10 Breeds of PC User Identified and Explained

They are: the traumatized virus victim, the two-fingered typist, the DIY optimist, the blinkered office-worker, the obnoxious expert, the upgrade fanatic, the fixer, the PC evangelist, the addict and the GTD maniac.

It’s time for a bit of fun with our first ‘Unplug’ column.

Which one are you?

If you’re a Mac user, you probably have a friend who matches one of these descriptions.

* Note: I use a PC for gaming/media and a Mac for work, and I like them both. This isn’t an anti-PC article.

PC user breed #1

The traumatized virus victim

How to spot one:

Will not open any email attachments you send, including images, documents and MP3s. Burn them a CD of music and they’ll ask if they can get a virus from it.

Will decline to accept images and MP3s sent over IM “Just in case”. Will usually be running five or six Anti-Virus programs which pop up every few seconds, but somehow manage to get a new virus every other day.

Have stopped deleting the ‘Online Casino’ shortcuts from their desktop. Have not yet discovered how to turn on a Firewall and have no desire to learn.

The highs:

Easily impressed by any computer that works.

The lows:

Will remain paranoid and impervious to logic on any computer-related topic.

PC user breed #2

The two-fingered typist

How to spot one:

As per this breed’s namesake, the two-fingered typist will use the index finger of each hand for all keyboard use, usually involving much more force than is necessary. This also goes for clicking the mouse.

Two-fingered typists don’t understand computers and are proud of the fact. They won’t retain any computer related information, so don’t bother trying to teach them.

They’ll routinely (and possibly deliberately) mispronounce common computer terms or use them in the wrong context. My mother calls Firefox “Mottzilla”.

The highs:

Endlessly amusing.

The lows:

Showing your dad how to send an email for literally the fifth or sixth time.

PC User breed #3

The DIY optimist

How to spot one:

Excited by the prospect of maximum performance and low-cost repairs, the DIY optimist sees actual technical knowledge as unnecessary in the pursuit of PC perfection.

BIOS is not a computer’s central nervous system — to the DIY optimist, it’s a playground: a place to change variables and “See what happens.”

The occasional BSOD is to be expected. It will usually take the destruction of one or more CPUs before this breed will concede defeat and call a repair shop.

The highs:

When it works, it works. DIY optimists tend to get there eventually (though a few parts might be confined to the scrap-heap along the way).

The lows:

When it fails, it fails catastrophically. DIY optimists can turn a minor RAM allocation problem into a hazardous electrical fire with seemingly very little effort.

PC User breed #4

The blinkered office-worker

How to spot one:

Has been using a computer for 12 years but will rave to you about a cute little program they just discovered called ‘Paint’.

Can create multi-layered tables and a complicated footnote system in Word but can’t work out how to change their screen resolution.

Will use the internet only to do things they already know how to do offline (i.e. read the paper, check weather and send greeting cards). Discovered ‘Solitaire’ five years ago and have never turned back.

The highs:

Associate computers with mind-numbing work and thus spend as little time as possible using them after hours. Tend to be more tanned than the rest of us.

The lows:

Extremely adverse to trying anything new and computer-related.

PC User breed #5

The obnoxious expert

How to spot one:

Knows a lot about computers and is not content to do so quietly. Can usually be found accumulating an insanely high forum post count primarily by answering tech or gaming related questions with a heavy dose of subtle humiliation.

Will disagree with everything and everyone. Uses the word “Obviously” as much as possible.

The highs:

When you can wade through the disdain far enough to extract a nugget of useful advice.

The lows:

When you find out that the freelancer you just contracted is one of these guys.

PC user breed #6

The upgrade fanatic

How to spot one:

You’ll usually spot their PC tower first as a beam of neon shoots into your eye and temporarily blinds you.

When you regain your vision you’ll see a vaguely rectangular object which looks a little bit like a miniature alien spaceship with spinning objects, lasers and drifting motes of dry ice inside.

If the owner isn’t around, he’ll probably be at the mailbox picking up a new shipment of neon tubing. The crazed modder’s PC will usually be worth at least twice as much as their car.

The highs:

Will eagerly install new hardware for you and may even give you hand-me-down parts which are probably three or four times better than what you’re currently using.

The lows:

They pour thousands upon thousands of dollars into an object that, over time, depreciates almost as fast as underwear.

PC user breed #7

The fixer

How to spot one:

Their PC runs like a dream. They Defrag several times a month, perform regular virus checks and have installed a complicated network of firewalls.

If something does go wrong, will insist on fixing the problem personally rather than pay a repair center to do it, almost as a matter of honor.

Will volunteer to “help fix” any computer that doesn’t run to their high standards (i.e. any computer other than their own).

The highs:

Can be genuinely useful, particularly when paired with a traumatized virus victim or two-fingered typist.

The lows:

Will chastise you for not fixing that critical hard drive failure yourself.

PC user breed #8

The PC evangelist

How to spot one:

Hates Macs with remarkable intensity, despite having never used one long enough to understand how they work. Will start an argument with every Mac user they encounter and belittle them for their choice of OS.

Will claim that PCs must be superior because so many more people use them (logic that also makes Akon a superior musician to Sufjan Stevens, because more people buy Akon’s albums).

Can usually be seen with an iPod in one ear and an iPhone pressed to the other.

* Note: Mac evangelists are just as annoying.

The highs:

Great conversation-starter for fellow PC users.

The lows:

Does not mix well with Mac users.

PC user breed #9

The addict

How to spot one:

All phone conversations with addicts will be characterized by the faint sound of typing and delayed one-word responses that often don’t quite line up with the question you asked.

Will usually only leave the room containing their computer to relieve themselves or scavenge for food and water (unless they’re playing World of Warcraft, in which case these things are not always sufficient motivations… ouch).

Will indicate that they want you to stop bothering them by looking intently at the computer screen as they answer your questions. You probably won’t see the person much for the duration of the addiction.

The highs:

Quite good if you don’t like the person much (for example, a weird house-mate).

The lows:

Bad if you like the person (for example, a spouse).

PC user breed #10

The GTD maniac

How to spot one:

Will spend many hours setting up and refining a complicated folder system which saves less time than is spent on maintaining it.

Is plagued by constant guilt because they’re “Not doing it properly.” Regards anything other than a blank desktop as “clutter”.

Will allocate a weekly “clean up” session, even if there’s nothing to clean. Will delete important files rather than store them, even if they have a 400 Gigabyte hard drive with 380 Gigabytes free.

The highs:

Will achieve occasional ’serene’ states where they feel like everything is perfectly ordered and as it should be.

The lows:

Usually fail to realize that a highly complicated, regimental productivity system is a symptom of over-work, not a cure for it.

* * *

Kudos to Jack Knight for the inspiration.

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About Skellie

Massive nerd who just happens to enjoy anything related to blogging, creativity, and online marketing.

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