When I was doing computer support at a local University, there was a faculty
member who, while somewhat cyber-phobic, learned quickly. She was up to speed
with Office and Windows 95. Then she ordered a new computer.
She was very concerned about losing files, so I made sure not only to backup her
stuff but also to replicate the directory structure, the desktop, everything. To
make sure that she would be comfortable with the new system, I even kept her old
monitor, keyboard, and mouse on her desk, to prevent any "look and feel" changes
from throwing her.
Well, two days later, she calls, in tears, hysterically sobbing. She couldn't
use her new computer. I took a look, and everthing was just as it should be.
Windows 95 ran, Office was here in all its glory, her documents and
presentations (and their shortcuts) were all in place -- everything works.
Me: "So what's the problem?"
Her: "I can't use this computer."
Me: "Why not? It has the same programs, the same operating system, the same
Her: "Yes, thank you very much. But I can't use this computer!"
Me: "Well what's wrong?"
Her: "Nothing's wrong. I just can't use it. I don't know how to use new
For some reason, since this was a new computer, she forgot everything she had
ever learned about all the applications she used to be proficient with. She had
to relearn everything. There were no exclaims of recognition, either, like, "Oh,
this is Word, just like before!" She had to be taught how to use everything all
over again. She even asked that all her documents be printed out so she could
The irony is that she is a well regarded expert in the field of human memory