My new ThinkPad arrived today, and in stolen moments, I’ve been configuring it. It really is a joy. It’s slipper light, the key board is perfect, the screen is miraculous, the hard drive, finally, capacious, the configuration software intelligent, the battery trans-Atlantic. I know this is irrational, but I feel about ThinkPad the way people used to feel about their Fords, their Coca-Cola, and their Levi’s. I’m telling you, I am this far from burning a logo into my arm.
I’m running off a Sony Vaio and it’s pretty cool, but to own a Thinkpad is my dream. It so well constructed and has the best keypad by miles.
enjoy the good times!
I know people who lust after this type of equipment, then don’t know what to do with it once they get it — One person purchased $3K worth of new gear and gets upset when an icon disappears or moves on the desktop (Why can’t this stuff be more reliable cries the owner). Another acquaintance similarly equipped can send snippets all day, but couldn’t write his way out of degree program or work assignment requirements. The flames burn his flesh, and acrid smoke fills the nostrils, as both academia and work have crashed — sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground. For some, lust should be discounted. The gear makers sell forward a modern ancient hope: there is a fix when one’s possessions elevate and advance position. Wireless Qwerty! Ho!
“I know this is irrational, but I feel about ThinkPad the way people used to feel about their Fords, their Coca-Cola, and their Levi’s.”
Well, only “irrational” in cultures which view inanimate objects as having no souls. People raised in Japanese Shinto culture, for example, would not think it strange or irrational at all; even rocks and mountains have spirits. Why are the car headlights on Japanese-designed cars rounded to look like animal or human eyes, for example, when this is something uncommon, at least till recently, on cars designed by westerners?
Moreover, to the extent that machines and devices extend our individual capabilities and hence the boundaries of our personhood (something I think you’ve discussed before), then it’s certainly not strange to have emotional feelings about the machines we use. MIT AI Lab has employed theologians to help its researchers deal with their emotional feelings towards the robots they build, and which they occasionally have to de-commission.
Nothing odd about that at all, in my view. Ask any professional musician to talk about the personality of their instrument, and how it extends their own personality, and you’ll hear a similar story. Violinists even talk of some instruments working with them, and other instruments working against them, even for the most expensive instruments.