Thursday, December 08, 2016

Worst computer analogy ever?

Because basically, every single thing said on the computer side of the analogy is false:

"These concepts have been previously primed for influence. By analogy, think of almost any computer program you use. It is likely to contain transfer links [Transfer links? WTH?] that you need to click twice: once to ready the link and once to launch it. [Double-clicking is a single mouse gesture: from the program's point of view: the program just receives notice that the user double-clicked. There are not two phases, one during which the "transfer link" could be "readied," whatever the hell that would mean.] But the program also likely contains links that launch with just one click [that's because the programmer triggered the event associated with the link on a single-click mouse event, and not a double-click], because they have already been readied -- that is, hyperlinked ['hyperlink' just means links within hypertext: nothing to do with 'prefetching'] to the desired information. The effect of hyperlinking to a location has been labeled by web browser engineers as 'prefetching it.'" -- Pre-suasion, Robert Cialdini, p. 140.

It looks to me as though Cialdini simply wrote down how he imagined computers work, without bothering to check a single thing in the entire passage above.


  1. Makes you wonder how much other stuff you read where you don't happen to have specialist knowledge is equally false.

  2. "Once to ready the link and once to launch it."

  3. I have composed what I believe is a much more interesting and useful computer analogy.

    The computer is a medium-sized box containing unusually smart chipmunks. Due to Pavlovian conditioning involving live mice (chipmunks being mouse-eating predators), double clicking will persuade the chipmunks to write the website you wish to read. However, they will only respond to a single click if they have been primed for soi-disant "pre-suasion".


Chicken horror movies

Take place in human diners, and show one omelette after another being cooked and devoured.