scribbles tagged ‘error’

Surface Super FAIL

Saturday, September 7th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

The default (Microsoft) App for

  • mail crashes everytime I paste a link into an email, which is for most emails
  • calendar crashes every time I paste a link into a calendar invitation

Surface shipped too soon. I’m not a Beta tester, I paid full price for this half-baked product. Those are bugs that should have been found during the internal use, before even going to Beta testing or Preview. I’m Furious and want to return the machine and get my money back. Meanwhile, @surface behaves as if my anger is an opportunity to uncover the bug reproduction steps, to waste my time on something they should already know because its such a consistent behaviour. How to make a furious Wendy fume even more!


Surface Super FAIL
1 vote rating 4

3 bits of fabulous banter »

you can’t go back. go home and start again

Monday, July 29th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  |

<RANT WARNING – Apple fanboys, and people who love positivity should leave now>

Over the last 3 years I’ve been lucky(?) enough to have 3 different smart phones as my main phone:

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone5
HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone 5

I’m very disappointed with the iPhone5. I want to revert to the Nokia. I was unimpressed by the Nokia but not to the extent that I wanted to give up using it within the week.

The reasons I dislike the iPhone would all be easily uncovered by usability testing with new users, so why do they STILL exist in version 5? Doesn’t Apple test it’s products with people switching from other smart phones? Maybe Apple doesn’t know because it doesn’t bother to test, maybe it knows but doesn’t think they’re worth fixing?

The problems I’m encountering are the sort of thing that should have been fixed by version 2, or for Microsoft – version 3. if the company prioritised input from users other than Apple fan boys who appear to live in a world that lacks perspective.  My 5 main problems were discovered within the first hour of using the iPhone:

  1. No ‘back’ control – you have to go to ‘home’ and then navigate forward to where you were. Android has a hardware back button and Windows has a software back button. All the browsers I’ve ever used have got a back button. You never have to ‘start again’.  Arrrghhhhhhh! It’s hellishly inefficient and irritating. It affects virtually everything I want to do on the phone unless the app provider has included either an ever-present software back button or easy in-App navigation. Apple has effectively offloaded the overhead of designing good navigation to App providers which will result in diverse navigation methods, more effort for the user to learn them. That’s not good.
  2. No service detected. OH MY GOODNESS! After putting in the SIM card, there was no service. I first assumed that I’d put the SIM card in the wrong way.  As soon as I removed the SIM the phone said ‘No SIM detected’. So the problem wasn’t with the SIM placement. I rebooted the phone. SIGH. No service. I showed the phone to a local, patient and peppy, Apple fanboy, who used his psychic Apple-fix-it skills and called my number. MAGIC. It wasn’t displaying that it could receive a signal, yet the phone rang and I was able to answer it! Bizarreness. The service signal strength was now showing on the phone. Unreliable OS messaging of hardware capabilities? That is, the hardware had detected a service but the Apple display hadn’t been updated to show this. What were the Apple test team doing when they set up tests that would let a product with this problem get released? Over the next few days I soon got into the habit of using my Windows Nokia phone (same service provider) to call my i-Phone so that the display would update to show the service signal.  HOW CRAP IS THAT?! More than a double face-palm. I tried a more traditional technique to get the signal to display – rebooting the phone. SIGH. The irritating thing about rebooting the phone to get a service signal is that I have to login to my iApple account again (see problem 3 below), and then the service signal isn’t always re-displayed.  I’ve tried shaking the phone and wandering around the office space. More out of desperation and frustration.CLEAN UP FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
  3. ALL CAPS LETTERS ONLY on the keyboard display, even when you’re typing in lower-case! Really poor visual feedback on what case to expect the keyboard to produce. I use a lot of passwords where there is a requirement for UPPER CASE letters and only a temporary view of the typed letter before it turns into a dot.  This meant that not being able to ‘see’, by looking at the keyboard,  which CASE the letter is going to be typed in was a pain. I had to look at the shift key, which has only a subtle ‘brightness’ contrast change and is covered by my finger that’s pressing it.  Lack of this feedback results in my having to be more careful entering passwords, and have to retype passwords more frequently.  My ‘new’ Apple ID had to be reset 3 times because I couldn’t work out if I’d miss-typed the ID or just tried to enter the wrong ID.  When creating the new password using “I-Forgot” – blame me why don’t you! – I got more “Passwords don’t match” messages than on any other phone I’ve used.  This is an easy OS software change, why haven’t Apple bothered to fix this obvious usability problem?
  4. Not connecting to my home wireless.  I’ve tried about 8 times. The phone can detect my wireless and offers me a password entry field.  I’ve retyped and retyped the network key but for some inexplicable reason the phone is unable to join this network and wont even hint at why. Just tells me it’s failed. At least it takes responsibility for this failure.
  5. No CAPS LOCK. Both Android and Windows have good simple software solutions for this behaviour, which I’d learnt. An Apple fan boy explained to me that I should keep one finger on shift and type the letters with a different finger.  No problem from his perspective. Another Apple fan boy told me a double-tap acts as shift-lock and that she only found out how to use her iPhone with multiple lessons from her daughter. This is only a miner discovery detail, but when added to the other issues for someone trying an iPhone after having used Android or Windows OS’s, it’s yet another poor design feature that implies lack of user-care by the OS development team.

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone5From my perspective the Apple iPhone OS behaviour is clearly less elegant with more user effort overhead than both Android and Windows. I’m surprised, I expected to love it.

Pish and Tush

<RANT TEMPORARILY ON HOLD- I suspect there will be more…>

you can’t go back. go home and start again
5 votes rating 5

5 bits of fabulous banter »

Ordinal 466 (559) could not be located in the dynamic link library

Friday, May 24th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

After an irritating long windows update when I was trying to leave work on time, my laptop starts with these trust inspiring messages:
Ordinal 466 Ordinal 559

Several friends experience similar messages after their updates. What’s an ordinal? Do I care? Dynamic link library? Seriously?!

What were the windows update test team doing when they let these error messages slip through before releasing?

Oh, and I almost forgot this confidence inducing message: ‘The operating system cannot run %1’
Operating system cannot run

Ordinal 466 (559) could not be located in the dynamic link library
4 votes rating 3.75

5 bits of fabulous banter »

4 hour detour

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

20 minutes out of Crewe, the train doesn’t stop as scheduled:

Crewe Station "A"wendy: I think I’ve gotten on the wrong train (gotten = US english)

train manager: where do you want to go?

wendy: Wilmslow

train manager: (laughs out loud, covers face with hand) yes, you’re on the wrong train

wendy: when’s the next stop?

train manager: (still giggling) London, Euston, in 2 hours

Silently absorbing that I wont be able to present to the 20 people who’ve travelled to Wilmslow to hear me. Trying, successfully, not to cry. I  call my colleague who’s travelling separately. My call is cut off as it’s connected, by a tunnel.  The train manager is fiddling with his ticket machine.

train manager: you can get on a return train immediately, it will get you to Wilmslow by 1.37pm. 

That’s 3 hours after I’m due to start! URGH.  I leave a garbled message on my colleagues answer-service as the train manager fiddles with his ticket machine.  A 2hr each way fast train to London, that’s probably a £200 ticket he’s printing-out. Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry….

train manager: no-one else has got on this train by mistake (giggle)

He’s just told me I’m a complete numpty. Don’t cry, don’t cry….   I phoned my host, apologised and explained, asked if we could reschedule to 2pm. They agreed to try for this.  The train manager gave me a FREE return ticket to Euston, at least this ‘error’ hasn’t cost me £200.  I thanked the train manager and sheepishly snuck back to my seat, trying again to call my colleague. 10 minutes later the train manager found me.

train manager: there’re a few people on the train like you, one lady is very upset, she hasn’t stopped crying

wendy: I’m not crying, but I sure as hell feel like crying. (sure as hell = US English)

train manager: could you sit with her? I think it would help

wendy: sure  (sure = US English for ‘of course’)

The train manager lead me to the last, almost empty, first class carriage where a lady with immaculate hair and make-up, wrapped in a shawl, was elegantly dabbing her water filled eyes with a well-ironed handkerchief. We exchanged similar stories. I reassured her that she wasn’t dipsy. The Crewe service announcements and signs were less than adequate. How kind of the train manager to give us free return tickets and treat us to the quiet comfort of first-class seats. Rachel was charming and entertaining. But

Crewe train station is not forgiven, I may have to send them suggested improvements for their signage…

4 hour detour
1 vote rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

windows crashes the morning

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Just in case you thought that all my story blog posts mean that I’m neglecting my role of publicising details of software failures, I thought I’d throw this little message in the pot.

Arriving at work to discover that my computer had ‘shutdown unexpectedly’ or some such phrase that completely ignores the emotional impact of a computer crash. I do like that Microsoft wants to know about these events so they can diagnose their causes and work with partners to reduce their occurrence.  I’d rather they used this messaging opportunity to:

  • acknowledged the emotional impact of what happened.
  • told me they will use this information to reduce events like this happening in the future “sending more information can help Microsoft create solutions” is too corporate, formal, impersonal.
  • added a bit of humour to the message to demonstrate that they want me to be happy and they employ expert editors to make that happen.

Eventually these things may well happen, but I’m getting impatient, come-on already!

Crash bang wallop

windows crashes the morning
2 votes rating 4.5

7 bits of fabulous banter »

more ungraceful failure messages

Monday, February 18th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Sparkle is running smoothly but there appear to be a few hiccups among the internet services Sparkle uses. Here’s a selection of recent bumps from McAfee, Optimalworkshop and SharePoint services and

MacAfee providing life safety instructions instructions for life More Sharepoint Errorness Oracle Error

McAfee is just being darn mysterious. This message lead to a support call. Optimal workshop eventually provided a rather nice personable note about their server being confused, they helped their server out quite promptly. To get SharePoint access I moved to another computer which solved the problem. Oracle’s messaging reminded me of the 1980’s. I’m so glad that most of the world has moved-on. Bu would appreciate a concerted effort to start including graceful failure messages.

more ungraceful failure messages
1 vote rating 4

6 bits of fabulous banter »


Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  | ErrorThe second time that I tried to login to my ‘’ account this error message was presented and the experience hung Firefox.

How long have Microsoft been designing sign-in processes? How many products have they produced that require a secure sign in? How many user experience experts do they employ – how big is their archive on user experience research?

And this error detection and messaging is the best they can come up with?

That’s pathetic – with no imaginable excuse

Just think about this message from a users perspective – what to I do next?

  • browser back button?
  • navigate to the sign in page using a bookmark or URL?

Then repeat the sign-in action that produced thid error in the first place? Believe that doing the same thing twice wont produce the same error from a computerised system? I can think of several different ways that this service could have enabled me to do this, my only natural troubleshooting approach, in an easier way. For example, provide a nice friendly “Try again” button. An apology or empathetic sound would be a nice additional extra. I find “ouch” is working quite well with me at the moment. If Microsoft are serious about shifting from pre-packaged products to operating online services they are going to have to start using the knowledge of their user experience experts

Hall of shame for

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2 bits of fabulous banter »

the blue flash of colonel panic

Sunday, January 13th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Blue Screen of DeathThe Blue flash of colonel panic is not a military award, one of the X-men,  X-women, a Transformer, or other superhero.

Windows 7 scary classic!

The file dump from Windows 7 “Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)” happens so quickly that we  rush to capture an digital image for posterity because maybe there will be a generation of computer users that have never see a blue screen. I hope so.

You can see the blue screen paparazzi in the reflection on an old Lenovo laptop.  The windows 7 message is already teasing the user with more text than they can possibly read in the time it’s displayed! Squinting at the photograph I saw the phrase “BIOS updates” – a phrase that produces a mild form of the gagging reflex.

Windows 8 is succinct, readable, understandable and less SCARY!

The message has changed for Windows 8, it looks like a more graceful failure message because it has larger, more readable, and understandable text. It looks like they’ve actually written it for the normal people that will see it rather than for the developers. They no longer mention “Caching and shadowing”, “removing or disabling components” or the gaggable “Bios updates”.  I wonder whether it’s still a ‘Blue Flash’. Excellent user experience enhancements.


the blue flash of colonel panic
2 votes rating 5

6 bits of fabulous banter »


Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

mysterious error - ok?One of the many Apple fanboy’s in my life really enjoys showing me every error message that his ancient PC produces.

Todays example is a classic.

We tried a few technical fix it things and managed to find a little more information.

Somehow this extra information failed to de-confuse the situation or make OK a decision that we wanted to make.
less mysterious error - ok?

2 votes rating 4

1 wonderful musing »

troubleshooters – for hiding original design laziness

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Office 360 discussion - rejected!Grumble mumble


foot stomp

For goodness sake Microsoft if you’re still going to fail after decades of practice providing services then at least give me empathetic failure message not this ARCHAIC SHITE!

That’s empathetic with the emphasis on PATHETIC

I’m getting so annoyed that I’m getting all SHOUTY

If you effing bothered to test properly so you get the design right in the first place then I wouldn’t have to suffer your error messages and troubleshooters.

Grumble mumble

Bad mood

troubleshooters – for hiding original design laziness
2 votes rating 4

1 wonderful musing »

blue screen of temporary illness

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

PC demo zone on Windows8 launch dayEver since the Cupboard’s face got smashed in I’ve been asking friends and colleagues for advice on what I should do – what sort of computer I should get and when.

My UK friends give diverse advice which naturally mirrors their own preferences. Though the IT professionals quickly get side-tracked onto talking about virtual machines – getting terribly excited at the thought. They seem to run substantial Apples with dual-boot from which they control lots of virutal machines. Not really for me.

I’ve also been popping into local shops that sell computers – Currys, PC world, Comet, John Lewis .   In these stores I get the pleasure of chatting to young handsome fellows who’re very excited about the prospect of being able to save up for an Apple iPad. Cute, but not actually too helpful for me – they aren’t good at ucovering my criteria and herding me towards one of their products. I’ve got wads of dosh in my pocket for something special, yet no-one’s selling to me. They’re selling to themselves. Most bizarre.

On the day that Windows 8 released I pootled along to Currys to play with a copy on their display machines. Everything started well:

  • No queue outside the store of people waiting to get their sticky hands on the new fancy OS. Such good fortune. I do dislike all the jostling and the lack of diversity when everyone plumps for the same thing. Even the store’s Demo stand was enticingly empty.  I felt good.
  • 5 assistants all ready to help me and the other customer in the PC section of the store. wonderful. I do like having someone on hand to spend time chatting with me – especially if I’m planning on spending more than £200.
  • A queue around the Apple stand.  Baffling.  Such ugly and expensive machines. Still not much choice – they’ve side-stepped having to make all the decisions that I’m about to take on…. which manufacturer, which processor type/size etc. More spacefor me to explore!

Store copy of windows 8 on release dayI wandered over to the windows 8 laptops that looked about the right size and design funkiness. Oh, a small blue one with ripples on the lid (Acer Aspire One).  My first experience of Windows 8 was a message that says:

 “Automatic Repair couldn’t repair your PC

Oh how I laughed!

A young assistant noticed my standing looking at the computer, giggling,  he swooped in and offered his help.

wendy: is this manufacturer installed windows 8 or a windows 7 machine that’s been upgraded in the store?

assistant: it came from the manufacturer with windows 8 on it

wendy: it’s not working, that’s not good on a demo machine is it?

assistant: it just means it didn’t shutdown properly, that’s all, I’ll just reboot it


I fell over


(no broken bones)

blue screen of temporary illness
2 votes rating 5

7 bits of fabulous banter »

black screen of death – suicide computers

Saturday, October 20th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Black screen of deathWhen I got to work I found the door kicked-in and half a dozen laptops stolen. Booo!

The desktop computer I was planning to use wasn’t stolen. Phew!

When I turned it on this frustrating black message showed-up.  Disbelievingly I rebooted the computer 3 x. Just incase. It didn’t make any difference.  Poo!taking the hard drive out to fix it

Our IT department had a super-hero taking-out the hard drive and getting my stuff on a working (Apple) hard drive, in less than 30 minutes.  Though I suspect that actually having an external boot disc for the computer would have been much quicker.  But who uses external boot CD’s these days?!temporary replacement computer

After such a dramatic ‘where’s my computer gone’ day at work I was relieved to be home.  The Cupboard had other ideas. She was considering a sympathy suicide. She leapt to the floor. Bollocks. She may have shown me a blue screen of death, but all I can remember was this monochrome thing when I attempted a reboot to fix it.   She’s defintiely passed away.

Dad has always claimed that I have special powers over electrical equipment. He’s an electrician, he knows these things. He says I can break electrical goods by merely looking at them.  I was never allowed to go near electrical equipment as a child.  At least it was for a good reason, not like –  ‘you can’t do that you’re a girl’. My life experience suggests that dad was onto something.

Cupboard bites the dustI need a new computer….. oooooeererrr.

Hooray!  New toy!

What should I get? ipad? Chrome thingy? Surface thingy?

black screen of death – suicide computers
2 votes rating 4

9 bits of fabulous banter »

incompatible systems

Friday, September 14th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

12noon 16th August

my broken wrist before surgery Wrist in plaster of parisnurse: you must go to X-Ray

wendy: have they seen the X-Rays from Worthing?

nurse: the consultant wants so see today’s X-Ray

wendy: ok

Waiting outside the X-Ray room I chat with a shy Welsh man on crutches. He’s holding a CD from Pontypridd.

Were you on Holiday in Wales?

No, visiting my daughter who lives there now

He explains that the Reading hospital system can’t view his CD copies of his X-Rays, so he’s having the X-Ray’s done again. I suspect the same is true for me, but my nurse was focussed on what can and should happen rather than what doesn’t work.

The CD contains an executible file for a small program that views the X-Rays and enables them to be exported into standard file formats. It was easy to view on my PC. I suspect RBH’s system prevents users from being able to run exectuibles from CDs – for security reasons.

incompatible systems
2 votes rating 3

3 bits of fabulous banter »

missing drugs chart

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

PJs12noon 14th August

ward nurse: I can’t find your drug chart, you don’t seem to have a drug chart!

She looked flustered

wendy: I’ve made a note of what drugs I’ve been given and the times they were given to me, if that helps?

The nurse looked more relieved as I read my notes to her. The Worthing hospital team never found my drugs chart. From what I’ve seen of their documentation it omits many key details and is frequently inaccurate – for example the name of my GP is wrong and I repeatedly pointed this out. They normally replied by telling me it was actually accurate on some other document that I hadn’t seen. As if getting the information right on one document makes it ok to have it wrong on this one. This is frighteningly poor reasoning for people that are looking after my health.

When I was let out from Worthing the junior doctor (F2) said that I didn’t have a drugs chart because when I was admitted (reported to reception of the A&E) I’d said that I wasn’t

  • normally taking any drugs
  • allergic to any drugs

I was impressed by how this explanation actually implicitly blamed me for the fact that while in hospital, where they gave me drugs, no-one bothered to keep a written track record of what drugs I’d been given, in what doses, and at what times. Their blazé (not our fault) attitude to their behaviour that produced a major patient safety risk was quite Flabberghasting!

missing drugs chart
4 votes rating 4.5

6 bits of fabulous banter »

tautological text

Friday, June 1st, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

I uninstalled chrome and all it’s components but apparantly this has left some unresponsive scripts that Mozilla kindly warns me about.

Unresponsive x 2An unresponsive script warning is  not responding

I have no idea what this message really means or the implications of my choice.  I wish it would go away rather than repeatedly popping up after my laptop has snoozed, then unresponding in a ‘get in the way’ tone. It’s a passive aggressive sort of dialog. Using its unresponsiveness to get in the way of my doing what I want to.

Pish and Tush


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reading problem on Google reader

Monday, March 5th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Just incase you thought eveything was running smoothly, here is internet failure of the day

Google Reader button text never arrived…

I waited ….  then wrecklessly pressed the unlabelled button…

It turned out to be the settings button. Google trying to hide its settings on the day it merged it’s privacy policies to share my use data across services?  Unlabelling a setting button on the day I want to change  settings

Spooky or cunning? You decide…

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1 wonderful musing »

Sony Viao Performance Enhancement Software

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Performance Enhancement SoftwareJust incase you thought eveything in the Cupboard was running smoothly, here is error of the day – the dialog text just never arrived, I waited about 5 minutes and the dialog eventually just disappeared of it’s own accord. It’s as-if the performance enhancement software just couldn’t be bothered to enhance performance….  ….a software equivalent of “whatever”


Sony Viao Performance Enhancement Software
2 votes rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

Apple Software Update has stopped working

Saturday, February 4th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Apple Software Update FailJust incase you thought eveything in the Cupboard was running smoothly, here is error of the day “Apple Software Update has stopped working”. This is how the story unfolded

Avoid using any Apple products or services because they:

  • are rumoured to treat their employees, vendors, contractors etc rather poorly
  • do not systematically promote and drive socially responsible behaviours – Bill gates rocks!
  • target being a monopoly. For example they undermine multiple hadware manufacturers. By contrast, companies such as Microsoft promote partnerships with other companies that sell Hardware (e.g. Dell, HP, Nokia, HTC etc). This approach enables those companies to thrive rather than competing with them. This strategy cost’s Microsoft in terms of time – the liaison and planning required and the lack of control leading to lack of consistency that introduces more potential for ‘errors’

Captured by BBC evil alliance

Unfortunately, when I started wanting to use BBC’s iplayer the only way to view the programs that my Licence had helped fund was to use Apple’s quicktime. Furious that the BBC chose to align with a company’s product rather than an industry standard. Darn, effectively the BBC was saying download Apple’s quick time or eff off.

For a while I managed without the BBC iplayer and just fumed until the lure of quality drama on-demand got the better of me. I installed Quicktime and lost a little of my self-esteem in the process.

Pompositively indignant

When I buy or use Microsoft services, part of their profit goes to causes I support. Microsoft products may not be beautiful to look at and they may be error ridden but they genuinely show social values that I respect.  They can have my money and time before Apple anyday because of how they spend my commitment


Apple Software Update has stopped working
1 vote rating 5

16 bits of fabulous banter »

failure to display secruity and shutdown options

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Failure to display shutdown and security optionsJust incase you thought eveything in the Cupboard was running smoothly, here is error of the day “Failure to display security and shutdown options”. This is how the story unfolded

Zap the unresponsive browser

I was getting impatient waiting for Firefox to decide to ‘respond’. Respond sounds like something a patient does to treatment. It’s probably an appropriate analogy for a wendy treating a computer. It feels like dealing with the dead when you’ve got an unresponsive program. I pressed CTRL+ALT+DELETE:

  • Control the computer – kick Firefox
  • find an Alternative way to do what I want to do
  • Delete the unresponsive program which the ‘task manager’ seems to call a ‘task’, loosing the medical analogy and shifting to what looks like Taylorism

I just wanted to stop Firefox and use another browser, not a computer based task and workflow analysis.

Wait for the darkness

There is always a ‘black flash’ before Windows 7 shows me it’s fancy blue screen with a list of ‘security’ options. The black flash is similar to the one I get before it shows me a dialog asking me to give some program permission to do something like install updates. Blackness arrived, but it wasn’t a flash. Layered over the top of the blackness was and XP Classic (i.e. Win2K) style error message which accurately recognised that I had just pressed CTRL+ALT+DELETE.

Boggle my brain-cells

The error message gives me three suggested actions

  • press ESC (Escape from what? the error message, Firefox, the computer, Reading town?)
  • restart the cupboard using the power switch
  • click the “OK” button

Hmmmmm. Which one should I try first? The

  • First suggestion (press ESC)?
  • Least dramatic suggestion (Click the OK button?)
  • The well-known troubleshooting strategy of switch everything off then turn it on again – and go off to make myself a cup of tea and ponder the meaning of life?

Being of an impatient disposition, when it comes to computers, I clicked OK which removed the black screen and returned me to the computer desktop and unresponsive Firefox. But what now? Should I now press ESC? Pah, I want the task manager, so I tried CTRL+ALT+DELETE again, and “Hey Presto!”  this time I got the black flash followed by the Security and Shutdown options

I wonder whether the task manager is a security or a shutdown option? Certianly I use it to shut things down, so it’s probably a shutdown option….


failure to display secruity and shutdown options
2 votes rating 5

9 bits of fabulous banter »

the cupboard has a hangover

Sunday, January 1st, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

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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Installing Summer

Friday, July 29th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

███████████████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 44% DONE

Installation failed
Error 404: Season not found. The season you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later …


(copied from a friend’s Facebook status)
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Get those comments off your chest

Friday, May 13th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Blogger service has been down for at least 20 hours now. Please feel free to get your comments off your chest below.

Park them here…

Pick them up later…

Tell us where Blogger alternatives have popped-up?

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Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 1)

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

I love it when my car talks sexy to me like this. Really Thomas is saying, phone those nice boys at the Mini Service centre, you know you want to. And he’s right, I do want to and I do call them. On the phone I slowly, precisely say to the service centre chappy

I’ve got a Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction, Yeah, really, I have

He giggles

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sentient lay person

Monday, December 27th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Different software programs use language in different ways to do similar system-related activities. The tone of voice they use when talking to the person using the software can create different attitudes towards the software supplier. Below we see how the software program Mozilla starts talking to its user immediately after the program has crashed. It opens with an apology, it doesn’t brusquely announce and ‘error’ it talks directly to the users experience and deals directly with the emotional reaction of the user to the experience of a crash.

Well done Mozilla.

Mozilla are sorry

By contrast here we see Google, talking in its own internal language, showing that language to the user ‘Client Error’ what’s that when it’s at home apart from being a pain to me.

Poor show google.

Client Error

I have a growing collection of different ‘error’ messages from different major software providers. That Mozilla’s opening apology is the only one approaching engaging, even personable is a sad inditement on the software industry. Major companies could define their tone of voice as something that speaks reassuringly to me as an sentient lay person.

I wish they would

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themometer malfuction

Friday, July 3rd, 2009 | tags: ,  |

49 CentigradeHow hot was it today?  

The thermometer says DANG HOT,   no number necessary.  

 The kitties look cool as pie, stetched out in the conservatory hot house rather than in the cool dark back room where I’m making my way through a chocolate eclair accompanied by a sleeve of Old Speckled Hen.

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Error of the week

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Which of this weeks ‘errors’ do you think should win my error of the week award,   and why?

  1. Transient notification of a ‘USB Device Not Recognised’?
  2. Network Diagnoistics ‘Windows tried a repair but a problem still exists’?
  3. Or the classic old favourite from IE8 ‘Internet Explorer has stopped working’?

Still a problemUSB Device MalfunctionWindows closed IE

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more high maintenance than a t-mobile relationship

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Blue Screen RecoveryAfter the perpetually  irritating, poorly designed user interface,  web n walk software appeared to completely fail I removed it from Vista.  

The removal process involved webnwalk software telling me to reboot my computer.   As my computer re-started Vista Blue screened,   I scrambled for my camera but sadly missed the moment.   When Vista started it made sure that I knew about this unexpected shutdown.

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ping remote host

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Words of wisdom from  an almost stranger*.  in this case Windows Network Diagnostics:

When planning your party make sure you employ communicative DNS servers to hand-out the canopes and if your host is being a bit remote,   just ping him a bit and he’ll deliver cuddles all round.

ping host

*  past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist, a mini salesman, a neighbour  and Reading Police
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stopped working

Sunday, June 7th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Outlook Stopped WorkingAt least I get diversity from my regular doses of reactionary software,   it’s like the early 1970’s all over again, retro-chic software on a 3 day week working to rule.   Your guess is as good as mine over what rule it will work to.

At least Windows is acting as an arbitrator, looking for a solution on my behalf,   this is on top of the 169 problems it recently investigated on my behalf.

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bad request

Saturday, June 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Dad:   you can make elecronics stop working just by walking into a room
Wendy:   I thought I was being paranoid
Dad: No.   Not Paranoid. You have a talent for disrupting electronics
Wendy: thanks dad,  its good to know I’m not paranoid

Bad Request XULRunner stopped working connection failed

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