Windows Notepad Bug Has Reached Legal Drinking Age



  • It's been basically impossible to determine line numbers in Notepad for as long as I can remember. The "Edit" menu has a "Go To" item which allows the user to move the cursor to a specific line... but it's almost always grayed out for some reason I'm unable to fathom.

    Similarly, the "View" menu has a "Status Bar" item, which (when checked) allows the user to see "row" and "column" numbers at the bottom of the window... but this item is also almost always grayed out, again for no apparent reason.

    Perhaps I am missing something that explains the disabling... some disgusting little nuance of security perhaps. But I doubt this is the case, and even if it is The Real WTF is Microsoft's use (even encouragement) of graying things out. I have always advocated leaving the items enabled, and then giving an explanatory message describing the circumstances that prevent its use. This is a design that conveys more information to the user.

    The counterargument, of course, is that Users Don't Read Message Boxes. I am guilty of this, but if I ever suspected a message box contained the answer to this problem then I damn well would read it.

    Relatedly, I've recently discovered a way around even this failure-to-read, in the form of a CodeProject article ( http://www.codeproject.com/KB/tips/klingon.aspx ), which should be mandatory reading for all Swampy readers.



  • When WordWrap is enabled, "Go To" and "Status Bar" are disabled as the wrapped display does not match the lines/columns of the file being edited.

    Odd, but there is logic to it.



  • @GettinSadda said:

    When WordWrap is enabled, "Go To" and "Status Bar" are disabled as the wrapped display does not match the lines/columns of the file being edited.

    Odd, but there is logic to it.

    Thank you!!

    Yes, there is logic to that. I had no idea word wrap was on... it is a WTF in its own right ("duh, I think a newline goes here, der der der"... give me cancer now, God).

    I stand by my desire for an explanatory message box. This is a perfect use case for such a design.



  • I have two notepad's open at the moment. they've been open for at least 12 hours... one of them had both "goto" and statusbar" enabled, and I can use them... the other does not. I can open, save,new, etc. pretty much anything to the one that has them enabled and they stay enabled... but for some reason I have absolutely no idea why they are available in that instance and not in any other or in any new instances.

     

    Also, I just closed all of them, and now all instances of notepad I start have both of the said options available.

     Regarding having menu options disabled, one compromise is to keep the "disabled" look, but still allow the option to be clicked (at which point it displays the message you described) In the case of notepad the usability concern is that the items shouldn't be disabled in the first place, since there is clearly no good reason to do so.

     

     



  •  ahhh... so it's the word wrap option. That makes perfect sense. Without knowing that or stumbling upon it it could be a hair-wracking experience trying to figure it out It doesn't even appear to be documented in the Notepad Help files, either- at hte very least that should be the case.



  • @BC_Programmer said:

     ahhh... so it's the word wrap option. That makes perfect sense.

    It makes some sense. There could certainly be logic in the Notepad code to enable "Status Bar" and "Go To" even with word wrap on, although it would require a bit of coding.

    No doubt the programmers at Microsoft are too busy integrating DickWidgets 2.0 into their eleven-layer CODEPP-compliant cloud computing webfrastructure (like that? I just invented it) to give us anything so useful as that.



  •  Haha,our little flaming friends gets pwn'd after just one post.

     Well played, GettinSadda.

     



  • @Mona2000 said:

     Haha,our little flaming friends gets pwn'd after just one post.

     Well played, GettinSadda.

    I think you underestimate how useful his "fix" will be for me. Beyond that, this is a bug in my opinion. There's no real reason these features could not be supported even with word wrap on, with minimal effort. No mention of this limitation is made in the help file. Finally - as I mentioned early on and prominently - the underlying problem is not some penny-ante issue with Notepad. It's the misguided nature of the entire GUI idiom foisted upon us by Microsoft.

     So, no, I don't think I got "pwned." I got an answer to my question, which only needed to be asked because of Microsoft's brain-dead GUI standards.



  • Apropos of nothing, addressing the subject, it's perfectly legal for 5 year old to drink (alcohol.) In the UK anyway. No idea about the 'States. It's probably 32, or 64 or something.



  • @bridget99 said:

    I think you underestimate how useful his "fix" will be for me. Beyond that, this is a bug in my opinion. There's no real reason these features could not be supported even with word wrap on, with minimal effort. No mention of this limitation is made in the help file. Finally - as I mentioned early on and prominently - the underlying problem is not some penny-ante issue with Notepad. It's the misguided nature of the entire GUI idiom foisted upon us by Microsoft.

     So, no, I don't think I got "pwned." I got an answer to my question, which only needed to be asked because of Microsoft's brain-dead GUI standards.

     

    I know, it hurts. 😛

    Better luck next time. 🙂



  • @bridget99 said:

    It's been basically impossible to determine line numbers in Notepad for as long as I can remember. The "Edit" menu has a "Go To" item which allows the user to move the cursor to a specific line... but it's almost always grayed out for some reason I'm unable to fathom.

    Similarly, the "View" menu has a "Status Bar" item, which (when checked) allows the user to see "row" and "column" numbers at the bottom of the window... but this item is also almost always grayed out, again for no apparent reason.

    Perhaps I am missing something that explains the disabling... some disgusting little nuance of security perhaps. But I doubt this is the case, and even if it is The Real WTF is Microsoft's use (even encouragement) of graying things out. I have always advocated leaving the items enabled, and then giving an explanatory message describing the circumstances that prevent its use. This is a design that conveys more information to the user.

    The counterargument, of course, is that Users Don't Read Message Boxes. I am guilty of this, but if I ever suspected a message box contained the answer to this problem then I damn well would read it.

    Relatedly, I've recently discovered a way around even this failure-to-read, in the form of a CodeProject article ( http://www.codeproject.com/KB/tips/klingon.aspx ), which should be mandatory reading for all Swampy readers.

    TRWTF is using Notepad...

    Seriously, try Notepad++ or Notepad2.



  • @jchannell said:

    TRWTF is using Notepad...

    Seriously, try Notepad++ or Notepad2.

    I do not have the luxury of configuring a single workstation to my liking and then using it exclusively. The nature of my job forces me to deal with an out-of-the box setup. I spend much time rebuilding and setting up clusters of computers for a distributed system. On my own personal computer, I run Windows 98 (very responsive on modern hardware) with Cygwin as a buffer between me and Microsoft.

    Professionally, on the other hand, I'm typically dealing with a fresh install of Windows XP Embedded. So, out-of-the box functionality matters to me. Default settings matter. Notepad, MSPaint, CMD.EXE, FTP.EXE and IE6 matter to me because that's typically all I get. Now, I do not really do much development using this setup, but I damn sure do things that require me to open text files and determine exact line numbers.

    I have tried to explain this at this site before, and I get zero sympathy. "Oh, you knuckle-dragging fool; just install TardWorks 9.0 and all your problems will be solved." But that's not practical... I've already got a long list of things I have to do to each fresh system I deal with (e.g. disabling font-smudging, GUI animation, "simple" file sharing, and file-extension hiding). I can't install TardWorks 9.0, or IE8, or Firefox, or Notepad++ on every one of these systems, at least not consistently.

    I don't think I'm alone in this respect. I bet there are plenty of people out there who have to deal with a base install, and really, really would like to (for example) be able to browse the web without getting chewed out about their browser, be able to see line numbers in Notepad and actually see @#$@=-ing file extensions, etc. That is, there are plenty of people who want Windows to behave decently without a bunch of tweaking, third-party tools, etc.

    This is not unreasonable, and there is a WTF here- probably several. First, graying things out without context is a bad GUI idiom which Microsoft has foisted upon us. There is a better alternative - informative message boxes which use a newly discovered technique to force user attention ( http://www.codeproject.com/KB/tips/klingon.aspx ). Second, it's a WTF that (given as much time as they've had) Microsoft has not simply made line-counting work in spite of word-wrap. They damn sure have coded a bunch of other crap in the mean time.

    The whole attitude of this site nauseates me. It is so insipdly conformist. "Oh! Ha ha! Someone put NaN for my ZIP code" is a five-star, front-page item while The Real WTFs of the computer world are taken for granted. I hereby refuse to submit to this stifling orthodoxy.

    No doubt this post will be reviled as Slashdot-worthy Microsoft bashing. It's not. There's a cogent argument in here that could be allowed to inform the process of discovering a better way to deal with computers. The Real, Real WTF is that computer people are by and large such a collection of sexually frustrated arseholes that the mere thought of giving an inch in an argument makes them fear for their manhood.

     



  • Whoa, man. I'm not trying to insult or bash or mock or anything. It IS a shame that there's not a decent text editor installed by default.

    That said, you could possibly alleviate your headaches using portable versions of the aforementioned tools on a thumb drive (assuming that you're not locked out of running apps in such a manner). No need to install on each and every machine...



  • @bridget99 said:

     

    [explanation of situation]

    [bile]

    [bile]

    [more bile]

     

    Glad we could be of help.



  • @jchannell said:

    Whoa, man. I'm not trying to insult or bash or mock or anything. It IS a shame that there's not a decent text editor installed by default.

    That said, you could possibly alleviate your headaches using portable versions of the aforementioned tools on a thumb drive (assuming that you're not locked out of running apps in such a manner). No need to install on each and every machine...

    No problem. Any ire at you was misdirected, and I apologize. Your advice is logical, although there are some issues with USB support on these computers that make things a bit more difficult than you might imagine. That situation is a WTF in its own right.

    The legitimate target of my "bile" is the coterie of haters that seems to have formed around me here. I try to engage in meaningful discourse, but almost 100% of the regulars here dismiss anything I post out-of-hand.

    I hope you see that I've raised legitimate issues here. Note, too, that my post was quickly followed by the assertion that I got "pwned." That wasn't justified.

    To be sure, my posts after that were understandably couched in some "scar tissue." But this has built up in response to people like Mona2000, whose 4 posts have exclusively been lame, quasi-memetic responses to my own posts. Quite likely, this is a sock puppet for some "regular" here who doesn't want to stoop to my supposedly low level. Mona2000's combination of high background knowledge, low post count, and strong personally-directed opinion betrays this fact, although I'm too generous to complain to the authorities.

    I have struggled to understand this phenomenon. First, I think there's some embarassment on the part of certain regulars re. Hurricane Katrina. People here seem to feel free to make cute little jokes about the storm, under the assumption that its victims are a bunch of ne'er-do-well minorities who probably don't even have Internet access.

    I've called several posters on this; believe it or not, there are people in New Orleans who work damn hard and take justifiable offense at the assumption that we're a bunch of handout-seeking human punchlines. I lived through that storm, I've probably got PTSD as a result, and I'll let everyone know just as soon as I get handout #1.

    But, as I hinted in my last post, programmers - at least the ones here - seem incapable of a simple mea culpa. Instead, they react with anger at the person who called them on their offensive remarks. 

    Basically, I'm the black man whom they didn't see when they made their racist joke. They ought to apologize. Face-to-face, they no doubt would apologize, and we'd both grow as a result. It's only the anonymity of the Internet that (they hope) allows them to continue behaving like asses. A simple "I'm sorry; I hope you're OK" would have been more appropriate.

    Second, I think that the regulars here have a very narrow vision for this site, to which I refuse to hew. These regulars will not consider the possibility that anything conventional, long-standing or widely accepted might be a WTF. In short, it is a point of almost universal agreement here that The Emperor is in fact clothed in Robes of Finest Silk.

    These regulars do not want to see any evidence that a widely-accepted GUI standard might actually be a WTF, or that Microsoft makes a habit of ignoring high-impact bugs for 15+ years. They would much prefer Yet Another Mailing to ZIPCode "NaN" or maybe "Save a total of <FONT size=3>0.0£." </FONT>Ugh.

    I make no apologies for my view that there are some widely-held assumptions that are in fact WTFs. The way GUI objects are grayed out, and the treatment of message boxes by existing APIs and guidelines, are prominent examples. The petty, conventional WTFs around which this site seems to be built are the "bread and circuses" that the perpetrators of these large-scale WTFs use to prop up their status quo. Eventually, programmers will look back at this site as a laughable part of the barber/surgeon era of software development.



  • That's why I post selectively, disregard the regulars, and have a laugh at the stories.

    The way I see it, there's no sense in getting worked up about what people think or say. That's why I always keep this handy, as a reminder that sometimes people are just plain assholes.



  • @jchannell said:

    That's why I post selectively, disregard the regulars, and have a laugh at the stories.

    The way I see it, there's no sense in getting worked up about what people think or say. That's why I always keep this handy, as a reminder that sometimes people are just plain assholes.

    Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

    "I asked for a critique of my art / writing and I got it." Ouch... even I'm not dumb enough to do that!



  •  ironic that my post got deleted by moderators for being "obvious flame"



  • @Helix said:

     ironic that my post got deleted by moderators for being "obvious flame"

    This arrived in my inbox as the following:

    ironic that my post got deleted by moderators for being " Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-qformat:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}Obvious flame"

    WTF, did you copy/paste that style from Word or something?



  • @jchannell said:

    WTF, did you copy/paste that style from Word or something?

    Aye, that's usually the cause.


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