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Top Ten Persistent Design Flaws

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the good-ideas-to-consider dept.

1067

jlouderb writes "Bruce Tognazzini former human interface evangalist at Apple, and currently a principal at web design firm Neilsen Norman Group has begun cataloging the top ten design computing flaws that we just live with with, but shouldn't have to. Only seven are found at his article, and (not surprisingly) three are Mac related. My favorite: the mysteriously dimmed menu options. Why are those darned things grey anyway?"

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firtsted possit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944587)

fp

Some of these things are valid... (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944589)

...and some aren't.

Like the thing about disk removal. The only thing Windows handles being removed "gracefully" is a floppy (and I'd hardly say "gracefully", if you had a file open on the disk). And Mac OS could have done that, but the idea was to prevent the user from removing the disk until, say, its contents have been properly saved. So Windows let you remove a floppy. So what? What if you hadn't saved the file on it that you "meant" to? Then what? At least Mac OS enforced the proper order of operations, i.e., finish what you're doing with the disk first, then eject. To insinuate that Windows gracefully handles the unexpected removal of USB and/or FireWire external volumes is crap. Since Macs don't even have floppies anymore, and this argument doesn't apply to FireWire/USB volumes (though he implies that it does), this argument is somewhat moot.

And I can categorically say that his "computer not booting" story after he removed a FireWire drive is bullshit. If you remove the drive while it's asleep, yeah, it won't like that when it wakes up; usually, it will say a FireWire device has been removed before being unmounted. Worst case scenario would be rebooting the computer. But there is no way the computer just "wouldn't work" until the drive is plugged back in. That's just bollocks. Sounds like he had one bad/erratic experience that he thought was related to disk removal, and created this entire issue around it.

Other observations are kind of generic wishlists for the behavior of various features and functions. Some of them are frankly good ideas.

But when I read "Principle: The user is in charge and should be free to carry out any activity at any time without fear of reprisals" I just about lost my lunch.

Re:Some of these things are valid... (1)

MSFanBoi (695480) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944634)

Agreed, what version of Windows is this idiot writing about. I've been removing drives from Windows boxes "gracefully" for years. It works, and it works well.

Re:Some of these things are valid... (2, Informative)

tanguyr (468371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944661)

The only thing Windows handles being removed "gracefully" is a floppy...To insinuate that Windows gracefully handles the unexpected removal of USB and/or FireWire external volumes is crap.

Actually Windows (XP) doesn't nag if i just yank my USB thumb drive out without doing the "Safely remove hardware" thing.

Yeah, it doesn't "nag"... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944726)

...but you presumably knew you WANTED to remove it.

What if a user has an open file, and yanks the drive? How does Windows "gracefully" deal with that? Answer: it can't.

You can pull the drive on a Mac, too - the difference is that the Mac will say, hey, you should have unmounted this first...hope you saved everything. And instead of doing something like auto-unmounting-without-nagging-when-no-files-are- open, Apple just keeps the behavior consistent: the user should know they're done using the volume (unmount it) before they unplug it. This has been the behavior for 20 years. And no, I'm not saying just because something has been some way for a long time that it needs to remain, but I just don't see the problem. Not allowing a device to be removed, or "nagging", probably saves a lot of people from fucking shit up before they've properly saved and/or dealt with items on a removable volume, instead of allowing things to be unplugged wholesale. If the user unplugs something at an inopportune moment or with open files, how is the computer supposed to be able to deal with it? Cache up the changes and not tell you? Or tell you that something was removed when it wasn't supposed to be and tell you (and keep that behavior consistent even when you "might be done with it"), like Mac OS does?

Re:Yeah, it doesn't "nag"... (1)

tanguyr (468371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944818)

The open file thing is inconsistent between applications (which, i guess, is bad). Ultraedit tells me the file no longer exists, click Ok to close or Cancel to keep window open. Some other apps will complain until i tell them to "Save as" in another location, after which that's "the" file. Most other apps keep popping up error messages until you close the window (although in some cases you have to force quit the program to stop the nags).

I think the best would be if the computer told you the drive/disk/whatever with the file was no longer connected and let you re-connect it and then continue with what you were doing.

Re:Yeah, it doesn't "nag"... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944848)

I think the best would be if the computer told you the drive/disk/whatever with the file was no longer connected and let you re-connect it and then continue with what you were doing.

Right. And Mac OS X does just that.

Duh! Award Nominee (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944671)

Like the thing about disk removal. The only thing Windows handles being removed "gracefully" is a floppy (and I'd hardly say "gracefully", if you had a file open on the disk).

I've been trying to repair the boot sector on a HD with WinXP on it and the damn thing wants an administrator password for the damn disk. Wtf kind of logic is that?

Re:Duh! Award Nominee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944724)

It's called security, dumbass

Re:Duh! Award Nominee (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944784)

It's called security, dumbass

Ha ha! Yer funny.

I've got the hard disk and I'm attempting to make it bootable again. Not trying to open folders or any other crap. First system implementation I've ever encountered where this is a requirement. The system owner claims not to have even set an admin password. So, according to Microsoft, what's broke stays broke in some blind adherence to security.

Meanwhile, I could copy everything off the disk, as it mounts just peachy as a slave and I can see everything from a booted drive that *I* am administrator of.

Irony is dead.

Re:Some of these things are valid... (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944679)

Heh, exactly. #1 complaint I've always heard about Macs? "Oh, you have to drag the disk to the Trash to eject it, that's not intuitive."

Answer? Nothing about computers is 'intuitive' it's all learned behaviour. The fact that people actually whine and bitch about something that small makes me laugh, expecially now that in OS X the Trash turns into the Eject icon when you grab and move a removable disk.

Bruce has always been the ultimate whiner, in and amongst some of his valid critiques, and he still wants a computer to be a mindreading typewriter at the end of the day.

Re:Some of these things are valid... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944854)

I've always thought word processors were not intuitive. When I bought my first computer I wanted to write a letter but when I tried to use my pen on the monitor the ballpoint doesn't seem to work. I tried a sharpie and things were going fine until I needed to undo the marks I made on the monitor. The stupid computer didn't remove those sharpie marks. In fact, it didn't seem to do anything! Then I tried talking to the computer and it still didn't do anything ("Hello, computer?"). Oh, you have to use that flat thing with letters? Ok, will do. Hmm... I press a key and it show on the screen but the printer doesn't print it. Oh... now you tell me that I have to click on the print button? Ok. Wait... I can't do it with my finger on the screen? What a user unfriendly hunk of metal and plastic!

BTW, that was sarcasm. I 100% agree that learning to use a computer is exactly that, learning. If someone can learn what traffic signs mean, I think they can learn to use a computer.

Re:Some of these things are valid... (5, Insightful)

!isontime (823514) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944727)

But when I read "Principle: The user is in charge and should be free to carry out any activity at any time without fear of reprisals" I just about lost my lunch.
I haven't been able to read the article yet, since it appears to be /.'ed, however I would have to agree. As with driving a car, flying a plane, or just about operating anything, use comes with some responsibility.

As for the above, swap user with driver and you may see my point.

Agreed... (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944745)

...and even more ironic is that Tog already used the automotive analogy for his number one issue, i.e., "imagine if a car did this", and then turns around and says the user (driver) should be allowed to do anything at any time.

Re:Some of these things are valid... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944730)

What if you hadn't saved the file on it that you "meant" to?

Why make a solution to a specific problem part of normal flow of use. I mean your start of by "if", that means that they might not want to save anything to the disk, they just want the disk out of the drive, if they had something they wanted to save let the user deal with that and let the user make sure they clicked saved.

Re:Some of these things are valid... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944775)

So how is that "better" for the user?

Let them fuck up their documents? They can already do that: it's not like a Mac physically doesn't let you unplug a FireWire disk (and I already said his story about his Mac not booting because of that isn't true). I'd rather that the computer tried to enforce behavior that attempted to ensure the user isn't losing data.

Principles and lunches (5, Funny)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944851)

  • But when I read " Principle: The user is in charge and should be free to carry out any activity at any time without fear of reprisals" I just about lost my lunch.

It appears that everyone is guilty of having a framework. This guy, you, me, everyone. We think that what we experience in the world, and what we think about it, is all there is. We're all pretty small, even the wisest of us.

In this case, a Mac guy says the user is in charge, and thinks it's a law of nature.

Microsoft treats users as a renewable resource, to be used and reused as needed.

We Unix types, on the other hand, know that users are an unfortunate side effect.

add one more (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944591)

/. effect

Slashdotted (-1, Offtopic)

Aliencow (653119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944597)

At 0 posts..

I guess people who can design good UIs can't administrate servers or something.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944598)

The first post flaw will never die.

The #1 Design Flaw (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944602)

Not adding enough coolant to prevent the web server from melting down due to the /. effect.

Coral Cache Link (4, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944603)

Re:Coral Cache Link (1)

GetPFunky (309463) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944811)

You rock! I wish more folks would use the Coral cache.

GG /.ed before the first post. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944604)

Wish I could read the text.

Windows XP GUI (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944607)

design flaw #1

oh, and FP! w00t

its slashdotted already (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944612)

its slashdotted already, anyone got a mirror?

Re:its slashdotted already (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944653)

Mirror Sites:

http://tinyurl.com/4lf9

Wow! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944613)

Already /.'ed. That has to be a record or something.

first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944614)

first post! :D

I'll be the first to say it... (-1, Flamebait)

tourettes (97445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944615)

Windows.

nuff said.

It Seems (3, Funny)

Locdonan (804414) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944619)

that the option to view this article is greyed out.

Persistent Design Flaw I Find Annoying... (2, Funny)

Paster Of Muppets (787158) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944624)

The bit where it says "(c) Microsoft"

Re:Persistent Design Flaw I Find Annoying... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944684)

bit? Thats like 13 Bytes.

Re:Persistent Design Flaw I Find Annoying... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944748)

No, that's the proposed standard for the "Evil Bit".

Re:Persistent Design Flaw I Find Annoying... (0, Offtopic)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944840)

What was your old sig, and do you need me to kick his ass?

Not forgetting.... (2, Funny)

Seft (659449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944625)

KDE (gets coat)

No design flaws in Ninnle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944626)

Never have been
Never will be
Ninnle Linux forever!

/. ed already? (0, Troll)

sameerdesai (654894) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944627)

Well here's the google cache!!

10 Bugs [asktog.com]

Re:/. ed already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944675)

Google cache that links to the page directly. Nice. Try again.

Re:/. ed already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944681)

+ 1 informative and rising already...

Re:/. ed already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944700)

+3 already..

Mods, get with it..

Re:/. ed already? (2, Informative)

zaren (204877) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944711)

And the Coral link:

10 Bugs [nyud.net]

Number 5 (1, Insightful)

Mephie (582671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944628)

Firefox already does that. Type "barnes and noble" in to your address bar. It'll take you to barnesandnoble.com.

"All Existing Browsers" indeed...

Re:Number 5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944703)

well, bro, that's because firefox runs an "i'm feeling lucky" google search on "barnes and noble." it's not ignoring the spaces and appending a .com.

Re:Number 5 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944709)

>Firefox already does that. Type "barnes and noble" > in to your address bar. It'll take you to barnesandnoble.com.

But that's just coincidence. Firefox googles "barnes and noble" and goes to the first matching page. It doesn't just remove the spaces. Compare, for example "tried and tested" with triedandtested.com.

Re:Number 5 (2, Insightful)

jd142 (129673) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944723)

Close but no cigar. It takes you to google's "I'm feeling luck" page as if you had typed in barnes and noble on google and clicked the button. That's a big difference. If you type in "cat" you get taken to the cat fanciers web site at http://www.fanciers.com and not http://www.cat.com for all your heavy machinery needs. That means that the outcome of typing in "barnes and noble" or "cat" and hitting enter in Firefox will change depending on the google rankings.

Firefox will not convert www.barnes and noble.com to www.barnesandnoble.com.

Re:Number 5 (2, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944731)

"Firefox already does that. Type "barnes and noble" in to your address bar. It'll take you to barnesandnoble.com."

And what if you wanted a picture tour of the barns of british nobility?

Re:Number 5 (2, Funny)

josecanuc (91) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944771)

And what if you wanted a picture tour of the barns of british nobility?

I bet the bookstore might have something like that in its stock... ;-)

Re:Number 5 (1)

DrBlake (60544) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944836)

It even does it for sites that don't have a corresponding domain name. If you type "new york times" you correctly get nytimes.com.

Page is not loading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944629)

But google is, Google's Cache [64.233.161.104] .

I agree on the dimmed menus (2, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944633)

Often it is difficult to figure out why certain options are dimmed and under what context they will become active. I don't see a better alternative though other than better documentation, and since no one reads software manuals that wouldn't help much. I certainly don't want more text explaining the situation to clutter up menus even further.

From that mysterious text called the article: (3, Informative)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944682)

Proposed Fix: Make grayed-out objects clickable, revealing what has caused the object to be dimmed and what the user can do about it.

Re:From that mysterious text called the article: (1, Troll)

tacocat (527354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944742)

Fucking Great!

More Pop-Ups! Only now their in the OS!!

Re:I agree on the dimmed menus (3, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944698)

Delayed help would probably work out. Leave your mouse over the grayed out option for more than 2-3 seconds and a little "click here to find out why this has been disabled" could be useful.

Most of the guys other items were just kind of "blah" to me - the dock, removal of hard drives from the powerbook, but the "grayed out for no reason" at least made some sense.

Re:I agree on the dimmed menus (1)

ecalkin (468811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944715)

I have *always* thought it would be nice to be able to 'hover' over a dimmed menu item and have a tooltip (?) popup bubble point me in direction to address whatever issue makes it dimmed.

just my two cents.

eric

Re:I agree on the dimmed menus (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944728)

Dimmed meus make sense. Would you rather it beep and pop up an error dialog when you select an option that does not apply instead?

Think about it; it's genius UI design, IMO.

Re:Balloon Help (1)

hudsucker (676767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944796)

Mac OS 8 introduced Balloon Help. When activated and you point to objects, a tool-tip like balloon appears with an explanation of the item. When you point to a dimmed item, a properly written application explains what the item is and why it is not available.

Re:I agree on the dimmed menus (4, Funny)

BlizzyMadden (814008) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944822)

My company actually does this as a marketing ploy. We add disabled items to our menus for options that don't even exist yet. When customers call to ask how to enable these options, we tell them that they need to buy a future upgrade.

In My Book... (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944647)

Tight security where it doesn't matter and sloppy security where it does.

Inexplicable configuration. This is broad a broad item and includes buried preference settings where you'd never think to look, default settings to most frustrating (think Word), system settings under inappropriate categories and items with more than one relevence only found under one.

Pop-Up windows which steal focus immediately from whatever task has focus (active rather than passive bulletins) Ever been typing something, and hit ENTER just as something pops up? Gee, what the heck was that about?

Posting on /.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944648)

I'm guessing one of them has to do with posting a link to a page that gets /.'ed before any comments even get posted. Of course, I'm just guessing since I can't read the page.

Power Failure Crash... (4, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944651)

He mentions that computers shut-off without any juice. Not surprising that computers do that. I don't think this is a design flaw, simply because there are things in existence, known as UPS's, that are there to buy you time to save and close everything.

Re:Power Failure Crash... (5, Insightful)

thunderbee (92099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944733)

It would be trivial to have a small battery, on the DC side of the power supply instead of trying to hook up a UPS. Just 2 minutes worth of power to cleanly shutdown.
UPS is ok to weather the power shortage, a battery inside the power supply would allow for clean shutdown.

DC supply in the case? It's been done. (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944760)

I remember seeing devices like this quite a long while ago, it must have been between '89 and '93, since I distinctly remember where I worked when I read the article.

As I recall, the device was an ISA card with power plugs, which was wired in-between the power supply and the motherboard.

I don't know why it didn't become a fairly standard accessory.

Re:Power Failure Crash... (3, Interesting)

Bopper (47004) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944814)

It is a design flaw, and UPS's are a hardware patch.

I remember reading about a OS that they demo'ed
by kicking the plug out of the wall.
After plugging it back in, the machine would
replay its "journal", and continue as if nothing
had happened.

If someone remembers the name of this system, or
has a link, that would help.

Dimmed menus (5, Funny)

Sebby (238625) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944678)

Well, dimmed menus are a heck of a lot better than hidden ones, a la Windows (with the stupid down arrow thingy you have to click to have everything show), which is totally counter-productive (typical Windows) instead of actually being helpful. I'd like to punch the person that thought that stupid thing up.

Re:Dimmed menus (4, Informative)

savagedome (742194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944721)

I agree. That is one of the first things that I disable on a Win2000 box.

Right click on the Taskbar and open up Properties. Then uncheck the 'Use Personalized Menus' box to disable it.

Re:Dimmed menus (3, Informative)

Epistax (544591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944829)

Right, except "Personalized Menus" makes catastrophic changes aside from that one. such as no longer having personalized menus. It's like telling someone if they don't want any salt on their eggs to not have eggs to begin with.

Re:Dimmed menus (1)

yup that's me (827290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944764)

I actually like this, since when it works right, it saves me skimming through thirteen items to find the one I use all the time.

Re:Dimmed menus (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944809)

It works in "Programs" menus.

It's totally annoying in menus that have a fixed set of actions.

(Word hides File|Properties by default, which is totally annoying).

Re:Dimmed menus (1)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944828)

Does anyone else find it funny that he put a lot of extra unnecessary commentary in parenthesis?

Quality article text... (1)

CyanDisaster (530718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944686)

...cataloging the top ten design computing flaws that we just live with with...

How about redundant words that are redundant?

Hope be with ye,
Cyan

/. ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944687)

The slashdot effect is reaching new proportions... Look at the server, it decided to eat 3 of the 10 bugs to keep up with the requests :D

On the Written Word (5, Interesting)

cyranoVR (518628) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944688)

Noticed a fallacy in the "Bug List" under Item #5 - URL Naming Bug. The History of this bug reads:
People separated written words with spaces from the time writing was invented up until around 30 years ago whenaspacebecameavaluableobjectnottobewasted.
Not true. It is well-established that ancient Greek (as well as many other classical languages) was written with no spaces between words.

SOATYPICALSENTENCEWOULDREADLIKETHIS!

Lists (4, Informative)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944706)

How about combo boxes, that only show X number of items. and you have to scroll to see the last 3. Until recently, AutoCAD was one of the worst examples of this, with it's layers toolbar popup, that only showed 10 items and truncated them horizontally (even though most AutoCAD drawings have many more layers and they often have similar names, so they appear the same in the tiny list at the top of the screen).

Or how about non-resizable dialogs with a set number of items in a list which displays all of the items minus one. WTF!?!

10 persisting people design flaws (5, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944720)

#1-Removing power from a device that maintains his information on devices run by power (i.e. RAM)
#2-Thinking that computers do "magic", or at least should do to not have design flaws
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
#10- Making top ten list without having 10 things to list

Re:10 persisting people design flaws (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944808)

comming up with stupid lists of things.... :)

Inception date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944735)

The site isn't /.ed, it just hasn't been created yet. Or has it? Each bug has the following:

Bug on list since: List inception: 1 Dec 2004

Isn't it still november?

Missing bug... (1)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944736)

What about "Not being able to read the user's mind"?

Design flaw #11 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944749)

Not scaling up your webserver.

Design flaw # 11 (5, Funny)

adolfojp (730818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944762)

Design flaw #11

Using very large golden gradient shadowed GIFs each worth over 4K to represent the numbers 1 - 10 in a "Top Ten Persistent Design Flaws" webpage. It not only looks ugly, makes the website slower consuming more bandwidth, but it also takes away a good chunk of the left side of the page.

Cheers,
Adolfo

Client-Server (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944765)

See, for example, the linked sites for this article and compare to P2P technologies such as Bittorrent, which easily shares gigabytes of data amongst tens of thousands of peers (Matrix bootlegs, Half-Life 2, etc).

GUI design - favorite site (5, Informative)

juglugs (652924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944770)

Alas, this site is no longer updated, but it still serves as my very favorite "UI Hell" page...

http://digilander.libero.it/chiediloapippo/Enginee ring/iarchitect/index-1.htm [libero.it]

Check out the hall of shame section, it's hilarious!

PS - this link is a mirror of the original site

Stealing Focus (5, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944777)

It doesn't seem to include evil applications (or operating systems) that suddenly throw new windows on the screen to grab keyboard focus away from you just as you type something.

You lose your thread of thought AND the computer decides you said "OK" to "do you want to email your credit cards around the world" while you sit there wondering what just happened.

URL Naming Bug (1)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944779)

Quote from the so-called URL Naming Bug, in which Bruce proposes to remove all spaces from user-entered URLs before matching them: This sceme is analogous with how modern systems handle case, allowing both supplier and user the freedom to use whatever case they want by converting everything to lower case immediately before matching.

Uh-uh? Aren't Unix-like systems "modern" anymore? Just the Windows-way is the Right Thing(tm) to do? That's a bit strange in my opinion. This case-insensitivity might be nice for web pages when people used to Windows don't really care about case but I think that's what e.g. Apache's mod_speling is for.

Reverse dates (4, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944787)

On the ASCII sort "bug", he writes dates have to be reversed to sort correctly. No, the correct way to write a date is 2004-11-29, what's the problem. That sorts correctly! ;-)

Asking the user his "choice" of 1 option... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944799)

No excuse for this one. If there's only one option, go ahead, auto-select it, and act on that option. Don't waste my time making me "decide."

Article not quite right... (3, Informative)

gillbates (106458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944804)

Microsoft's GUI has, from the beginning, given users the freedom to remove their disks without notice, recovering quite smoothly from the surprise events.

Um, hate to burst your bubble, but MS GUI does not recover smoothly from such events, unless one considers a BSOD smooth recovery. Since Windows 95, and still today in Windows XP, removing a CD or floppy from the drive before Windows is finished with it will result in the system hanging at best, and BSOD at worst. Not exactly what most people would consider smooth operation.

Neither Linux nor Apple nor Microsoft correctly address the problem of removable media:

  • The first problem is bad physical design: the same people who brought us a filesystem where a failed write ruins the disk (*cough* CD-R *cough*) previously brought us the brain-dead floppy drive, where a user could mechanically eject the disk in the middle of a disk access. Without the hardware facility to be notified of media change, there weren't any disk-change events for OS drivers to capture, which lead to:
  • OS designers didn't write drivers to correctly handle an eject event. Windows either doesn't listen for, or doesn't care about CD eject events. The result is that a CD or floppy can be ejected and the dumb OS attempts to continue as if the media were still present.
  • Iomega got it right - the zip disk drivers signal the OS that an eject has been requested, and then (theoretically, at least) the OS flushes the write queue, unmounts and ejects the media.

He has such a hard on about the Dock (5, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944805)

Bug Name: Tog's raging hard on over the Dock.

Duration: [in years]: seems like a thousand centuries ago...

Supplier: Tog

Alias: "I have no concept of the difference between objective and subjective usability complaints."

Product: Tog's parents.

Bug: Tog's perceptual abilities.

Class of error: Intellectualy density.

Principle: "My opinions are holy."

Proposed Fix: Zoloft

Discussion: Some of the things he lists as flaws in the Dock are things that I acutally like about the Dock. It's a very subjective thing. Some of the things he laments losing from Mac OS 9 were not the bee's knees he seems to imagine they were. He was just used to them, is all.

Bug first observed: Can't check the date on the original Dock whinefest because his site is slashdotted. It happened some time after Tog ceased to be relevant.

Observer: Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law

Bug reported to supplier: No. No point. You cannot argue with self-proclaimed learned wisemen.

Bug on list since: Whinefest first published.

Not Bugs, Maybe Not Really a Problem, Either (5, Insightful)

Spencerian (465343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944806)

Item 1; Power failure crashing

In my experience, this affected Macs much less in a brownout situation than PCs. The Macs (at the time, desktop G3 systems) stayed up after a power blink of 0.5 sec, losing no data. I think current Mac OS hardware is more robust in this area, but this is not really a fault of the computer or the OS. No power, no computer worky. Sorry.

Workaround in a mission-critical area: Buy an uninterruptable power supply, petition Apple to make a computer with very expensive (but non-volatile) flash RAM, or use an Apple laptop, which has its own battery that makes it resistant to brownouts and blackouts.

Issue 2: The Dock in Mac OS X.

Grousing. In the old Mac OS 9 days, there was a Dock analogue called the Launcher. It was ugly, and I rarely set it up for users, but it worked. Some people still use it for their Classic apps in OS X.

Workaround: Many, most third-party. Apple's interface, until OS X was icon-centric for launching apps, rather than menu-centric (in Windows Start menu). The Dock is no more perfect than the Start menu, but at least it provides a consistent launcher for common apps, instead of having the user search through folders for the right app icon to launch.

Better: Have installers ask user to add icon for applications to the Dock, which isn't done most of the time, forcing users to search about in the Applications folder.

Issue 3: Dimmed menus.

A bit of a grouse, but logical. Some OS X apps by third parties HAVE shown info in the greyed out menu as to why the option is not available. I believe it is more programming efficient to leave a greyed out menu than to attempt to hide it (affecting where and the order of menus on the menu bar from one moment to the next, which would confuse the hell out of me).

I believe Tog's thought, of adding a special option in a greyed-out menu as to why this command is dimmed, could be useful. Otherwise I think he is blowing the issue up. Of course, the more complex the app (especially with palettes and THEIR commands, the more weight his argument holds.

Issue Seven: Disk Drive Nazi.

Not a problem, at least until removeable drives arrived.

The Mac OS has always been intelligent, preventing you as the user from accidentally ejecting or formatting a disk you are using, including network devices. This is a Good Thing. Compare this to the behavior in Windows, which will still allow you to eject media in use, causing All Kinds of Hell.

Workaround: His point seems more specific to USB and FireWire drives. Unless Apple creates a hardware lock that physically locks a device, preventing the thing from being removed, then there's not a lot to do there, except Apple making the OS more robust in screaming at people to tell the OS that the drive is to be disconnected before they physically remove it.

Run for Cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10944816)

How dare anyone say anything bad about something made by apple. Jobs is seeking a fatwa over this.

Erm... (1)

neonfrog (442362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944839)

At a quick glance I thought this said "Top Ten PRESIDENT design flaws" which would have been an equally interesting list.

Good so far (2, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944844)

Only down to number 3 so far, but #1, "If the computer loses power for more than a few thousanths of a second, it throws everything away", is sooooooooo perfect. 20 years ago I had a clock radio with a 9-volt battery so it would keep time during short power outages. Why don't current computers have something? I know how big UPSs are; I imagine something the size of a couple D-cell batteries hooked to the motherboard could keep it running for momentary power outages, tripping over the cord, accidentally stepping on the power strip's button, etc.

And on that note, why can't the BIOS battery be rechargable? Why should my computer *ever* think it's 1969, or 1980, or 1984?

Mirrordot Link (3, Informative)

shaneh0 (624603) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944850)

Mirror dot [mirrordot.org]

Visual PC for the Mac "Extras" (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944856)

Visual PC suffered from many strange UI problems. But my favorite was putting an unlabled button on the bottom of the screen that was required to be pushed the first time the program was launched in order to get the program to function properly. And you only ever had to push it once.

So rather than a big giant, push me if this is the first time you launched or something button... You didn't know what to do. And if you looked in help as to why your mouse wasn't working it referred to the button by NAME and didn't show the picture of the Icon.

And if you were really persistent, you could eventually discover that this was the button you were supposed to push the first time to make thier product work. Then it permenantly takes up screen space, and user memory for a thing that is only ever used *once*.

And the VPC folks didn't understand why that was bad UI.

Power Failure is a Bug? (2, Informative)

sucati (611768) | more than 9 years ago | (#10944858)

Bug Name: Power Failure Crash

Since when is a power failure a bug? I had thought a bug is an unintended behavior in software/hardware.

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