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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Friday February 08, 2002
05:47 PM

Interface idiocy

[ #2731 ]
Dear Log,

On the jukebox: Philip Glass, Mishima soundtrack.

Somehow, I never stop being amazed by predictable awfulness of MSWindows's interface details. It's not big things being wrong -- product testing has mostly drummed those out. Instead it's the very many little things that are wrong.

Like if you set your system colors to anything other than default, many applications' screens, even many system-supplied help files, will become unreadable -- because whatever tree-ape designed them, decided that he could specify text foreground color while inheriting the default background color, or vice versa, so you end up with white text on white background, or black text on black background. It's almost enough to make one yearn for MacOS's fifteen years of screen coloring, where thinking different meant that you got any screen colors you wanted, as long as they were 100% black on 100% white.

But while "fixing" that problem might require actually a few days of work, along with problems like "why is there no way to edit the keyboard layout?"; there is no end of obvious omissions that could have been easily fixed. For example: on this laptop I have MSWindows 98, a basic install. There is no calendar program! I don't mean an appointment book, I just mean something with all the power and ease of cal(1). There was one in MSWindows 3.1, but they simply removed it. There is no real clipboard manager program! I'm fairly sure I saw ones in old WinNTs years and years ago, but there's none here. There is a program called "clipboard viewer", which has numerous bugs, and only allows you one clipboard. There's still a File Manager in the dist (winfile.exe) but someone apparently forgot to make it know about modern things like non-8.3 filenames. And I'll be damned if I can find anything in any of the "system tools" that will tell me what processes are using what amount of memory (much less what's swapped in or not, etc.)

I'm bitter!

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  • ...I believe the machines at my school are on NT, and right-clicking 'My Computer', then choosing Properties, then picking one of the tabs at the top...that will give you a list of processes, I believe.

    I don't know of any way to do it in 98.

    I'm not apologizing for MS, just pointing out the only way I'd seen how to do it.


    You are what you think.