Many years ago John submitted articles to a local magazine called "Computer Edge". One of the articles that was accepted and paid for was Please... Don't Feed the Computer. The article was an early glimpse into John's quirky humor. I'd like to share this article so that readers can get another taste of his writing style.

Please... Don't Feed the Computer

by John M. Harpster

Having been in the business of producing software for several years now, I am constantly bombarded with the term "user friendly." I really don't mean to throw cold water on anyone's illusions, but please listen up: The damn things are machines! There is no such thing as a friendly object!

Am I going crazy? I can stretch my imagination far enough to envision "user friendly" inflatable dolls—but that is about as far as it will stretch. Who are these "users" that insist that their machines be "friendly"? They're certainly a mentally robust group of individuals. I can see one of them at his weekly session with his shrink (they must see a psychiatrist at least once a week), I don't know what's wrong, Doc. My toaster has been moody lately. Think it could be PMS or something?"

I can tell you from personal experience: Computers are not friendly! I have known friendlier muggers. Terms like "Severe Errors" and "Fatal Errors" pour from them, prompted by the smallest of indiscretions. I dream about being picked up by the scruff of the neck and hearing, “Try again, idiot!"

Oh no! I'm doing it too. Can anyone recommend a good psychiatrist? Before leaving, let me reiterate: Computers are not alive! Computers are not alive! Computers are not alive!

I must apologize for cutting this short. I have to attend little IBM PC jr's bar mitzvah.

Originally Published

Computer Edge - San Diego's Computer Magazine

Volume 6, No. 19, September 16, 1988

Beyond Personal Computing column