Monday, April 25, 2005

Helpful/Annoying Software

Helpful people are annoying. Robert Fripp Aphorism

I can't stand chatty software that's trying to be helpful. I understand the motivation (Grandma needs help when she runs (or, more likely, walks) the computer) but I can't stand it. The first thing I do when encountering a fresh Windows install is to turn off all the cute animations, tips, offers for tours, etc. Bob or his illegitimate son, Clippy, anyone? My latest rant-inducing episode: I just installed Visual Studio .NET 2005. It very helpfully rewired my operating system to open all .java files in Visual Studio when I double click on them (because they must be Visual J# files, right?) Arrrgh! It's not like I can't change it back, it's just annoying.

As a public service, here is how to turn off those nattering ballon tips that appear over the task tray and never seem to go away. Thanks but no thanks:

Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Data Type: REG_DWORD [Dword Value] // Value Name: EnableBalloonTips
Setting for Value Data: [0 = Balloon Tips Disabled / 1 = Balloon Tips Enabled]

Exit Registry and Reboot

Also as a public service, if you don't know about it, there is an entire web site dedicated (no, devoted) to fixing annoying software behavior: Talk about a cottage industry with guaranteed growth...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its the problem of people designing for beginners, when really the majority of users end up being intermediate level users after a short time. If you think of a bell curve, the number of users who are intermediate will be the bulk in the middle.