Re: Stupid users (was Re: Is there a term for this?)

Subject: Re: Stupid users (was Re: Is there a term for this?)
From: Phil Snow Leopard <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
To: Jessica Weissman <WeissmanJ -at- abacustech -dot- com>, "techwrl (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 22:11:12 +0700

It's not as simple as that.

There is NO way to turn of Autosave; there is a hack for turning of Resume (though its not entirely clear whether it is without consequences), and there is a way to cripple Versions, but only temporarily (for the interested I've written about these on my blog here:

The point is not just that there Apple has provided no 'safe' way to turn off these features, but they have implemented them very poorly, even for "non-technical" users. Here's a simple example:

You open a company spreadsheet, and mess with some of the data just to see how it looks. You decide you don't like those changes and close the spreadsheet without saving. Next time you open it, all those 'unwanted' changes appear (that's what Autosave does, and to repeat, you cannot turn it off). You *can* roll back to the original state using 'Versions' if you want, but that depends on:

i. remembering *that* the 'official' or desired state of the document was not the last saved state (and there's nothing in the GUI that will tell you that; YOU have to remember). If you don't open that document for some time, you may have even forgotten that you messed with it at all. Imagine the disaster when you show / send that to someone else...

ii. knowing *which state* was the original saved state before you messed with it (there's nothing in the GUI to tell you that either; YOU have to remember the date of the last desired save because versions are only distinguished by date of change).

Apple's solution to this is that you don't make changes to a critical document. What you do is open it and then make a duplicate. Then you mess with the duplicate, not the original. I can live with that as a procedure, thought it seems to me less efficient than the way we've been doing it since the 1980s, but the problem is its an ENTIRELY new procedure, one that most "non-techies" used to working in the same way with files for xxx amount of years will not know. So, ultimately, this new way of working threatens the workflow of "non-techies" as much as it does "techies", if not more so (as "techies" are at least likely to have some awareness of what autosave and versions actually means and how they work).

As for your objection to my characterisation that everyone who grew up with computers knows to press the 'save' key, I'll happily acknowledge that that is prescriptive rather than descriptive. It's isn't in any way central to the points I've been making in any of the last three posts.


On 8 Feb 2012, at 21:21, Weissman, Jessica wrote:

> Those users are the ones savvy enough to find a forum. There are legions and legions who can do nothing of the sort, who just want to write documents or do email or do spreadsheets or whatever, and wouldn't know a support forum if it came and tugged on their elbow.
> What I object to is your notion that everybody who grew up with computers knows to press the save key. That just isn't true based on my experience.
> I am not upgrading to Lion myself, but if Apple sells kajillions of things to kajillions of happy customers, that's what they are in business to do. More power to them.
> ________________________________________
> From: Phil Snow Leopard [philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 9:21 AM
> To: Weissman, Jessica
> Subject: Re: Stupid users (was Re: Is there a term for this?)
>> My world, like yours, is full of techies who make sure to save their work, and it is easy to fall into thinking that this behavior is normal. But it is not. Non-technical computer users are just not that way, however hard it is to believe.
> Hi Jessica
> I don't dispute that, and that's why I said (twice) its understandable that Apple is taking the direction it is. However, it's also regrettable for 'the techies' (to borrow your term) that Apple hasn't implemented the 'please everyone solution' that you allude to: give us the option to turn these features off.
> Where I part company with you is in the belief that its only 'techies' that want such an option (unless by 'techie' you mean anyone that does anything more than use iWorks, Safari and Mail, in which case we are of a similar mind). The Apple forums have been - and continue to be - stuffed full of what I would call 'ordinary' users who are livid about having these features forced upon them.
> Best
> Phil
> Tech Writer


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Is there a term for this?: From: John J. McDermott, CPLP
Re: Is there a term for this?: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Is there a term for this?: From: Tony Chung
Stupid users (was Re: Is there a term for this?): From: Phil Snow Leopard

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