In Human-Computer interaction, we talk about computer systems as having three models: The designer model (how the designer designed the system), the system model (the way the system really works, normally a reflection of the designer model), and the user model (how the user thinks the system works). The user constructs his/her model by making inferences while working with the system.
Josh gave me a very interesting inferred user model: Computers work on magic smoke. Why? Well, if the smoke escapes from the computer, it stops working. So that magic smoke must be the thing that makes the computer work.
My computer lost its magic smoke. I was happily coding a Visual Basic prototype, when it suddenly started smoking. That was not cool. I almost panicked. It is not the fact that I lost a perfectly good laptop; I mean, that’s just money. It’s the fact that I’m so damn dependent on my laptop, I really can’t live without it. Luckily Gabriel just bought a new one, so I could borrow his old one. I let the repair center take out the harddrive from my old one, and now I’m back on track. I spend one entire day without a laptop :) (well, even then I borrowed Karen’s laptop for a few hours :P). It is really scary how dependent I am on having a laptop. It makes you think. The day might come that losing your laptop (or cellphone, or iPod) will actually kill you :).
The good thing is that I was thinking of buying a new laptop anyway. Now I have a valid reason to really do it. And I’m spoiling myself. I’m getting a Toshiba Tablet PC with a Intel Core 2 Duo, 1gig ram, and a 120gig harddrive. I saw Nina and Jack working on their tablets, and thought: I want that too! I have to wait a couple of weeks before I get it, but I’ll definitely make a weblog post describing you how cool it is :).