Inappropriate Misuse

It’s a perennial topic. Every year or so, someone, on some list where I frequent someplace, asks for some sample “Appropriate Use” policies. I’ve spent countless hours wordsmithing such policies — a vainglorious attempt to translate lessons from the foolish past into acceptable (and anonymous) policies. It’s a life’s lesson or two. It’s brought me to the conclusion that it’s kind of odd what people actually do with computers and other sorts of devices.

 It’s also sort of odd to think that policies emerge from the bizarre. That realization has sort of made reading other sorts of policies just that much more fun.

 I imagine that in real life these things we call “policies” really emerge like this: someone does something you never expected they would do, something silly, something where they obviously and unconditionally forgot (or never had) common sense. Then, the policy writer must turn that total silliness into a generic sort of statement — a whitewashed policy where the names have been changed to protect us all from hysterical laughter. (Now that I think about what policies really are, it sorta makes me want to rethink pursuing a (now nearly forgotten) Ph.D. in “Policy Studies.” It also makes me wonder what the Institute for Policy Studies is really up to.)

Regardless, I think it would be much easier just to list the original stuff — perhaps it might make common sense a wee bit more common. Policy analysis would be much more fun too.

So, here you go. I’ve collected that stuff, that list of things gathered from Real-life 101 (advanced placement), at The School of Hard Knocks, where I currently hold the Irascibility Chair in “Advanced Grumbling and Incomplete, Yet Intriguing, Sentences…”

I’ve posted this list once or twice, to this or that list, but in response to a request to post-it-once-and-for-all, I humbly throw it up here. (Ian, sorry it took so long. This list is for you.)

Not-So-Appropriate Use Policies (or) Things to remember about your laptop or cell phone or mobile or iPad or Kindle or PDA (or sometimes life in general):

  • Do not put or drop in toilet, tub or shower or sink or other wet sorts of places
  • Do not run over with your car (whether in your luggage or not)
    • Corollary: do not feign innocence when there are clearly tire tread marks on the device.
  • Do not put in checked luggage;
    • Corollary: Please lie to me if you did. Then blame Delta for making you.
  • Do not give to your five-year-old with bad impulse control and a jar of cheese whizz.
    • Corollary: this also applies to marshmallow fluff and bananas.
    • Corollary: this also apparently applies to oatmeal
    • Corollary: do not put grilled cheese sandwiches in the VCR slot – even if they fit. (This item is depreciated given the extinction of VCR’s.)
  • Do not kick (applies more to desktop machines or luggage containing equipment)
  • Do not pour hot fudge or canned coffee (those Starbucks yucky things) on keyboard. (Craig, this means you.)
  • Use the %&%&^ bag/carrying case/etc., we provided you, damn it.
    • Corollary: Yes that bag you bought is prettier. But …
  • Do not leave unattended in airline lounge.
  • Do not leave unattended in airline waiting area.
  • Do not leave unattended at conference reception.
    • Corollary: Even if I said, with a big smile, that it would be OK.
  • Do not ship via DHL to South Africa.
  • Do not sit on it, regardless of reason.
    • Corollary: Only you can prevent butt-dialing.
  • Do not use in combination with Mojitos, unless I am there to supervise.
    • Corollary: this also applies to Martini’s and Appletini’s.
    • Corollary: this also applies to any NTEN reception.
  • The laptop is not heavy, it’s the all that other crap you’re carrying that’s heavy; trust me.
    • Corollary: it’s a known fact that the more email you have, undeleted, in your inbox, the heavier your laptop.
    • Corollary: trust me, it’s true. It’s the buildup of Ethernet packets.
  • Do not stick things that don’t belong there into the various holes.
    • Corollary: if it doesn’t fit, there is probably a reason.
    • Corollary: do not test USB ports with your tongue.
  • Do not lift by USB device or cables or such.
    • Corollary: put that down, you don’t know where it’s been.
  • Do not use someone else’s power supply that doesn’t *quite* fit.
    • Corollary: do not forget your power supply in a sleazy hotel.
    • Corollary: do not forget your power supply in a fancy hotel, either.
  • Do not drop off balcony.
    • Corollary: this also applies to bridges
    • Corollary: this also applies to other high places
    • Corollary: what the hell were you doing up there anyway?
  • Do not spin the screen round and round (applies to tablets).
  • Do not remove the keys from the keyboard or pry off other bits and pieces
    • Corollary: don’t cover things with stupid stickers, even if it is a “No Lukashenko” sticker. (Exemptions are hereby granted in perpetuity for any and all “No Palin” stickers.)
  • Do not lend to your friends.
    • Corollary: Don’t let your friends cover it with stupid stickers either.
  • Do not remove bits and pieces or poke things in the camera lens hole.
    • Corollary: do not take pictures of your butt.
    • Corollary: do not take pictures of other people’s butts.
  • Do not scrub the screen with scratchy stuff or melt the keys with ? (What were you smoking?)
  • Do not give it to your teenage son who has a penchant for the bizarre.
    • Corollary: learn how to erase things. I’ll think much more highly of you.
    • Corollary: do not say not-nice things, especially about me, in email you misaddress (’cause it ends up in the dead letter box that I am in charge of).
  • Assume that “forcing it” is never, ever, a good response.
  • Generally try to treat it as if it were (at one time, before you got it) worth about $2500 and you bought it yourself. You break it, you might just have to.


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