Do you shutdown or sleep?

by Andy Polaine on September 5, 2008

in General

laptopbaby 1.jpg

(Photo: Paul Watson)

What’s the emotional difference between shutting your computer down and putting to sleep? Or turning your phone onto silent mode instead of switching it off?

I need some input from you all (aka comments) on this one.

I’m interested in this because I’m thinking about the idea of closure when it comes to interactive experiences. Stories end, usually, with a return to equilibrium and it feels irksome when they don’t. Everyone has had the experience of watching a film and suddenly the credits roll and you think, “Huh? Was that it?” (with the exception of French and Japanese films where nothing actually happens anyway).

What makes you stop interacting with something? Is it getting the task done? Is it boredom? The bus arriving? What’s the emotional feeling at the end of it?

I feel sure there is an emotional difference between turning your computer or phone off as opposed to sleeping/muting it. There is definitely an emotional reaction when it shuts down or crashes of its own accord.

What’s your take on this? Do you have any examples of this be handled, managed, designed in good or bad ways?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Polaine September 5, 2008 at 11:51 am

IMO:

We don’t shutdown, we repair and reorganise. Obviously our body continues to function and we will wake from sleep with noise or a pain. Hence the difference between sleep and a coma.

Sleep is essential for the brain to regain control of itself and prioritise memory and ability. Many new motor co-ordinations are enhanced with sleep, not endless repetition.

Take a look at the opposite – sleep deprivation. The mind becomes unhinged, co-ordination is shot, memory blurs into a mush, mood is all over the place.

Having ridden bicycles in endurance events through the night, the ‘witching hour’ of around 2am-5am really hammers the mind and it requires quite a bit of training to overcome this bodily demand to reboot.

For extended events over many days, riders have to have short bursts of sleep of say, 1hr every 10hrs, or the hallucinations get very bad. Mine seems to be dogs running out of hedges into my path.

I once had a rabbit running into my path and tried to ignore the vision, only to hit it as it was real. I then expected Alice in Wonderland to shout at me from the hedge (that wasn’t there)for killing the rabbit, but I was already cross with her because the rabbit wasn’t white. How can you see a grey rabbit in twilight? This is what sleep deprivation can do…half reality half dream.

I know of one or two insomniacs and they still snooze or rest the brain to let it freewheel for a bit, about 2-4hrs each day.

Sleep enables repair and a reboot, a kind of disc defrag. Without it the clutter will send you mad, as any parent with babies will know.

2 Andy Polaine September 5, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Entertaining to hear of your night-rider hallucinations.

But actually I really meant computers and phones. What makes you sleep it as opposed to switch it off. What does it feel like when you one rather than the other? (Or the phone version).

3 Dylan September 6, 2008 at 12:55 am

my laptop sleeps all the time at home . It’s an old PowerBook so takes for ever to boot up hence the sleep option also have it on battery while it sleeps to keep it on it’s toes and keep some charge in a 3 year old battery. The only time I shut it down or restart it is when it begins to slow down or seize up. So restart and refresh . My work laptop gets shut down at the end of each day so it’s like work is over leave now. Or come to work start the machine. With the iPhone alarm not working from off my phone is in flight mode at night now, with my old k750 I would switch it off and alarm would still work . Though now when I have the occasional up at 3 am I read a boom on iPhone rather than getting up and doing stuff on laptop .

4 Andy Polaine September 6, 2008 at 9:47 am

The iPhone can’t do alarms from off? Even my nano does that…

Interesting to hear the on/off work scenario, which is what I imagined most do. I leave my laptop on sleep at night mostly, but I work from home. The flipside of that is the tendency (like this Saturday morning) to ‘quickly check my mail’ and end up working in my t-shirt and pants for half half the day.

Can you think of any other interactive media where you have this on/off behaviour? What about games? Apart from finishing an adventure game, what encourages you to stop?

5 Dylan September 6, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I know weird eh. I was late for work the 1st day I got my iPhone.
I don’t really play many games the only console we have is ds so gaming is quite casual unless we get stuck into something like mario. I do a fair amount of music at home and that is definitely on or off . That might be to do with amount of gear involved though. I think if a computer could boot as quick it would wake up I’d shut down my home machine. DS boots fast even with a supercard.

6 Mara September 14, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Not sure if its new age mumbo jumbo, but I’ve heard that if we don’t turn off and unplug electronics in our bedrooms our body doesn’t actually rest as soundly as it should…

7 Pete September 15, 2008 at 11:47 pm

I was playing Portal on PS3 this weekend. (Brilliant game if you haven’t played it – http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1299927595688205543)

I noticed I’d only want to save or turn off the console, if I was at a section in the level where I was safe. Away from harm. And relatively aware of my surroundings.

8 Andy Polaine September 16, 2008 at 11:01 am

So is that because you were exhausted from the playing and needed a break or was it more to do with that feeling of safety? What were the emotions at that point?

9 tim September 18, 2008 at 7:56 am

i see our 19 year old Au-pair girl being seriously stressed out when trying to log off from her 3 hours of Skype or IM chat, handling 5 chats at the same time. there never seems to be a good moment to shut down and say good bye for the night (especially since her chat partners are mostly in Europe and therefore forever perky during their day…

10 Andy Polaine September 18, 2008 at 2:27 pm

So does she shut the computer down, leave it asleep or leave it on?

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