Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World


Yet another exploration of not-so-well-thought-out

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:11 pm

Yet another exploration of not-so-well-thought-out user interfaces…

Here’s a screenshot from the installer for Prassi’s PrimoCD CD-burning software. (I’ve seen this interface used in several other places as well, so I’m supposing this program is a component of some sort of InstallShield-esque kit.)

Now, a quick quiz: What button do you click to install PrimoCD? The one on the right looks like a good choice; it seems to suggest “continue”. Indeed, that’s the button I clicked the first time I used such an installer interface. And the program exited. Restarting the setup program and holding the mouse pointer over the right-hand icon, I noted that, in fact, its tooltip read “Exit the browser”!

That’s right: the icon with the CD, arrow, and hard disk is the correct icon to start the installation process.

And incidentally, while on the subject of ambiguous icons, I thought at first that the left-hand icon would launch Prassi’s website or somesuch. Turns out that it changes the language in which the installer text is presented. But even once we’ve figured that one out, we’re not without problems: If you don’t speak English, how exactly will you identify your native language in this dialogue box?


Angry that NBC took the

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:32 pm

Angry that NBC took the Headlines section off of Jay Leno’s official website? Well, here’s an unofficial archive that more than makes up for it.


Came across this link while

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 4:13 pm

Came across this link while aimlessly surfing the net today. The moral? Never try to actually have a meaningful discussion in a public AOL chat room, of course… [Dave Barry fans may recognize the author of this column, incidentally, as one of Dave’s close friends.]

     Britney Spears (


Those of you who know

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 4:32 pm

Those of you who know the basics of French will probably enjoy Mots D’Heures: Gousses, Rames. Read each poem carefully, and you’ll notice that they all sound vaguely familiar…


As you probably know by

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:41 am

As you probably know by now, I’m using Windows XP on my computer. Now let me repeat that to make it clear: XP. Eeehhhhx-Peeeeee. Not 98, not 2000, but XP. Not hard to remember, right?

Well– just ask the guy at Microsoft who proofread this tooltip.


I discovered something really strange

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 6:37 pm

I discovered something really strange about the cordless phone in my room a couple days ago.

It seems that the ringer on my phone is triggered by the same radio frequency as that of my dorm neighbors’ phone. Several times, while I’ve been in the shower (from inside which I can hear what’s going on in both rooms), I’ve heard my neighbors’ phone ringing, and at the same time I’ll hear my own phone start ringing as well. And as soon as the neighbors answer the phone, my phone stops ringing, of course.

And if that doesn’t prove it, this should: Earlier this week the campus network was inaccessible, and I was forced to use a dial-up internet connection. That, of course, required unplugging my phone from the wall. At one point I decided to take a quick restroom break– and sure enough, while I was in there, not only did the neighbors’ phone start ringing, but so did mine. While it was disconnected, mind you.

I guess that would explain all those times it seemed as if someone had called and then hung up as soon as I answered. But it sure is a pain trying to figure out when I really am getting a call and when it’s only a false alarm…

Y’know, I just realized a

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:27 pm

Y’know, I just realized a couple hours ago that it would be really cool to get some geeky friends together and play a homebrew version of MST3K with the afternoon soap operas. Actually, I think that’s about the only entertainment value that most of my friends and I could get out of a soap opera, but that’s another story…


If you’ve never read Jon

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:42 pm

If you’ve never read Jon Carroll’s columns on mondegreens, do so now. It’s amazing how a slight mishearing of something can toad Leigh chains the mean ink bee hinded…

Y’know, the word malaise is

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:23 pm

Y’know, the word malaise is intrinsically cool. After all, can you think of any other word for discomfort or depression that, as Dave Barry pointed out in one of his books, sounds as if it should refer to a sandwich spread?

The only reason I mention this, incidentally, is that I managed to work the word into a college essay. (And no, it wasn’t used in any of the source materials, so there…)


OK, I’ve become a bit

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:05 am

OK, I’ve become a bit too accustomed to Windows XP.

I was using a Windows 98 machine earlier today, and admitted to myself that its Start button and menu look rather strange.

Have the Evil Empire assimilated my mind or something? 🙂

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