It’s always weird using other people’s computers, especially when they look so similar to your own. Whenever I have to help anybody with programming, or look up something on their Macbook, it’s always bewildering: will they scroll in the same direction as I do? Did they set up hot corners? Are their desktops and docks messes, with programs littered throughout them?

It’s made me think that the way people keep their computers may be reflective of their personalities in some way. I anal-retentatively keep my desktop and folders emptied and organized. My dock only has three items on it at any given time. So for this week’s EROFT assignment, to divine based on some ‘natural’ digital event, I decided to read a person’s personality based on how they’ve kept their Downloads folder.


At first, I wanted to divine a person’s future, MASH-style. It’s one of my favourite childhood interpretations of -omancy, but after I implemented it, it didn’t feel quite right. I decided that the key element of MASH was actually the interpersonal connection, making the lists of homes with your friends, listing out people you know to marry. Consequentially, I backed off of MASH.


I then iterated around various facets of personality, but settled on determining a person’s MBTI type from a folder you can give it. I’m not a big fan of MBTI– I think that it’s largely been discounted by personality psychologists, and that the Big 5 types are more intuitive and less changeable. Additionally, most people don’t take the official MBTI test, so the results that they get are quite suspect.

Consequentially, my extremely inaccurate type test is probably as accurate as the typical MBTI test that someone would take online. It’s entirely based on the number of files in the given folder: if someone has many folders, maybe they’re more extroverted. If they have more images, they’re more sensing than intuitive. If they have a lot of files, perhaps they’re more thinking than feeling. If their oldest file is quite old, maybe they’re more judging.

sorted.forEach( function(v) {
  var fileType ='.').pop();
  if (fileType == 'png' || fileType == 'jpg' || fileType == 'jpeg' || fileType == 'gif' || fileType == 'bmp' || fileType == 'tiff')
  if ('.').length == 1)

var intro = (numFolders / numFiles) < 0.2;
var sensing = (numImages / numFiles) > 0.4;
var thinking = numFiles > 200;
var judging = Math.abs(new Date() - new Date(sorted[0].lastModified)) > 7 * 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000;
var type = intro ? "I" : "E";
type += sensing ? "S" : "N";
type += thinking ? "T" : "F";
type += judging ? "J" : "P";

This is, quite clearly, all nonsense. But isn’t it all nonsense anyways?

Click here for the finished product !