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?
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?
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:
Eventually these things may well happen, but I’m getting impatient, come-on already!
The default time on my work computer appears to have reset itself in the past. My Office365 email account appears to use my computer time to judge my local time. So emails sent to me today were all listed as arriving tomorrow. Got to love the Microsoft programmers logical and humorous way of dealing with this!
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 Oracle.com:
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.
The Blue flash of colonel panic is not a military award, one of the X-men, X-women, a Transformer, or other superhero.
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.
Apple fanboy: Have I told you what I don’t like about microsoft software?
wendy: No. NO. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what you hate about microsoft software, do PLEASE tell me, I MUST know, it’s important, I can’t go on without hearing you complain about microsoft software
Apple fanboy: you know how Office…..
wendy: LaLa LaLa I can’t hear you (puts on headphones)
Todays example is a classic.
We tried a few technical fix it things and managed to find a little more information.
Recently my employer asked for my Twitter address, to publish my tweets on their website. Other colleagues admitted to not tweeting, or suggested that our employer really wouldn’t want to publish their tweets. As wendy, I’ve dabbled but not really been drawn in.
What to do? Should I start using Twitter with my real ‘professional’ name. Luckily the name was available. There are only 2 of us with my real name and an online presence, the other person is a teenager in small town USA. I bagged our name on Twitter. But the big problems still haven’t been solved
Do you think I’ll ignore all these tricky questions or other?
What have you done, and why’d you do it?
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.
In the photograph on the right we see how Florence, the SatNav, has decided that Thomas, the car, in not actually on a road and has to turn left, not on a road, in 0.4 miles. Such are the ways of the Dartmoor.
In the photograph on the left we see how Florence proudly announces that Thomas is actually ‘Driving on Road’.
The sender of this email agreed to let me publish it because he’s entertaining and talking about buying a PC from PC world:
My Dad just bought a new computer, without asking me first *facepalm*.
He went to PC World and some jackanape sold him a win 8 machine. Apparently it’s ‘in the cloud’ and ‘blazingly fast’, something my dad doesn’t understand but was convinced is a good thing.
To cut a long story short, my dad has come to visit and is begging me to put win 7 on it.
He said ‘it took me 45 minutes to find the control panel on it and i’ve been deleting stuff but noting makes that f*cking screen go away’.
Thanks MS. Thanks PC World.
Sent from my phone
The UK advertising campaign is my main source of thinking it’s not meant for me. For example, in an advertising email Microsoft appears to be suggesting that Windows 8 has been designed for either:
I am neither of these things – but I can afford a decent personal computer, unlike many of the young people who can’t afford to leave home let-alone have a kiddy.
The promotional picture of the UK Windows 8 upgrade website is equally excluding me from its focus. Below we see what looks like a young family, a beardyman wearing pink corduroy flares, a woman with a strappy dress and a child with a big smile. They are all bravely ignoring the wind storm that is about to take down the palm trees in the background. Is this the Windows 8 user-group or representing their aspirations. I am very far from being either of these. I wonder if it’s Microsoft’s imagination of what they aspire to have their users be like. Tush. I can see I’m a disappointment to them – too old with insufficient babies.
Looks like my next computer will be the Nexus 7. Ironically, a friend who’s a recent mother is raving about how she can feed the baby with one arm while using the Nexus with the other….
Before parting with my hard earned cash in return for a plucky little champagne coloured Acer Aspire S3 with an Intel i5 processor there were a few tricky questions that the store staff were well placed to answer. Here are the questions I asked and the sales assistant’s answers:
She was trying hard. She was very personable, probably new to the job. I smiled at her and waited patiently while she researched the answers to my questions. I hope I was reassuring because she must have felt a bit bad about not knowing the answers.
I walked out of the store with a box under my arm, £350 on my credit card bill, and a smile on my face.
I LOVE my plan.
Gosh, I’ve gone and gotten all happy and I haven’t even spent a penny yet!
I know which of the in-store laptops were most appealing and an online search found that even the manufacturers refurbished version was £200 more than the instore model I’d seen, and that was BEFORE the £150 cash-back trade-in on my ‘old’ laptop.
All the online versions were not only more expensive, they were quoting a 3 week delivery period, what’s up with that?! Walking out of a store with a laptop under my arm is the cheapest and quickest option! Thomas and I roll up at PC world who are selling the Acer Aspire 3 for near £200 less than thier ‘Currys’ store. Oddly, Currys had a price match promise – but why buy more expensive and have to claim the money back in a price match within the same company – BONKERS!
Ever 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:
I 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
In my research for replacing my home laptop I’m stumbling across a lot of scathing press on windows 8. I’ve not seen or used a copy so this is all speculation based on rumour and such-like. I’m hearing that Windows 8 will alienate:
I suspect Microsoft are trying to apply an approach that has worked well with the Office Ribbon. They deliberately chose to accept the initial backlash that comes when the first-use experience not optimised because they knew that once learned it the experience is significantly better for regular use. One suite of products, one release, one core user-group – Corporations. The Office user experience team undertook a lot of high quality research to make sure they knew the impact of introducing the Ribbon on ongoing productivity.
Does this strategy work for an operating system across multiple form-factors (phone, tablets, laptops, Desktops)? Once Windows 8 has been on the market for 5 or more years will most of the use problems fade into distant memory? Assuming that Windows customers stick with Windows and undergo the pain while everyone adapts to the new interface, this could happen:
The big risk that Microsoft is taking appears to be that in this time period many customers may have researched, learned, built, commitments to other operating systems (Mac, Android etc) and not be prepared to move ‘back’. It’s a huge, brave, bet by Microsoft. I hope they’ve done their groundwork research to know this is going to work.
I’m buying a computer in the next couple of weeks. Will it run Windows 8? What’s your guess?
wendy: have they seen the X-Rays from Worthing?
nurse: the consultant wants so see today’s X-Ray
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.
Just 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”
I disagree because I:
But McAfee is not content to simply disagree with me, it proactively bullies me! – everytime I delete the desktop shortcut – it REPLACES it!!!!! This is worse than merely ignoring my request – this is reversing my request, ignoring me with knobs on!
Luckily, I’m prepared to spend time playing around in software settings, so I set off to find the “Don’t automatically place a shortcut cut on the desktop” setting in the main program. Guess what? There isn’t one!!!!!! It take a lot longer to find out that something doesn’t exist, then to find that it does, because it requires a complete, exhaustive, search. That makes me 700 exclaimation marks ANGRY!!!!!!!
Maybe I can suggest to McAfee that they change this poor user experience, or maybe they can tell me how to remove the pesky, unnecessary, irritating, shortcut. A trip to the McAfee website might help. What do you think?
I had to install “Citrix Gotoassist” before I could chat to my “representative”. If this software is an integral part of the McAfee service then it should be pre-installed with the application and available from within the application. This would reduce the number of technical hoops that the wendy has to jump through when she needs support. It would also reduce the time taken to get first-time support.
My representative told me that the design team are working on an improvement that will be included in the next automatic update. Excellent.
If McAfee had employed user experience experts to review their software they would never have made such a basic software design error in the first place.
My security software should be inobtrusive, it should be there and accessible. It should not be bullying me and requiring me to install extra components before answering my support questions. Generally a very poor show by McAfee
███████████████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 44% DONE
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 …
While standing in the isle of a FGW commuter train from London Paddington I watched the young man seated beside me using his Blackberry phone. It looked like a mini Windows 95 – text-menu list overload! My gut reaction was yuck! The young man navigated the text-heavy grey menu with impressive speed. Clearly an experienced user.
Some of the things I love about my Android HTC desire are the way the designers have managed to
Service engineer: (disarming giggles) Good luck! You’re booked in
The mechanic said the filter looked ok. The nice chap at the Mini Dealership explained that the software might be malfunctioning and would cost me £90 to upgrade.
What?! Software malfunctioning? Software not doing what it was designed to do? That sounds like a programming bug to me, a design fault. Software doesn’t suffer from ‘wear and tear’ like mechanical components. It sounds like Mini manufacturers, BMW, are passing on the cost of fixing their poor original workmanship to their customers! Atrocious. Most software providers release free fixes for software bugs. Hmmmmm…..
An internet search suggested that driving above 40 mph consistently for 10 minutes on a regular basis should burn-off the diesel particles and remove any mechanical problem – if one actually exists. There were lots of discussion forums talking about the warning light showing when there was no malfuntion on BMW cars. Consistent with an actual software design fault.
I changed my driving pattern to include regular periods of driving over 40mph for 10 minutes. Bye Bye to beautiful back-road Oxfordshire. The warning sign still showed. Sigh.
Time to re-visit those lovely chaps at MiniCooper Reading…
According to wikipedia Brian Eno said of this piece
The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — solve it.”
The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,” this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said “and it must be 31/4 seconds long.”
I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel.
In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.
Brian Eno’s 3 1/4 sec piece for Windows 95
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.
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.
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
Producing a painting is very different from producing high quality software, it also has some key similarities. The similarities stem from the fact that you can’t do something this complicated right the first time, you need to take steps and reflect on how well each step is working, then make changes to improve it. You need to iterate.
Different iterations have a different focus. Below are the iterations for my last portrait, of Jasper. The inspirational photograph is on the left hand side, the 6 iterations move from a sketch on the right to the final version next to the photograph. I planned 4 iterations and had to add one because iteration 4 (the pale one) didn’t work aswell as I’d hoped.
Plan: The conceptual work for the painting is done before the sketch; getting to know the subject (Jasper) and the ‘user’ (Jaspers owner) what does the user want from the picture, where would they like to hang it in their home, how do they see the subject? This is the eqivalent of market research, product planning, and conceptual design explorations for a software project
Architecture: The first sketches are of the composition, the placement of features the use of space. No paint. How is the information organised in a way that makes sense. You can see how I made Jasper’s eyes look more upwards and towards the viewer than in the photograph. I wanted Jasper to look more directly at the ‘user’ . This is the ‘Information Architecture’ for a software development project – where is everything in relationship to everything else
Foundations: The first coat of paint is a base, it wont be seen in the final version but it emphasises or mutes the colours on top. For darker areas use a dark base, for brighter colours use a light base. For software this is equivalent to wireframing the user-journeys through the software. The text may not be accurate, but the general idea of the interactions are in place
Technical investigations: With this painting I tried several techniques that I had never used before such as layering a watery-thin layer of white paint then using a brush to partially remove it, hoping this would create a finer texture impression of fur than I could achieve with a brush. For software projects the developers are often trying out how new technologies that can solve technical challenges and add value to the design. I love watching software engineers get all excited about technical proof of concepts
Filling in the framework: Successive layers add more detailed colour and texture, I had trouble getting the colour-mix to work. Between each coat the artist reflects on how well they are achieving their vision, making adjstments with each coat. Gradually the painting begins to look like the final product. But it’s clumsy, edges are not smooth, features are slightly mishapen, colours are too bright. For software products this is the production and testing of the code
Fit and finnish: The final level details, this might be a glaze wash over the painting. For software this can be checking the details are consistent, the performance is smooth, the visuals are complete.
I have no idea what the worldwide statistics are for the actual use of different browsers. I do know what browsers are used by the people (IP addresses) who open Wendy House pages because Google Analytics has snooped on them and told me! (see below)
Unsurprisingly IE in all its versions is the most common browser. Obviously. Almost half these visits are made by me in the cupboard. If we remove the numbber of visits made by myself we are left with Firefox being the browser of choice for my visitors. ‘Choice’ because someone choose to install it on the computer and open it to visit the wendy house.
I understand that some people have more than one browser on their computer. For a gal like me this is potentially confusing. Where possible I like to keep things simple; one credit card, one set of parents, one kitchen, one bathroom, one type of tea bag, one car. This simplicity reduces the everyday cognitive load of decision making. I’ve removed the need to make many daily decisions. Obviously there are some details that are significant and require reqgular decision making resources such as – which cheese? which hat? Which password?
Currently I’m toying with ‘which browser’. I am not an ‘early adopter’ of new technologies. I like to use things which lots of other people have used and found OK. Firefox is looking like the browser for me because it’s open-source, should play well with Thunderbird and lots of people that read the wendy house use it already, pressumably because it works well for them.
Oh! Looks like Mozilla Thunderbird is having a sulk. She’s ignoring me and legitimising the offense by using psuedo-medical jargon – ‘not responding’ to treatment by wendy. Less than 24hrs after putting her in the cupboard. TUSH!
After reading this message I went in search of a way to ‘close the exsiting Thunderbird process’ . I’m not used to closing a process and a quick look in the Windows 7 starter task manager confirmed my suspicion that this was pretty scary. Instead, I decided on the more familiar, easier, way to close something. I closed the only program I knew that I was using at the same time. I closed IE8. Then tried to start Thunderbird. That worked. That sorted the problem.
Close IE to fix Thunderbird. Confusing. Two programs that just aren’t playing nicely together, squabbling and leaving me to be doctor and arbitrater. Sigh.
How to get rid of an unused program on Windows 7 Starter
Large and bold, that’s how I felt. That’s what I wanted the button to say. This was no accidental uninstall.
I wonder how often people do accidentally select something to uninstall, click ‘No’ on this dialog. If it is a genuine problem then fixing should happen before this point, improve the users ability to select the program initially, more information with larger clickable target rather than questioning the users ability to be ‘sure’.
This reminded me of the XP shut down process where you have to choose shutdown at least 2 times before it will actually do what you’ve asked, and only then if some programs haven’t objected to your wishes. Luckily Windows 7 Starter simply shuts down when I ask
Shutdown Control Hoorah!
Earlier I mentioned that my first impressions of Windows 7 Starter reminded me of XP. It’s the little things, like having
There are some ways that Windows 7 starter is definitely not like my old XP Pro. These are defintiely not little things, for example,
A quick look at the questions and answers on this forum for super users implies that they would rather have XP on their Netbooks than Windows 7 Starter. On balance, for me, Windows 7 starter is working well enough with the exception of not being allowed technically or legally to change the desktop background.
I will probably find more differences as I start to fully use the Cupboard, for now these are the immediately noticable differences.