the cupboard has a hangover

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The year started well as I rolled out of bed in my warm brushed cotton, red tartan, pyjamma set. Mumsy buys the best christmas pressies with her Marks and Spencers loyalty card. As the teapot brewed I lifted the cupboard‘s lid and logged in.

.Net error messageThe warm, fluffy feeling started fading as Microsoft’s .NET framework announced an ‘unhandled exception‘ in MY ‘application‘.  My cheeky little application had the afrontary to so something without proper handling? Naughty!’

This verbose .NET Framework message appeared to offer me 2 choices in the first paragraph:

  • ignore this error (continue button)
  • force my application to close (quit button)

The second paragraph is written in jargon about turning on functions, configuring, clients, trace-logs and SDKs.  This is 2012, good practice for producing software error messages has been around for decades. Why is Microsoft still showing me outrageously poorly designed dialogs? Especially first thing in the morning of the new year.  pfft. I choose to ignore this message because it didn’t enable me to make an informed decision – which ‘application’ of mine is exceptional?

 

Firefox crash reportA few moments later I got a BIG clue about the exceptional  ‘application’. Mozilla:

  • raised it’s hand with a message
  • started its conversation with me by  apologising. Nice! This takes ownership for having caused the problem and sets the tone of the conversation with me as one of respect to me
  • tells me firefox will try to fix the problem – doesn’t expect me to fix it
  • politely asks for me to give them diagnostic information. Which I did

I really like the tone of voice, the attitude, of Mozilla when talking to me

As I poured my second mug of tea another potential culprit for the ‘application’ that Microsoft .NET framework found ‘exceptional’ raised it’s hand

 

The large, ugly, Sony Viao update dialog insisted that I update my netbook software then told me I had to reboot the cupboard.  It’s direct instructional approach feels rather rude. I follow the instructions because I’ve been trained by years of poor software to feel helpless and follow this type of condescending instruction

Viao Update

It’s like being in the 1990’s all over again

Do0-do Doo-do

 

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6 bits of lovely banter on “the cupboard has a hangover”

  1. Kay Guest writes:

    Hey!
    It’s too early for me…at first, I thought, “Oh, look, I have the same message that Wendy is talking about” and then I realized that you were just showing what had popped up on your screen!” Oh dear, looks like a new year will be the same as all the ones before it, just another year for me to totally misunderstand the world. Still, I am glad that I can laugh about it! Oh, and I LOVE Marks and Spencer, everything that they do… clothing, food, and I used to like their kitchen department, but did they close that part down?
    Happy new year!

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  2. wendy writes:

    Hi Kay, good to know you’re taking healthy misunderstandings into the coming year. My computers determined to bombard me with error messages today. I’ve just been told by GoogleAnalyics that it’s “encountered and unexpected condition and cannot fulfill your request” – see:
    Another New Year's error

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  3. ExpatEgghead writes:

    Wendy. You are awesome. Seriously , truly, madly wonderful. If you want a job, I will hire you.

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    wendy writes

    Expat, Oh! thanks for the fabulous enthusiasm, flattery will get you a free review of the content of up to 10 error messages that are currently discombobulating your design team – happy new year

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  4. Rob Miles writes:

    When I first saw your blog page I thought my browser had crashed, such was the realism of the screenshot. And my faith in my browser.

    Happy New Year.

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    wendy writes

    Rob! You’re a Microsoft MVP and you have .NET mentioned in some of your website menus, you can make a difference! Please suggest to your contact that the Microsoft product development team employ a user experience expert who has time to review all eperiences that end-users like me get to see. That should get rid of these problems 🙂 Happy new year

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