A cluttered taskbar



  • I was asked to troubleshoot a family "friend"'s computer tonight. When I logged on, the first thing I noticed was the taskbar:



    For any of you not familiar with Windows, all those orange items would be flashing. The end user has had this for months... I guess she just assumed that it was normal. (They were all Windows UAC prompts, by the way)

    Edit: In case anyone was wondering, the user's issue was that she didn't know how to respond to the IE prompt "Do you want internet explorer to remember this password, yes or no". It was apparently "a survey that was keeping her from getting to the web page".


  •  Oh lawd...

     So, how many different malware were installed?  I think at that point, the only solution to cleaning the system is a standard nuke-it-from-orbit and rebuild.  I will never understand how someone can let a computer get so crippled before at least asking for help.



  • It's best to disable them, even if it's a security risk, because the user clicks "OK" without even reading the popup (because they don't care !)

    Every of my relatives does that, and almost everyone I know (who has a windows)



  • Some users deal with dialog boxes. Others close their eyes tight and hope they disappear...



  • @bullrider718 said:

    For any of you not familiar with Windows, all those orange items would be flashing. The end user has had this for months... I guess she just assumed that it was normal. (They were all Windows UAC prompts, by the way)



    Edit: In case anyone was wondering, the user's issue was that she didn't know how to respond to the IE prompt "Do you want internet explorer to remember this password, yes or no". It was apparently "a survey that was keeping her from getting to the web page".
     

    I'm always curious what sort of frame of reference such people have that would cause things like a computer UI to be a terrifying, impenetrable black box full of incomprehensible magic. They must come from a background significantly different than ours.

    Moreover, what can we do to help expand their thought vocabulary so that situations like this occur less frequently. What sort of basic concepts do we understand intuitively? Can these be teached? In a quick manner with simple metaphors or examples?

    This is assuming they are not absolute idiots. There's no helping those who are.



  • @dhromed said:

    I'm always curious what sort of frame of reference such people have that would cause things like a computer UI to be a terrifying, impenetrable black box full of incomprehensible magic.
    "I don't know them computers, I just get on the facebook"

    I have a family member that is perplexed by the slightest irregularity. For example yesterday the power went out for a few seconds and when it got back the UPS software popuped informing us that power was restored.The following conversation ensued:

    Family member: "It says something about <UPS brand> here"

    Me: "What does it say?"

    "Power has been restored"

    "OK"

    "What do I do?"

    "What does it say?"

    "Power has been restored. What does it mean? Do I click OK?"

    "It means power was restored. Click OK" sigh

     

    And of course there are those that just don't give a shit. I've added autoupdate functionality to a desktop app we support and every time I publish an update it shows a popup which says "<Application name> has been updated. Please restart the application as soon as possible". Judging from the server logs "as soon as possible" translates to "when I get off work and have no choice but to turn off the PC" for most of the client locations.

    Sometimes I fantasize that about displaying a full screen window with huge bold flashing letters accompanied by a couple of rows of exclamation marks and then have the entire PC automatically reboot.



  • @DOA said:

    Sometimes I fantasize that about displaying a full screen window with huge bold flashing letters accompanied by a couple of rows of exclamation marks and then have the entire PC automatically reboot.


    Good plan! And pretty easy to implement, too. Obviously the said window would be system modal, and would NOT contain any 'confusing' controls, like an 'OK' CommandButton or anything like that. Of course, it would contravene the Windows 'User Experience' (UX) guidelines, but one can't have everything….



  • @DOA said:

    I have a family member
     

    Good anecdote data point, but doesn't really address my query.

    Maybe it's because these people don't have a general idea of what's possible, and thus every single new thing they encounter may or may not be attached to some intricate byzanthine process for which the user perceives himself to be utterly unqualified to handle.

    It's like the black stuff covering an RTS map, I think. You nudge a unit, uncovering more map, but really have no idea what lies beyond. In fact, you're not even sure that the map has limited size— for all you know, it might run forever in every direction. And everything you do may have critical or permanent repercussions. That's a pretty daunting thought.

     @DOA said:

    And of course there are those that just don't give a shit. I've added autoupdate functionality to a desktop app we support and every time I publish an update it shows a popup which says "<Application name> has been updated. Please restart the application as soon as possible". Judging from the server logs "as soon as possible" translates to "when I get off work and have no choice but to turn off the PC" for most of the client locations.

     Dude, that's normally how I treat Windows Update dialogs. I wrap up my shit first, and I'll reboot when I ruddy well feel like it.

    @DOA said:

    Sometimes I fantasize that about displaying a full screen window with huge bold flashing letters accompanied by a couple of rows of exclamation marks and then have the entire PC automatically reboot.

    That's pretty bad.

     

    I mean, you should design it like the alert from a malware fake virus scanner. See how fast they reboot.

     



  • @ltouroumov said:

    It's best to disable them


    Yeah, I agree - It's best to disable the user! I assume that's what "them" meant in the original context :-)



  • @MeesterTurner said:

    @ltouroumov said:

    It's best to disable them


    Yeah, I agree - It's best to disable the user! I assume that's what "them" meant in the original context :-)
     

    Fuck no, you'll spend your time writing accessibility features!



  • @DOA said:

    @dhromed said:
    I'm always curious what sort of frame of reference such people have that would cause things like a computer UI to be a terrifying, impenetrable black box full of incomprehensible magic.
    "I don't know them computers, I just get on the facebook"

    Which to me is a perfectly fine way to look at it. It's how I get into my car: "I don't know them cars, I just drive to work." In fact, it's pretty much how I look at computers too.

    It's partly a choice. My mother in law (whose intelligence is above average) finds VCR/DVDs terrifying, but manages her washing machine fine (which has more buttons and options). She flat out refused to use PCs until her kids moved out of the neighbourhood, and now she skypes and mails and everything. I'm pretty sure she might end up with a similar task bar ("oh, that's a technical question, my husband should handle that").

    Point is, most people who do not have infinite braincells, make choices (implied or otherwise) on how to invest the braincells that they do have. To some people, this involves shutting out everything a machine does. We can look in amazement or point and laugh but ultimately, we should probably try to understand because pretty often, these are our users. That's not to say we need to dumb down everything, but we could try to present things in a way they understand.

    Point in case:

    @DOA said:

    Power has been restored"

    "OK"

    "What do I do?"

    In this particular case, this particular message was clearly presented wrong.



  • @dhromed said:

    It's like the black stuff covering an RTS map, I think.

    That's how they implement fog of war.



  • @DOA said:

    Sometimes I fantasize that about displaying a full screen window with huge bold flashing letters accompanied by a couple of rows of exclamation marks and then have the entire PC automatically reboot.

    You wouldn't know anything about a certain creeping horror known as "Windows Update Completed, Restart Required", would you? Well guess what, Mr. I-Know-Better-Than-The-User, that dialog box is *the* single most hated misfeature of all Windows XP, because what it does is a *lesser* version of your wet dream.

    You see, most operating systems (even the venerable Windows 95!) allow multiple programs to run at the same time. I, the user, am very well aware that you're nagging for a restart, but is it entirely impossible that I could have other stuff running, and I need to finish with that *first*? But nooooooo, kill that render, abort the upload, cancel the compilation, BECAUSE SOME PRICK OF A DEVELOPER, IN HIS INFINITE WISDOM, decided that his app is the only interesting thing that is allowed to happen on that computer. Also, if your GUI app on a usual PC workstation requires a damn reboot of the entire computer, in 2011, you are TRWTF - what kind of low-level hack are you performing that requires the entire OS to shut down and start anew?

    Yes, I am a software developer, but also - by necessity - a software user. I may have other things to do with my computer life than obediently perform various maintenance rituals for the installed apps (which are apparently needed because the devs are patching critical bugs on a live product, all the time - otherwise, how is waiting half a day for a restart such a horrible problem?).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @piskvorr said:

    You wouldn't know anything about a certain creeping horror known as "Windows Update Completed, Restart Required", would you? Well guess what, Mr. I-Know-Better-Than-The-User, that dialog box is the single most hated misfeature of all Windows XP
    We've already been there.



  •  My wife suffers from a similar problem to the OP, but instead of ignoring dialog boxes, she always clicks "OK" without reading any of the message (or reading the first couple of words). She ended up formatting my netbook because of it: on boot, it had a message that said something along the lines of "Hit F2 to enter system recovery mode" where it does an automated nuke/pave. There were fully 3 dialog boxes with various messages similar to "this will erase everything, you sure?" that she quickly "OKed" her way through, it doesn't even look like a normal windows boot, it's very obviously a utility running, but she doesn't see it, she just sees an "OK" box and hits it, or reads the message "Hit F2....." and follows along without reading the rest or wondering why it looks different. It was halfway through the wipe (like 10 minutes in) when she turns the screen around to me and says "this is taking a while, what is it doing?" to which I reply "AUGH WTF" 

    Now it has a grub boot that has the options

    • Windows (defaulted)
    • Linux
    • FUCKING ERASE EVERYTHING

     I figured her "read first words only" syndrome would notice that and jolt her out of her "ok ok ok" mode. 

    She's smart with other stuff, and a smart person in general. It's just computers that shut her mind down. 

    Her laptop had died the other day (goddamned Vista can't repair the way XP could apparently) so I put Win7 on it, and I've been installing any of the applications she needs as she asks for them. Yesterday I was busy and she was asking me about some image-editing software, all I could get out of her was "microsoft image edit something something" so I just told her to go find it, figuring it'd be easy enough to find it on MSs site, which she did, and showed me the page on ms.com that has the big "download here" button and asked if this was right, and I said "I don't know, you tell me, you're the one that knows what you used on your laptop" assuming that she was asking if it was the right software. So I look back over a few minutes later and she's on some obviously spyware-ridden webpage about to click on something and I yell "WOAH STOP!". She got sidetracked searching for this MS image editing software onto this crapware site trying to trick her into downloading something claiming to be it. I asked her "you were at the Microsoft site at the very page to download the software, what happened?" and she says "I didn't think you could download anything from microsoft" ... I just... didn't know what to say to that, I asked her "why?" and she says "isn't that pirating?" ... my mind is full of so many questions and corrections and just... wonderment at how someone gets so turned around despite obvious evidence otherwise (didn't the big "download" button clue you in, honey?), but knowing how she works, I just said "no, go back to the microsoft site, if they let you download something, then it isn't pirating, and don't visit sites like this crapware one, stick with the names you know"

     Someone a few posts up was saying they treat their car like "get in, drive" and don't understand how it works, and don't want/need to. I can't function that way at all, if I don't understand something at least in a basic way I don't want to use it. I couldn't go around just being wilfully in the dark and be happy. 



  • @EJ_ said:

    She ended up formatting my netbook because of it: on boot, it had a message that said something along the lines of "Hit F2 to enter system recovery mode" where it does an automated nuke/pave.
     

    Calling a "nuke/pave" function "system recovery mode" is something of a WTF itself.

     



  • @piskvorr said:

    I may have other things to do with my computer life than obediently perform various maintenance rituals for the installed apps
    I agree on general principal, however I am talking about a special case. The app in question is a custom-made CRM that happens to synchronize its database via replication. When the db schema changes, those changes are propagated automatically and along with them the app also has to change; otherwise all kinds of "interesting" side-effects may occur. Not to mention that the people using it are secretaries whose job is tightly tied to this app. This isn't some random program updating, this is stuff critical to their business. And I don't need them to restart the PC, just the application, a job that takes about 5-10 second.

    In any case it's not a major problem. I can always call them and make them restart when it's necessary.



  • @dtobias said:

    Calling a "nuke/pave" function "system recovery mode" is something of a WTF itself.

     

    It seems to be a pretty popular thing to do. I still don't understand a good reason why windows CDs aren't included with many/all computers these days. (I understand with a netbook there may not be a CD drive, but that's a special case). 



  • @DOA said:

    When the db schema changes, those changes are propagated automatically and along with them the app also has to change; otherwise all kinds of "interesting" side-effects may occur.

    Scheduled downtime/nightly updates? Or is it used 24/7 globally?



  • @EJ_ said:

    I still don't understand a good reason why windows CDs aren't included with many/all computers these days. (I understand with a netbook there may not be a CD drive, but that's a special case). 

    Follow the money: "It's too slow and all kinds of broken? Oh, I guess I need a new computer then. Do you say it is possible to reinstall? But that's, like, illegal if I don't have the CD!" I'm aware that's bullshit, but most users aren't. (Also, follow the money: no extra cost in "recovery partition" as you're imaging the HDD anyway, tiny extra cost in making CDs, times a lot of computers, may equal an interesting amount of money saved. (And that "no CD drive" thing, too.))



  • @b-redeker said:

    It's partly a choice. My mother in law (whose intelligence is above average) finds VCR/DVDs terrifying, but manages her washing machine fine (which has more buttons and options). She flat out refused to use PCs until her kids moved out of the neighbourhood, and now she skypes and mails and everything. I'm pretty sure she might end up with a similar task bar ("oh, that's a technical question, my husband should handle that").

    I once heard something from an Australian comedian along the lines of: Old people are afraid to use technology, such as ATMs, or they're confused by them. But when they go to gambling machines, they're not afraid of technology. So, maybe they should make ATMs more like gambling machines - "Come on, double or nothing!"



  • @b-redeker said:

    @DOA said:
    When the db schema changes, those changes are propagated automatically and along with them the app also has to change; otherwise all kinds of "interesting" side-effects may occur.
    Scheduled downtime/nightly updates? Or is it used 24/7 globally?
    It's turned off during the night, but the autoupdater runs as a separate thread within the application, so that's off too. If I had some time I'd force it to check for updates on startup and force a restart if it has to, but right now I can barely keep up with requests as is.



  • @dhromed said:

    I'm always curious what sort of frame of reference such people have that would cause things like a computer UI to be a terrifying, impenetrable black box full of incomprehensible magic. They must come from a background significantly different than ours.

    Moreover, what can we do to help expand their thought vocabulary so that situations like this occur less frequently. What sort of basic concepts do we understand intuitively? Can these be teached? In a quick manner with simple metaphors or examples?

    What we have that they lack is the ability to figure things out. It's an entirely different mode of thinking than normal interactions, and if you don't learn it at a young age, you quickly lose it. On top of that, people have modes that they get into. They can have the "figuring it out" ability when it comes to computers, for instance, but can't follow a simple cooking recipe that is no more complicated than writing "Hello World". People's beliefs about their own abilities play a big role in how they act in any situation outside of the norm.

    @someone else said:

    Point is, most people who do not have infinite braincells, make choices (implied or otherwise) on how to invest the braincells that they do have. To some people, this involves shutting out everything a machine does. We can look in amazement or point and laugh but ultimately, we should probably try to understand because pretty often, these are our users. That's not to say we need to dumb down everything, but we could try to present things in a way they understand.

    Yeah, that's the thing that's hard to teach. I completely understand doing that from time-to-time, or in specific situations, but when you show your parent or in-law the same process 100 times, at some point, shouldn't they want to know what's happening so they don't have to rely on you to figure it out for them? It's like learning to tie your own shoes. At first you don't have any choice but to let someone else do it for you because it's too complicated. But eventually, you're like, "Hey, let me do it!" It seems like some people lose that drive to be self-sufficient, and others don't as they age.



  • @EJ_ said:

    It seems to be a pretty popular thing to do. I still don't understand a good reason why windows CDs aren't included with many/all computers these days. (I understand with a netbook there may not be a CD drive, but that's a special case).
    My Acer netbook didn't come with an optical drive (well, except for the one I ordered at the same time), but still had an application for creating recovery discs. They're not Windows discs, but still get the job done.



  • @b-redeker said:

    Which to me is a perfectly fine way to look at it. It's how I get into my car: "I don't know them cars, I just drive to work." In fact, it's pretty much how I look at computers too.

    Me too, but here's the difference:

    I'm not afraid to (literally) get "under the hood" and change my own oil, or add wiper fluid, or make an attempt to change the battery then realize where the holy shit they crammed the battery in the PT Cruiser what were the hell are you thinking Chrysler then give up and go to Costco.

    These people *are* afraid that if they do something with their computers, they'll break the computer.

    The problem is one of understanding-- if you don't understand a car, you could conceivably be afraid that adding wiper fluid will break something. If you don't understand a computer, you could conceivably be afraid that pressing an icon you don't know will break something.

    Of course, this is totally different than the people who press "Ok" to every dialog they see. That's simply "users don't read." That's well-documented and well-studied to the extent that even uber-geeks like ESR understand it, and the only problem there is that a significant percentage of programmers are complete hacks who do zero usability research and zero usability testing. Of course, the irony there is that these programmers are shaking their heads going, "man users are idiots," when the reality is that the *programmers* are the idiots using a methodology thoroughly proven to be wrong.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    These people are afraid that if they do something with their computers, they'll break the computer.

    As the saying goes: Once bitten, twice shy.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    That's well-documented and well-studied to the extent that even uber-geeks like ESR understand it, and the only problem there is that a significant percentage of programmers are complete hacks who do zero usability research and zero usability testing.
     

    It isn't always our fault.  Those of us doing internal corprate development get handed specs by businessy types which demand poor usability (or at least that is the excuse that I'm sticking with for the crap I produce).  It doesn't mean we aren't aware of the basics of usability, just that it was done a bad way to save time or save someone face.



  • Not paying attention to a message isn't like driving a car without knowing how an engine works. It's like driving a car without knowing what those number things above the wheel or that lever that makes the little green lights flash are.



  • @Xyro said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    These people are afraid that if they do something with their computers, they'll break the computer.

    As the saying goes: Once bitten, twice shy.

    But that's the question: what did they do in the past that "broke" their computer?

    I mean, I don't doubt this has happened-- OSes have had horrible bugs in the past. (I imagine the System 7 bug where throwing a font into the trash can would cause your computer to become unbootable sure as hell contributed to this.) But you'd think after years or decades of problem-free use, eventually this would go away, right?

    @locallunatic said:

    It isn't always our fault. Those of us doing internal corprate development get handed specs by businessy types which demand poor usability (or at least that is the excuse that I'm sticking with for the crap I produce). It doesn't mean we aren't aware of the basics of usability, just that it was done a bad way to save time or save someone face.

    Well, at least put up a fight.

    @MiffTheFox said:

    Not paying attention to a message isn't like driving a car without knowing how an engine works. It's like driving a car without knowing what those number things above the wheel or that lever that makes the little green lights flash are.

    You can write software for hypothetical humans who read dialog boxes and manuals, or you can write software for real human beings who do not. Feel free to live in self-delusion-ville, you actually have a lot of company there.

    But regardless of how you feel about it, regardless of how "dumb" you believe those users to be, regardless of how many car metaphors you create, the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of users do not read the vast majority of dialog boxes.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    [quote user="MiffTheFox"]Not paying attention to a message isn't like driving a car without knowing how an engine works. It's like driving a car without knowing what those number things above the wheel or that lever that makes the little green lights flash are.

    You can write software for hypothetical humans who read dialog boxes and manuals, or you can write software for real human beings who do not. Feel free to live in self-delusion-ville, you actually have a lot of company there.

    But regardless of how you feel about it, regardless of how "dumb" you believe those users to be, regardless of how many car metaphors you create, the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of users do not read the vast majority of dialog boxes.

    [/quote]

    It seems my subtle manner of calling users recklessly ignorant was taken as meaning I don't think users are recklessly ignorant. Far from it really.

    If anything I was implying that we should need a license to operate PCs, or at least require all consumer PCs to contain killbots on the verge of sentience in order to add that "danger to others" that completes the car metaphor.

    I don't really know what I'm talking about anymore with this, carry on.



  • @MiffTheFox said:

    If anything I was implying that we should need a license to operate PCs,
     

    Not until we, as developers, got this UI thing down. Still long ways to go.

     

     

    I would like to point out that CS's reply page's submit button reads "Post".

    It may have escaped your attention.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @MiffTheFox said:

    Not paying attention to a message isn't like driving a car without knowing how an engine works. It's like driving a car without knowing what those number things above the wheel or that lever that makes the little green lights flash are.

    So the Internet is New Jersey. Live with it. People are fucking stupid.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @b-redeker said:

    @DOA said:

    Power has been restored"

    "OK"

    "What do I do?"

    In this particular case, this particular message was clearly presented wrong.

    I'd say that this particular message never should have been displayed at all. According to some insufferable prick who wrote some book on usability, the user does not EVER need to be presented with information that they don't need to act on unless they've specifically asked for it.


  • But you do need to act on that message. Or rather, stop acting on the previous one, "The power's out, so save your shit and get ready for lights out."



  • @Sir Twist said:

    But you do need to act on that message. Or rather, stop acting on the previous one, "The power's out, so save your shit and get ready for lights out."

    That's exactly the type of message the Windows notification area is for. (Assuming Windows. OS X doesn't got one.)



  • I've seen people driving cars without knowing what those things does. It's just as scary as it sounds like.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    You can write software for hypothetical humans who read dialog boxes and manuals, or you can write software for real human beings who do not. Feel free to live in self-delusion-ville, you actually have a lot of company there.

    But regardless of how you feel about it, regardless of how "dumb" you believe those users to be, regardless of how many car metaphors you create, the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of users do not read the vast majority of dialog boxes.

    And as long as they continue doing that, it will continue to bite them in the ass.   And they should be mocked for it.  I mean really, if you can't get in a car and drive the Indy 500 right away that's perfectly excusable, you don't have a dialog box pop up on the windshield that says "Put the stick to D and push the right pedal."  That's a totally different scenario.  This is where the computer is telling you exactly what will happen, what has happened, or what may happen in plain, fucking, english, and users just not reading it because "the computer should know what I want it to do" <-- Actual quote from my father.

    Software is perfectly usable as it is, in most cases.  People aren't stupid most of the time, they just refuse to learn.  And as long as they do, it will continue to cause them problems, and I will continue to laugh at their bumbling.  Everyone wins.



  • @Master Chief said:

    This is where the computer is telling you exactly what will happen, what has happened, or what may happen in plain, fucking, english, and users just not reading it because "the computer should know what I want it to do" <-- Actual quote from my father.
    Back in the day, I had a Windows version of popular open-source program on my homepage. Due to the requirements of the GPL, I also had a subpage where you could download the source. The link to this page was slightly hidden (and said simply Source code), and the page itself had a "Do not download this if you don't know what source code is for" in big red letters (and I made "not" blink after a while) and a very brief message explaining that I do not offer support for any downloads from the page, and I still got 2-4 e-mail per month asking me what to do with the .tar.bz2 or "all these c and h" files. The e-mails only stopped when I moved everything to SourceForge, and removed the Source code page entirely.



  •  I think there are a couple of things going on:

    - People are usually very goal oriented. Over the years they have become trained that most of the dialog boxes are pure gibberish to them and clicking OK gets them to their goal.

    - Same thing with the above example. Aparently the user discovered that ignoring the dialog boxes made no difference to her.

    - A lot of people function on routine and aren't used to learn and figure things out. They have memorized certain sequences of actions to get to goals, like a ritual, without understanding of what they are doing.

    - Especially girls are trained from a young age to see technology as magic. Advertizing for a toy car targetted at boys might go into technical details, while a moving talking doll targetted at girls will present the whole things as magic and lifelike and go to great lengths to hide and divert attention that there might be servo motors, gears, batteries and a speaker inside. Over time this does teach us to approach technology different. It's one of the contributing factor to the low numbers of women in technical professions.

    - Even for people in a rather technical field like mine (astronomy), computers and software have evolved from where in the 70s nearly everyone in the field wrote their own programs, to where most of the scientists are now pure users and have only a fundamental grasp of the basic mathematics and physics models in the software they use. To a less technical audience most software is equal to magic.

    - The big problem of the computer, and the famous VCR and other similar equipment, is that it usually has more functions than it has buttons or other interface controls. This means that what happens depends on the state a device is in, not just on what button gets pushed. I'm ot familiar with the model of washing machine, but one of the other posters mentioned their mother being able to use it, despite it being more complex than the VCR. I think he might be wrong and the washing machine might have a perfectly simple interface with each button and knob performing one clearly defined action. There might be a lot of controls, but the mental picture the user needs to have to use it will be much simpler.

    - In items like the car, there is a clear distinction between what is the user interface, and what are internals. Most users can handle the simple user interface (remarkably consistent across many brands and models and over time!), and know that when any warning light comes on, it needs to go to an expert. Computers blend this line, where a user is often confronted with internals and also no clear way to access or often even identify an expert. The design of a lot of gaming consoles and mobile phones would suit a lot of people much better. I think this will be a reason we see iPad like devices become the dominant device within 10 years. They will evolve into the Information appliancethat Raskin envisioned 30 years ago.



  • @dhromed said:

    It's like the black stuff covering an RTS map, I think. You nudge a unit, uncovering more map, but really have no idea what lies beyond. In fact, you're not even sure that the map has limited size— for all you know, it might run forever in every direction. And everything you do may have critical or permanent repercussions. That's a pretty daunting thought.
     


    fear. ignorance.

    to stupidity both lead.



  • @Master Chief said:

    People aren't stupid most of the time, they just refuse to learn.
    Refusing to learn is a form of stupidity.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @Master Chief said:

    People aren't stupid most of the time, they just refuse to learn.
    Refusing to learn is a form of stupidity.

    I'd go as far as to say it's the root of most stupidity.



  • @Cad Delworth said:

    @DOA said:

    Sometimes I fantasize that about displaying a full screen window with huge bold flashing letters accompanied by a couple of rows of exclamation marks and then have the entire PC automatically reboot.


    Good plan! And pretty easy to implement, too. Obviously the said window would be system modal, and would NOT contain any 'confusing' controls, like an 'OK' CommandButton or anything like that. Of course, it would contravene the Windows 'User Experience' (UX) guidelines, but one can't have everything….

    The guidelines written by the same company responsible for such UI fuckups as:

    • Visual Studio 6 installer: "The installation wizard will now reboot the system." No "don't reboot now" option. Apparently installing VS6 does something so important that you have to reboot RIGHT FUCKING NOW. (Unless you just toss the dialog off to the side and keep working...)
    • One incarnation of Windows automatic updates popped up a box asking if you want to reboot now or later. If you click later, it pops up again in 5 minutes - stealing focus, with the "reboot now" button selected and set to default, almost inevitably while you were typing. Whoops, reboot!
    • The IE6 installer which just terminates all programs and reboots the system without even any warning.

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lolwtf said:

    The guidelines written by the same company responsible for such UI fuckups as:

    • Visual Studio 6 installer: "The installation wizard will now reboot the system." No "don't reboot now" option. Apparently installing VS6 does something so important that you have to reboot RIGHT FUCKING NOW. (Unless you just toss the dialog off to the side and keep working...)
    • One incarnation of Windows automatic updates popped up a box asking if you want to reboot now or later. If you click later, it pops up again in 5 minutes - stealing focus, with the "reboot now" button selected and set to default, almost inevitably while you were typing. Whoops, reboot!
    • The IE6 installer which just terminates all programs and reboots the system without even any warning.
    If you consider the length, breadth, and sheer quantity of software Microsoft publishes across a dozen platforms, you'll quickly discover that on average, they fuck up on UIs WAY less than anybody else I can even begin to name. It's also quite telling that 2 of the 3 complaints you have are older than dirt - one is 10 years old, one is THIRTEEN years old. Both of those are from teams that hadn't been introduced to the word "usability" at that point in history. I doubt your auto-update claims, because I've used every single version of Windows with default automatic update functionality, and not one of them had quite that behavior. Vista's original behavior was fucking annoying (what with its countdown clock and "I'M JUST GOING TO REBOOT NOW BECAUSE YOU'RE IN THE TOILET AND THAT MEANS THAT NOTHING YOU'RE DOING IS IMPORTANT!" attitude), but not even close to what you describe (indeed, that grabbed window focus but NOT button focus - unless you happened to press tab and select a button). If the behavior you describe existed, it was patched out quickly and I never noticed it.


  • @RogerWilco said:

    - Especially girls are trained from a young age to see technology as magic. Advertizing for a toy car targetted at boys might go into technical details, while a moving talking doll targetted at girls will present the whole things as magic and lifelike and go to great lengths to hide and divert attention that there might be servo motors, gears, batteries and a speaker inside. Over time this does teach us to approach technology different. It's one of the contributing factor to the low numbers of women in technical professions.

    This is an excellent point. I'm a girl, but have *never* been girly. My childhood friends were almost all boys, and most of my favourite toys were cars and things. The one toy I remember desperately wanting was an RC car. When my sisters (not especially girly either, but more than I was) or one of my few girl friends had something that used batteries, I'd almost always want to look inside it - at least to find out where the batteries were! The owner would never really care, and when it stopped working I'd be the one they'd hand it to if a parent wasn't available (and sometimes even when a parent was available I'd be the preferred fixer!).

    On the other hand, which came first? Being a tomboy and playing with more mechanical things leading to more interest and confidence with technical things, or the interest and confidence leading to being a labelled as a tomboy and the mechanical toys? I think I'd say the former - my reason being if I'm playing with a car that I have to make sounds for, and I see big cars that make their own noise, I'll think "What's the difference? Why doesn't this one make noises and go fast?" Whereas the difference between a baby and a baby doll is obvious - the baby is alive and the doll isn't, no need to find out more. Hmm, maybe I'm just rambling now?



  • @Mel said:

    This is an excellent point. I'm a girl,——
     

     

    GASP

    A GIRL!!!!~1

    A/S/L?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    @Mel said:

    This is an excellent point. I'm a girl,——
     

     

    GASP

    A GIRL!!!!~1

    A/S/L?

    Ya know, that always bugged me - males, when presented with a female online still always used to ask ASL, even though the S bit is (supposed to be) redundant.

    (Apart from having less brain cells than fingers,) why?



  • @PJH said:

    Ya know, that always bugged me - males, when presented with a female online still always used to ask ASL, even though the S bit is (supposed to be) redundant.

    (Apart from having less brain cells than fingers,) why?
     

    It is an expression, more than a rational inquiry.



  • @Mel said:

    This is an excellent point. I'm a girl, but have never been girly.

    Anecdotal evidence to the contrary: I have a boy and a girl, and I strongly believe in gving them both dolls, balls, techy and squishy stuff to play with. But when my kids play somewhere else, my boy immediately grabs the car, and my girl grabs the dolls, without thinking. Obviously you could counter they've been influenced by their more traditional teachers and boy/grilfriends, plus, it's still anecdotal evidence, but I keep being amazed.

    They're both inquisitive (and I stimulate that) but while the boy wants to know how things work, my girl wants to know how the world works. Interesting difference.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Mel said:

    This is an excellent point. I'm a girl,——
     

     

    *GASP*

    A GIRL!!!!~1

    A/S/L?

    This made me chuckle, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=asl


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