Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Sum of All Nags

Lately it's become fashionable to pop up all sorts of helpful little messages on my desktop. "The Nth service pack is now available, because we just couldn't get it right the (N-1)th time." Click. "Your local wireless network is available." Click. "You really should have new virus protection software." Click. If the objective is an exercise regimen for my click finger, kudos for a job well done.

Connecting my camera is like running a gauntlet. Everybody wants to help me so much. I'm beginning to feel like the little old lady who was helped across the street by the zealous boy scout; helped, even though she didn't want to go.

My new car is in on the game now too. It's a stick, and when I put it in reverse, it emits a shrill, relentless beep until I get my act together, do the sensible thing and chuck it back into a gear labelled with a number. The least they could have done is chosen a soothing a British female voice. "Sir, I just want you to know your auto is in reverse." Backing up without my seatbelt buckled unleashes a cacophanous chorus. Oh, there's a shrill beep for that too. If the passenger's not buckled, I imagine it's a trio rivaled only by the howling hounds of hell.

In each particular instance, it probably makes sense to an individual developer. "Oh, my little nag won't be annoying. It's just one little nag!" But I'm having a problem with the sum of all nags. They add up to a collective irritation akin to a virtual nagging spouse.

I think Paul Ford may have the right idea, returning to WordPerfect for DOS. I think I'm ready to return to my 1985 Honda Civic too. :-)


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