Messages about Long Software Processes

Subject: Messages about Long Software Processes
From: George Hayhoe <george -dot- hayhoe -at- SRS -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 08:36:00 -0400

The thread about displaying messages about long software installation
processes, etc. has been a very interesting one for me. I too have
been annoyed by messages in which the computer assumed a human persona
("Open the bay door, Dave.") or implored my patience when I was trying
to get the @#!&ing program to install successfully for the fourteenth
time.

Several folks have suggested that the message provide the user with an
estimate of the time required to perform the process. On the surface,
this sounds like a great idea, but I'd offer the caution that such
estimates will differ wildly depending on the user's processor type,
processor speed, disk drive type, and disk drive speed (among other
factors). And since folks like us are likely to have more powerful
computers than at least some of the software users, we could seriously
mislead people about the time required for certain processes to run.

To provide a specific example: Several months ago, I successfully
convinced my management that my team needed 66 MHz 486 machines to run
Corel Ventura 5 because the program took nearly 5 minutes to start on
our 18 MHz 386 machines. With the new computers, the program took less
than 2 minutes to load.

--George Hayhoe (george -dot- hayhoe -at- srs -dot- gov)
Assistant to the President for Recognition Programs, STC


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