That voodoo that you do…

Slashdot coincidently celebrates ;-) the opening of our call for participation for the 2007 edition of the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and this year’s theme, “Sufficiently advanced technology,” with an
Ask Slashdot open question on “computer voodoo”:

A corollary to ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ is that sometimes users have to resort to what I call ‘computer voodoo.’ You don’t know why it works, you barely care how it works, but you find yourself doing the strangest things because it just seems to work. I’m talking about things like: smacking a PC every 5 seconds for an hour to keep it from stalling on a hard drive reformat (with nary a problem after the reformat); or figuring out the only way to get a PC partially fried by lightning to recognize an ethernet card, after booting into Windows, is to start the computer by yanking the card out and shoving it back in (thereby starting the boot processes). What wacky stuff have you done that makes no obvious sense, but just works?

This puts me in mind of the wifi-dowsing performed by attendees at conferences who wander about, open laptop in hand, trying desperately to get a better signal and faster throughput.

And as a further warm-up to this year’s focus on technology that’s “indistinguishable from magic,” I point you at a wonderful bibliography of magic in UI design assembled by Mike Kuniavsky, most recently known for his well-dugg magic wand prototype.