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Thread: Opinion - 10 things that software makers should and shouldn't do

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    Opinion - 10 things that software makers should and shouldn't do

    Bob Crabtree's goes off on one again - and the result is a list of 10 things he reckons that software writers and makers shouldn't and should do.

    For starters, don't tell me only after I've installed a program that I am going to have to reboot the PC to be able to use the app - tell me this beforehand.

    And don't try to kid me - especially now when one UK pound buys me two dollars - that there is any good reason why users in the UK are paying the same in pounds for software as US residents do in dollars.
    Check out the old fella's moans and groans and tell us here about your own issues with software.
    Last edited by Bob Crabtree; 26-03-2007 at 06:53 PM.

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    Gordy Gordy's Avatar
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    Can I add the following:

    11.

    Don't install shortcuts on the desktop or tray icons without asking me first. No I don't need 6 icons and tray icon for one piece of software thanks.

    12.

    I've you save info, don't put it in my documents, why does save games need to be stored in my documents???? If you do this at least let me change this setting somewhere! And especially for coral, if you do let me change this at least make that effing work! Without a trip to the registry.

    13.

    Don't auto start yourself when I boot up, if you need this ask me first!

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    Gaarrrrr! Dav0s's Avatar
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    14.

    dont force me to install updates and patches that are automatically downloaded. if its not broke, i dont plan on fixing it!

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Good list, made me smile, and have Dugg it.
    I did, however, get a "Did you mean this" page from Digg, which came up with a similar (in idea) article from 2 years ago:

    http://www.webindexing.biz/articles/TenThings.HTM

    Edit: Hmm, can't be sure my Digg submission worked, as the screen hung/froze for a while. Will see.
    Last edited by MSIC; 26-03-2007 at 09:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSIC View Post
    Good list, made me smile, and have Dugg it.
    I did, however, get a "Did you mean this" page from Digg, which came up with a similar (in idea) article from 2 years ago:

    http://www.webindexing.biz/articles/TenThings.HTM

    Edit: Hmm, can't be sure my Digg submission worked, as the screen hung/froze for a while. Will see.
    Genuinely hadn't seen that before but the points made over there are all pretty good, I reckon.

    Oh and no Diggs reported on the article itself, though I suspect that may be because our counter only registers when you click on Digg from the story.

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    My biggest gripe with software it when it feels the need to run at startup. I can tolerate a program that's ~<2MB in memory footprint, but unless its essential, then if it's bigger, I don't like it.

    Just because I have 2GiB of RAM doesn't mean your crappy, barely used program can run all the time, just so that it can load quicker. For one it makes all my other programs load slower, but the real issue is that all that memory should be for nice big datasets, not badly written programs.
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    15. Always allow me to choose where the shortcuts go in the Start Menu. I try and keep mine as organised as possible, that way I don't have to remember the name of the company that wrote whichever piece of software I'm hunting for.
    If you can't keep up, stick with reality...

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    Senior Member joshwa's Avatar
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    Software that bugs me the most:

    Adobe Reader - it feels the need to add itself to the startup folder (to "Speed things up") and trys to make me update everytime it's run.

    Apple Software - since when did I agree to install "Apple Software Update" ?

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    Pseudo-Mad Scientist Whiternoise's Avatar
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    joshwa - Foxit is the way to go my friend! get that damn adobe bloatware off your pc!

    Argh i'm sick of Creative popping up every time windows starts. And one of these days i will get rid of Norton.

    16. If you want to connect to the internet, damn well tell me first, because i don't want to spend ten minutes wondering why nothing works - only to have my firewall pop up to ask if you can allow it to access the net.

    17. under NO circumstances reassign default file extension/program rules (i'm looking at RealPlayer here) without asking. Maybe it's worth thinking that yes, i can only play .rm's on realplayer, but frankly everything else is diabolical.

    18. If you're going to use up my clocks, then give me the option of having process priority. As some people haven't quite got round to dual core yet, it would be nice to have an option of say "low/medium/high thread priority" rather than using up 96% of my CPU.
    Last edited by Whiternoise; 26-03-2007 at 11:58 PM.

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    Haha I agree with all the points altough some more so than others.

    Games like GTA San Andreas demand that your user mp3 tracks are placed in a folder in My Documents, or have shortcuts all over the place in that same folder. I want to be able to organise all the folders in My Documents, not have to deal with a whole load of crud folders and files made by random programs.

    [If anybody knows what the My Documents folders of non-IT people look like, you will know what I want to avoid. Everything is based of memory of where something is and what it's called, rather than logical naming and placement = my university lecturers are awful for this, yes I am a geek]

    Drives me nuts when games and other programs have icons all over the place too. I only have recycle bin on desktop because I like my luverly background pic. I recently installed one that had a desktop icon, which I immediately deleted (I pressed enter so fast that it tried to load), only to find it hadn't added itself to the start menu programs list

    lol, i feel like a whining nerd..... why?

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    Mostly Harmless
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    19. If you do download a patch give me the option of setting the download rate so that it doesn't nail my connection
    "You've gotta laugh when you fall off a sofa!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by hibby View Post
    15. Always allow me to choose where the shortcuts go in the Start Menu. I try and keep mine as organised as possible, that way I don't have to remember the name of the company that wrote whichever piece of software I'm hunting for.
    If you do mean the Start Menu then, is it the case that the software writer can give you this option?

    Typically, all software gets added at the end of the list - though I can remember one or two instances where an app installed into an existing folder - and that confused the hell out of me!

    What I say next really isn't intended to insult your knowledge/intelligence but I do presume that you know that you can simply drag items around the displayed list of programs that you see when clicking Start Menu> All Programs, to get the order how you like it - and my preference is simply to have them in alphabetical order.

    Also, I presume you know that you can go into the folder where all these shortcuts to programs and program folders live and rearrange them as you like - say creating a folder called "image editing" and putting in there all the shortcuts to your still-image software.

    Here, that over-arching folder is:
    C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs

    Yours may be somewhere else, but you can access it quickly by clicking on the Start Menu and then right-clicking on All Programs and then Open All Users.

    Doing rearranging this way does NOT change the order as you see it from the Start Menu (though stuff you move into a folder is only seen when you open that folder) - so you still have to drag things around via the Start Menu.

    If you do like to be organised and didn't know already about these two tips, then you may find them helpful.

    Oh and I only stumbled on the Quick Tabs feature in IE7 by accident and am kind of surprised that no one has yet said anything about it - I was expecting it to come as a rather nice surprise to a lot of people.

    Of course, it just might be that HEXUS folk know better than to use IE7 and prefer Firefox or Opera or something else (I'm personally hoping that the Firefox developers will quickly add an equivalent to Quick Tabs to the app).

    Mind you, it is still plain daft that MS has chosen the Ctrl-Q shortcut for Quick Tabs.

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    20. If your program needs local admin privs to run, unless it is designed to perform an administrative task, YOU HAVE ****ED UP. Go back and do it again.
    21. If you even go NEAR demanding that I edit a hosts file to talk to a machine whose name can be perfectly easily resolved by the OS using DNS or WINS, YOU HAVE ****ED UP. Go back and learn what a frickin' API is.

    These drive me slightly nuts. We have three apps in use here that sulk if you run them without admin privs; an estimating package, a project planning package and, heaven help us, a Windows GUI front end to a UNIX based accounts system. The latter of these also wants the hosts file editing before it'll address said UNIX server by name, even though the same servername is happily resolved by DNS and WINS. How much do I want to find the retards that put this crap together and beat them into a Sam Tyler?

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    Tools are the subtlest of traps redsky009's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordy View Post
    13.

    Don't auto start yourself when I boot up, if you need this ask me first!
    22. NEVER reinstate said startup programs everytime windows boots or everytime the program is run, if I have gone and manually removed the reg entry and deleted the offending file. iTunes and Real (Realsched.exe must die!), I am looking at you.

    I should never have to work hard to get rid of an unecessary function that should ahve never been installed in the first place. Almost nobody wants or needs these things and the main result of this is me uninstalling your program and moving on to a better programmed one.

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    If you are currently working on an update, tell people officially you are working on an update, what you hope will be fixed and what major effects it might have. I'm looking at S.T.A.L.K.E.R
    here.

    update out today has loads of major MP fixes, some semi important SP fixes but it will not be compatible with your save games. for all the people that have played the hell out of the game in the last 3-4 days they have the option of finishing with that nagging feeling that one of the crashing bugs might start to hit them soon, or starting from the beginning and still having utterly broken storys and a bunch of bugs.

    But the guys who make it knew this patch was coming, knew people would get the game 3-4 days ago and put in a lot of hours and could oh so easily have said, "we screwed up, but a patch is coming out in 3-4 days, we're very sorry but save games will not be compatible, by telling you this we give you the option to delay starting for a few days and possibly vastly increase your gaming experience".

    at least people could choose, i and many others feel semi cheated, because obviously they didn't start this patch yesterday and get it out today. they would have known save games wouldn't work post patch, simply tell us and have us all admire your honesty and hope it spreads throughout the industry as a standard.

    as for the rest, most of the top 10 list is utterly essential IMHO.

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    Tools are the subtlest of traps redsky009's Avatar
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    I'll bet half of the programmers that do these horrible deeds curse other people's software that does exactly the same annoying things that their own software does....

    Yet they still go ahead and do this. Perhaps its the fault of ignorant manangers/marketing people, or maybe they never actually use a computer..

    I have never ever once wanted a program to load on startup, except some driver utilities and a firewall.. make this the norm, rather than the other way around.

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