My Own Rules

Last night I broke my own rules, and sure enough I got smacked. No, it didn’t involve testing my marriage vows in some sleazy bar. I was simply being a good boy and trying to get some blog entries written.

I never ever trust writing anything in text boxes within a browser. It’s a very dangerous thing to do if you put any value on the words you’re typing. Inevitably, the one’s and zero’s of your work will cease to exist and leave not a trace when you hit the Submit button.

When faced with a browser text box, I have a rule that I will always always always either copy the text before clicking anything, or write in Word or Notepad or whatever and then paste everything into the box when finished. Last night I threw caution to the wind, and the wind hurled it right back up my nose.

After spending an hour and a half on a relatively short but well-researched movie post, I foolishly hit the Save button without copying first. And there came the lovely Windows error message that coldly informed me that my browser has encountered a problem and must shut down. To add insult to injury, it sternly added that any work would be lost. Go directly to jail…do not pass GO…do not collect $200. Is this the Microsoft monopoly that everybody talks about?

The worst thing was that I could see my words there in the text box behind the error. If it would’ve just stepped aside for a second I could’ve CTRL-C’d my way out of pain and back to bliss. Which leads me to wonder why there’s not a buffer built into the OS that automatically quarantines any open text when an error is thrown and saves it to a file somewhere. Hello, all you Windows/Mac/Linux developers out there?

I’m tempted to get one of those keystroke logging programs that some companies use to spy on their employees, or that married couples use if one suspects the other is cheating. But then my wife might find out about that sleazy bar! 

Time to copy and save my work. If this entry fails to show up on Ashamblesburg, please let me know immediately.


4 Responses

  1. You’re living too close to the edge, Danny! First it’s typing directly into web text boxes, next thing you know you will be going to bed without brushing your teeth! This madness must stop somewhere. Think of your family, man!Seriously. I have a similar problem. Using a notebook computer with one of these little “track pads”, it is very easy to accidentally make the browser go “back”. And when you have typed a long treatise and accidentally lose it all, well, you say ugly things about Bill Gates. (And anybody else connected with computers)

  2. I KNOW that you go to the Wakefield Inn, now! You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!

  3. As a person who IS a developer for Windows/Linux platforms, I can focus your finger pointing a little. You don’t want to be angry at the low-life application developers like myself. People like myself could write you an app that would behave in a better manner… and many of us have… some even rock ( People like myself could write keyboard capture apps, or maybe even build some kluge of an app to attempt to swipe data from a collapsing text box. But in the end, any of these require changes in your behavior, which is what you should obviously want to avoid. So you need to blame the group that didn’t build the functionality into the text boxes in the first place. Then, you could always post the feature as a suggestion to their competition, who might listen better anyway.So here’s an interesting (more general) question: Have you ever thought about how much time you spend working AROUND issues with the tools you use instead of working on the thing you actually care about? You might want to sit down first.

  4. I suppose the reality is that everything a GUI does is a workaround for entering code and commands at a boring little prompt. Computers weren’t originally designed for people without an advanced computer science degree, but when the rest of the world decided to get in on the hot PC action they had to come up with something that everyone could understand. Hence, the creation of graphical interfaces that handle all the complex stuff behind the scenes. Sort of.Since computers were never designed to be graphical, the GUI itself has become the complex element. It’s one big elaborate workaround for entering simple text at a command line!The genie’s out of the bottle, though. All of us grubby, computer-illiterate swine now own computers and the industry needs our money. But they need to continually make computers easier to operate, or we’ll stop buying.I can write several paragraphs on a piece of paper and it’s not likely to suddenly disappear. It might get misplaced, but I can usually find it again. It might be left in my pocket and get wet on laundry day, but I can still make out the words even though they’re smeared. Only fire could thoroughly erase my work, but if it’s important to me I can keep it in a fireproof safe.At some point, computers will need to be as resilient and as protective of our data. If they’re not then why would anyone, from scientists to artists to factory workers, want to continue using them?

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