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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rage Against The Machine.

I know that computers are important. This blog would not be possible without one. Still, there are some moments when I feel like engaging in a bit of the ol' ultraviolence with the Machine.

Do you sometimes click on one icon instead of another? Because they were kinda nearby? And then have to wait for that wrong program to finishing loading before you can close it and then open the program you want?

Do you hate having to fight with the "auto" format system in Word, which insists on popping up bullets everywhere, and simply refuses to let you format the text the way you want it?

What about trying to work with two Excel spreadsheets? Sometimes you want to display them side-by-side, but although you can do this in Word, somehow you can never do this in Excel?

Why? For fuck's sake why?

Which reminds me of Powerpoint. You spend hours trying to format all the pictures in your presentation properly. What happens when you open the same file in another computer, or display it with the office projector? The picture format goes all funky. Wrong size, wrong position. What's worse is sometimes an entire margin of your slides disappears on the projector, yet everything looks fine on your computer! Exasperating.

Now how about the Internet? Do you find that sometimes you cannot seem access a certain website (some kind of 404 error), but when you immediately try again, it suddenly works fine? Are there goblins at work here?

Or when you click a search window, the mouse pointer is blocking your view, so you have to move it aside before you can see what you typed. I always feel like an idiot when I do that.

And in some online text boxes, the text on screen can't catch up with your typing speed (not even my pathetic 20 wpm crawl), so there is this annoying lag. Why? This is not multi-megabyte multimedia content, my friends. It is text. How can text ever be slow?

All these are annoying, but let me tell you what I hate the MOST.

Let me describe a scenario. You are working on your computer, playing some music in the background. To avoid disturbing your co-workers, you put on your headphones and pump up the jam.

You may be typing a report. You may be on the Net searching an online database. It doesn't matter what you are doing specifically.

One false click, and suddenly...


You sit stunned.

Yes, it is that annoying Windows "Critical Stop" sound effect. Look in your Control Panel, Sounds and Audio Devices, if you don't know what I mean.

Of all the Windows sound effects, critical stop is the absolute worst. In fact I think this was deliberately done. I can see Windows engineers personally going through a torture test involving hundreds of horrid sound effects in order to pick out this bone-jarring epitome of auditory torment.

Do yourself a favor and replace that misery-inducing noise with any other sound clip. Even the sound of nails screeching across a piece of teflon-treated fabric is more pleasant, I assure you.

Any fucking sound will do better. Especially a fucking sound.

Never mind, forget I just said that.

That's my pet peeve for today.

What about you? What computer annoyances ruin your day?


John Provis said...

My pet peeve with my computer at the moment is that almost every single internal component has had to be replaced over the past 6 months... the processor, keyboard and screen are still original, but that's about it. Fortunately, the death of the HDD happened 3 days *after* the completion of my PhD thesis, not 3 days before...

But anyway - I have a fix for your Excel problem (which works in Excel 2003 at least: In the Window menu, there's an option called 'Arrange' - you can put them next to each other, or on top of each other, or even open multiple sheets in the same book (which is the one I find the most useful). Good luck!

Xisla said...

Thank you.