Looks like an urban legend, if I hadn't seen it myself

This might be an UL, but one of the major computer/software manufacturers was doing away with the “Press any key to continue” message as they were getting calls from people who couldn’t find the “any key.”

I used to do tech support for a satellite phone company and I’d get calls from people all the time who couldn’t figure out how to use the things. Mind you, the most popular model worked almost identical to a cell phone! And these people had money! I tell ya, its a wonder we’ve survived as a species this long.

As to pulling the batteries to reboot our laptops:

Normally, it’s not necessary. But with power management software, the “power” switch on newer computers is not like a lightswitch anymore. It does not actually break the circuit, it sends a command to power down. And it can be frozen when the computer crashes just like any keyboard key. If this happened on your desktop computer, you’d have to unlug it, or turn the power off at the power strip. But when you unplug the laptop, it reverts to internal battery power. Hence the extra necessary step in a bad crash.

Our group got all the way TO that last step, They knew to try and reboot, they knew to hit the “off” switch, and they knew to unplug it. And then “the screen stayed lit”. And I’m so disappointed that they were unable to draw the conclusion that “it must still be getting power. Oh yeah, there’s a battery”.

Is that an unreasonable expectation on my part? Maybe it actually IS, which is disappointing on a larger scale.

As to using Groupwise:
Yes, that’s our office tool. But there’s complications that your suggestion, calling it a Resource, impractical. We are funded by a foundation, and give priority to certain types of meetings, so we can’t allow self-scheduling on a first come basis. Also, we operate it like a conference center, and we have Facilities department people setting up room arrangements to order, and a Food Service department that caters the meetings. Neither of these departments are under our control, and neither of them are AT ALL interested in electronic information exchange. And we need to collect a lot of information on our users to justify out Foundation money. The system I’m designing is an MS Word Form, which will collect data for all three departments, and spit out paper printouts for the other two departments. As for OUR data, at this point I’m bookmarking all the formfields with custom names. I hope to convince my boss to spend a couple grand next year to have a vendor write some code to crossload the data into Access, and generate reports from it.

Our current scheduling program is called Scheduler Plus from CEO Software. It does have a very nice graphic interface for shuffling meetings among rooms, but for data collection and printing reports, it’s a real horse’s ass.

You actually expect ordinary users to know all that? I am a computer programmer myself and have been for nearly 20 years, but I’m not sure I would have thought to pull the battery before giving up in frustration.

Pardon me for being rude here, but the only exhibition of gross ignorance that I’m seeing here is on your part. I suspect that the users you are feeling so superior to are perfectly knowledgeable in their own areas. To the nurses, your understanding of you own physiology is probably just as pathetic to them as their understanding of computer hardware is to you. In their day-to-day lives there is no reason for them to think that a power switch on a laptop doesn’t work the same as the power switch on every other electrical product that they have ever used in the entire lives.

Unfortunately this attitude of intellectual superiority runs rampant in our field. I’ve pretty much adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards stupid-user jokes. I’ve found that inevitably stupid-user stories can be traced back to stupid design issues. This is a case in point. An on-off switch that doesn’t somehow make it abundantly clear that it does not do the obvious – in this case physically disconnect all power like every other on-off switch does– is exhibiting an egregious design flaw. The users who are having to overcome such poor design should not be blamed for the mistakes of the product developers.

Mr. ** yojimboguy**, you may be a very smart person in own particular field but you have a lot to learn about the world outside it.

I apologize for the rant in MPSIMS.

Sometimes… often… holding the power switch for five to ten seconds will turn the machine off, afterwards. I hate the design, myself, but there you go.

No, I don’t expect users to know all that. In fact, it’s irrelevant to solving the problem. I only noted it to the posters who questioned pulling the battery as a METHOD of rebooting. It’s not, it’s just another way to stop the POWER. It’s even irrelevant that the piece of equipment was a computer, since just about everything has a chip in it these days.

I DO expect people to know that equipment is not powered by MAGIC. And that if their screen is still lit, they have not killed the power. The PRESENCE of the battery was known to them, they have a routine to keep it charged. They also knew that, if the computer was operating normally while plugged into an outlet, that they could unplug it and it would continue too operate normally. Again, there are times when they do that normally, when they need to move it around while at a screening site.

I don’t think you need expertise in ANY field to figure this out from that information. My degree is in political science, with a history minor. This is not, in my mind, a question of some arcane bit computer knowledge. It is a question of understanding of technology at a VERY BASIC level, “turning off a machine”, with a novel situation tossed in. It’s not rocket science.

As I said, and as you so rudely agree, perhaps my expectations are too high. Perhaps as well, I should have posted this thread in the Pits, but I did not expect anyone to get offended over this.

If I have given offense, I apologize.

On-off buttons that don’t turn anything on and off hardly rise to the level of urban legend status although they may make honorable mention in the Interface Hall of Shame.