Wandering Thoughts archives


A bad popup dialog

Imagine this: you click a directory folder in the desktop browser to open it up, and a popup dialog appears that says:

Opening 'Something'.
You can cancel this operation
by clicking cancel.


(The <CANCEL> is a dialog button, the only one in the dialog.)

Quick! What happens when you click the cancel button? Are you canceling the annoying popup, or the operation that you wanted to actually do? What is the safe thing to do? Really, I have no idea what the designer of this dialog was thinking.

(Bear in mind that users (myself included) have been conditioned to just click on 'cancel' buttons to make annoying dialogs go away.)

What makes this worse is that it was written well after the invention and widespread popularity of the web browser, which has given everyone a well known and familiar interface for canceling opening something when it is taking too long, and is happening in a browser-like window that already goes backwards and forwards. So they stole part of the browser interface, but not enough of it.

I have to wonder how this got approved, and if anyone at all used it before the code shipped.

(This dialog is courtesy of Solaris 10's default desktop environment, to give credit where credit is due.)

programming/BadPopupDialog written at 19:49:34; Add Comment

A belated set of more power consumption numbers

Following up on previous numbers, here are a few more (mixed in with some repeated from last time, for easier comparison):

Samsung SyncMaster 900NF 19" CRT displaying stuff 83 watts
Dell 1907FP LCD displaying stuff 26 watts

Clearly, switching to LCDs can pay off. Bearing in mind that my computers seem to idle at around 75 to 90 watts, using a 19" CRT is roughly the equivalent of having a second one running.

Here's some interesting figures from one of my machines with two different graphics cards:

ATI X800 GT PCIe idle 98 watts
both cores busy 155 watts
ATI X300 PCIe idle 87 watts
displaying graphics 90 watts
compiling Firefox with -j4 145 watts

Unfortunately I don't have figures for the X800 just being used for just displaying graphics stuff (without CPU soakers active), but it looks like dropping down to a simpler graphics card saves you around 10 watts. Plus you get a passive heatsink instead of a fan, and the X300 still has both analog and DVI out (and it's not as if Linux can really use the extra graphics power of the X800 at the moment.)

One of the things that strikes me about all of this is how comparatively little power a modern workstation system is likely to use. An idle machine with an active display is only a bit over a single 100 watt incandescent, and one that's as busy as I'm likely to get it is still under 200 watts (assuming an LCD instead of a CRT).

(Of course if I switched to compact fluorescents I wouldn't be using 100 watts per light fixture, but so far I strongly prefer the look of indirect incandescent light. This is ironic, given that when I look at LCDs I'm looking at filtered fluorescents, but I never claimed to be consistent.)

linux/PowerConsumptionIII written at 00:44:10; Add Comment

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