Contortionists Only Need Apply

IBM ThinkPad X40 laptop computer
This article was written by CBS News Correspondent Allen Pizzey.

It has to be deliberate.

Somewhere, lurking in the darkened, ozone-infested bowels of a mega-corporation, a desperate collection of evil geniuses are engaged in making the most obvious mistakes in the world seem so natural and part of life that mere mortals will pay good money to be afflicted by them.

Hotels and personal computers — especially computers — are the proof.

For example, the PC on which I am writing this was sold as "state of the art," and is replete with features that, were they not diabolical, would be sheer silliness. The infrared port has cunningly been placed on the front. This means you need arms like a chimpanzee to type once you've hooked up online with your cell phone. The laboratory in-joke probably runs along the lines of "give enough humans a front port and time online and they'll write e-mails that look like the Bible typed by a monkey."

And then there's the mouse. Given that the device is designed to be used right-handed, who decided it was logical to put the USB port on the left side? I'll tell you who: a bunch of guys who are even now chortling "give a non-nerd enough mouse cable and he'll hang his computer."

And in case that didn't work, they compounded the inconvenience by putting the exhaust port for the processor fan directly in front of where most people put their mouse pad. "If you can't stand the heat stay out of the word processor."