Windows messed up my icons unneededly

I just exchanged my monitor of many years for my grand father’s. The one I had been using was almost exactly square, this one is closer to 2:1 horizontal to vertical. After turning my PC back on and signing back in, I find my desktop icons are all scrambled around, even though the old arrangement could have been maintained within the new default resolution.

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.


Microsoft screwup in Windows 10, v. 1803


I just installed Windows 10’s April 2018 update, version 1803.

Part of this update entails removing XPS reader software that was part of all previous versions of 10, and instructing us to find an app in the Store for it.

I download Microsoft’s “Reader” app and install it from the Store.

Opening an XPS file with the new app brings up an error message… that I have to use XPS reader (the one installed with Windows).

Agfh! Is Microsoft trying to annoy me?

Windows 10 advertising of Edge interferes with Firefox multithreading

Technical post here. I noticed this obnoxious combination while using Firefox on Windows 10 recently (within the past week).

Continue reading Windows 10 advertising of Edge interferes with Firefox multithreading

An unwontedly ugly property sheet

We all know that parts of a system that are used the least are generally the worst. They get the least attention and have the lowest priority when triaging bugs. In some cases they are so rarely seen that they don’t even get bug reports written about them. Vide the now notorious Windows 3.x font addition dialog that lasted until Windows Vista.

Here is a less egregious example from Windows 10 (current version, 1511):


Note the background color problem under the permissions section of the dialog. I suspect that it has been there since Windows 98 or something. If it was removed, this would look fine. Maybe in the next version of Windows, the anniversary update, they will improve this?

I am not mentioning the UNIX style permissions because that is a function of the FTP server, rather than the Windows FTP client.