Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Auntie's messages are a calamity

I continue to be amused, annoyed, upset -- but not surprised -- with warning messages and error messages and warning of all sorts.

They can pop up at the most unexpected times in the oddest places, sometimes where no equipment at all is involved, such as with mistranslated signs in hotels and other places. Some of these can be side-splittingly funny, others might have more serious implications. There are numerous examples, just one of which is Beijing cleans up its sign translations

The field of software (including "firmware" or embedded software in devices such as TV remote controls and microwave ovens) is a fertile spawning ground for this.

There are those signs/messages that do not convey useful information or use poor wording or terminology (such as "Note item not found" ). And there are those that give misleading or even totally incorrect information (such as "The specified agent does not exist" ). Please don't get me wrong: these two examples are not meant to imply that the world of IBM Lotus Notes is worse than any other! It's just that I had them at hand elsewhere in this blog and easy to cross-link to.

In most cases, poor messages like the above are unintentional. Just imagine what you can come up with if you really try, and indeed Aunt Calamity has done this for us: see ghost in the machine.

Go on, go on. Suitably inspired by Auntie's contribution, why not become mischievous (or even miscreant) and start generating your own in this fashion!

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