My Favorite Windows Error Messages
Programs running on real operating
systems print out error messages as plain text, which can be
copied, pasted, archived, searched, etc. GUI-based applications throw
up alert boxes instead -- and the programmers who wrote MacOS and
Windows never thought that people would need to copy text from an
error message into any other application. So when one of my
Windows applications goes belly-up and I need help from tech support,
I fire up Paint Shop Pro, take a screen shot of the window with the
error message, and attach the clipping to my plea. Some of these
messages say more about the programmers who wrote them than the users
who invoked them....
Oh, yes, I see exactly what I did wrong.
Quick! Where's "the large button"?
If SUPPORT.WRI is such an important document, why doesn't
the installation program "copy to a safe location"?
I suppose there's a first time for everything -- Microsoft is trying
too hard to protect users against viruses. Fnord.
This came up in my attempt to learn how to use Visio,
which deserves a
rant unto itself.
For more exemplars of bad software design, of course, you must visit the Interface Hall of
Shame. Also, some old-timers have contributed to a canonical
list of error messages from UNIX, TEX, PL/I, and other
Seth Gordon -- email@example.com -- June 2000 --