1 of 1
“I’m sure they think they are quite genuine but….” Computer Jinxes
Posted: 10 August 2005 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5071
Joined  2005-03-16

http://www.canada.com/technology/story.html?id=f6ebf013-4d44-4f13-90a2-a938292f4739

Jinxed computer users might be sending out a bad vibe, researchers suggest
 
Jen Horsey
Canadian Press


August 9, 2005


1 | 2 | NEXT >>
ADVERTISEMENT



TORONTO (CP) - Some people seem to carry a computer curse, frustrated by a plague of viruses, hard-drive failures, power surges and software conflicts that appear and disappear without rational explanation.

They blame their machines and suffer the scorn of others who accuse them of doing something wrong. But researchers at Princeton University may have an explanation: these computer users, it seems, could be sending out bad vibes.

“There are some people who seem to have a natural rapport with computers and other complex machines, and there are other people who seem to manage to break everything even without touching it,” said York Dobyns, analytical co-ordinator at Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR).

The laboratory has for 26 years studied a phenomenon that just might have something to do with it.

Through countless experiments, the researchers have tested whether people, through their consciousness alone, can somehow affect the output of various devices.

The devices - including mechanical and electronic gadgets - produce random outputs when there are no humans around.

The experiments appear to demonstrate a small, but statistically significant, anomaly: study subjects seem to be able to change the output of the machines merely by thinking about them.

“Viewed collectively across all of the experiments, the odds that this is all just a statistical fluctuation are ridiculously small,” said Dobyns. “One in a trillion would be the right general ballpark.”

The researchers believe the effect might not just be limited to these simple machines. In fact, part of the initial funding that launched the program - founded in 1979 by Robert Jahn, then dean of engineering and applied science at the school - came from a major American aerospace manufacturer trying to protect sensitive equipment from this phenomenon, should it exist at all.

Computer support experts certainly recognize a small, but perhaps statistically significant, number of their clients who could very well be sending out some strong vibes.

“Occasionally you’ll come across a person who is just absolutely jinxed,” said Lyle Melnychuk, a computer whiz who runs Geeks 2 Go in Kamloops, B.C., and helps people fix their technical problems.

“It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s just that they and technology ... they should just go back to pen and paper.”

But he and other experts say the reason for persistent computer problems is likely something simpler than mind control.

“I think it’s quite possible that individual people could have statistically noticeable effect on computers, but I don’t think it’s a vibe,” said John DiMarco, information technology director for the University of Toronto’s computer science department.

“The presence of strange anomalies in the hardware can often be attributed to the environment,” he said.

People whose machines always seem to be working against them may be the same people who are forever zapping their computers with electric shocks because they live in a dry house and have long hair, fuzzy carpets and a penchant for wool sweaters, he said.

DiMarco also said the source of mystery problems can often be traced back to a reluctance to admit misuse - like indiscriminate downloading that can bring on spyware and viruses.

“They’re not always readily admitting what they’ve done, especially if they have the sense they shouldn’t have done it. It’s an issue of admission of guilt.”

Family computers are particularly vulnerable because they have multiple users - including younger ones who might not be particularly concerned about the consequences of their surfing, said Melnychuk.

A failure to perform regular maintenance further aggravates the problem.

“It’s a working piece of machinery. It has to be worked on - it’s not a toaster,” he said.

But Dobyns and other PEAR researchers are accustomed to skepticism and they continue to work on an answer for those who may believe they are better off sticking to pen and paper.

“We are hoping to get to the level of practical application in the near future,” said Dobyns.

He refused to offer specifics on what the lab might make - be it a bad-vibe shield or a machine intended for mind control.

“On that topic, I think I would prefer to remain silent for the time being.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3687
Joined  2005-02-09

I kinda believe in the phenomenan…......I think some people just send out bad vibes, whether it be machinery, people, or just plan Karma…Some people are lucky, some have horrible luck.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5071
Joined  2005-03-16

Yes and no. I tend to kill watch batteries very very quickly (within a month, tops). I chalk that up to maybe having a lot of electricity in my body - I have no idea how that would work. BUT, I don’t think I’d count that as “bad vibes”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3687
Joined  2005-02-09

A month!!!! Wow, they last me for a couple of years…..You just drain the life out of everything, don’t you….

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5071
Joined  2005-03-16
Sir Stephen - 10 August 2005 07:26 PM

A month!!!! Wow, they last me for a couple of years…..You just drain the life out of everything, don’t you….

Gee thanks, and I love you too. :/

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  91
Joined  2005-08-03

I’ve done IT work, including user support, for quite a while now. I don’t put much stock in claims of “bad vibes” - the article nail it when it’s talking about people who won’t admit they did something stupid.

But sometimes, you’ve gotta wonder.

One of the stores I support, we refer to as the “festering vortext of doom.” Bad things happen there to computer equipment (and most anything else in the way of equipment). During one upgrade of the cash registers, I tested brand new equiment here at the office, and it worked. Took it to the vortext, and it didn’t. Took it to a different location, and it worked fine.

Then, there’s the store manager we call “Magneto” . . .

 Signature 

I’m not an idiot. I just play one in a roleplaying game.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5071
Joined  2005-03-16

My husand claims there is a computer god with a wicked sense of humour named “Keybo” that does all these things. smile

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  26043
Joined  2004-11-08
Sir Stephen - 10 August 2005 07:26 PM

A month!!!! Wow, they last me for a couple of years…..You just drain the life out of everything, don’t you….

I hate to say it, but that thought had crossed my mind as well. raspberry

 Signature 

Heaven must be really boring, if you think about it logically.
All the angels must be snoring.  Who could stand perfection for eternity?

Not me. - George Hrab

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2005 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5071
Joined  2005-03-16
Charybdis - 10 August 2005 11:27 PM
Sir Stephen - 10 August 2005 07:26 PM

A month!!!! Wow, they last me for a couple of years…..You just drain the life out of everything, don’t you….

I hate to say it, but that thought had crossed my mind as well. raspberry

Hrumph. I think I should move on to a forum where I’m actually wanted then. A big bunch of meanies, the lot of you!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 August 2005 04:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1194
Joined  2005-02-22
Winona - 11 August 2005 01:09 AM
Charybdis - 10 August 2005 11:27 PM
Sir Stephen - 10 August 2005 07:26 PM

A month!!!! Wow, they last me for a couple of years…..You just drain the life out of everything, don’t you….

I hate to say it, but that thought had crossed my mind as well. raspberry

Hrumph. I think I should move on to a forum where I’m actually wanted then. A big bunch of meanies, the lot of you!


Oh admit it Win… you’re going nowhere! You couldn’t live without this place…

tongue laugh

 Signature 

Canadian Bacon Rules !!!

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 1