[X Newbies] OSX not dial-up friendly

Kevin Stevens Kevin_Stevens at pursued-with.net
Wed Sep 24 15:09:33 PDT 2003

On Wed, 24 Sep 2003, Eugene Lee wrote:

> But then you run into some rocky waters of UI.  Should the user really
> need to understand the difference between an app and the underlying OS?

Yes.  At least in the sense that they need to understand when they are
performing an action that is only locally significant for their
data/session/login, and when they are performing an action that has global

> And if the procedure to accomplish a task becomes complex, is it the
> role of the user to adapt to the computer?  Or is it the role of the
> computer hardware/software maker to adapt to the user?  :-)

The user HAS to understand the extent and general capabilities of the
system.  There is no way to "adapt" to an unarticulated request.

For example, there is no inherent reason to assume that cars can travel in
reverse.  The car manufacturer can make it as easy as possible to tell the
car to go in reverse, but without the user understanding the broad
capabilities of the system, they will never succeed in engaging it except
by accident; at which point it might well be considered a "bug" (see

Moreover, I don't think people are truly uncomfortable with this
requirement.  To take a nearer computer analogy, I've never encountered
anyone who objects to the notion of a system-wide date display setting.
They accept that you set the option globally, as a default, and if for
some reason an application doesn't offer a local option to change it (say
the word processor), they view that as a limitation of the word processor,
not a system failing.  Now, not being able to FIND the system date setting
because it is hidden somewhere non-obvious, THAT would be a GUI failing

We'll see how it plays out in this case.  I hope that, after thinking
about the implications of one program disconnecting access for other
programs in a complex environment, people will accept that it's not an
appropriate act for the mail program to do, and that they need to instruct
the system (or "entire computer", or "root", or however they perceive it)
to perform such an act if it's really what they want to have happen.  I
can't really imagine anyone who understands that concept arguing against

That being said, there's plenty of room to wrangle about whether the idle
disconnect feature provided is sufficiently granular or easy to use, or
suitable in all other ways.


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