Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dysfunctionville

I'm doing this course in Human-Computer Interaction (don't ask me why, it's a long story) this semester. It is an interesting course, but not interesting enough by a long shot.

Just this week, I was assigned the task of designing a remote control that would allow you to control a TV, a DVD player, an MP3 player, a video surveillance unit, an organiser, and America's nuclear arsenal and space shuttles.

Before we actually got down to designing this system, we were supposed to sketch profiles of people who may actually end up using the system. Maybe there is something wrong with me, every profile I wrote seemed to indicate psychosis, neurosis, or plain stupidity.

Yes, I did end up submitting this. It remains to be seen, however, if the TA extracts as much joy out of reading them as I did out of writing them.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce y'all to these social misfits that I dreamed up.


Lois Lane, Reporter, The Daily Planet

Lois Lane is the typical career woman who works irrgular hours and shows a strong proclivity for multitasking. Preparing a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, writing an article, and bullying her photographer around, all at the same time are second nature to her. She nurtures an almost obsessive interest in a fictional alien who wears his underwear over his trousers, and is therefore constantly procuppied. At home, she is additionally distracted by her ugly little brat of undetermined parentage (father at least) who often displays unnatural strength beyond his years.

Her medical records indicate slightly delusionary behaviour, having confidently asserted that she had slept with the aforementioned alien with the terrible dress sense, and that he was the father of her child. She also has trouble with her spelling, indicating an extremely mild form of dyslexia. However, this could merely indicate that she is underqualified for the job, and her recruitment involved some under-the-table agreement.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham is the typical upper-class housewife. She has a steady private income, coupled with that of her celebrity husband’s (whose income is a result of his metrosexuality and (negligible) sporting talent).

She has no career to speak of anymore, save for a few public appearance towing behind her husband. Her interests lie primarily along the lines of watching Reality TV, Desperate Housewives and almost every sitcom on TV. She has a strong affinity towards pop music, particularly of the manufactured boy/girl band variety. She has plenty of time to indulge in these, thanks to the fact that she hires a personal secretary, a beautician, a trainer, a cleaning lady, and two nannies who take care of her three children.

Though she appears to suffer from anorexia nervosa, and a debilitating mental illness that impels her to give her children names which ensure them a life of ridicule, none of these appear to have an impact on her reading and motor skills. However, she professes to be rather a technophobe, and finds a large number of buttons intimidating.

Bridget Jones, executive

Bridget is a university-educated, highly successful professional woman in a middle-level executive position in a publishing concern. She multi-tasks ruthlessly, and has the ability to do ten completely unrelated things at the same time without being in the least confused. She can smoke a cigarette, flirt with her boss, do her nails, weigh herself, count the number of calories she's consumed since February 1st, 2002, and record all of this down in her diary.

She loves the telly as much as any thirty-something ``singleton’’ with a terrible social life possibly can. However, she is constantly distracted by phone calls from her friends - equally needy singletons in dysfunctional relationships, burning microwaveable dinners, constant nagging by her parents and relations to settle down with a decent chap, and an compulsive desire to confide in her diary.

Bridget is obsessed with control, and is given to meticulously recording her weight and the calories consumed in the last day. She has a problem with her spelling, which seems to indicate mild dyslexia. Heavy smoking over the years has resulted in her finding it difficult to keep her hand steady, particularly to handle large number of small buttons stacked together.

Her control obsession and her general disorganisation lead her to rely heavily on automated reminders. In addition to being a movie junkie, she has an eclectic taste in music, ranging from a post-coital craving for heavy rock to an equally strong post-break-up craving for soul, country and R&B. She’s also paranoid about security, especially after her creepy neighbour began skulking around her front door and stealing her mail.

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