Outlier ETech-er and Keyboard Caloric Consumption

I’m not sure who it was, but last week at the ETech conference I had someone sitting one row in front of me who was an absolute outlier in terms of multitasking laptop use. Simultaneously, and in the space of perhaps two minutes, he was …

  1. In the #etech IRC chat
  2. In at least two ongoing IM conversations
  3. Buying a piece of computer luggage
  4. Bidding on something at Ebay
  5. Adding a trip to Dopplr
  6. Compiling some code
  7. And listening closely enough to the on-stage speaker that he laughed aloud at all the right places

As an admittedly outlier multitasker, I felt utterly over-matched. Just the caloric consumption required to navigate, type and do context shifts as quickly as he did was daunting.


  1. The energy to run the brain of the multitasker is the same whether is he’s at Etech or asleep on his couch.
    “In the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body. This high rate of metabolism is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity ”

  2. The caloric consumption bit is a myth. Don’t believe it. Two reasons:
    1. That is why sedentary long hours translate to weight gain.
    2. It is like Dilbert telling Pointy-Haired Boss to delete some files to make his laptop lighter.
    PS: My other blog is about obesity and I am just finishing a PhD on it, so I can talk: http://obesityheadlines.blogspot.com

  3. I propose the term “Doctorovian” to describe this kind of ultramultitasking behaviour.