Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Hate Glitches - Except Sara Silverman

Okay, so Sarah Silverman isn't a glitch in real life, although I could draw some parallels if asked. However, the character she played in the animated movie Wreck-it Ralph, was a glitch - a video game glitch. And Sarah was hilarious - just like real life. In the old days of the 60s, a glitch would equate to being a "tilt" on a pinball machine. As a pinball fanatic, whenever I tilted, I wasn't quite sure if I caused it, or the machine did - frustrating. And all glitches are very frustrating.

Take software for example. Specifically, take Microsoft Word. First, I've loved it and used it since the early Windows systems, notably Windows 95. its improved a lot since and added some great conveniences. It also takes 40 GB on my machine, but hey, there's a lot to it! (A lot I can't figure out -- because its all "intuitive" -- another word for obfuscatory AND frustrating.)

I'm trying to be a writer, so I write every morning for a few hours. Besides the GUI interface itself, the ability to move and use the cursor effectively for almost anything, my favorite Word feature is Cut and Paste. That has to be one of the greatest computer related inventions of all time. Especially since it isn't hampered by size or content (pictures for example). Someday I'll do a whole post just on Cut and Paste, but for now, it shouldn't be taken for granted, yet it should be expected in every application, and is especially useful on Internet sites.

Getting back to glitches: one, I have a sneaky feeling that Word doesn't always Save documents properly. Any number of times I have made changes to a document, saved them, and when I open what I think is the same document the next day? The changes aren't there. I've looked at my hundreds of documents and eliminated duplicate or very similar document names as  the culprit, so it must be Word itself. That's not good. Its also very scary, because as a writer I get inspired to make changes, save it and forget it. I've become to trusting of Word. Ah, but now I'm not anymore. Have you ever had that Save problem?

Two: settings can be another glitch -- losing them I mean. Again, it must be a problem with the Save feature. Why my page formats would change between saving and opening the same document later, I don't know.

It could be the Autosave Feature that's responsible, saving the older version and not the new. Whatever it is its happened to me many times.

I've been using a computer at home (Commodore 64) and work (earliest IBM PC) for decades now. I love computers and all the spinoffs. (phones are a different story) Computers have come a long way in most ways, and not very far in others (take the step backward Microsoft took in Windows 7 with its extremely poor Control Panel). Currently any computer attempt at artificial intelligence is stupid. Like the Autofill Feature in Excel sometimes, or automatic paragraph indenting or numbering in Word. Failures and extremely frustrating. Even more so because I can't figure out how to turn them off!

The most frustrating thing of course, is that there's no User Manual, only incredibly limited and stupid Help. But those aren't glitches, that gets into design, and that's a different blogpost.

 Join the site to leave a comment, its free.