About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

Read more ...

Blog Search


(Supports AND)

Google Ads

Feed

Subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog.

See this post for info on full versus truncated feeds.

Quote

Writers like to think that writing is like Arctic exploration or flying the Atlantic solo but really it's more like golf. You've got to go out and do it every day and live by the results. You can brood over it but in the end you've got to take the club out of the bag and take your swing. You hit the ball to where it wants to go, a series of eighteen small steel cups recessed in turf, on a course that others have traversed before you. You are not the first. You accomplish this by practicing an elegant economy you learned from others and thereby overcoming your damn self-consciousness which trips you up every time.

— Garrison Keillor



Navigation





<July 2014>
SMTWTFS
293012345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829303112
3456789

Categories

  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  

Contact

Email me

Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 7/17/2014

Totals
Posts - 2303
Comments - 2488
Hits - 1,647,195

Averages
Entries/day - 0.57
Comments/entry - 1.08
Hits/day - 408

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 10:18 PM Pacific


  01:08 AM

Ever since a few days when Eric pointed out the badness of dialog boxes, it's been on my mind as I work in Windows. I've seen several dialog boxes in Internet Explorer that specifically illustrate Eric's point about how illusory the notion is that the dialog box is offering the user anything like a useful choice.

I've also been seeing them in Word, which is a product I spend a lot of time in. Word 2003 has a thing where they don't pop up a dialog box. Instead, they open up a "task pane" that helpfully clutters up the workspace offers options relevant to your current context. One I noticed in particular is the "document recovery" pane. When I open Word sometimes, it tells me that it has "recovered" one or more documents (such as normal.dot). Do I want to keep them or discard them? How the heck would I know? I have no idea what it's asking. Please, just make the pane (haha) go away.

When I close Word, I get this:



Well, gosh, I don't know. What changes did I make? Until I know that, I don't really know whether I want to save them. But as you can see, there's no option to "Examine Changes."

As it happens, I'm reviewing the text and UI for a new feature in Visual Studio. Among the text strings for proposed dialog boxes I find this:

There were conflicts during while retrieving files from the remote site. Do you want to continue updating?

[Yes] [No]

Hmmm, do I want to continue updating? Beats me. What would you choose?

[categories]   ,

[3] |