10/06/2009

10-06-09 - Automatic Timed Reset

File under : "Shit that's so obvious I've thought about it for a long time but not considered it worth writing" , sub-category "you all fucking suck so bad let me tell you how to do your jobs".

Lots of things should have automatic delayed resets. What I mean is various settings should be temporary and restore themselves to default or previous after some time elapses. You should of course be able to choose the time. You shouldn't have to remember to restore them when you're done with whatever temporary thing you wanted to do. Some examples :

Telling the radar detector to shut up. This should be a button that's like "shut up for 5 minutes" and you can push it again to add time. Instead because this button doesn't exist, you wind up just turning it off, and then you forget that you turned it off and suddenly you have a ticket.

Turning off the smoke alarm while you cook. Duh. This is a great example of how good user interface controls make a product *radically* more functional - not just a small improvement. In many places that I've lived, I've had to just completely disable the smoke detector near the kitchen because it's too sensitive and goes off any tiem I cook. That means it's not functioning at all. If it had a convenient button to say "shut up for 1 hour" I would hit that instead of disabling it, and it would actually provide a service.

EFT authorizations. When you give someone your bank routing number to be able to pull money out of your account it should clearly be a short-term access code that has an automatic expiration date on it, so you can say here's an access number that will last a year. That way after a year I don't have to remember to make sure they aren't still pulling money from me. (some kind of public key / private key thing here is also obvious; your bank account number should be a private key you never give out; you should give out a public key which people can use to send you "messages" (transactions))

WiFi access points. Obviously any time you hit "okay" to log in to some random wifi at a coffee shop or something that should have a timed lease on it that automatically expires. It should be "okay allow access and remember this for 1 hour".

etc. etc. basically any time you do something and think "oh gosh I'm gonna have to remember to undo that in an hour" it means your life is being shit on by bad usability designers.

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