Stupid UIs for file sharing in Windows

File sharing in a small network (like at home or a office with just a “workgroup”) has always been finicky to my memory. With the current (20H2) version of Windows 10, Microsoft’s official help shows it is being made unneededly hard by some stupid user interface. (I don’t use “stupid” often – my choice here is because I think it really is unneeded and unjust these are the way they are.) I will revise this if anyone – from Microsoft or not – lets me know how these are legitimate.

Continue reading Stupid UIs for file sharing in Windows

Automatic (?) truncation ruins a sale

Filtering through some long-ago crap at work some years ago, I found VHSes of subjects that were long ago filed and forgotten. One of them was entituled “The Attitude Virus”, meant to warn office workers about how they could ruin their work environment by bad attitudes that affect others. Made by CRM Films, here is the title screen:

The Attitude Virus / Curing Negativity in the Workplace / Government Version

CRM films still exists as CRM Learning, now bought by “Media Partners”, and they still make these sorts of things, though their website doesn’t seem to like the currently current (84.0) version of Firefox.

Continue reading Automatic (?) truncation ruins a sale

ATM question for their manufacturers

At the ATMs I’ve seen in the United States, when you ask to withdraw money, they ask you how much and tell you it must be in multiples of the smallest value bills it stocks. For example, if the machine has only 20 USD notes, it will say “enter your withdrawal amount in a multiple of 20.”

For some reason, the interfaces allow you to enter amounts that are completely impossible. In a machine that requires multiples of, say 10 USD, you can put in 5 dollars and 57 cents and the machine then rejects it and you have to restart the entire transaction, including entering your PIN.

The method of entering the value is like a digital microwave: 200 USD is entered as “2 0 0 0 0 <enter>”. More useful interfaces would be to:

  • Enter the dollar amount, so “2 0 0 <enter>” for 200 USD
  • Key in the number of bills, so entering “1 0 <enter>” would display “10 bills × 20 USD each = 200 USD total”.
  • Press <plus> and <minus> buttons to choose the number of bills, so push <plus> ten times for 200 USD.

I request Diebold and NCR and the rest consider this as an improvement to their software.

Microsoft’s half-and-half troubleshooters

It’s another interface proofreading failure from Windows!

Introduced in, I think, Windows Vista and retained to date, troubleshooters are standardized appearance little programs that Windows runs to solve a few common issues, like networking and sound. The current list is at Windows Settings > Update & security > Troubleshoot.

Here a screenshots of two of them, with the same irritating mistake of not making the instruction text agree with the options presented:

Playing Audio [Windows Troubleshooter]. Select a device to troubleshoot / […]Select one of the listed devices or […] select I’m having problems with a different device. / Options: NVIDIA High Definition Audio is disabled, I don’t see my device listed
I do not have enough interest to install Vista or 7 in a virtual machine and see when the wording changed and which is the original. I first noticed this, with the same text problem, in the Devices and Printers troubleshooter on April 13, 2019. Aside for looking stupid, this can’t make accessibility sense. Anyone that uses a screen reader, let me know.


Bad user interfaces in microeconomy (personal finance)

I’ve posted previously about unneededly bad credit card forms on websites before, so here is one from a site I left the information off of in the image, so do not remember its name:

Credit card information entry form on a website. Expiration date is a drop down field of month and year combined, values begin 02/2020, 03/2020, … ending 09/2021. The form also requires selecting the “Card Type” (Visa is displayed/selected).

This is an interesting way of allowing the user to enter the information. By typing it off the card surface, the browser will automatically zero in on the correct one except:

  1. Credit cards (that I have seen) do not write the full year out. A card expiring in August of this year would have 08/20 on the face of it, not “2020”.
  2. As a prevention of incorrect data entry, it’s not good either. If someone enters “01/22” they are not going to get 01/2022 but probably 01/2020. If this field was a text entry field with validation, it could automatically add the slash (alot of telephone number fields will generate add the punctuation this way) and, if really needed, the millenium-century digits automatically.

A firm I do business with recently updated their bills (good, the old ones were quite constrained in their content, the template could barely do histograms) and then their website. I get a paper bill and pay it on their website. Here is how an account standing of earlier this year was shown:

PAY BILLS / Amount Due / $ 98.1 / Late Charges Added after 03/04/2020 / Buttons: Pay by check / Pay by card

Their site coding cut off the one-cent digit because it was a zero (bill was 98.10 USD), thinking it was not a significant digit. If this was almost any other unit, this would have been fine: 98.10 gal = 98.1 gal; 98.10 kg = 98.1 kg; 98.10 kWh = 98.1 kWh. (I am not getting into the legal metrology here.) With money, or at least United States dollars, if it is a noninteger, single cents (hundredths of a dollar) are significant no matter what.

(In some contexts, like motor gasolene and taxation, mills [thousandths of a dollar] shown as are as well. Their symbol is ₥, U+20A5, not ℳ U+2133 sometimes used for the old German Mark. The old pharmacy unit minim uses the two Zodiacal M-like signs for its symbol.)

In the United States, there are 3 business entitys, called credit bureaus, that business firms send information to and purchase from, about what finantial obligations people have obtained and how well they have managed with them. In other words, what loans and credit cards they have and if they pay them as the contract says. A while ago now, a federal legislation requires that the 3 of them allow each person (= SSN holder) to get 1 free report from each of them each year. (There are other times when a person can get free reports, such as if they are refused a contract because of what is on one.)

The firms are approachable through a website so you can access them three-in-a-row style more easily. When trying to do this this past new year’s time, I got these strange appearances:

ExperianDisappeared.png showing Equifax listed twice, TransUnion once, and Experian missing. This was in Internet Explorer 11 because at once time Equifax (or Experian?) would throw an error in other browsers that wouldn’t tell you why it happened, you just had to know to use IE.

XunionDisappeared.png showing Experian listed twice, Equifax once, and TransUnion missing. I was using old Edge to see if it was browser or cache dependent and it wasn’t.

Interestingly, the website says that through February 2021, they will all offer free reports weekly. This is nice for Equifax, but the other two have consumer (= SSN holder) memberships where you can do that anyway.

Experian tries to upsell you more than TransUnion. They also let you only get a new one weekly, while TransUnion lets you refresh it daily! Experian’s has this method of trying to get your credit score (not report) to improve by looking at your utility payments. I did it with my phone bill, and my number got worse. They let me take it back out and gave me some normally paid stuff for free. (None of them, or anyone else, pay/paid me anything to post this and it’s unlikely they know who runs this blog.)

Finally, a company Chemwise from OhiO that wants to recycle nastys like elemental mercury and nail polish. Sadly, it really looks like their web developer is driveler in the business of design and construction, or worse. My account summary was this the first time I logged in (before placing any orders):

My account - Chemwise2.png
Chemwise’s My Account summary page (excerpt, edited): Member Since […] 2019 / Payment Dude Date: […]/2017 / Last Payment: Received […]/2017
Along with some subscription information that was incorrect, I supposedly had been billed and payed for services two years before I opened my account. This was such an obvious thing that I emailed them immediately and received on the next business day a reply to ignore this because it was a mistake. I eventually closed the account because their services wouldn’t’ve fit my need.


Entertaining PDF errors in old (“legacy”) Edge

My opinion on Microsoft’s newest idea of their web browser, Edge, being taken from Google’s “Chrome” engine is based on surface impressions only. I still don’t use it for anything, but in earlier days noticed it had some really neat error messages. Firefox got rid of their “This might void your warranty!” warning on about:config, after (more understandably) removing the description of web cookies as “delicious delicacies”.

On December 19, 2019 (I’ve been planning this blog post since then), I tried to open a 0 byte PDF file in Edge and got this:

Scroll with lines of text blowing off the paper. Message: This PDF is corrupted / We won’t be able to open this one. Button: Report problem Link: Privacy statement

The information becoming mixed-up-ness, “blowing in the wind”, is a powerful one to me. There is some reference I am missing remembering, but I think it is close to Weir’s “Silent Conversation” ex-Flash game.

Around April 3, 2020, I made the same mistake and got this instead:

Folder standing up partially open with flying bug (looks like bumble bee) circling out of it. Message: Nothing to see here / Oops! Looks like this PDF is empty. Button: Report problem Link: Privacy statement

The bug-flying-out-of-container is symbolic of emptyness, and is usually seen in reference to an empty wallet. The explosm people (one of them) used this to advantage in their #1654, where two moths (?) were exchangeable for a gigantic horsefly (?) at a bank.

Sadly, to me, all that is gone now and we have this uninspired looks-modal-but-isn’t error:

We can’t open this file / Something went wrong. / Button: Refresh

Boring, less useful than the revised “legacy” message, and a useless option. I call this a loss. (Am filing it under “Interface Hall of Shame” because they went backward in usefulness of the message.)

Jumpin’ jivin’ dumpster divin’

For no reason I have found yet, someone threw out an EPSON Perfection 4990 Photo scanner device. FireWire didn’t seem to work, but big deal. USB connection is fine and I can directly scan from Windows instead of using a 3rd party tool. My older one is a 1560 Photo, so this looks like an improvement.

I forgot to mention: this one has a power switch! The old one didn’t, you had to unplug it or buy an external switch! YaY!

Second update: Unlike the 1560, the power cord is hard wired and the supply fully internal!! It doesn’t have a power “brick” like the old one!! This is cause for great celebration.

Subset of shame full interfaces: we-don’t-care accessibility

Along with software entries in my “Interface Hall of Shame“, I am adding a realia by adding this seriously careless (both senses) bit of Braille “accessibility”.

Continue reading Subset of shame full interfaces: we-don’t-care accessibility

Nieuuu Dzherseyyy!

I’ve finally turned up enough matter from official New Jersey websites to warrant flooding my blog with them all at once. (There is an animated GIF at the end.)

Continue reading Nieuuu Dzherseyyy!

Back on the Chain-Gang; or, a Second Line-in-Waiting

It has been a while since I posted. I was on vacation. Now I have a bunch of stuff to scan and many screen shots from previous time to put up and comment on.

Continue reading Back on the Chain-Gang; or, a Second Line-in-Waiting