The object of my affection

I examined my weird emotionally fraught relationship with my defunct laptop/reviewed Sherry Turkle’s books about “evocative objects” for Technology Review.  I would like to thank the editors of this august MIT-related magazine, which has been published since 1899, for letting me keep this description of the differences between my new and old laptops in the first graph:

“Both shift keys are intact, the screen isn’t smeary, and the whole apparatus isn’t encrusted with crumbs and cat hair. There’s a built-in camera so I can (entertain the horrifying prospect of engaging in) video chat with friends and loved ones. No one has yet photographed this computer to illustrate a magazine story about, like, “Bloggers: What’s Up with That?”

Also I wrote this like a month ago and the part about cat hair is no longer true.

16 comments to The object of my affection

  • Anonymous



    Do Not google This Term>

  • Anonymous

    oh yeah almost forgot, curiously kitties, of all of God’s little creatures, are also known to be rampant Objectophiles…

  • Matt

    I had one of the newer macbooks on loan when my own 5 year old iBook was getting a new logic board installed last week. I tried the video chat thing with a friend of mine in England, and I thought it was awesome.

    Special bonus, when I got my computer back, they replaced my worn out and gross keyboard for free! Though I suspect they just did that so they could touch my computer without gloves…

  • Hey Anonymous -


    Polymorphous Perversity


    F**K OFF

  • Paul

    Readability Statistics

    Words 1316
    Characters 6650
    Paragraphs 9
    Sentences 47

    Sentences per Paragraph 5.2
    Words per Sentence 28
    Characters per word 4.9

    Passive Sentences 10%
    Flesch Reading ease 40.2
    Flesh Kincaid Grade Level 12

  • Jeff K

    Request: Pictures! For posterity, visual comparison, and judgment.

    Plus, we might enter you in the ugliest computer contest (see Ugliest Dog contest) just for fun.

  • What the hell is going on?
    I go away for a week, come back and it’s like coming up out of the rabbit hole! These cryptic comments, what am I missing here?

    Anyway, I think, the article is well written, tightly coherent with a great flow. While probably not The Book material, it’s bread & butter. Excellent writing.

  • I’m writing this on a 7 1/2 year old IBM Thinkpad I purchased in accordance with the computer initiative at my college. It has no track pad (only a track “point”), cannot play any Internet video fullscreen, regularly informs me that the non-”data” partitioned hard drive is out of space (false), and I’ve spent enough on add-ons to have quite possibly totaled half of the MacBook I’ve been intending to buy for three years.

    Also, your battery/cafe line made me nod with a tight-lipped smile of knowing annoyance.

    But the damn thing still runs — and pretty well, which regularly amazes anyone from college, most of whom moved on while we were in school. Theoretically, this year is really the year. But I said December was IT, and we’re about to enter March. On it goes.

  • lies. everyone knows the cat hair remains in tact.

  • I once found myself alone in a long empty corridor in a building at MIT years ago.

    I was looking through long tall shelves filled with book after book after book. There were books about anything and everything you could ever want to know.

    After a while, I heard footsteps as a handsome young professor approached me. He told me all about this fascinating fabulous world far beyond the walls of this old building.

    I went with him deeper into the corridors of the building and there I found God. He made love to me like God made love to Mary.

    I became a woman that day.

    And he let me have his old laptop he was going to have recycled. I still sleep with it hidden under my mattress.

  • baybii me

    wat is this
    i need 2 no this
    what’s missing from this well known saying? a ____ of my affection

  • Leah

    Okay, Okay people, i know i wasn’t suppose to but i did indeed google objectophilia. I recommend you do and watch the you tube vid. It’s much like taking LSD for the first time. You will never think the same way again.

  • Emily
    I read your book review and commentary just today in Taiwan, March 21, after finding the MIT magazine at a college bookstore in southern Taiwan where i live now forever, since i no longer use airplanes and do not use computers (that I own, that is). DANNY BLOOM, Tufts 1971

    I think your piece was very well written by completely bogus. Do we also feel the same about our old landline phone or cellphones or cars aor bicycles or apartments? A computer is just a device. Get over it allready. What I really told Jason and you in a private email is this:

    Kidding, but serious too.


    LOVE YOUR BLOG, LOVE YOUR WRITNg..just disagree on this device crapola! smilE

    “Emily Goulds piece was PURE silliness……does
    she have same attachment to her old telephones where she called
    romantic calls to old boyfrinds, or her old typewriter or her old
    cars……pure BS…..i call this girlBS….silly girl talk….a
    machine is just a machine, dammit. SMILE”

    acutally i call Emily’s take on OBJECTS as girlshit, as oppoed to boyshit, which is also silly too

  • btw, i do not own a computer, and never have and never will. I use a computer every day yes to write my blogs, my emails, and my books, 7 so far, in English and Chinese and Japanese…..and for my polar cities work…..but I just go to a local computer cafe near my home and put in some coins to use the machine for an hour or so, someimtes 3 hours at a spell. But i do not own a computer, do not have one in my home and never will. and I do not fly in airplanes anymore either. Or drive a car. I use a bicycle to get around. We need to STOP our consumption, the world is facing major troubles with global warming and all most of you think about is OBJETS and buy more and more of them! wake up, you are ruining this planet and by the year 2500, the human species might be gone becausae of our selfiishness.


  • jack

    Hey Danny boy

    Probably some of what you have written has been lost in translation; so, though normally I’d take offense at the negative terminology you used to criticize Ms. Gould’s writing, I’ll ignore it.

    However, I need to address your inappropriate, for this blog, eco-political ramblings; because, well, it just REALLY PISSES ME OFF.

    Now, you go right ahead and conserve. The rest of us will enjoy our lives, all the more, at your expense.

    You are prophesizing an apocalyptic vision for the world by year 2500. Are you nuts? Do realize the infinite possibilities of what can happen in intervening 491.78 years? Has anyone told you that you are extremely negative?

    And, of course, I love that you believe you have the right criticize the rest of us.

    Who appointed you to be the world’s conscience? Did we ask for your advice? Has anybody ever asked for your advice? Do you know what delusional means?

    I call your attitude:


    Now please don’t take any of this too harshly as it was written in the spirit of love and service.

  • Coco Ballantyne


    Good piece in TR. Loved it. You might find this interesting too for a future commentary about how reading online is markedly different from reading on paper surfaces. I sent this to our mutual friend Jason Pontin, too:

    By Coco Ballantyne ,

    It’s no mystery that publications have been taking a beating as more
    and more people read their news on the Net. But there’s a catch. The
    online info may be instant and abundant — and in many cases free –
    but it may come at a cost, says a new study published in the Journal
    of Research in Reading.

    Study author Anne Mangen, an associate prof of literacy studies at
    Norway’s University of Stavanger, says she discovered that reading
    online may not be as rewarding – or effective – as the printed word.
    The reasons: The process involves so much physical manipulation of the
    computer that it interferes with our ability to focus on and
    appreciate what we’re reading; online text moves up and down the
    screen and lacks physical dimension, robbing us of a feeling of
    completeness; and multimedia features, such as links to videos and
    animations, leave little room for imagination, limiting our ability to
    form our own mental pictures to illustrate what we’re reading.

    “The visual happenings on the screen… and your physical interaction
    with the device is distracting,” Mangen says. “All of these things are
    taxing on cognition and concentration in a way that a book is not.”

    Given her findings, Mangen says that the implications of digital
    technology should be considered when deciding whether to incorporate
    computer teaching tools into classroom instruction. She notes that
    online teaching tools, such as electronic books, are being used from
    kindergarten up even though there is little research on their effect
    on learning and development.

    “I know from studying kids’ use of the Internet in schools that [there
    is] the issue of whether kids [stick to] reading,” says Janet
    Schofield, a psychology prof at the University of Pittsburg, noting
    that “it’s very easy [for them] to become distracted, because it takes
    so little effort to go somewhere else” online. She does not discount,
    however, that online reading has its pluses, most notably that it
    provides instant access to more info on topics of interest.

    Richard Long of the International Reading Association, a nonprofit
    organization of literacy professionals in Newark, Del., says more
    research needs to be done to study the effects of online reading on
    different users. For instance, he says, many older people may absorb
    more or learn faster by flipping through pages, because their brains
    have been trained to read hard copy, whereas younger readers may learn
    faster digitally, because they’re accustomed to working online.
    “Previous experience has a tremendous impact on rate and thoroughness
    of learning,” he says. “The actual learning phenomenon is the same at
    the end of the day.”

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