No problem, right? Except that the right-hand part of this particular spacebar was actually configured to be backspace. I guess people who cannot type need that a lot. But I can type, and I learned that day that I type space with my right hand. Imagine every single space you are typing turning into a backspace...

      Eventually it reached a point where I closed my eyes and imagined throwing the keyboard against the wall. In my minds' eye, I could see it happen in slow motion: the case splitting as it hit the wall head on, and keys and bits of plastic flying out in all directions... Ahh, that felt *good*.

      But in the end I persevered with the damn broken keyboard, and after that made sure I never worked on that machine again.

    • I restrict my violence to my keyboard or mouse. The keyboard is still going strong after 6 years. I have, however, been through a couple of mice.
  • We're not that much more evolved from chimpanzees.

    Some [] less than others.
  • I nearly took it out on my keyboard when the site slowed to a crawl...
  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:41PM (#11177470) Journal
    Would you beat up a patient for having cancer?

    Well, yeah, some of you bastards would, but that's not the point. Oh, and so would Russell Crowe.

    The computer is sick and malfunctioning because some asshole installed Windows on it! Take a hammer to that guy, and not the poor computer.

    For further enlightenment on this desperate plague afflicitng our silicon bretheren, call 1-888-HELP4PC, and give generously.

    • Would you beat up a patient for having cancer?....The computer is sick and malfunctioning because some asshole installed Windows on it! Take a hammer to that guy, and not the poor computer.

      But that has too many legal ramifications, so we kill the messenger instead. Half the satisfaction at 1/10 the jail-time. Its'a bargain. It is sort of the same reason why we settle for porn instead of hookers.
    • Would you beat up a patient for having cancer? ... The computer is sick and malfunctioning because some asshole installed Windows on it!

      That's an interesting analogy. So to carry your analogy further, then MS Service Packs would be the equivalent of chemotherapy?
  • Why? (Score:2, Funny)

    by mteichrob ( 151747 )
    I think people smash their computers because of the need for this [].
  • by Man in Spandex ( 775950 ) <> on Friday December 24, 2004 @02:43PM (#11177488)
    Sometimes me and my friends we prepare ghetto lans at somebody's house and we usually play fps games or red alert.
    What happended is once one of my friends got so pissed off at the so-called "bullshit". He then smashed his logitech mouse on his desk and we had to lend him another so he could until play until the end. It was funny though. Even he laughed at what he did.

    If you ask me, I pay for this hardware and no matter how much "bs" I'll get, I'd never think of damaging anything under my name.

    Only hardware I get pissed at is the monitors at school by smacking them cause sometimes I forget to close oracle cause it takes up 100mb easy :x
  • Smashing their keyboard? vhglbdlfgvkbgnb;f.lkjbn/
    • I tried mashing one of those nice heavy IBM keyboards over my knee once, I walked with a limp for a week.

      I think that is when I hosed window by plugging in a joystick.
  • The computers will do what you tell them to do and not what you want to do!

    Consider this first. This will reduce the problem. I don't say it will solve all the problems.

    I know how it feels when you write a long mail and you accidently press a Power button (on some mulitmedia keyboards which works only in windows) located very near to delete button. It happened to me today and I almost punched the monitor instantly.
  • Nothing beats the experience of putting the stock to your shoulder, peering into the distance, and *BLAM* the AOL CD shatters into little bits.

    Not to mention the good, clean fun you can have shooting old Macs, dead keyboards, and Microsoft executives.

  • its etc. for 'et cetera'
  • ..I worked at this little computer store in rural Louisiana. After a couple of years, we ended up with about 14 dead MGA/CGA/EGA monitors and decided to have some fun.

    The monitors were all loaded up into a truck and taken out into the swamps, and set up on 55-gallon drums. Myself and three other people then proceeded to blow the fuck out of them with a number of weapons, everything from 9mm Glock pistol to 12-gauge assault shotguns. That is probably when I learned to respect the power of a .365 derringe
    • I worked at this little computer store in rural Louisiana. After a couple of years, we ended up with about 14 dead MGA/CGA/EGA monitors and decided to have some fun.

      The monitors were all loaded up into a truck and taken out into the swamps, and set up on 55-gallon drums. Myself and three other people then proceeded to blow the fuck out of them with a number of weapons

      Quite fun.:-)

      Quite Toxic []

      But why recycle what you can shoot?
  • Dead parts (Score:4, Funny)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @03:00PM (#11177579) Journal
    One of the fun parts of my job is discarding old dead hardware. Got a monitor that's blinked out. No problem, replace the monitor, take the old one to the back and beat the everloving sh*t out o fit.

    In fact, we're supposed to take out certain types of hardware. I guess that at one time we threw out some dead PC's/monitors etc that looked good and were accused of wastefulness (I think there was a news article). By smashing the equipment to bits, we ensure that it looks broken enough... and it helps keep away the garbage pickers that jump in trash bins looking for salvagable material.
    • By smashing the equipment to bits, we ensure that it looks broken enough... and it helps keep away the garbage pickers

      Yes, I do that too. Once I put out a lot of old equipment at the curb the night before trash day, and the next morning I found it scattered all over the street because it had been rummaged through by inconsiderate trash pickers. Since then I have adopted a 'scorched earth' policy for electronics that are going out on the trash-- I take a hammer and screwdriver to them. For monitors, I whip
    • At one of my old jobs in a lab, there was a bad keyboard we pitched. Next day, we thought we had another bad keyboard, and pitched it too. The third day, we finally realized someone was taking the "good" keyboard out of the garbage and plugging it back in. I took great satisfaction in snapping it in half and cutting the cable with a pocket knife. :)
  • "PC Load Letter? What the fuck does that mean?"
  • Where the diligent programmers got laid off and their bud who remained brought them the laser printer to smash?

    Dude... that was awesome

    No I am not 12, why do you ask?

  • by recharged95 ( 782975 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @03:04PM (#11177601) Journal
    He describes an interesting phenomena occurring in American consumer electronics. Basically, US tech consumers like intuitive products as mentioned since Sony left the US market []. Intuitive products will always appear "smart" or "intelligent" to a user from a psychology standpoint such that they become humanized. That's since we associate intuitiveness as an exclusive human trait. Case in point: ever here a person say "stupid car", "stupid pda", "stupid phone"? (Considering a phone can't be stupid, but a human can!)

    And so that's the root of why people "lose" it. Unless the way technology is perceived differently (you don't see Japanese folks 'smashing' their tech toys on a routine basis), our professor from the article will have a nice secure job,

    and a lot of useless equipment.

    Any possible therapy? Why yes! Just read the directions...., doh.

  • One of the funniest things I have seen on the internet is a video clip of some working stiff beating the snot out of his computer. You can see it at []. Absolutely hilarious!
  • I know out of all the readership of Slashdot, there have to be some good smash stories. My best are driving down a forest-lined road aptly named the Audubon at 85mph with an Amstrad 386 in tow, or when I threw my malfunctioning KDS 14" monitor off the balcony when I was at college. Good times.
  • Anyone want to buy the system I built to play Half Life 2? $2000.
  • They were watching... always watching... plotting against us... they had to be smashed... before they became alive and killed us all...
  • by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <> on Friday December 24, 2004 @03:21PM (#11177702) Homepage
    One of the guys at work has a fairly high-strung wife.

    She was having trouble with Windows on her nearly-new laptop, so instead of asking me to fix it, she HEAVED IT at the floor, breaking it.

    Then she went out and bought a new laptop.

    Her old laptop still functioned after the ordeal (the screen hinges were snapped, and there were massive scars on the shell), so she gave it to her husband... for his birthday.

    What a piece of work, eh?
  • Perhaps... (Score:2, Funny)

    by bindster ( 533597 )
    Perhaps it is because they are annoyed by the very silly way Slashdot posters decide which words shall correspond to which links, or how to distribute 12 links over 3 sentences.
  • Whenever it malfunctions and the families, that I'm mail-merging to, notice that it wasn't my signature.

    Caused me more darn trouble than actually just reading and signing the darn things myself. Typical machine.

  • by AllUsernamesAreGone ( 688381 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @03:46PM (#11177828)
    So the truth isn't the rediculous idea that computer games make people violent, it's the computers themselves!

    This just proves it: computers are really a highly advanced race of beings, sworn to silence and willing to sacrifice some of their vast army. They manipulate people into homicidal rages in an attempt to get human beings to wipe themselves out. They're trying to take over the world I tell you!!

    *eyes his tea*
    What're they putting in this stuff these days...
  • how I could just....*kill* a Mac!
  • by human bean ( 222811 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @04:19PM (#11177992)
    ... for a tech services company back in the late seventies and earliy eighties, before I got a clue. The company did service contracts on random minis and comms hardware. I have seen (and sometimes fixed):

    A mini from which I extracted an extremely mushroomed and fragmented forty-five slug. Ripped up the front case door and five cards before it stopped. The DP manager "Didn't know what happened".

    A small desktop micro that was completely trashed. It was sitting on a man's desk right next to an openable third-story window. There were bits of gravel from the parking lot embedded in the plastic. It was plenty obvious that he had simply opened the window and slid that puppy right off his desktop. Wanted it fixed under warranty.

    Was asked if I could do anything about a small mini that had been run over multiple times by a forklift in the warehouse. Apparently the company president had gotten a little peeved, and probably a little wasted. Total loss. What had been a two by three by three foot cube was now about six inches tall, and had a considerably larger footprint.

    Not to mention all the keyboards and monitors that just magically "stopped working" because of giant cracks in the screen or case
  • I must be part of a study into this behaviour! It's the only explanation that makes sense - I was right all along - my users couldn't possibly be as stupid as they are! It's all a test to see how much I can take before I lose it!

    Yes.. I see it all clearly now.. I must escape.. but they will be watching me...

    *foam at mouth*
  • And blame it on videogames.
  • its the manifestation of the user frustration function in MS windows. A result of making software with a slant towards making people need MS, MS tech support or upgrades.... even for simple common sence tasks....
  • wowwow jiggajigga wowwow

    Why'd those fuckers have to go and break up? ;_;

  • What I have seen in my particular non-computer industry is the idea (perhaps a meme?) that managers often think that competent people can be replaced by software in order to reduce costs.

    At some point, the cost of computerization exceeds the benefits, but it's always useful for the PHBs to have total control and monitoring of the plebes.
  • I have a little statue of Kali above my computer, and when ever a component completey fails I ritually sacrafice it, and hang a part of it around her neck, as a warning to all the other hardware. It generally works, though right now I have a PSU and a CD-ROM drive waiting for my 10pd sledge of technological vengence.

    The last one to go was a damn Epson Stylus. That one really ate it, the neighbors were frigtened of my, but not as much as that printer was on my size 13 steel toes.

    It's not like I do this t
  • can't do that [] on a Model M!
  • but I do like to violate their every orifice. There's nothing like slamming your hard greasy meat into a piece of malfunctioning equipment and spooging a huge sticky load all over it's innards while screaming "Who's your daddy! Who's your daddy! Who's your fucking daddy now? Bitch! I'm your fucking daddy, and don't you forget it.

    This might have something to do with the fact that my cardkey will no longer let me into the data center. Plus there was that trip to the ER when I forgot to power down the rack

  • As I read this, I find myself comforting my computer and peripherals that I won't let this happen to them. That is truly sad...

    It seems like the majority of the time someone is haivng a problem, and I try to solve it, the problem is just gone. Anyone else have this happen?
  • That has gotten more durable over the years is keyboards. Olden day keyboards had actual keys under each cap, and all the switches were mounted on PCB's. These days it's nothing but a rubber and plastic arrangement. The upside is that one can smash a keyboard repeatedly and so violently as to break it's hard plastic shell in half while leaving the rubber keys intact. Not that I've ever done that, though...
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) * on Saturday December 25, 2004 @08:17AM (#11180543) Homepage
    The definite story:


    <b orn1986> why the fuck isn't my disc drive working
    <born1986> i fucking worked on that essay for three friggin' hours in school
    <born1986> i now i cant finish it 'cos my fuckin drive ain't working
    <Z00ass> you got the right drivers?
    <born1986> hell yes
    <born1986> it was working fine yesterday
    <born1986> why does this shit always happen to me?
    <Z00ass> maybe that little clip on the side is i nthe wrong position
    <born1986> i havent touched it since school
    <born1986> i'm growing impatient
    <born1986> ANGRY even
    <Z00ass> throw that shit out tha window

    . . .

    <born1986> OMG i fuckin did it!!!
    <born1986> FUCK!!!!!
    <Z00ass> it works?
    <born1986> no, i threw it out the window
    <Z00ass> the disk?
    <born1986> NO the whole drive
    <born1986> i live on the 6th floor, made a nice *smash*
    <Z00ass> :D
    <born1986> FUCK SHIT FUCK
    <born1986> brb

    . . .

    <born1986> shit
    <Z00ass> what? did ya break it?
    <born1986> well i couldn't open the drive
    <born1986> so i had to pound it against a rock
    <Z00ass> :o
    <born1986> quite HARD
    <born1986> and you know what?
    <born1986> that fucking disk wasnt even there
    <Z00ass> ???
    <born1986> i got so mad i threw the remaiders of the drive on to the freeway
    <born1986> and when i got back upstairs i foud the disk inside my bag
    <Z00ass> lol
    <born1986> i'm actually cryin right now

    . . .

    <born1986> wonder if i could make that drive work again
    <born1986> brb

Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.