Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reading a message backwards:

In Windows 2000, if you want to remove your flash memory from a PC, you click a teensy icon and a message appears on the screen. It's a long message, hard to comprehend at once. It either tells you that it's okay to remove the flash momory, or that it isn't. [And when it isn't ... don't get me started. The cat and mouse game you play with Windows to figure out WHY IT ISN'T is revolting.]

It's remarkable how much this bit of user interface has improved in Windows XP. Depending on whether or not it's okay to remove the flash memory, you hear different sounds, and the message appears on different parts of the screen. You know in an instant whether it's okay to pull your key.

I wanted it to be that easy in Windows 2000, so I hit on a strategem. I click on the teensy icon and wait for a message to pop up on the screen. I point my eyes to the right of the screen, and when the message appears, I check whether the last word is 'system'. If it is, I pull my memory out. I don't care what the rest of the message says.

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