Tuesday, 26 August 2008


I've always been a little superstitious when it comes to computers. After all, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I remember the behaviour from when I was about 7 years old, when I first started playing games on my ZX Spectrum, and 25 minutes into the load from tape I'd be muttering "please work, please work, please work" under my breath (I was used to loads failing regularly).

These days, I'm sure I do plenty of unusual things while using my computer, but I don't tend to notice them until somebody points them out to me. The thing is, like all good superstitious behaviour, the reason gets forgotten and only the ritual remains.

Occasionally I'll remember the reason why I do things in a certain way. Even more rarely, I'll see someone else doing something that I've seen myself do, and feel vindicated!

Here are some of my superstitious actions, and reasons why (where I remember them).

Left-Right click to bring up a context menu.

The normal way to open a context menu under windows is to right-click. I click left then right (like I'm drumming my fingers). Reason: Some programs interpret the first click (right or left) as a "focus" click, so a single right click doesn't always pop up a context menu.

Click-Enter instead of double click.

The normal way to navigate into folders in windows explorer with the mouse, is to double-click the folders. I use the mouse to select the folder, then press enter on the keyboard to open the folder. Reason: Sometimes double-clicks are missed by windows (if I have a poor mouse, or my finger movements are too slow). Also, after double-clicking for the hundredth time in the day, I start to feel the RSI kicking in... I've seen someone else exhibiting the exact same behaviour :)

Hyperlink click follow-up click.

After I left-click a hyperlink in a web page, I click in some white space on the page. I don't know why I do this. It may relate back to when I had a dial-up connection and I wanted to know if the page was responding. It may just be that I don't like the link being outlined. I really don't know about this one.

Mark as read, before delete.

In Microsoft Outlook I read email in the preview pane. If I don't navigate away from an email in my inbox, it stays marked as unread. If I don't need to action an email I don't just delete - I press "Mark as Read" then I press delete. Otherwise my "deleted items" folder draws attention to itself by being written in bold with a number beside it, telling me how many "new" emails I have in it.

I'll post more if I think of any.

1 comment:

Richard said...

I also mark emails as read before deleting them and will never minimize outlook with mail still marked as unread (even if I haven't read them or have no intention of reading them) :)