Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

Bad Vista UI! Bad!

Monday, February 11th, 2008

We all get to a point where our open window account in Explorer skyrockets. I use the ‘Run’ dialog to get to a lot of places, which opens each directory in a new window. So I often find myself with all my Explorer windows grouped together on the taskbar, and something like 16 or more directories in the listing. It’s natural to just want to ‘reset’ things and close them all.

But beware! The Explorer group includes not only your directory windows, but also any copy jobs going on. If you right-click and choose ‘Close Group’ when you are copying, your job in unceremoniously canceled (which itself could take a while, depending on how cranky the Vista copy routines are that day). God help you if you happen to be copying many gigabytes of files.

This is bad user interface design. Directory windows and copy windows should not be grouped together. A directory window displays information, while a copy windows displays a process. Yes, they run in the same program (Explorer), but they are two absolutely different things, and should be grouped together into two separate groups on the taskbar. A less-correct alternative, but probably easier to implement in software, would be to close all the directory windows, then ask the user — for each copy job — whether or not the copy should be canceled.

What Bugs Me About iTunes’ Party Shuffle

Monday, August 16th, 2004

I’ve been trying like mad to get a nice ratio of high-rated songs to low-rated or unrated songs in iTunes. the Party Shuffle feature is nifty, but it plays too many high-rated songs for every unrated or low-rated song.

I tried using Smart Playlists. One was for 5-star songs and was limited to 100, one was for 4-star and was limited to 80, one was for 3-star and was limited to 50, and the other was for below that and was limited to 120, so that for every highly-rated song, there would be one unrated/low-rated song. Then, I created another smart playlist that contained each of these playlists.

I should also mention that I added ‘last played’ criteria to the component playlists, so that I didn’t hear the same high-rated song too often.

So, I have four component Smart Playlists and one master playlist containing them all:

100 5-star songs

80 4-star songs

50 3-star songs

120 unrated/2-star or below songs

The problem with this method is that the lists don’t update; i.e. my big playlist, the one containing all the others, would always have draw from the same 350 songs. The only way to alleviate this problem is to go through and manually refresh the component playlists, defeating the purpose of smart playlists.

So, for now I’m keeping with the smart playlists, and using the ‘master’ smart playlist to play from instead of party shuffle. When it runs out, I’ll refresh the others. Not the best strategy, but at least the playlist deletes songs as soon as they’re played, so I don’t lose my place.

Update Actually, once a song is played, it removes itself from the component playlists, because is has been played in the last few days. So the system works fine with party shuffle. My bad! Still, it would be nice to set some sort of ratio for the Party Shuffle.