Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Screens – Shot

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part of iChat contact showing the phone/video capabilities of my contacts Two rather unrelated screenshots coming up. The first one documenting that of the people I know who are using instant messaging, most are iChat and Mac users and actually quite a few of them have a camera these days. It’s a bit shocking/sad, I’d say. But it also reflects the fact that most of the Windows using friends I have seem to ‘prefer’ some Microsoft IM product and are as unwilling to sign up for AIM or GMail as I am unwilling to sign up with Microsoft. So we’ll just use the phone or e-mail instead, which works surprisingly well.

And in fact this list doesn’t cover all my IM contacts. My parents, for example, ‘understood’ IM to work in a way where you turn it on to see whether the kids are online and then turn it off again. So, most of the time I’m just on the phone with them as well…

The other screenshot comes from a completely different world. The dark side, if you wish. I ran into it when using Photoshop on Windows while scanning some negatives in the library this week. Photoshop and Windows of course meaning that we are dealing with user interfaces by Adobe and Microsoft which are probably the biggest creators of bad user interfaces in the world.

And this dialogue box perhaps highlights in an unexpected way why one of the oldest of UI rules – that to not label buttons in a dialogue with Cancel and OK if you can be more specific and descriptive – is a good one. Not only would having descriptive buttons save me the time and agony of reading through their boring technical sentences containing the word Richtlinie. Even better, they might enable me to actually know what clicking those buttons does in case the dialogue’s text happens to be cut off mid-sentence (actually mid-word) for some reason. Just saying…

German Photoshop colour management dialogue on Windows.

December 2, 2006, 12:42

Tagged as software.


Comment by Carl: User icon

AIM is much more common in the States. My understanding is that in the UK, MSN is very popular, but I don’t know why. To be honest, that the various service aren’t united is completely infuriating, when you remember that one of the condition of the Justice Department on the AOL/Time merger was that AOL would have to open up the IM platform if they ever wanted to do video chats. It pisses me off that this never happened.

December 2, 2006, 23:45

Comment by dan: User icon

One thing that annoys about iChat… I use it to sign into both aim and googletalk and consequently have two ichat windows open - it can get kind of cumbersome. You’re little screen snippet looked like you had several accounts in one window, would you share your secret?

December 3, 2006, 12:07

Comment by ssp: User icon

I am annoyed by those multiple windows as well, but what you are seeing in the screenshot is not a resolution for that :(

Those dark bars just come from the option to group people (look at the View menu in iChat). I quite like using that to be able to hide the people I don’t know that well or whom I rarely chat to.

December 3, 2006, 15:37

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