Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the mechanic's uncertainty principle


best illustrated when you take your car to the mechanic and it doesn't make that nagging noise anymore. usually described as "unable to duplicate the problem", I come across the mechanic's uncertainty principle frequently at work helping people with their PC's: a printer doesn't work, a document won't format correctly, a file won't save, a database error, etc... they call IT for help, I look at what's happening and magically, just using my laserbeam eyes or a few simple keystrokes, the problem disappears. "what did you do?" and "of course it works for you!" are the normal praises I get. that's ok; my magic with computers is the main reason they keep me around, put up with my abuse and feed me doughnuts.

I'm surprised to see nobody else has given this phenomena a good name yet. so allow me to make my contribution to the vernacular. Dr. Sam the dentist called it "threat therapy" and "The Magical Curative Power of the Threshold", but I prefer my more generic term... it ties in with the related Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which explains in part why the universe fundamentally needs some randomness and why focused attention can sometimes change (and fix!) things. now if I can just get my new term to catch on. digg this or something people!