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Boy's Magnetic Personality Crashes Computers

By Danny Davids(13,494) Danny Davids

Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Danny Davids

In the tech support world, there are a lot of stories floating around about users and the weird problems they experience with their computers.  Some you've probably received via e-mail or seen on the Internet.  There are the users who simply don't know what their computer can do (like the infamous CD-drive-as-cupholder scenario).  Others work on their own systems, thinking they're knowledgeable but proving to true technicians that they only know enough to be dangerous.  And then there's Joseph Falciatano.

Joe is a typical 12-year-old boy in Richland, New York.  He enjoys video games and is computer savvy.  But when he's around computers, things get a little, uh, weird.

For example, in the school computer lab, whatever computer Joe was using would start to act up.  Other students could get on the same computer and have no problems.  Joe nearly failed his fifth grade social studies class because computer problems nearly destroyed the Powerpoint project he was required to turn in.  When Joe's around, fonts change at random, files that were saved successfully can't be reopened, and the shift key kicks in unexpectedly.

One of Joe's teachers finally hit on the idea of having Joe use a grounding pad and anti-static wrist strap.  As long as Joe wore the strap and used the pad, he had no computer problems.  When he'd forget, the computer would enter the Twilight Zone.

Joe's parents were informed of the situation, and they both thought it was a joke.  After all, Joe had no problems with electronics at home.  Well, except for the Xbox.  The device would freeze whenever Joe would try to play one of his games.  It took the purchase of an Xbox 360 and a wireless controller to resolve the issue.  Even so, Joe has to sit across the room, away from the game console itself, in order to play.

The most famous example of Joe's electric personality, however, occured during his fifth-grade promotion ceremony.  Parents (including Joe's), teachers, and friends packed the gym bleachers as students sat on the floor to watch a computer slide show.  Suddenly the audio began to slow down and distort, and the slide display began behaving erratically.  Two teachers raced to Joe, who was sitting near the computer, and moved him to the side of the room.  The slide show immediately started running normally.  Joe's dad realized that they were moving Joe away from the computer so he wouldn't "crash the system."

Joe's fame became so widespread that the owner of an electrostatic company in Rochester came out to investigate the phenomenon.  After running a few tests, he concluded that Joe's problem was due to static electricity.  The human body is a great conductor of electricity, it turns out.  And it has no problem holding a static charge.  His conclusion was that Joe's routine could cause him to generate more static electricity than the average person, causing the electronics glitches Joe had become so famous for causing.

It turns out that Joe's fame may be short-lived.  Since his school built a new wing and his class has moved into it, Joe has had no further problems with crashing computers and destroying data.

So when your co-worker drops her Internet and e-mail connection for the 20th time in as many minutes, think twice about scoffing when she jokes that it's probably her aura.  Instead, suggest she might want to be tested for electromagnetic resonance.  Make your office off-limits to her, so she can't mess up your computer.  But forget the aluminum foil lining her office walls.  That trick only works to keep the aliens from reading your mind and taking control of it.  Sometimes.

This Blog Post has been read 387 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Wednesday, February 20, 2008
View other posts by Danny Davids

Comments on this blog post:

Comment by Creative(54,965) Creative (100 days 4 hours ago.)
This happens to me too, but only when I'm in a bad mood.

I get static shocks all the time too, darn annoying!

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