Why computers are like dogs



   (Our dog, Sprocket)


This happens most days. Somebody will have some sort of issue with their computer and will come bleating to me that it doesn’t work. I’ve learnt now that the first step is adopt an attitude of healthy scepticism and to require a demo of the problem. I go over to their desk and they start to show me. And lo and behold, it works… perfectly. It happens so often that I’ve been forced to come up with a theory for why this is. I do believe the afflicted users seeking my help. I’m sure it was misbehaving before but why does it suddenly seem to start working the moment I am standing ominously peering at it?


I’ve decided that the only explanation is that computers are like dogs and can sense your fear. I am not scared of computers and I think they know it. In the game of chicken with a recalcitrant PC, I am the alpha male. I do not blink first and so the computer decides it is better off trying to be my friend and start sucking up to me big time. This is of course a very useful skill and not one to be humble about. Every PC in the surrounding area needs to be aware of your reputation amongst the PC hierarchy and you need to ensure that you totally believe it yourself or they will know. Remember, you are the boss, you are DA MAN (in a non gender specific sense). If your computer is misbehaving, growling at you, maybe even biting, do NOT start letting it on the bed or eating from the table. You have to be clear who is boss and show no fear.


This kind of transparently useful outlook on life is one of the benefits of being married to a vet – yes a very cute one too (I know, I’m punching above my weight). Fiona has started a blog for pet owners called fullyvetted.com designed to help you understand your pet. So subscribe to her feed and understand your animals – you never know, you might find your computer starts obeying you too.


Comments (4)

  1. Phil Smith says:

    A good and funny article, but a shameless plug nonetheless 😉

  2. dstrange says:

    yeah it is a plug true but if I made you laugh I hope I sang sufficiently for the clickthrough supper. 🙂

  3. Tim Long says:

    You know, I can relate to that, I seem to have the same ability. When I enter the room, the computer knows it is 10 seconds away from getting a reprogramming it will never forget (to paraphrase Douglas Adams) and the hapless end user is left gobsmacked at my god-like IT prowess. It’s a lovely feeling when it happens 😉

    Your story reminds me of the Rarefied Chronon Theory, which goes something like this…

    Manufacturers of silicon chips have long ago run out of ways to increase the speed of modern CPUs and have developed a closely guarded secret method for extracting particles of time ("chronons") from the atmosphere. The ever larger "cooling devices" attached to CPUs are in fact chronon pumps that suck time particles into the CPU where they are extracted and used to give the appearance of increased performance. The computer user experiences a slow-down in time because of the chronon depletion zone that develops surrounding the computer. This goes a long way to explaining why software projects are always late. The programmer experiences normal time as they interact with the computer but in fact, because they are in a rerefied chronon atmosphere, their time line is slowed relative to bystanders in the normal atmosphere. Did you ever look up from your keyboard and suddenly notice it had got dark and everyone had gone home? Now you know why!

  4. dstrange says:

    superb!