Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Watch 2006

Orange, CA - The time is 6:15. Kim is watching a recorded episode of Little People, Big World. I'm at my computer. Molly is getting cozied up in her favorite blanket, and Madison is upstairs. The "Happy Halloween" lights are lit. Our "Trick or Treat" flag is out. Now we wait.

UPDATE 6:55 - Three trick-or-treaters. One Anakin Skywalker, one Superman, and one Mickey Mouse.

UPDATE 7:11 - Two more trick-or-treaters. One Princess Jasmine and one Elmo who looked suspiciously too old to be dressed up as Elmo.

UPDATE 7:55 - No more trick-or-treaters since Jasmine and Elmo. It looks like we'll have a grand total of five for Halloween 2006.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


No, not abdominal muscles. No, not Anti-lock braking system. No, not the Australian Bureau of Statistics. I'm talking about Apply Button Syndrome. It's a degenerative disease of the computer-user's mind.

Let me explain. Windows users, feel free to follow along (Mac & Linux users, play make-believe). Right click on your desktop, go to Properties. Click on Desktop tab. Change the background (or background color). What do you do next? Click Apply, of course. Then what? Click OK.

Now this isn't the best example because you actually get feedback (as in, a new background) when you click Apply. You've got the opportunity to try another background before you click OK, if this one doesn't please you.

Another example. Launch Windows Explorer. Click Tools->Folder Options. Click the View tab. Under Advanced Settings, click the checkbox next to Launch Folder Windows in a separate process. Click Apply. Click OK. Wait, did we just click Apply? But why? We didn't get get any useful feedback. It's not as if we can see the computer setting itself up to launch explorer in different processes. But we clicked Apply anyway.

This mental disease primarily affects people in the IT industry. Helpdesk staff are particularly susceptible. As you can see by this Google search, there are web sites out there actually spreading this disease.

I know right now you are wondering, 'What can I do to stop the spread of this disease, or to cure myself?' Well, medical science has yet to provide us with a drug known to eliminate this condition. The best advice I can give you is this: If the only feedback you get by clicking the Apply button is that the Apply button becomes disabled, don't click the Apply button before you click OK. OK?