Eric Fleischman's WebLog

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It's all about the little things

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I love little things. Here is one I noticed this morning.

 

Go ahead and empty your recycle bin. Now create and delete two files, then go to empty the bin again. Note that it says “would you like to delete these 2 files”.

 

Ok, now empty the bin, and only delete one file. Now try and empty the bin again. Note that it doesn’t say the number, it gives you the file name that you’re about to empty. If there is only one element to be removed, we show the name of the element rather than the number.

 

Who thought to do that?

Comments
  • That's pretty impressive, but MacOS (pre-X, dunno about newer versions) really went above and beyond:

    http://www.mackido.com/Interface/Copy.html

    Despite the (sometimes pretty hysterical) anti-Microsoft rhetoric, the author does raise a bunch of good points about what seems like a pretty simple issue.

  • I'll guess it was the localizer who hated dealing with "1 file" and "2 files" in 37 different languages. If you special case 0 and 1 files to deal with, it's all plural forms.

  • Those little things like XP never displaying all process notification icons since SP1? Not hidden, just not there. For any reboot, I get a random set. SP2 improved things, but there is still often 1 or 2 that don't quite make it. I believe the missing ones are however always 'Startup' folder items, so I wonder if they can somehow get loaded before Explorer itself. Who knows, one of those little things...

  • The MacOS article that was provided by mschaef is rather ridiculous.

    They talk about pre-flighting a copy in an age where 100GB+ hard drives are the norm. Why pre-flight every stinking copy procedure when only 1 in 1000 will probably fail as a result of inadequate hard drive space? I'm typically more frustrated by copy procedures that fail because a file is in use. Solve that problem and I'll be happy to applaud.
    As the author stated, there are pro's and con's to both approaches. I fail to see how "little things" like pre-flighting a copy make MacOS a better operating system. Why not concentrate on the "big things" instead of the piddly little stuff that nobody even seems to care about?

  • "Why not concentrate on the "big things" instead of the piddly little stuff that nobody even seems to care about? "

    Because different people have different ideas about what the "big things" are. For you, file locking might be an issue. For me, it might be limited disk space.

    I think the thing to take away from the article, more than anything about the particular feature, is that the computer should do what it can to detect errors as early as possible, then provide the user with as much information as necessary to fix the errors, and finally provide a understandable set of choices about how to proceed.

    "They talk about pre-flighting a copy in an age where 100GB+ hard drives are the norm."

    The article was written in 1999 about operating system versions that are now close to ten years old. Read it in context, and it's not so "ridiculous".

    "Why pre-flight every stinking copy procedure when only 1 in 1000 will probably fail as a result of inadequate hard drive space?"

    Because:
    *) Not all copies are to hard disks (some are to USB keys, flash memory, gmail accounts, network disks with limited quotas, probably floppy disks, ...)
    *) Not all copy targets are 100GB
    *) Not all files (or sets of files) are small relative to 100GB disks
    *) Pre-fighting can detect problems other than insufficient space. Problems like files in use or files being overwritten.
    *) Pre-flighting is cheap to implement, cheap to perform, and something the computer can do a lot better than the user.

    "I fail to see how "little things" like pre-flighting a copy make MacOS a better operating system. "

    Nobody said it did. Maybe more usable, but not "a better operating system".