User karma: myth or reality?

Over the last few years I’ve grown to believe more and more in the concept of user karma. User karma is what I call it when a certain person is less prone to experience problems with software or hardware than other people. I’ve always had good user karma. If I were an IT guy, I’d be the one everyone hates because whenever they call me over to help them diagnose a problem, the problem disappears in my presence.

At first I thought my generally good user karma was just chance. People used to ask me all the time why I liked Microsoft operating systems so much, and I really didn’t know what the big deal was. Windows always worked fine for me. People look at me funny when I tell them that wonko.com used to be hosted on a Pentium 166 with 64 megs of RAM running a beta version of Windows 2000. They don’t believe me when I tell them the thing once achieved an uptime of nearly 200 days without any problems (I eventually had to turn the thing off because I had moved). I certainly didn’t do anything special to the machine. It just worked.

Recently, I helped Brunslo set up a FreeBSD mail server. I set his server up exactly the same way I set my own server up, tested it out, verified that it worked like a charm, and left it under Brunslo’s care. Within a week, the thing was dead, whereas my server is still running strong.

Brunslo, by the way, probably has the worst user karma of anyone I know. He can make anything crash, sometimes just by looking at it funny. When he installed Miranda recently at my recommendation, it crashed before he could even use it, even though it works fine for me and everyone else I know.

I remember reading about a study several years ago, sponsored by Microsoft, which concluded that certain people are simply more prone to encounter bugs than others. My own experiences seem to corroborate this. Anyone else have similar experiences?