A pleasant walk through computing

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When Did "Save? Yes, No, Cancel" Become Wrong?

Improving on Perfection?

It's the easiest prompt when closing an application, and has been around for decades.

Do you want to save your changes before closing? [ Yes] [No] [Cancel]

You can press Y for Yes, N for No, and Esc for Cancel.

So why does everyone seem to think this needs revising, or is somehow unclear?

Here are a few screen captures from...

Microsoft Word
It's as if grammar never entered their heads. At least I can press S or N, though.


Microsoft Visual Studio
At least MS is consistent.


This one's better. The choices are the same, but they actually answer the question. Too bad they don't underline the keyboard shortcuts.


I love you, Inkscape, but this dialog makes me sad.


One of the most confusing variations. I make the unintended choice about half the time.


With this many instructions, no wonder there's a Help button.


At least I'm not being asked a question. This dialog's pretty clear, but being able to press the "Y", "N" or Esc keys would still be faster.


As much as I like this app, I'm astonished I can make changes, close, and am not prompted to save my changes.


And some apps that still do it right

Markdown Monster








ABBYY Fine Reader


VSCD Video Editor Free


Tabs vs Spaces is Dumb. Convert Tabs INTO Spaces.

^t => "    " = ♥

A part of me thinks this is so obvious I shouldn't need to post about it. But I keep seeing "tabs vs spaces" articles by programmers and just...don't...get it.

Modern text editors let you choose in settings how to treat tabs. The significant choices are:

  1. How many spaces a tab represents
  2. Whether to save the tab character in the document or convert it to spaces

To me this has always been easy.

  1. Four spaces
  2. Convert tabs to spaces

When typing, it's faster to indent using the tab key. But when sharing with another person, there's no guarantee their tabs will use the same number of spaces as yours. So fidelity and consistency demand spaces.1

It doesn't matter what efficient keyboard shorcuts you take to generate the spaces, as long as the document ends up with only spaces.

The only argument for storing tabs in the document is being able to back "space" using them. But it's not enough of a timesaver to overcome the advantages of storing spaces.

There is no reasonable--or reason for a--tabs vs spaces debate.

  1. If you never share your work, then the entire question is moot. I don't care what you do.

What Is Cyclomatic Complexity In a Nutshell?

Imagine you're going to walk to a friend's house. If the house is a few doors down, you don't need to make any decisions. But if your friend is further away, you may come to an intersection. You choose a direction and come to another intersection, and so on. How many paths are there to your friend's house?

That's cyclomatic complexity in a nutshell.

The number of independent paths through a method.