Where Are They Now?

Even after my previous post, I haven’t given up on APL. Today I was testing some software I’d written to print my worksheets. The first test-and-debug work was done, and I needed some real data and software to test.

It occurred to me: Don’t forget Windows. I rebooted from Linux to Windows and started Firefox.

I stopped. Did I really believe Firefox would respond differently in Windows than in Linux? I loaded the Web page I’d made in APL anyway. It looked and printed the same as in Linux.

I had to require myself to start Edge. I couldn’t load my Web page, which was a file on my disk drive, not on a Web server. I clicked on this and that, but nothing led to a disk drive—or a menu, for that matter.

I’d read that Microsoft continued to ship Internet Exploiter—er, Explorer—with Windows 10. I went looking for it. Not on the start menu. Clicking here and there, I finally got to it; don’t ask me how.

I loaded my file. It looked okay.

I went back to Edge.

Duh: URLs may refer to files as well as Web servers. I typed file:://c:/users/dalyw/testdocs/myTest.html. Bing interrupted to tell me things I didn’t want to know. (This works better in Firefox. Wikipedia says file:// is part of the URL standard.) I looked again, thought, It’s all based on DOS anyway, and typed again: file:\\c:\users\dalyw\testdocs\myTest.html.

Boing again. [Trying to think up a nickname for Bing that’s as good as Exploiter.—KD]

Does anyone think this is user friendly? I make typos all the time. All of the browsers do this, punish typos by inflicting a search engine on the hapless user. [I get that. It’s saying, I don’t know where it is. Why don’t you look here? But Boing is annoying, the way it pops up even in Word docs.—KD] Daly Web and Edit has a server named raspberrypi. Too often I get ads for Raspberry Pi computers when I want my Web page. [That’s what you get for stealing a proprietary name.—KD]

For that matter, why doesn’t Windows acknowledge our computer’s disk drive? Typical screens are cluttered with icons. How do the owners find anything? Do they know that the desktop is just a file directory on the disk drive? [Someday I’ll write a blog about file management, at which I am a marvel.—KD]

How many times have you tried to change My Documents to Documents? Has it worked? [No. Grrrrr.—KD]

I used to read (and still would if he were still writing it) Mossberg’s column in the Wall Street Journal. From him I came under the weight of the difficulties many face in using computers. In the 1990s I did a lot of research on user interfaces and found, among other things, guidance from Microsoft about good practice for Windows-based products, and I used it.

I was careful to write a standard Windows menu, that is, a file submenu to open and close files and a command (Alt-f x) to exit the program. I also, following the rules, made an edit submenu with entries for cut, paste, and cut and paste.

Where are they now?

Somewhere around here I have a cartoon of a guy lying dead on the floor with gunsmoke rising from a computer and an observer saying, “Egad! It’s user hostile.”

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