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UX Fail of the decade

Stashed in: Steve Jobs, Usability!, Awesome, New Yorker, Chess

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Windows 95, ME, 98, NT, SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, XP, XP SP1, Vista, Vista SP1, Win7, Win7SP1--for goodness sake, can someone please fix the windows update so that I can hide all 35 language packs at the same time?

Right now you can't select all-->Hide; you've never been able to and apparently you never will be able to. There's nothing I hate more on Windows than this stupid little non-feature.

It's been 14 releases and 15 years and they still haven't fixed that one little feature request.


Microsoft philosophy is to show every option.

It contrasts with Apple philosophy to show as little as possible.

So... More like Apple, less like the Soft?

I don't care if they show it all at once, I just want to be able to select them all at once instead of having to click individually on each item.

Microsoft philosophy is show everything, then make the user click individually.

They use this trope all over Windows.

I agree, it's maddening.

Also, things like this always get the worst designer working on it, if any... it's a different design/business philosophy than our much missed tweaker king

That story about Jobs reminds me of my favoite movie, Searching for Bobby Fischer.

In the days before the event,

he had the whole world wondering if he would show up.

Plane after plane waited on the runway

while he napped

or took walks and ate sandwiches.

Henry Kissinger called

and asked him to go for his country's honor.

Soon after arriving,

he offended the Icelanders

by calling their country inadequate

because they had no bowling alleys.

He complained about the TV cameras,

about the lighting,

about the table and chairs,

and the contrast of the squares on the board.

His hotel room, he said, had too nice a view.

None of this had anything to do with chess, of course...

or maybe it did.

If he won,

he'd be the first American world champion in history.

If he lost,

he'd just be another patzer from Brooklyn.

On the th move of the st game,

he countered Spassky's bishop to king-

with a pawn to rook- .

And it was all over.

He came home an American hero.

He bragged to the world he'd beat the Russians.

He delivered.

He can now command the same money

as heavyweight prizefighters.

He was invited to dinner by statesmen and kings.

Then Bobby Fischer made the most original, unexpected move of all.

He disappeared.

@adam. Just to clarify, I can select them all using the top button on the top, but once all selected, you lose the ability to "Hide update".

It's kind of like Google mail. When you do a search, they give you a nice mark as read button and an archive button, but when you hit the tags on the left side which issue the same exact search using the same exact keywords, it hides archive deep under and other menu.

That stuff drives me batty!

I've found that there are Microsoft people and Apple people.

Microsoft people want every option, and can't imagine why others would find the surfeit of choices intimidating or annoying.

In the parlance of psychology, they are "optimizers".

Apple people want a simple, elegant experience, and care little about individual features. They adapt to the limitations presented to them, perhaps without even thinking about them.

In the parlance of psychology, they are "satisficers".

The approach you take depends on your read on your audience. Just recognize that you can't make both of them happy.

Microsoft serves corporate IT, which historically consists of highly-technical control freaks who don't give a damn about the end users.

Apple made its money by convincing individual consumers to part with their money, in part by not making them feel like their missing out if they choose "Standard" rather than "Custom" when installing a new piece of software.

Where does your audience fall on this continuum?

I found the exception that makes the rule. iTunes Match. It does exactly what annoys me about Windows update. I have 8k songs. Sorting through all of them, I have multiple copies that iTunes Match thinks are on different albums, so it keeps them. I have about 400 with little match clouds with a cross through them, about 300 with little match clouds with and X through the, and 150 with little match clouds with an exclamation point through them.

Slashes are duplicates. Guess what? Pick one at a time. Deleting one in cloud too without keeping the file will then also kill the good copy, so you need to tell it to delete the individual file but keep the file in a completely second step. Rinse, repeat.

The !'s are issues where this song does not qualify for icloud/match/itunes. There are a variety of reasons. First is it's your wife's music file, so you need to sign-in as her and authorize your computer--luckily I was only at 5 of 5 authorized computers even though all 5 authorizations are only on this computer. That'll take care a big chunk of them. The others individually either had some server error that made it not complete. Redoing it one by one will fix some of them. The other way is to song by song right click and convert to mp3. This creates a duplicate that does qualify for itunes match storage, but then you have to go back to step one to remove all the duplicates and keep track of which ones you already converted and which ones you didn't.

The X's cloud icons are a pain. It can be anything from "removed from icloud" to this doesn't qualify to you're completely out of luck. Most of these can be safely re-purchased, which itunes will often recognize you already purchased it, but every 10 or so repurchases will freak out and make you enter your validation number on your credit card as it thinks you are scamming the system, even though it's the same authorized computer you've always had (except with a new processor or memory or graphics board from time to time).

So, fixing hundreds of songs by individually clicking on them? Very Microsoftish. Yes, I have itunes running on MS Windows, but it's the same exact software!

iTunes sucks in general. I continue to be amazed that people put up with it. But they don't have an alternative.



I like the itunes store, but the irony of this interaction failing in the exact same way that I just had issues with is a little disheartening.

Maybe it's the Volvo effect. When you buy a Volvo of a certain color you think you are different and happy with your car as you are asserting your individuality (car market research as to why people buy them), but when you actually get on the road, you see hundreds of the same exact cars, in the same colors, and sometimes idling right next to you at the stop light. Did they magically appear? No, but you probably just didn't notice them before.

@christina lol. U should work at Apple (if you aren't already ;-).

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