back to article Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

“I want you to kill Barbra Streisand.” Yup, no problem, I’ll enjoy doing that. Anyone else? “Kylie Minogue. And bloody Madonna, I can’t stand her any more.” Consider them bumped off. It’s sounding a little misogynistic, though. Are you sure? “Leave Chaka Khan alone.” Fine, Chaka survives to sing another day. Anyone else …

  1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

    User interfaces in 2018:

    "OK Google, play the one that goes 'duh duh duuuuuh, duh duh duh duuuuuuuhh, duh duh duh, duh-duh duuuuuuhhh'"

    "OK, I'll play the Scooby Doo Theme Tune"

    "Goddamn it Google!"

    Now That's What I Call Progress®

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: User interfaces in 2018:

      Beethoven's Fifth.

    2. Little Mouse

      Re: User interfaces in 2018:

      The theme-tune to "Heidi"?

    3. smudge Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: User interfaces in 2018:

      If the last bit was simply "duh duuuuuuhhh" it would be the tune banned from all geetar shops - "Smoke On The Water".

      Icon of Montreux Casino burning down to the ground...

      1. Is It Me

        Re: User interfaces in 2018:

        I thought it was the theme to the A-Team

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: User interfaces in 2018:

        "the tune banned from all geetar shops"

        heh - the list of 'forbidden songs' is short, but distinguished.

        (guitar)

        1. Stairway to Heaven (the worst, when played poorly)

        2. Smoke on the Water

        3. Sweet Home Alabama

        (piano/keyboard)

        1. Alex Foley's theme from Beverley Hills Cop

        2. Bach's Fugue in D Minor

        3. Heart and Soul

        4. Chopsticks

        5. Those Endearing Young Charms (also good for xylophone)

        yeah, NOBODY every shows off trying to play THOSE...

  2. Noonoot

    "At this point, I frantically press at FF multiple times to get to track 10. Or is it 9? Silly me, I know the song names and their sequence but never got around to memorising their individual track number. Damn, some idiot added some “rare bootlegs” in the middle so I have to keep pressing and now I’ve gone past the end and find myself back at track 1 again."

    What? Do you mean your CD player isn't intelligent enough to know what you want just from you pressing the buttons?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      ""At this point, I frantically press at FF multiple times to get to track 10. Or is it 9? Silly me, I know the song names and their sequence but never got around to memorising their individual track number. Damn, some idiot added some “rare bootlegs” in the middle so I have to keep pressing and now I’ve gone past the end and find myself back at track 1 again."

      Maybe it's time for a Kickstarter to design and produce an IoT and cloud connected, AI augmented, voice controlled with facial recognition, CD player for Dabbsy.

      Then he could connect to it with his smartphone with the selfy lens on from the pub and mumble the required track and the AI voice control would figure out the correct track and play it. If it doesn't work it won't matter because he'll be in the pub.

    2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Happy

      What goes around comes around..

      "Damn, some idiot added some “rare bootlegs” in the middle so I have to keep pressing and now I’ve gone past the end and find myself back at track 1 again."

      Or, if you have a multi-disc changer and you go past the end, you can then enjoy pushing the disc select button, waiting for the carousel or magazine to get around to going back to your original disc, then end up back on track 1 of your disc.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    AFAIK audio CD has no way to name songs...

    ... but my 1990s Technics CD player has a keypad to enter the track number directly (on the remote).

    IIRC you need hybrid audio/data CD to store track titles also (they could also come with embedded rootkits, like Sony did...) - otherwise you had to refer to the album cover - just you did with LPs - where lowering the head precisely on the right groove separating two songs was a skill you had to acquire.

    1. windy_miller

      Re: AFAIK audio CD has no way to name songs...

      Yes there is, its called CD-Text

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD-Text

      However, even though my CD player supported it, I only ever owned one CD that used it (Wheatus' eponymously titled debut album). I have no idea it never caught on.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: AFAIK audio CD has no way to name songs...

        Many stereos supported the feature but the only CDs I remember seeing with CD-Text were CD-Rs.

      2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: AFAIK audio CD has no way to name songs...

        @windy_miller- Could be worse, I have a CD of a Mongolian children's choir which I uploaded to my media server and found had the Artist "Dixie Chicks". Much hilarity whenever it comes up on a playlist (for small values of hilarity).

        I assume the CD mastering kit was once used for a Dixie Chicks album, and no-one could be arsed to change the info. Icon: our final defence against the robopocalypse will be Bad Data.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: AFAIK audio CD has no way to name songs...

      Audio CDs do have a way to include track titles. It's part of the CD standard and everything. You're just unaware of it because so many commercial CDs refuse to actually use it.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: AFAIK audio CD has no way to name songs...

        Almost all the CDs my gf has bought recently, at least four, have track titles.

        And they show up on my car CD Player (Sony), her car CD Player (JVC) and the kitchen one (Panasonic).

        It would appear CD track titles are alive and well.

  4. BoldMan

    Thats why you play CDs on a PC which then looks up the CD online and displays a list of tracks (on the CD you have most of the time!)

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      >> Thats why you play CDs on a PC

      My computer is a laptop. It has no CD player. So what you're saying is that I should buy a new PC just to play music? On top of the cost of amp, speakers etc? Can you not see how hopelessly complicated this is?

      1. TheProf

        Re: >> Thats why you play CDs on a PC

        "buy a new PC just to play music"

        You could pop into Argos and buy an external DVD writer. With even more cables think of the fun you'll have.

      2. Mr Youmustbe Fuckingjoking

        Re: >> Thats why you play CDs on a PC

        Easiest to buy the CD, place in attic, download from piratebay

      3. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: >> Thats why you play CDs on a PC

        My giant laptop has a CD player in it, it's set to rip anything I play on it into MP3 and dump it in the music library.

        I get a lot of new CDs given to me and have bought a lot of old stuff at our local equivalent of a boot fair, so far I have in excess of 5000 tracks on there, about two weeks of continuous listening if I get a really severe bout of insomnia.

    2. Dave K Silver badge

      >> "Thats why you play CDs on a PC which then looks up the CD online and displays a list of tracks (on the CD you have most of the time!)"

      No, that's why you put the CD into your computer *once*, open your favourite ripping tool (which adds the track names) and then dump the tracks to your PC before hiding the CD away in a dark and forgotten cupboard. Then every time you want to listen to that music again, no finding the right CD, loading it, waiting for it to spin up etc, just select the MP3 and away you go.

      MP3s (or whatever format you use) have made the management of lots of music a lot easier than the olden days with several dozen CD racks...

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        ">> "Thats why you play CDs on a PC which then looks up the CD online and displays a list of tracks (on the CD you have most of the time!)"

        No, that's why you put the CD into your computer *once*, open your favourite ripping tool (which adds the track names) and then dump the tracks to your PC before hiding the CD away in a dark and forgotten cupboard."

        The missing step in that is correcting the track names because whoever added it to the online database (or someone who subsequently updated it) got them wrong.

        1. Kevin Johnston

          To be fair, the track names they entered were exactly what was on the CD cover but that is because they ripped it from a CD they got from a friend of a mate of a cousin who worked in Taiwan for a few months and had 'contacts'.

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            correcting the titles

            And for some reason the first CD of a double album always uses a completely different naming convention to indicate which disc it is, from the second CD from the same album.

            And some people put the artist's name in the track name, especially if it's a collaboration.

            etc. etc.

            1. D@v3

              Re: Artist name in track titles.

              ONLY if it is a collaboration. otherwise, you end up with some albums where there are single tracks scattered all over the place in different Artist folders because track one is "The Guy + and some other guy" track two is "The Guy + and this one dude" for 11 tracks.

              If you do, "Track 1, feat some other guy" by "The Guy" sorts all that out.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I put a CD in my computer once, and immediately got pwnd by a company whose name rhymes with "Phony". Had to get a rootkit removed before I could even play an mp3. Evidently S^hPhony decided they were entitled to run whatever the hell they wanted on my system. Granted, this was back in 2003 or so, but I'm still ph^h^hsore about it

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          FFS! Give it a rest. That was over 12 years ago. I think they've all committed seppuku by now.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      CD?

      That's why you rip your CDs to FLAC, which then go to crowd out the asinine Powerpoints and incomprehensible Word docs colleagues, management and 'partner' companies send you[0]. Software turning these FLACs into audio signals tend to be able to collect info from the Internet and rename the file anonymously named Track0010.FLC to Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II - 10 - Bring It On Home.FLC if the ripping software didn't bother to do so already.

      For this you do need a CD or DVD drive, but after you're done ripping you can put it in the drawer together with its interface cable, so that it can be in the way when you try to find the interface cable for your PalmPilot that may have an ancient contact that you need to call just now, or the SmartMedia reader for the camera that a series of photos are still on that would clear up a disagreement.

      [0] which you have to keep to allow you to figure out any changes in plans, requirements, schedules and specifications over time as they creep in and deviate from the original as agreed upon.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Hang the UX designer

    Any advance in computing is done despite them, not because of them.

    If you are a UX designer, I'm now going to tell you what your job is:

    Are you designing a piece of software?

    - Stick to the OS GUI's way of doing things.

    Are you designing an OS GUI?

    - Don't do obviously stupid things like ribbons, TIFKAM, or invisible controls. If you're from MS, make it look like Windows 7, if you're from Apple make it look like Snow Leopard.

    Do you want to make some browser webapp?

    - If you must, but stop trying to make it some huge Web 2.0 jquery recreation of an OS GUI with invisible controls, drag and drop, and 1001 other things that slow the browser to a crawl.

    Are you on the iTunes team?

    - Stay there, we don't want your kind getting your hands on the increasingly dwindling amount of usable software.

    1. AustinTX

      Re: Hang the UX designer

      Agreed, I hate controls which are invisible until you happen to mouse over them!

      1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: Hang the UX designer

        Agreed, I hate controls which are invisible until you happen to mouse over them!

        Those are bad. The ones that remain invisible even when you mouse over them are worse.

        1. Daedalus Silver badge

          Re: Hang the UX designer

          I do embedded software, which means I deal with design-happy blue sky people and write bare metal code to make it all happen. I tell them "Go to the nearest photocopier. What's on the control panel is what has worked for 25+ years with uneducated users. Use what you see there, and nothing else. If you can make your stuff do its thing with the user just pressing a Big Green Button, then do it".

          Of course they don't.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Hang the UX designer

          Agreed, I hate controls which are invisible until you happen to mouse over them!

          Those are bad. The ones that remain invisible even when you mouse over them are worse.

          Exactly who thought that was a good idea...?

          Turn you work OS into a DVD menu easter egg experience...

    2. DJV Silver badge

      "Stick to the OS GUI's way of doing things."

      Hmm, if only that were true when targetting Windows - do you use the XP/Win7 way, the utterly "innovative" (ha ha) Win8 way or the total free-for-all/it-will-probably-look-different-next-week mess that is Windows 10?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: "Stick to the OS GUI's way of doing things."

        "Hmm, if only that were true when targetting Windows - do you use the XP/Win7 way, the utterly "innovative" (ha ha) Win8 way or the total free-for-all/it-will-probably-look-different-next-week mess that is Windows 10?"

        Ah, this is an all or nothing deal, not a la carte. He covered that with

        "If you're from MS, make it look like Windows 7"

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "Stick to the OS GUI's way of doing things."

        there used to be an IBM standard for GUI user interfaces. When I bought the Windows 3.0 SDK back in the day, it came with a box of book including THAT one. It defined things like the appearance of dialog boxes and list boxes and expected hot-keys and things of that nature. Some standards have shifted [we're more like Apple now than IBM] but the gist is still the same.

        "User Hostile" interfaces, however, are like 'Settings' on Win-10-nic: Too many clicks, too many layers, too much screen real estate taken up by white space with light blue "controls" [read: poor contrast], and only a VERY limited amount of information on 'this screen' with too many choices to make between where you are and where you want to be... [and if you're lucky, they won't "circle jerk" on you].

        1. jMcPhee

          Re: "Stick to the OS GUI's way of doing things."

          Yeah, things were better before the UX designers started thinking that clicking was part of the entertainment. They even made a name for it: "user experience." Which is a polite way of saying "UX circle jerk".

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          @ bombastic bob

          I am interested by your reference to IBM. First of all, because I still have the DOS 1.0 manuals I got with my first-ever x86 PC, and I still hold those manuals to be the best ever written manuals that I have ever read. Clear, concise, understandable and useful. There is not one useless page in that manual.

          Second, because I clearly remember a Microsoft paper that was circulated in the 1990s (well, after 1995) where I was told to pay attention to the GUI elements, and I specifically remember notes about paying attention to color codes (red does not hold the same significance for Western cultures as it does for other ones) and, most importantly, a rule that was drummed into our heads : if your menu depth goes beyond three levels, You Are Doing It Wrong (TM).

          Unfortunately, I did not keep this piece of history, but I still remember its precepts.

        3. onefang Silver badge

          Re: "Stick to the OS GUI's way of doing things."

          Commodore published an "AMIGA User Interface Style Guide" in 1991. My annotated copy is sitting on my desk right now. It was rather good.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hang the UX designer

      +1 just on the basis of "increasingly dwindling", but yeah, what you said!

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Hang the UX designer

      If you're from MS, make it look like Windows 7 2000

      FTFY. Anything later than that started to get a bit bloated. The same look can be achieved on KDE pre-5.

    5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Hang the UX designer

      "Are you designing an OS GUI?

      - Don't do ... [snip]"

      Actually the correct answer to this one is just "Don't.".

      We already have perfectly adequate OS GUIs and you'll just upset people if you change everything again.

    6. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Hang the UX designer

      It's not the designer it's their boss/client.

      Every damn time.

  6. sandman

    Genuine Senior Management Quote

    "Our software is so user-friendly that training won't be necessary". That went well. (It actually took about 5 days classroom training to become moderately incompetent with it and a lot of practice and experience to do anything remotely useful).

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Genuine Senior Management Quote

      The one I got a dozen years ago from my then-boss was "Well, soon all software will be delivered through the browser and nobody will need to be taught anything except how to use the browser." Christ on a fucking Raleigh Chopper! I had to explain it to him several times very slowly, but I still don't think he got it. When the department's IT Trainer retired later that year it was six years before he appointed a replacement.

    2. Johan Bastiaansen

      Re: Genuine Senior Management Quote

      My friend told me this. The company he's working for is being "integrated" with 2 others. They all use different software and it will be replaced by completely new software. As the firms have different maintenance contracts for their current software, management has cleverly optimized the transition, so they will save 30.000 € on maintenance invoices.

      This means that nearly 100 people will have to be trained with the new software twice. You heard that right, they're going from software A to software B, then finally to software D in a period of six months.

      Oh, and also the database will have to be converted twice.

      1. rskurat

        Re: Genuine Senior Management Quote

        And the lost time/efficiency, no doubt, was never figured into the calculations. I need to get an MBA, almost as effective as a lobotomy.

      2. Loud Speaker

        Re: Genuine Senior Management Quote

        the database will have to be converted twice.

        If you are lucky, the original will be left on a USB stick in a London train terminus - you are going to need a backup!

  7. Terry 6 Silver badge

    There's an island somewhere...

    On it they train designers to design consumer devices. None of these people have any idea about the rest of the world. None of them have used or will ever use the types of device they are designing.

    For them a dishwasher needs only to be able to fit plates, no one has told them about soup or cereal. A cooker will have an automatic timer switch that can only be set or cancelled by pressing a randomly selected sequence of three buttons from a panel of five - all labelled with things that are totally unrelated to timer switches. Toasters will have slots just too narrow for a bit of crusty bread, but with a gap at the bottom just big enough to trap the bits of bread that fall down when they are shredded trying to remove the remains of the burnt slices. Car seat belts will not retract fully after the first use and dangle in the doors waiting to get trapped. Serial numbers will be placed at the back of large or unmovable machines, or even better finely engraved into stainless steel inside the door rendering it totally invisible (or both). Phones will have buttons running parallel on both sides, so that pressing the one on the right means you also press the one on the left. Or even better, be like the older Kindle and have two buttons on the right both for going on a page, and two on the left for going back a page, rather than having a forward and back on each side. Or the keyboards that all have the caps lock right next to the a key, so that any bit of fT FINGERED typing..... And so it goes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's an island somewhere...

      A friend bought a new car - including an expensive option of an MP3 player with the lauded ability to store tracks numbering in the thousands.

      It was soon discovered that when you switched it on - it always started at the first track. If you wanted a specific track you had to press a sequence of buttons to select one. This took some time as the albums you had added via the USB port were stored only as their component tracks - in a single flat directory of all tracks. So you could only advance one track at a time.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: There's an island somewhere...

        Sounds like mine. Admittedly it does remember last track played and carry on from there, but there are 2 play options. Play All or Play Random. You can't change the criteria for ordering the tracks in any way that I have found, so it's alphabetical by artist. It will not, despite what the manual says, recognise any playlist format that VLC, Windows Media Player (that's what the manual says to use, not my choice) or any other media player I have tried can create, so listening to an album in the order that the artist intended is "tricky". The same device is supposed to allow voice commands to make calls and quite simply can't, at least not for anyone with Mc or Mac in their name and as I am Scottish, there's 1 or 2 of them.

        Sometimes I miss the days when every media player had a pencil or a BIC Biro next to it, as an emergency tape winding tool.

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Play All or Play Random

          That's my bloody phone, right there. Like an optimistic noob, I stuck a whole collection of audio plays, mostly series, into my phone's music folder, each in its own subfolder.

          OK, let's listen to Counter Measures. Oh, no Counter Measures tracks (just Track001, Track 01, Track 1, Trackoo2, etc).

          Not to worry, there's a Folders view option, and I named the folders CM01, CM02, and so on. OK. Folder view. Hmmm.. Series 01, Series 1, Serries001. WTF? Try Artist. Big Finish, maybe? 'Unknown Artist', 'Leavenworth', 'Ladysmith Black Simon' (I shit you not). Oh look, there's an icon menu. Cue 37 identical pictures of Sylvester McCoy, each with the phrase 'Track.....' under it.

          Once you finally get it sorted out (by reconnecting to the PC and *manually* changing all the filenames and deleting the File Properties info), it's ready to go.

          Ah. Series 1, Episode 1. Followed by S3 Ep 5??. Oh, the player has 'helpfully started in Shuffle, for my convenience. OK, change to loop folder. S1 Ep 1, followed by S1, Ep1 ad infinitum.

          User experience? Google Play 1, User 0. And late for work.

          Now, where did I put those cassette copies and my Walkman?

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: There's an island somewhere...

        I've produced audio tracks for cars before so that people can listen to audio books. Often the problem is that the car will forget your place and send you back, so my main task is chopping the audio up so that you can use the fast forward button to jump through sections as if they were separate tracks. I've written a piece of software that chops during long periods of silence which results in pretty good breaks and there isn't any weird popping noises and ... I'm off topic. Sorry. My original point was that these small portions were useful because pressing the fast forward button to jump from track to track was better than holding it down to try to move inside one. That never seems to get you anywhere. Either it moves forward at about 3x normal speed, so you have no chance of getting to the middle without having held your finger on the button for a minute or two, or they made it exponential. That seems logical, as usually you just want to jump a bit, but if it gets to the point where it's skipping five minutes at a go, the function is once again useless.

        Of course the cars learned that I was about to defeat them, so they suddenly seem to have adopted the tactic of sometimes jumping to a completely random track when they finished with one. I've moved on to suggesting that people just get a car with an analog audio connection and use something else that will actually read the device and play the files in order.

    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: There's an island somewhere...

      I think my previous toaster came from there.

      It was allegedly a 4-slice one, consisting of two long slots. Of course these slots were about an inch too short for two slices of bread laid landscape, and the depth was such that putting them portrait meant the top couple of inches poked out when it was toasting.

      So either way around you always ended up with a band of untoasted bread at one end of one side on each slice.

      Said abomination has now been replaced by a nice 4-slot twin toaster, and all is tasty and golden.

      1. David Nash Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: There's an island somewhere...

        Upvoted for using the terms Portrait and Landscape for slices of bread!

        Isn't there a toaster somewhere that can burn an actual portrait into your toast?

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: There's an island somewhere...

          I know the audience here :)

          For your other question -

          http://www.tech-lane.com.cn/first%20product.html

          Seemingly available via eBay or several other auction sites.

      2. ocratato

        Re: There's an island somewhere...

        I quite like the dial on my toaster:

        1 does nearly done toast

        2 does burnt toast

        I've never tried 3,4,5 or 6

        I assume 6 is for testing the smoke alarm.

        1. Loud Speaker

          Re: There's an island somewhere...

          I assume 6 is for testing the smoke alarm.

          No. That is 4. 6 is to burn the building down.

        2. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: There's an island somewhere...

          Mine does nearly done on one side and burnt on the other side.

    3. Andytug

      Re: There's an island somewhere...

      Also, in the case of dishwashers, claiming it'll wash 12 place settings. Which it will, if you had a takeaway so haven't used a single pan, pot, jug, etc. In reality it's half that.

    4. Lyndon Hills 1

      Re: There's an island somewhere...

      Phones will have buttons running parallel on both sides, so that pressing the one on the right means you also press the one on the left.

      Which just happens to be how you restart the bloody thing.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: There's an island somewhere...

      Taiwan?

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: There's an island somewhere...

        A friend had her kitchen completely rebuilt, everything was fitted including the microwave. All made by a company that sounds like the French slang for Germans.

        When she fancied warming up some leftovers in the microwave, she realised how bloody complicated the buttons were and had no idea of the sequence to make it work, so she called me 'cos I'm technical, I, of course had no idea how it worked either.

        I said I would print off the manual from the interthingy for her as the kitchen fitters had left no paperwork at all, trouble was there was no visible model number either.

        After looking online at their range of microwaves I found the model and discovered you had to have not only the model number but the serial as well because different countries had different manuals and different UIs.

        Taking the damned thing out of the cabinet was a bitch, found the data plate and got the numbers, putting the thing back in the cabinet was a bigger bitch.

        We made it work from the manual and found the 'browning element didn't work so it had to come out again to be replaced. The built in oven was also a sod to operate and needed the same rigmarole.

        One make I would never buy for kitchens based on that experience and yes, I would hang the sod/s who designed it.

        1. JimBob42

          Re: There's an island somewhere...

          I had to google that. It's weird that I've never seen that before.

          https://www.quora.com/Why-did-the-French-call-the-Germans-bosch-in-World-War-1

    6. Denarius Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: There's an island somewhere...

      right on. I have a washing machine with lots of buttons, dials with incoherent markings. It seems both knobs do same thing in different ways, none of them useful. No way to do just a spin cycle, no way to just do a simple wash. no manual. Only known effect of buttons is to make any process longer. How I wish I still had the 30 year old mechanical clunker that used more water but one could select a single function as required or any clearly marked cycle selections using one knob.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: There's an island somewhere...

        We have a Samsung(?) washing machine that went wrong while in guarantee. The engineers practically moved in. Three new motherboards and lots of other bits. The motherboards ran all sorts of tests and diagnostics but never ever solved the problem. It does four or five washes fine and then stops mid cycle with an error number that appears in none of their manuals!

        If you switch it off and on at the mains it will do four or five washes before stopping mid cycle again - but never when the engineer is there.

    7. Bill B
      FAIL

      Re: There's an island somewhere...

      “Phones will have buttons running parallel on both sides, so that pressing the one on the right means you also press the one on the left”

      Yes. This. The plonker who put the volume controls on the opposite side to the off button. You know which phone I’m talking about.

      And if anyone tells me I’m holding it wrong I’ll ... I’ll... Let’s put it this way. It may not fit sideways but I’ll have a damn good try.

  8. Cuddles Silver badge

    your devices think you're stupid

    To be fair, they have a point.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: your devices think you're stupid

      I could never set the timer on the video recorder to record properly. I can, however, design a video recorder that I can program the way I think it should work.

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    80s music was mostly dire

    Fully agree with Dabbsy on that (a few exceptions, but generally awful)

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Re: 80s music was mostly dire

      I always liked The Cure . . . 'Boooooys Dooooon't Crrrrrryyyyyy' . . . . yes they do. About their gadgets :-)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: 80s music was mostly dire

      "generally awful"

      I only say that (and worse things) about 70's disco "music". I'd like more 80's music, please. What passes for "popular" nowadays [with the exception of groups like 'Muse'] is pretty much mundane crap.

      And the disney-esque teeny-bopper stuff tends to sound like a hammer pounding into my brain. I sometimes hear it when I channel surf past some disney channel tween/teen thing. no thanks.

      1970's era 110bpm disco "thunka-clappa-thunka-clappa" was the worst, though. "music" at the speed of sex. At least they sped it up to 130bpm or so in the 80's and stopped the high-hat abuse (with more than 2 chords in the song!). Yeah, I guess the 80's, with its often keyboard-centric 'new wave' sound, brought in more piano players (that had some music theory knowledge) to play keyboards, instead of the "stamped out of plastic" 1-2 chord specials that made up a lot of 70's "disco". Every song by KC and the Sunshine Band, the BGs, and a handful of others, sounded the same. THE! SAME!. It was like the epitome of "formulaic".

      70's disco: "generally awful" indeed.

      /me goes back listening to anime theme songs and straight-ahead jazz. and Muse. and Metallica. and 80's music. Oh my! Actual talent was needed to create them.

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: 80s music was mostly dire

        must be age. I noticed that when cleaning out my own MP3s lately that many of the 70s cassette tracks were no longer wanted. At the time they seemed good. Fewer 80s tracks, even fewer 90s. The later ones were tracks where the music was original or lyrics intelligent. I discovered that my tastes have moved to 60s even. Except I still like ABBA.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please don't kill me with downvotes...

    ...but I'm currently a website developer and thus the website's de-facto UX designer.

    My biggest battle with interface design isn't creating and styling the controls, nor coming up with a suitable design that meets the needs of the user, nor even finding out what the user wants (though that last one can be tricky). No, the biggest battle is trying to bounce back EVERY SINGLE BLOODY STUPID IDEA THAT THE PHB HAS THAT WILL WRECK THE WHOLE THING!!! </bob-mode>. Some of these ideas sound reasonable in a vacuum, but the idea that a user interface is something that has to be designed as a whole or that some interface ideas just won't work with others is one that can apparently never be properly explained.

    I won't even get started on the marketing department...

    Anon, for obvious reasons

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      Anon, for obvious reasons

      Down at UXDA...

      "Hi, I'm Barry and I'm a UX designer. I want to stop designing crappy websites."

      "Well done, Barry!"

      "Yes, well done."

      "We've all been there Barry, we understand."

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      I was about to down vote you, but then you mentioned the marketing department's impact on UX design. You have my sympathies.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      "I won't even get started on the marketing department"

      I think you should. With extreme prejudice.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      Let me guess ... every single one of those ideas from the PHB would be just fine if the UI only had to do the one use-case that he (I'll stick my neck out here) was thinking about when he came up with it.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      heh - bob mode - that's funny!

      I hope your web site is light on script and doesn't use ginormous 'canned' style sheets. otherwise, it'll be like every other bandwidth-piggy garbage website on "teh intarwebs". Just sayin'...

    6. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      You have my sympathies. Really. I went through that the first five years when the WWW was shiny and new. "Solutions" prior and since, I have total control. That one era? Yikes!

    7. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      I designed (in VB it was so long ago) a web site to sell a few hundred thousand products to a few tens of thousands of regular customers. I wrote it in VB so others who worked there could understand what was going on and help. The marketing department were a serious pain in the arse - different styling every month or so. So I wrote them an interface so they could change the styling as a when they pleased, that shut them up - it seems they only want to change shit when someone else has to do it. That was a light bulb moment, Since then I have endeavoured to ensure that anyone who has any input basically takes full responsibility for it where possible.

      Try it some time - manglement really fucking hate not having someone else to blame. It leaves them naked and vulnerable but its worth staying late a couple of weeks to get them out of your hair if you can suss out how to get them to do their own work.

    8. Loud Speaker

      Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

      I won't even get started on the marketing department

      Please, start a Kickstarter for that ... you will be a millionaire overnight.

  11. TheProf
    Happy

    Vinyl tinted glasses

    Yeah! Playing Bring It On Home is so much easier on vinyl.

    Hold 12" sleeve gently in one hand and slip the inner liner out. Repeat above to extract vinyl and holding the record by the edges carefully examine the paper label to find out which side the required track is on. Holding record in one hand use the other hand to lift lid of record player. Place disc on turntable and commence decontamination routine. (Varies between users but dust and static elimination is usually required.)

    Set turntable to required speed and carefully lift record arm off cradle and, squinting in the poor light, try to locate the 2mm wide space between tracks and gingerly place stylus on the record surface. Lift record arm and try again until correct track is found. Close turntable lid and retire to comfy chair for 8 minutes of listening bliss.

    The alternative is a remote control for your CD player that has enough buttons on it to look ridiculous be useful.

    G**gle this Sony RM-D7M and prepare to be amazed. (It's for a Minidisc player.)

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Vinyl tinted glasses

      And if you happen to scratch said bit of Vinyl, you end up with a 'Communication Breakdown' reprise.

      The sad thing is that with the increasing 'phonification' of GUI's, a single swipe in the wrong direction will be enough to send the thing off playing 'When the Levee Breaks'.

      I blame MS and to some extent Apple for this.

      And don't even get me started on 'Hey Alexa, play "Bring it on Home"'

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Vinyl tinted glasses

        The first command I tested Alexa with was "Alexa, play Taikatalvi." I thought it'd be so distinctive it couldn't possibly be confused with anything else in my collection. Four tries, four failures. I gave up when she started playing Abba. I don't even own any Abba!

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Vinyl tinted glasses

          "I gave up when she started playing Abba"

          Abba - the soft-rock of 70's disco. They *almost* made it palatable. Almost. At least they used more than 2 chords.

          /me fortunately has the mental discipline to expunge "Dancing Queen" from my brain. But I bet _YOU_ don't, ha ha ha ha ha! enjoy the ear worm. you are welcome

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Vinyl tinted glasses

            Abba - the soft-rock of 70's disco. They *almost* made it palatable.

            Your understanding of 70s rock and disco appears to be somewhat orthogonal to mine.

            Abba were briefly original with Waterloo. After that they were not; they helped define the era only by being mundane. To say they were the soft rock of disco is like saying the Osmonds were the heavy metal of funk because of Crazy Horses.

    2. cantbebothered

      Re: Vinyl tinted glasses

      Don't forget setting up your tonearm to the correct weight and tracking force specified by the manufacture of your cartridge, after first finding a compatible cartridge.

      Then buying a cartridge, assuming you have a turntable they still make them for, pick out from loads of different models with rapidly fluctuating prices between models with incomprehensible advantages/disadvantages.

      And if you don't set it up right, you'll shorten the life of your records.

    3. JimBob42

      Re: Vinyl tinted glasses

      I have a Sony CDP-690. The remote control was a little smaller than the MD player ones (I have those too). It seems like a reasonable compromise between enough buttons to be useful, but not enough to make the remote ridiculous. Seems, but is not. The later MD remotes were much better for entering text. What would have been really great is a Bluetooth link to the year 2015 so we could use a full keyboard from Logitech or something.

    4. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: G**gle this Sony RM-D7M

      OMG!! I've never SEEN a better example of button porn!

  12. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    I just bought an MP3 player actually

    If you're listening to anything other than music (dictation, language tuition, whatever) you are 99% certainly going to want to keep toggling the pause button. Just try that on a phone, in a hammock, I double dare you.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I just bought an MP3 player actually

      "Just try that on a phone, in a hammock, I double dare you." Joe Harrison.

      That's why I spent a small sum (less than a quart at the local) on a tiny bluetooth remote control for my phone. That way I can pause / restart even if i'm not wearing bt headphones

  13. iron Silver badge

    "I frantically press at FF multiple times to get to track 10.... and now I’ve gone past the end and find myself back at track 1 again."

    I used to have a cheap Sony CD player that would go back from track 1 to the last track on the disc when pressing the back button, much easier. You bought the wrong CD player.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My Sony hi-fi unit is happy for you to insert a CD - but resolutely stays in radio mode rather than automatically switching to CD mode. Why else have I just inserted a CD? I then have to hunt for the remote control - as the buttons on the unit have hard to read dark grey legends on black. It's hard to even find the flush black buttons on the black case.

      Even when it is already in CD mode - it whirrs a few times - then displays how many tracks are on the CD. You then have to find the remote to tell it that you really do want to play the CD in the aesthetic order it was produced by the artist.

      1. IfYouInsist
        FAIL

        The Panasonic micro-hi-fi in my living room has a tiny segmented display that outputs a jerky scrolling HELLO when turned on and a jerky scrolling GOODBYE when shutting down. During CD playback it displays... minutes and seconds the current track has been playing, which is utterly useless. Either track number or time remaining would be more useful. I even suspect both of those could be displayed simultaneously (as long as the track is shorter than 10 minutes or its number is less than 100). Oh well...

      2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        @AC a couple of posts up - Did you get it cheap from the estate of the dearly missed Douglas Adams by chance?

        Just be glad it hasn't got an AI or personality option...

      3. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "Why else have I just inserted a CD?"

        So I can play the CD LATER while I have the thought in my head, but I DON'T want to play it YET.

        And as for a button that can actually read a mind an "play the song I want to hear," how well will it work against a chronically-indecisive mind that thinks, "I think A would be niceOHNOICHANGEDMYMIND...B insteadWAITWAITWAIT or rather C..." Plus there's the whole, "Do what I really need even if I'm not thinking about it, not what I want even though I'm thinking it all wrong."

        Meanwhile, people are so used to turnkey solutions that if you can't do it without instructions, you're simply not doing it right...even though it's practically impossible for someone to use a computer who has never used one before. Hell, the only reason I was able to work my first computer (a Commodore 128) pretty quickly was because I'd manage to teach myself how to use a typewriter when I was only six or so.

      4. Denarius Silver badge

        laptops, computers

        noticed how some ?? and ??? laptops had black power buttons on a black fascia. I had to cover buttons with white tape or whiteout so I could find them. What fool came up with that ? Probably a relative of the architect that refused to put handles or push bards/plates on the ground floor glass doors in glass walls because it would spoil the look. Yes, deliberately disguised the doors. Trying to get inside was frustrating. How the local building gestapo allowed it in development application baffles me.

        Seems human interface design has become a lost skill in all fields. About time to make memorising "The Psychology of Everyday Things" mandatory for all PHBs, sales weasels, architects and designers. Competancy test is full recitation, verbally to an audience of pedants. Failure to do so is grounds for refusing imports.

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: laptops, computers

          "architect that refused to put handles or push bards/plates on the ground floor glass doors in glass walls because it would spoil the look"

          Ah, someone else shares one of my pet peeves with architects. The other door related one is, when you have a door that is opened by pushing from one direction and pulling from the other, they will invariably put grab handles on both sides so as to give the punter no unnecessary clues about which way this door swings.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Angel

    You're over-thinking this

    It is just one click

    ... except they don't tell you which one

    ... or where

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The writers of those manuals were obviously trained in the Haynes car maintenance school. How many instructions started by an apparently simple step of "remove X" - without telling "how" you disengage it from the hidden catches holding it in position.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Haynes"

      Also "installation is reverse of removal"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Haynes"

        Or they show you a close up of the bolt you need to undo, but doesn't show you where it actually is located.....

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: "Haynes"

        Installation is the reverse of removal. Only with a lot more swearing.

        There, FTFY

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: "Haynes"

          Do they give ideas on uses for the spare nuts and bolts left over after installation?

          (To put your minds at rest: No I don't touch cars, and I'm not keen on taking apart laptops for the reason implied above).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Of course I couldn’t use the same USB cable for both devices."

    Trying to transfer pictures from my Doro phone via USB has always been a frustrating exercise. The little red light would flash to show it was getting power from the laptop's USB socket - but it wouldn't attach it as a storage device until you found the sweet spot angle of wobble at the phone end.

    I had always used Doro supplied USB cable's from the two phones I own - just in case they were non-standard connections. So it looked like the phone's USB socket was in some way intermittent.

    One day I couldn't find either of the Doro cables - and just happened to have a generic one to hand. Not only did it work - but the storage was recognised immediately. It appears that it has a slightly longer plug that makes a more rigid connection.

  17. brotherelf
    Headmaster

    Help me with my latin here…

    "tuitive", same root as tuition, so it means "teachable", or, I guess "learnable"? Says the right thing about in-tuitive things, really.

    1. David 18

      Re: Help me with my latin here…

      ""tuitive", same root as tuition, so it means "teachable", or, I guess "learnable"? Says the right thing about in-tuitive things, really."

      Not quite. I did wonder myself, but different etymology.

      Tuition from tueri (to watch, guard)

      Intuition from intueri (Consider)

      Anyone with a classical Latin education please feel free to correct me, I am not at home with access to proper books so had to trust Google.

  18. Giovani Tapini

    I just found my old MP3 player in a drawer

    matchbox sized with tiny display...

    I'll test it on my children :)

    as for UX designers, they are now like advertising creative, and are trying so hard to be "cooler" than the next guy they have forgotten that real people have to use stuff.

    I look at out photocopier/scanner/printer monster in the corner of our office with terror. What button do I push, why does that button return me to the main menu when it looks like it should confirm a selection, why do I have to log into print but not to scan... why? Why? WHY? It has nested menu's that go on forever in it's 6" display. I don't even know what some of the functions do, and I have been working in IT for 30 years.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: I just found my old MP3 player in a drawer

      I look at out photocopier/scanner/printer monster in the corner of our office with terror.

      Yes, the dead hand of marketing is everywhere. Most of the features are there to give the sales droid something to talk about. The buyers really just want to make copies, and the manufacturer really just wants to sell toner, or in the case of a certain formerly highly successful US company, the "document process". And in the case of marketing, well they just want to get promoted. Never met a marketeer yet who gave a damn about the user or the product.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: I just found my old MP3 player in a drawer

        Oh yes, follow-me printing. Sales droids love it, the purchasing managers lap it up, but no one tells you that the only thing harder than setting it up and testing it is keeping the bastard working for more than 5 minutes at a time.

        I worked at a Bank for four months doing support for their XP to 7 migration. Every bloody call was about follow-me printing.

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I just found my old MP3 player in a drawer

      > ...photocopier/scanner/printer monster ..why? Why? WHY?

      Thank you for purchasing a Lexmark CLSTRFCK-3000.

      Do you want some opioids with that?

  19. GreenBit

    Non determinism

    Most irksome are needlessly animated elements, that require timers, that for some reason don't always work. So in an effort to be flashy, basic functionality is sacrificed.

    Also maddening is when, if you can even find a control to turn said nonsense off, it doesn't actually turn the crap off, it just offers the possibility of turning the animation time down to zero. And of course, all these re-inventors have unit tested that possibility, right? Suuuuure ...

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Non determinism

      Most irksome are needlessly animated elements, that require timers, that for some reason don't always work. So in an effort to be flashy, basic functionality is sacrificed.

      In ancient times I reviewed a certain personal finance program for the local PC club. It was the newer snazzier version for DOS and mostly worked well. When I cut a cheque with it and pressed Go, the cheque image scrolled slowly upward to reveal a new cheque underneath, instead of the entry just blanking as in the previous version.

      Did I enthusiastically endorse this? Er, no. "A waste of my CPU cycles just to show off".

      Of course we have cycles and gigabytes to spare these days. Which is why certain applications take 100 times as much memory and 1000 times as many cycles to do what they did 20 years ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Non determinism

        Ever thought the animation was to reinforce the thought of a new check being made: that the sudden transition confused people who thought mistakenly they'd erased everything and started over, causing double checks and so on? Sometimes, there's more to an interface change than you realize, especially when you think in terms of the Stupid User.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Non determinism

        "When I cut a cheque with it and pressed Go, the cheque image scrolled slowly upward to reveal a new cheque underneath, instead of the entry just blanking as in the previous version."

        I once worked with a guy who spent an afternoon animating the replacement of one message by another. The new one appeared to slide out from behind and then in front of the old one. I suppose it was an afternoon well spent. It kept him from harming some other piece of code.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "The way you squeeze that button baby..."

    If the Random button didn't work properly for some reason it would be conceivable that you will be permanently listening to:-

    "The Song Remains The Same".

  22. Herby Silver badge

    Older stuff WAS simplier...

    Back when I first got a microwave oven (late 1970's) it had 3 controls. First one was a small power level know, that usually was at 100%. The second was a nice logarithmic time control (the first minute was about as much space as the distance from 30-35 minutes) that was a nice round dial linked to a mechanical timer. The third was a nice button that basically started the whole process, that ended with a nice 'ding' at the end.

    I have been looking for a microwave oven that has similar simple controls ever since. I haven't seen any, as somehow marketing droids have seen fit to encumber the panels with more and more buttons and displays ever since.

    The only saving grace is the "Easy Minute" button on my current microwave oven that you can thankfully press multiple times to get nice even minute increments on cook time. I consider all the other buttons a big waste of time and effort.

    Yes, I long for simpler days.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

      "Back when I first got a microwave oven (late 1970's) it had 3 controls."

      Only 3? Nothing to open the door?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

        That's the control you don't need. Do what every microwave does, and I assume did, and just have a door. You pull it open. However, while I'll be the first to agree that I need very few microwave buttons, I'll take a number entry pad over logarithmic dial every time. I'll find how long I'm going to heat the things I typically do. Entering it at that point does not require me to look at the labels. Sure, there's an element of muscle memory in the dial which may make it more straightforward, but I find pressing 1, 5, start is pretty easy.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

          "That's the control you don't need. Do what every microwave does, and I assume did, and just have a door. You pull it open."

          I believe that stopped when radiation complaints were raised because such a setup can't be sure the microwave door wasn't fully closed, meaning there was a chance of microwaves escaping out of a door that was only ajar. Thus why most doors I see that need to default closed require a specific opening action like a level handle or a button.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

            On most microwaves I've seen, the door is attached to a switch. You still have a standard hinge and handle to pull open, but if you do that the microwave immediately turns off. It won't let you start it unless the door is closed. So as long as the door keeps itself shut, radiation shouldn't be a problem. That said, I don't really have anything against a specific control for opening the door, as it at least serves a purpose, unlike the many buttons I have on my microwave and have never actually used.

            1. Baldrickk Silver badge

              Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

              http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/10/rogue-microwave-ovens-are-the-culprits-behind-mysterious-radio-signals/

              https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14920130-800-take-me-to-your-microwave/

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

              "On most microwaves I've seen, the door is attached to a switch. You still have a standard hinge and handle to pull open, but if you do that the microwave immediately turns off."

              What I'm saying is that it's sometimes possible to trick the sensor in such a door; think it's closed while it really isn't. It's less likely to happen with a discrete opener.

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Older stuff WAS simplier...

      > ...microwave oven (late 1970's) it had 3 controls.

      You can get those again, I have one: two controls (dials), time and power. When time is selected the thing starts after about 3 secs, so not even a 'start' button. Very nice!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old UX saying...

    Don't remember where I heard it, but "UIs are like jokes, if you have to explain it, it's shit"

    That's been getting a lot of play these days in various design meetings...

  24. Rich 10

    Disco was the absolute worst

    But it was where all the girls went, in packs, and all they wanted to do was dance. Hell has a sparkly ball hanging from the ceiling and posters of the BeeGee's on the wall.

  25. tfewster Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I blame the Tamagotchi generation

    You had 2 buttons, and pressing them in various combinations produced different results. None of them documented. Apparently that was part of the "fun".

    My car was designed by a Korean who had heard of lots of cool car features, but apparently never driven one (or got to test-drive his creation).

    - It has many features, but little control over them. E.g Radio vs. Media volume, inability to permanently disable the sat-nav voice.

    - Enabling Traffic alerts gives many, repeated alerts far from my route. It's disabled now. Strangely, I don't miss the traffic alerts from Radio Stoke (receivable all over the UK), or my local radio stations habit of cutting in to play an ad and half of the traffic report.

    - Rain Sensing Front Wipers - Don't sense when they need to switch to normal speed.

    - Intelligent Stop-and-Go (Engine cut-out while stationary) - More "Random" than "Intelligent".

    - Setting Cruise Control is awkward and requires taking your eyes off the road.

    - If Lane Departure Warning/Lane Assist is on, it will jerk the steering wheel to one side if it thinks you're not perfectly centred in a lane. It definitely keeps you alert! I can't see how to enable LDW only, so I've switched it off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I blame the Tamagotchi generation

      RE: Intelligent Stop-and-Go

      On mine it stops the engine (sometimes) but the thing that will always restart it is -- releasing the seat belt.

  26. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I just installed Windows 98 in a VM to get old SW to run

    I remember thinking at the time it was bloated and annoying (Active Desktop, stupid text marketing thought of in the left of file browsers explaining the obvious).

    Now in 2018 it looks like a haven of minimalism and functionality as if Dieter Rams himself had designed it.

  27. Bill M

    Alastair: Spot on this time

    Alastair, Whilst your last article was drivel, this one is spot on. Congratulations!!! Everyone has bad a hair day, so don't worry about your last article. Keep up the good work.

  28. Dave Bell

    They hath not the eys of mortal men.

    The program was first released in 2003, and had several choices of colour scheme; text, window backgrounds. and the like.

    In 2010 v.2 came out. The colour scheme was brown on brown., no choices available, not even an option to switch from light mud on dark mud to dark mud on light mud. A huge effort has been made to increase the loading on the graphics hardware, but the interface colours persist.

    Fortunately, there is an alternative that uses human-compatible colour schemes. It is also something of a memory hog.

    Since 2010 there have been changes to the major version number. So everything is OK.

  29. Anonymal coward

    Liked the translation table...

    Very similar to the Haynes one:

    Haynes: Rotate anticlockwise.

    Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with hammer anticlockwise.

    Haynes: This is a snug fit.

    Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with hammer.

    Haynes: This is a tight fit.

    Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with a hammer.

    Haynes: As described in Chapter 7...

    Translation: That'll teach you not to read right through before you start. Now you are looking at scary photos of the inside of a gearbox.

    Haynes: Prise off...

    Translation: Hammer a screwdriver into...

    Haynes: Undo...

    Translation: Go buy a tin of WD40 (giant economy size).

    Haynes: Retain tiny spring...

    Translation: PINGGGG - "Jesus, where the hell did that go?"

    Haynes: Press and rotate to remove bulb...

    Translation: OK - that's the glass bit off, now fetch some good pliers to dig out the bayonet part (and maybe a plaster or two).

    Haynes: Lightly slacken...

    Translation: Start off lightly and build up till the veins on your forehead are throbbing then clamp with molegrips and beat repeatedly with hammer.

    Haynes: Weekly checks...

    Translation: If it isn't broken don't fix it.

    Haynes: Routine maintenance...

    Translation: If it isn't broken, it's about to be. We warned you!

    Haynes: One spanner rating.

    Translation: An infant could do this... so how did you manage to **** it up?

    Haynes: Two spanner rating.

    Translation: Now you may think that you can do this because two is a low, teensy weensy number... but you also thought the wiring diagram was a map of the Tokyo underground (in fact, that would have been more use to you).

    Haynes: Three spanner rating.

    Translation: Make sure you won't need your car for a couple of days.

    Haynes: Four spanner rating.

    Translation: You're not seriously considering this are you?

    Haynes: Five spanner rating.

    Translation: OK - but don't ever transport your loved ones in it again.

    Haynes: If not, you can fabricate your own special tool like this...

    Translation: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Liked the translation table...

      Somewhere in that there needs to be an element for photos/diagrams either/both of which will show all the various components, except the non-obvious one that you consulted the manual to find out about.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Liked the translation table...

      Translation: PINGGGG - "Jesus, where the hell did that go?"

      ROTFL!

      I know that one, experienced it too many times :doh:

  30. Camilla Smythe Silver badge
    Boffin

    The target device is an iPhone. How difficult can it be?

    Every Fucking Time...

    You forgot to install RealPlayer.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Crikey your're really blowing through one end in this one

    Perhaps you'd like just to get stuck in the same groove for a couple of hours, when you fell asleep listening to a LP and it could not get to the end to activate the auto-return mechanism.

    CD's are fine, LP's too but they didn't fit all situations. Pre-recorded cassettes had huge amounts of blank tape at each end with silly noises on them, and the player in the car did not have a reverse direction facility.

    So tapes were purchased to record your albums onto so as to play the whole thing nicely, with another great album on the flip side to play after this one has finished. That's fine but sitting the cassette unit on the floor next to the stereo in the home unit/flat destroys all that worth as the rio (metal formworkl) in the concrete has become magnetised and caused the tapes to become distorted and tortured. Not to mention the failure to clean the mechanisms caused the tapes to become chewed and damaged.

    Early iTunes repeatedly added album and track information to the beginning of the filename

    So after a while it looked like this "1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1.1So_long_baby.mp3" it also forgot information you had painstakingly included in the ID3 tags blanking it out when updating the tags. While that and other library programs managing your tags repeatedly killed them by truncating their length, or failed to list parts of the album required to differentiate it from other parts so you lost what the piece was, especially for classical music. Aria, Aria, Aria, Aria, Aria, Aria, Aria are all different parts, but impossible to play correctly. as they all sort to the top.

    Or how about the16gb MP3 player that cannot index 16GB of mp3's but also requires you to store videos, images, lyrics and texts so they only built about 8gb worth of capacity for each index of mp3's and other items, fortunately you can still browse the actual files to play them.

    And now after slowly winning everybody over to downloading music iTunes Apple is only going to allow streaming of music. So if your out of range of a network connection you have to resort to those Lp's & CD's or rerecord those tapes for the portable tape player you still have in the log cabin.

  32. 0laf Silver badge

    Interfaces

    IT was a small thing but one of the prouder moments of my professional career.

    Invited to a tender presentation of a HR that would have carried out occupational health referrals; the sales person duly went through 20 slides outlining the process of how it would work.

    30min into this slide she goes through this screen, "and if you enter 'X' the whole process stops because the person won't be delegable".

    For some reason my brain worked and I wa able to ask "So you go through 30min and 25 stages to get to this one screen where the process could just end? Why no ask that first and save the 30min?".

    I will treasure the salespersons face and inability to answer the question forever.

    and we bought another product which incidentally also has a shite interface.

    In fact some things we have to use I wonder if the developers are in fact blind or actually bother to try to use the abominations they build. the interfaces, I can only guess, have been cobbled together to cause the least work possible for the developer even if they are completely counter-intuitive.

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