When you’re in a situation where things periodically don’t work as we wish, then “not working” becomes the expected, the cheng. You might recall, although you’ll be dating yourself if you admit it, that a day when you didn’t have to reboot your Windows 3.1 machine was often circled in red on your calendar.
So in this perverse but all too common environment, consistently working as expected becomes the unexpected, the chi. You might recall the first time you upgraded to Windows 2000: It didn’t crash! Ditto for Mac OS X. And you were delighted.
I mentioned this effect 11 years ago in Certain to Win:
I can illustrate this by using the personal computer industry, where working as advertised would be absolutely shocking. p. 149
So it’s nice to see this phenomenon mentioned in the mainstream press, in this case The Atlantic’s Quartz.com site:
Apple has thrived above all in the last two decades by offering the particular beauty that lies in order, organization, and simplicity, and in the predictable delight that results when something technical, unexpectedly, just works. (“Apple and Star Wars together explain why much of the world around you looks the way it does” by Nicholas de Monchaux)
[As an aside, as I’m writing this, my wife’s computer is trying to upgrade to Windows 10. The first little app proudly proclaimed my wife’s vintage Dell Inspiron as suitable for Windows 10. I have great hopes for being delighted.]