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Ever been so frustrated and angry with your PC you've really felt like doing it some serious damage, or maybe even shooting it? Then...

"Behold the Computer Revolution"

...was the title of an article in the National Geographic magazine, November 1970 (vol. 138, no. 5, pp593-633):

I read this (long) article nearly 40 years ago, before I had even seen or used a computer, and the only thing I ever remembered about it was that it mentioned someone had become so frustrated with a computer he had actually fired a gun into it. Having now been a user of computers for the last 35 of those 40 years, I can fully empathize with such feelings. I recently dug the magazine out and found the relevant section (p609)—the author has been giving a simple explanation of the steps involved in programming a computer, along with the pitfalls and frustrations, ending with:

Now that I knew how demanding it can be to work with computers, and how frustrating, I could see why extra-bright programmers can earn $20,000 a year at age 25. Why they sometimes chew their nails and pencils around the clock, and snap at their wives when they finally get home. And why one night a programmer fired two bullets into a computer. Unemployment checks were late that week in the vicinity of Spokane, Washington.

There is no comfort at all in knowing that nothing has changed, but it does make me wonder what the rate of such incidences is these days...

[Page last updated: 14 Dec 2009]