Of my skills, bitching is probably what I am the best at. So here are some things which annoy me, or I find stupid:
Most edutainment software
It is pretty clear edutainment software is not actually tested on the target audience. When Calvin was a toddler, we had a PC program which would display a picture, then say what the picture was. Pressing a key would advance to the next picture (thus making it 'interactive'). Calvin would hold keys down on the keyboard until it auto-repeated, at which point it would rapidly cycle through all of its images, stuttering the first few milliseconds of their audio descriptions. When he let go, it would eventually stop on a picture (like a firetruck), and say "beach ball". Thus undoing any association it may have established between the pictures and the words.
More recently, Heather has been playing with edutainment software on the iPad Touch.There is a similar app which shows a picture and says the name. To progress to the next image, one has to tap the screen. Unfortunately, toddler's tend to wrap their hands around the iPod touch, and at least some of their fingers contact the screen. So when she touches it to advance to the next picture, it does nothing, since she is already touching it with her other hand. This is stupid, since one of the selling features of the iPod Touch is it's multi-touch display, where they can discern each touch. Any touch and release should advance to the next picture, regardless of whether other touches are occurring or not.
So what happens is, she gets frustrated and starts to touch the screen harder and harder trying to get it to work.
- 29 Mar 2011
Every web browser on the planet
So I open a new browser window, start to type in a url, and I get about halfway done when the default page finishes loading and move the cursor to its text field.So half of my url or search string is in one field, and half in another. This is never useful. Sure, I could set my default page to blank, but can it really be true this has never happened to anyone on the various browser's dev teams?
Actually, this complaint should be expanded to all GUI OS's out there: The focus should not be allowed to move from a text field if any text was entered in the last second or so. (unless keyboard navigation keys were used, like enter or ctrl-tab).
- 29 Mar 2011
Chrome at least: alerts appear at the top of the window, pushing content down. This is moronic. I commonly go to click on a link right when chrome decides to ask if I wanted to save the password for this site, and it moves the page contents so I click on something else instead. This would easily be solved by putting the alerts at the bottom of the window. (and overall, any click which arrives with 0.5 seconds of reflowing the page should either be accepted in the old coordinates, or at the very least ignored).
Integrated Answering machine
So I have a cordless phone with an answering machine built into the base. Occasionally someone will leave me a message with a phone number. I naturally try to dial this number by playing the message and picking up the phone. Unfortunately, the answering machine is too smart, and notices I have the phone off hook, and stops playing the message I was in the middle of getting the number from. This is stupid.
(the machine is generally badly designed, has lots of race conditions, like cannot delete a message while it is announcing the time it came in, which makes it almost impossible to delete a hangup, since it is a really short message).
- 11 Mar 2011