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annoying change in computer trends

i forget how many years ago it was that computers stopped using the concept of "percents" in favor of "time". As in, "this operating system/program/file you're downloading" used to be measured by "you're 50% complete" or "you're 90% complete". Now programs will say, "10 minutes remaining" or "47 seconds remaining."

the problem with that should be obvious: when has "time reamining" ever been accurate? Particularly with file downloads/torrenting, using a h:m:s remaining context is completely meaningless. The paradigm went from being a relative measurement to an absolute measurement that's being used in a relative way. You might as well say "150 elephant road crossings remaining" and have it tick down at random times until it hits zero.

So why has it become the norm? is it because there's a belief that people will latch onto absolute measures more easily than relative ones even if they're meaningless? Is it a conspiracy on behalf of those who advocate having as many clocks as possible? Is the time actually constant, it's just my perception of time and the world that's warped?

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( read spoken (7) — speak )
Sep. 21st, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
You might've also noticed the change way from real percentage bars and towards bars that just go back and forth, or animate in some repeatable way, or whatever. It's hard to estimate a real percentage, but some people figured out that as long as people have the idea things are still going, that's good enough. But it irritates me.
Sep. 21st, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Yes, you know it's doing something supposedly, but for all you know it could be doing nothing and just sitting there.
Sep. 21st, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
like internet explorer. It's programmed to tick the little progress bar in the lower right hand corner even if it's not actually loading a website.
Sep. 21st, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
Where do you see this happening the most? It has always driven me nuts on Windows file transfers, when you're copy/pasting or whatnot. it's ALWAYS wrong.

I like seeing both- my browser downloads and torrent client do this for me. What's most important is percentage, then speed, then time remaining.

It's probably a cultural thing. People have been conditioned to want to multitask (read: whether they succeed is another matter) so putting a countdown on shit is like setting the laundry machine, microwave, or oven to do something while you run off and do other equally meaningless things.
Sep. 21st, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
Whatever version of StuffIt I have for OS X is amusing. They messed up their "time remaining" calculation so badly that it always increases. If it takes a while to unpack an archive, it can tell you there are days remaining at the point it finishes.

Apparently it's fixed in newer versions, but I kind of like the bug.
Sep. 21st, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
i think the first time i ever really noticed it was many years ago when i was upgrading my mac OS to OS 9 from OS 8 or something. OS 8 was in percentages, and then OS 9 tried to put minutes on it. Then i started noticing it everywhere else.

I think it can be *relatively* useful on things like local file transfers, but torrents to me are when they're the least useful because the time remaining is calculated (i assume) based on how much is remaining if the torrent DL rate was constant. Speed and percentage is fine for me, thanks.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
I find it a lot easier to get up and do something else if the thing tells me I have time to kill. If I have a percentage bar, I sit and watch it.
( read spoken (7) — speak )


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