Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Woes of a cyberphobe


Hello, my name is Patrick Boberg, and I suffer from a minor case of cyberphobia. I have developed websites from nothing, built databases and programmed applications. I enter every software beta test that piques my interest, and I relish the opportunity to get up close and personal with the latest gadgets. Still, any time I am required to crack the case of a computer or gadget, my hands start to shake.

Before you mock me, cyberphobia — the fear of using or working on a computer — is a real thing. While I can’t provide any statistics on the affliction, think of the aversion to installing hardware in terms of DIY plumbing. Only the bold and true handy men and women are fully confident in repairing a burst pipe or a leak behind a wall. Even worse, think of it as surgery! While replacing a graphics card isn’t quite a kidney transplant, if you knick the wrong part of your motherboard or circuitry, a slip up could be quite disastrous.

My personal hang up makes no sense. I’ve replaced power supplies, installed RAM, fans, multiple hard drives and upgraded sound cards. Yet, when I sat down last week to crack open my MacBook and replace yet another hard drive, I found myself holding my breath every time I reached for the screwdriver. The chances of me causing major damage are close to zero, yet the possibility fires a red alert in my psyche.

Doing my best armchair psychiatry, there are only two possible reasons I can see for this fear. First, the money invested in my laptop: My MacBook Pro was a $2,200 machine back in 2008, and, while it may not be as fast and powerful as a new model, it meets all my needs and I’m not ready to make another two grand investment just yet. Second, the loss of pride I would feel if everything went to hell while performing computer surgery. The sense of accomplishment that comes with successfully switching out a hard drive is nothing compared to shame of having to take a junked laptop to a repairman and admit defeat. CV


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