This weekend, I had a conversation with an old friend of mine that I hadn’t talked to in quite some time. During the course of catching up I had mentioned to my computer-phobic pal that I had purchased an Apple IIe about a year ago, had become familiar with the old languages, methods, operating systems. I was even using it on-line, a newer capability for this veteran computer that I still find amazing. I forget that not everyone finds that mind blowing. His response was to inquire, “Are you broke?”

Over the past year I have been looking at Apple II software titles that I have come across via the many on-line repositories that exist. Mostly this was in a quest to fill in my knowledge gaps in using ProDOS effectively and creating compact flash software archives I can browse via ProDOS menu driven interfaces. During the course of searching through vast software archives, I came across a program that had nothing to do with either of these things, but is quite entertaining, none the less. The software is MIND PROBER (C) 1984 THE HUMAN EDGE.

When I first booted it up, I was greeted with a Mind Prober title screen in purple that did a horizontal bar transition to a second image of an eye peering at me through the hub of a 5.25″ floppy disk mystically levitating above a barren plain. I was hoping that Mind Prober was not making a symbolic jest at the mind it was about to probe. The graphic was in hi-Res and it was also the last of the snazzy graphics as the rest of the disk is text based.

After the initial titles, you are greeted with 4 choices: Instructions, Assessment, Result Reporting and Quit. The basic gist of the software is that you are asked an inventory of psychologically revealing questions about a subject and the results will show insight into a person’s personality based on the responses. The responses are entered by the arrow keys with left being “Agree”, right being “Disagree”, up/down being previous/next questions, respectively.

I was a little dubious about what seemed like pop culture software from the 80′s, but I began to perform psychological inventories on people I knew, or thought that I knew, sometimes having to guess about some questions.

Generally, the results of the inventories were revealing to me, although I wouldn’t say that the simple software nailed a personality that I tried all the way, I did discover new ways of seeing the people I am close to. I’m guessing that I had about 80-85% agreement with the assessment and the subject that I knew, although there has to be some fudge factor in there solely for my perception of the subject. Let’s give it a +/- 5%. So I’ll stand with a 75-90% range of accuracy, but I actually think that Mind Prober gave me better human understanding about those subjects in each case, at least in a small way.

Sample questions from the inventory to agree with or disagree with are basic in nature such as “He is meticulous” or “She cares about social status” and so forth. Just to test the result, I made a profile for Darth Vader based on what I knew from the Star Wars franchise. I thought the results were fairly close to his nature and would have made a great guide for an actor to follow who needed to flesh out some personality to a character. Admittedly though, I could have gone without delving into Darth Vader’s “Attitudes Towards Sex”.

An Analysis of Darth Vader by Mind Prober

COPING WITH STRESS

MR. D. V. WILL RESIST ANYTHING THAT CAUSES HIM STRESS

Mr. D. V. is not known for his ability to adapt and roll with the punches. If his environment is altered in any way, he could view such change with suspicion and distrust. He would rather struggle to maintain old routines rather than face the stress of coping with change.

He will determinedly follow what he believes is best and be difficult to persuade otherwise. His preferred method for dealing with stress is to leave whatever or whoever is causing stress behind and go off by himself to other things.

PERSONAL INTERESTS

MR. D. V.’S INTERESTS WILL NOT FOLLOW THOSE OF A CROWD

Mr. D. V. is often interested in exciting, unusual or risky pursuits. He welcomes new ideas and enjoys a good challenge. You won’t see him caught up in the latest craze or fads. He dislikes the phony or pretentious and will be quick to expose such things as shams.

He tends to become involved in solitary pursuits which test his self-sufficiency through tough intellectual or physical demands. He typically dislikes parties or other such social events that he perceives as being superficial.

ATTITUDES TOWARDS SEX

DON’T EXPECT CLOSENESS WITH MR. D. V.

Sexual privacy will seem like a major issue with Mr. D. V. It is likely that he shuns any occasion to talk about sexual feelings. However, he also may expect you to just “understand” him, and he may become angry if you seem out of step with his desires.

He may have unusual views or attitudes about sex. For example, he may denounce current sexual mores while demanding that those close to him maintain these standards.

WHAT MAKES MR. D. V. TICK

Mr. D. V. is one of those people who are happiest when left alone. He really doesn’t care to be around others. Whether he is suspicious of people or just does not get along with them, he would rather do without their presence. He does have a tendency to seek excitement, but he usually finds ways to do so without involving others.

Mr. D. V. is the sort of person who experiences a good deal of discomfort when there is uncertainty in his life. Disorganization may cause him to feel out of control. While he prefers things that are new and different, he dislikes ambiguity. Expect him to want definite knowledge on most everything he discovers.

All in all, despite the hi-Res promise and lo-Res delivery, Mind Prober, is one of those pieces of software that’s worth a look at — if only at a personal level because there is a potential here to learn something about yourself or others that perhaps was overlooked before. Based on that I would still consider this useful software that still can provide an undated assessment of a subject’s personality. It is by no means earth-shattering, but it’s zen like nature allows an opportunity to expand the perimeter of your awareness in regards to yourself and others. Ohmmm.

[Dan McLaughlin is a Apple II enthusiast and blogger. You can read more of Dan's articles on his web site at http://www.appleslices.info]