back to article Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

Mme D and I are in the cellar, listening intently. Nothing. We head upstairs and stand under the smoke alarm. Nope. We stand motionless in my office for half a minute but the noise isn't coming from any of the kit. We head down to the kitchen and press our ears against the microwave, the dishwasher, the washing machine, the …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

    Remember Mac notifications? I don't either. The OS didn't even tell you the battery was about to run out, assuming that you'd notice the red battery icon in the corner or something, and if you really wanted third party software to bother you you had to install Growl.

    Now Macs jump up and down almost as much as the Windows machine next to it, both vying for your attention shouting "Look at me! I did this! This thing happened!"

    Truly another great leap forward in computing.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

      Truly another great leap forward in computing.

      Why else would you need faster than fast mega-computing power. It has to be used, no choice.

    2. A. Coatsworth
      Gimp

      Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

      >>almost as much as the Windows machine...

      Understatement of the Century!

      A friend's Mac will read aloud the current time, at the top of the hour, EVERY SINGLE HOUR.

      I can't fathom how can someone work, or live, like that. It sends me into a murderous rage.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

        If someone in their office was careless enough to leave their workstation unattended, a favourite jape was to configure a root cron job to trigger a cuckoo clock on the hour. By noon they, and those near them, were often found looking for wire cutters for the internal speaker.

        1. logicalextreme

          Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

          Throwing a bit of randomness (but not too much) in is the enhanced version of this. A good techie will end up leaving it be in the first instance until they've nailed down what they think the pattern is.

        2. el_oscuro
          Devil

          Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

          I once wrote a Windows service that I would install on my victims unlocked workstations. All it did sleep for a random interval, then pick a random number and pop up the Windows error dialog for that message. There is nothing like getting a random pop up like "The control file blocks have been destroyed.".

          Make sure your sysadmin and security people are in on it.

      2. logicalextreme

        Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

        I do have my phone set to do a small Casio-like beep every half an hour while I'm awake, which keeps me passively reminded of the passage of time so that if I hear two successive instances within the same Wikipedia binge/Graun doomscroll/investigation into the release and remastering history of an album from 1975 then I've had a gentle nudge to maybe box it off and go and do something more productive (or more likely equally unproductive, but at least different).

        Speaking the actual clock time sounds infuriating though. I'd at least randomise the language that it spoke each hour in the hope of getting some free learning out of it.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

        At least that's an option that has to be manually enabled and can be disabled easily. The one I hate is when they put up a notification inviting me to install Mac OS 12. The only good thing about this is that it doesn't have a notification sound. Unfortunately, it does sometimes steal keyboard focus and cause me an urge to go down to Apple headquarters and start swinging my laptop as a club shouting "You obsoleted this thing so I can't install Mac OS 12. Either bring back the long OS support lifetimes or shut up, and both would be fine.".

      4. veti Silver badge

        Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

        That's something that can be deliberately configured, but it's not compulsory. Your gripe is with the machine's owner or user, not its maker.

      5. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

        Like church bells, then. There’s nothing new under the sun.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          There’s nothing new under the sun.

          Well, there was the day I saw something that appeared to have evolved from a dried-up puddle of coffee, moving underneath an Ultra10 and which started hissing menacingly when it saw a cleaning rag approaching.

      6. BobChip
        Joke

        Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

        Wow!! I'm crushingly disapointed! Why does my Linux system not entertain me like this? It notifies me about updates (for example) - SILENTLY! I have to look for them myself!! I can feel a murderous rage coming on!

    3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Another great victory for Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive

      I don't get the issue here. Set focus to Do Not Disturb. 95% of apps are well behaved enough to listen to this. For the 5% that aren't, System Preferences > Notifications > {select misbehaving app} > Uncheck Allow Notifications.

      You can also choose (globally or per (misbehaving) app) whether to;

      - have notifications popup and disappear without stealing focus,

      - popup and remain until dismissed,

      - not popup at all but be visible in Notification Centre when you click it, or

      - not do anything at all.

      If anything, the problem on MacOS is too MANY options to control notifications.

  2. b0llchit Silver badge
    Pint

    ...company’s (air)head of Fun...

    This is the head you have in a carnival booth where you can throw darts at the head for money and gadgets. The row of heads is complemented with the developers of fine alerts.

    These heads will only alert you if a dart hits them right in the eye. All other noises are ignorable and can simply be muted with a nice patch of duct tape. Scores are kept and the winner is the first to silence the alerts using only darts. You know the accuracy will improve with [icon] until you cannot hear anything anyway.

    Have fun!

  3. Barry Rueger

    Thank you for this!

    I sometimes feel that I spend more time on my phone killing off notifications than I do making phone calls.

    OK, not the best example.

    When did every web site in the entire universe begin asking to send us alerts? Dear god, no.

    1. logicalextreme

      Re: Thank you for this!

      Yeah, it's easy as pie to disable notifications in Android via the actual OS these days with an admirable amount of granularity depending on the app responsible, but websites wanting to harass you is the worst of all worlds. Websites being able to send notifications makes the existence of dedicated apps (on mobile at least) even more of a headscratcher, though I imagine an app can harvest more data about you than your run-of-the-mill cookies can.

      It's bad enough that the web's full of needy narcissistic people, let alone needy narcissistic websites.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Thank you for this!

      Gaahhhhhh

      "This website wants to send you notifications."

      Why in the everloving fuck would I want that??

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Thank you for this!

        And if the browser is capable of identifying that request and asking me to click yes or no, why doesn't the browser not also have a "fuck off and never ask me again" button?

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Thank you for this!

          In Brave, that appears to be in

          settings->privacy and security->site and shields settings->Notifications->default behaviour

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Thank you for this!

            Ah, ta, looks to be similar with firefox. I'd not noticed bit before, or not associated it in my head.

        2. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Thank you for this!

          In Firefox it is in Settings, Privacy & Security, Permissions, Notifications, click "Settings", check "Block new requests asking to allow notifications" and you'll never be asked again.

          Now I agree "notifications" (aka "ads") should default to disabled, but I guess in this case other people would complain, like ad peddlers and those terminally insecure who absolutely need to know any and every time somebody noticed their persona in the social media.

    3. Dave K

      Re: Thank you for this!

      A very relevant column this week and one I can completely relate to:

      * My office machine notifying me once a day that Windows Defender's quick scan didn't find anything. Yet to turn off this pointless notification, I need admin rights.

      * Outlook on my work mobile notifying me several times a day that it doesn't have permission to sync my contacts. Yes, I know. That is deliberate because I don't WANT you to sync my contacts! It's possible, albeit not obvious to disable this thankfully.

      * Teams EVERY FUCKING TIME I open a file in Word/Excel sending me a huge notification telling me that it's opening the file in Word/Excel. Yes, I know. I just told you to do this! MS in their wisdom provides no option to disable this utterly pointless dialog. The cheery "Feel free to keep using Teams" line is just icing on the cake...

      It's most annoying with computers I find. My microwave oven used to emit 5 deafening bleeps when it finished cooking something, then repeated the 5 bleeps every single minute. Particularly annoying when you are defrosting something, want it to sit for a bit and have your hands covered in raw onion. In the end I popped the cover off and treated the beeper to the sharp end of a pair of side-cutters. Best way ever to permanently silence notifications.

      Now if only Teams had something similar...

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Now if only Teams had something similar...

        You have to apply the side cutters to the Teams' UX team. Or a bolt cutter. An angle grinder, or one of those hydraulic nibblers that demolition crews have fitted to their JCBs.

        Teams. Argh.

        Colleague had called me so we could go over some new documentation to check the workflow it describes. At some point he got another call, and switched to take it. Immediately a most annoying and just un-musical stream of filler sound came out of my speakers, not even some elevator muzak, or one of your average telephone on hold tunes. This apparently was Teams' "on hold" signalling. Fscking superfluous too; it shows you're on hold on screen, dammit.

        It could not be suppressed, except by muting the entire sound system. Asking the Duck I found that there actually is an option to switch it off without killing the rest of the sounds, but it requires admin rights.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Now if only Teams had something similar...

          "... but it requires admin rights."

          Of course it does.

          MY company has decided that, "for security purposes" (of course), the locking screensaver will be activated when your PC is idle for...5 minutes! Unchangeable. And unnecessary, since most of us are either WFH or in a secure area within our office building. But, needs must, I suppose.

          * There's a neat little program, called "caffeine". I seem to still have the ability to install software of my choosing (but am told it's a firing offence.)...

          1. el_oscuro
            Devil

            Re: Now if only Teams had something similar...

            When I first started work for my current company, they warned me to always make sure I locked my workstation, as there were roving bandits that do funny things to it if you ever left it unlocked. Of course they didn't know I was one of them.

            1. Roj Blake

              Re: Now if only Teams had something similar...

              At the place I used to work, if you left your laptop unlocked you'd return to it to find that you'd sent an offer to buy doughnuts for the entire company.

      2. herman Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Thank you for this!

        I can silence any Teams member with a sharp pair of side cutters…

      3. ThatOne Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Thank you for this!

        > My microwave oven used to emit 5 deafening bleeps when it finished cooking something, then repeated the 5 bleeps every single minute.

        Yes, that's a pet peeve of mine. Old microwaves made a single "bing!" when they had finished, and for most not-attention-deficient people this was clearly enough, especially given they usually still remembered they had started reheating something just a couple minutes ago.

        Modern electronic microwaves are terribly bossy and/or think you're a scatterbrain moron who won't find the microwave unless you can follow the incessant beeps through the confusing maze your home must be to you.

        I'm eagerly awaiting the third generation, which will immediately call 911 while sounding a 120db siren to alert the neighborhood your TV dinner is ready. In the meantime I still use an old, courteous, "bing!"-making one, and hope it will last me till the end. It does everything I actually need it to do.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Thank you for this!

          I'm still using a Moulinex microwave purchased in 1991. It grillls too.

          Yes, it makes a godawful noise while bombarding foodstuffs with radiation, but seems to work just fine. I still have the conventional number of heads and limbs.

          It goes BING when done, which is useful. Should you ask it to both microwave and grill your foodstuffs then it waits until the two operations (sequentially) are done before going BING.

          This machine has a total of three controls. One to set the time grilling. One to set the time microwaving. And one to set the level of microwave power. I very rarely vary the last. This is how UX should be.

          -A.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Thank you for this!

          Modern electronic microwaves are terribly bossy and/or think you're a scatterbrain moron

          For an unsettlingly large part of the people now buying microwaves (think Facebook/Whatsapp/TikTok) that second part is definitely correct.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Thank you for this!

            > For an unsettlingly large part of the people now buying microwaves (think Facebook/Whatsapp/TikTok) that second part is definitely correct.

            I'm pretty sure humanity's genetic pool hasn't changed in the last quarter century. It is not that people are more stupid, it's that they are more and more infantilized, by marketing, I guess the idea being that it is easier to fleece idiots.

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    It's not just the OS...

    They're annoying enough, of course: my latest phone has a priority notification to indicate it has finished charging - usually around 3am - and another to say it has entered "battery-preserving" charging mode an hour or so later.

    But it's everything. There was a protracted period in which I needed to be alert to events in the care of a relative and there was no practical means of suppressing other notifications on my phone because an urgent call or text could come from whichever carer/healthcare professional might happen to be on duty. While, fortunately, there were few serious incidents in the small hours, I did discover to my cost that Royal Mail has a habit of sending text messages at 2am to advise of its delivery intentions.

    And there are the banks that send you your balance alerts when they perform their nocturnal reconciliations. I recently gave up on an application for a bank account when the "online" process became too farcical, but continued to get e-mails and text messages for days afterwards at frequent intervals urging me to resume from the point where I had lost the will to live.

    And, naturally, I don't even check my e-mail automatically any more, it's just asking for grief.

    Of course it's a vicious circle - the shoutier it becomes the more it gets ignored. Maybe spare a thought for the people that do sometimes genuinely need to be alerted to critical events in the real world?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's not just the OS...

      Normally I won't sleep with my phone within earshot. That eliminates a lot of the issues but in the particular circumstances I'd have used GDPR to tell Royal Mail to forget your phone number - although in my circumstances, I haven't let them have it.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I put my mobile phone in airplane mode after working hours.

        I like sleeping at night.

    2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

      Re: It's not just the OS...

      A "do not disturb, except phone calls" feature would be nice.

      After all, while the "smart" in smartphone translates to shitty computer, the phone part is still very much functional.

      So, is there a way to turn the thing into a usable phone?

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: It's not just the OS...

        A "do not disturb, except phone calls" feature would be nice.

        It existed, and even better than that, you could set it so only certain people got through, and / or if someone called X times in Y minutes.. it was called a Windows phone, but everyone slagged it off without even trying it.

        Still the smart phone design by miles.

        1. FirstTangoInParis

          Re: It's not just the OS...

          …. it was called a Windows phone, …..

          I had one of those, and I loved it (a first for anything M$ for me), especially the clarity of the menus (after all it was a Nokia) all the tiles I could move around. I was gutted when they discontinued it.

          1. Geoff Campbell
            Windows

            Re: It's not just the OS...

            Windows Phone was a beautiful OS, I too was distraught when it was ditched. Microsoft have made so many bad choices around the evolution of Windows Core/CShell/etc., when they were so close to getting it right.

            I've got a Surface Duo in front of me now. Absolutely beautiful piece of engineering, it's a really nice device with Android on. With a modern version of Windows Phone, it would be a great device, albeit perhaps a bit too expensive.

            Oh, well...

            GJC

            1. Joe W Silver badge

              Re: It's not just the OS...

              Another Linux user here - with the same gripes. I really loved my small and cheap and very usable Nokia Windows phone...

        2. rfrazier

          Re: It's not just the OS...

          It sounds like you want Lineage OS on your phone.

          Do Not Disturb

          * Select apps which can override.

          * Select people which can override.

          * Decide whether calendar events can override.

          * Decide whether alarms can override. (A bit weird, that one.)

          * Have schedules for time.

          * Have schedules for events (e.g., calendar event marked as busy).

          Best wishes,

          Bob

          1. TheProf

            * Have schedules for time.

            All I can hear is the whoosh as that one passes over my head.

            1. rfrazier

              Re: * Have schedules for time.

              Apologies. Not a very good description. It is simply that you can have Do Not Disturb start at a certain time, and end at a certain time. For example, I have my phone automatically go into Do Not Disturb from 2200 - 0800.

              I assume that this is a feature had by all phone OSs.

              Best wishes,

              Bob

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: * Have schedules for time.

                My partner works in a school so hers goes into silent mode 5m before the first bell and silent mode ends 5m after the last bell. If we need to reach her, we call the front office.

        3. Jon 37

          Re: It's not just the OS...

          It's not the technology that was the problem, it was a series of boneheaded business decisions.

          Microsoft has a reputation for introducing stuff and then cancelling it, including dropping support for already sold hardware. Especially in the Consumer Electronics space. Multiple phone projects, their MP3 player, ...

          That in turn means you can't trust Microsoft when they introduce a new platform. Regardless of how good the technology is. So people don't adopt it straight away, so Microsoft decides it has failed and kills it. It's become a self fulfilling prophecy.

          Also, Microsoft needs to not compete with it's customers. When Microsoft bought Nokia, that killed Windows Phone dead. The other manufacturers were not going to buy a key technology from Nokia, their major competitor. And just Nokia phones was too small a market for Windows Phone to attract apps, and apps are essential.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: It's not just the OS...

            Well, yes. I join the ranks of people here who really like their Windows Phone. Didn't want the mobile effect on my desktop Windows. But dammit the phone was really good. And Android is just dull and annoying.

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: It's not just the OS...

              It's a sad state of affairs when a some version of Windows is judged better than the dominant operating system.

              Best smartphone I ever owned was a Handspring Treo running PalmOS. Second best, Nokia N-series with Meego/Maemo. Downhill ever since.

              Now get off my lawn.

              -A.

      2. Geoff Campbell
        Boffin

        Re: It's not just the OS...

        On Android, enabling Do Not Disturb will make the phone totally silent (as it should), then you can enable individual phone numbers that can over-ride the setting and alert you if a call or text arrives. Very handy, very easy to set up.

        I assume iOS has similar.

        GJC

        1. ConsumedByFire

          Re: It's not just the OS...

          On Android just set your normal sleep times. This basically automatically turns on DnD at bedtime and switches it off in the morning.

          If you want to allow certain priority messages from vulnerable relatives or whatever you can exclude those numbers from DnD.

          1. swm Silver badge

            Re: It's not just the OS...

            "DnD"?

            Drag & Drop, Dungeons and Dragons?

      3. dajames Silver badge

        Re: It's not just the OS...

        A "do not disturb, except phone calls" feature would be nice.

        Android has "Do Not Disturb", and can allow alarms, calls, calls from known numbers, etc., to be exceptions. IME it works well ... and I use my phone as an alarm clock so it's plugged in right by my ear all night (otherwise I'd forget to charge it).

        This is newish ... maybe Android 10 and later?

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: It's not just the OS...

          Wondering the same thing. I can tell my old Samsung to only give me selected alerts during specific periods, including but not limited to only accepting calls from specific callers. I sure hope they haven't removed that feature in their never ending fight to increase your monetization surface...

      4. molletts

        Re: It's not just the OS...

        A "do not disturb, except phone calls" feature would be nice.

        I don't know whether iPhones have anything like that (I've never had one) but I've had it on my Android phones for many years. I can't remember whether it was in the stock ROM on my Galaxy Nexus but it's in LineageOS 14.1 (Android 7.1). It was also in the stock OxygenOS on my current OnePlus 6 and is in LineageOS 19.1 (Android 12.1).

        I have it set a little stricter than "just phone calls" - silent except calls/texts from starred contacts - and it comes on automatically overnight.

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: It's not just the OS...

        "So, is there a way to turn the thing into a usable phone?"

        Go into the volume settings and turn them all down to zero apart from the ringtone volume seems to be the only solution.

      6. Stork Silver badge

        Re: It's not just the OS...

        My iPhone claims to do that, with the refinement that only calls from my favourites get through. I don’t get audible alerts, but I did get a call from an unknown number at shit o’clock once.

  5. Jason Bloomberg
    Boffin

    Bippity do-dah, Bippity day, My oh my it's beeping all day

    I need to stop buying second hand techno-crap because it was a bargain. I have lost count of how many times I have been bitten by the mysterious omnidirectional beep coming from something filed away somewhere in the house long ago, have more than once sat between two piles of junk figuring out if it's to the left or right as I perform a physical 'binary chop'.

    The worst are battery-low warnings for rechargeable devices. You either resign to suffering until they stop, charge them and repeat the cycle, or open them up and cut the wire.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Plenty of beeping, coming my way / bippity do-dah, bippity yea

      This (and a +1) for the song parody (I did the next line). Happy Friday! -->

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Does your neighbour have kids?

    A few weeks ago I was in my bedroom about 10 o'clock at night, and suddenly started hearing "BEEP BEEP. Battery low. Please recharge me" every 10 seconds outside, even though my double glazed windows were shut. I looked outside and saw it was coming from my neighbours shed where they keep a small electric car they've bought their young son, which he loves riding round the garden in (to be honest, it looks like the coolest toy ever for a 3 year old boy). The lights on the car were flashing in time with each beep.

    Somehow, they couldn't hear it though, as they never went out to do anything about it, or maybe they just didn't give a shit, and it carried on as I drifted off to sleep around midnight.

    Next morning, I woke up to the sound of "BEEP BEEP. Battery low. Please recharge me" and looked out to see the minicar's lights still flashing away in time. Judging by the volume of the warning and the time it went on for, the battery can't have been that fucking low, and it boggled my mind how the designers of a kids toy thought it necessary to broadcast the not so very imminent demise of battery power all night long to the whole neighbourhood at such a volume, to warn us all of the potentially disastrous situation of it not being sufficiently charged.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

      To be fair, the volume of the average 3 year old who discovers that the batteries in his favourite toy are too low for him to play with it would probably easily drown out even such loud bleeps and warnings.

      Speaking from experience as a parent...

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

        Yeah so? They've got their low battery warning right there.

    2. AnotherName

      Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

      Why, when the power is low enough to require recharging, does the device turn on warning lights, activate the screen, sound out beeps and other noises? Surely the remaining charge would last a bit longer without all these indications and notifications.

      1. Flightmode

        Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

        That's the same logic Microsoft Exchange uses when sending you a "your mailbox is nearing its size limit, please delete some emails to free up space" email... once per hour starting on five o'clock on a Friday.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

          the notification is sent as an email, right?

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

        Years ago, I used to wonder the same thing about a laptop I borrowed from work. On the train home as the battery was about to croak, it let out a God-awful loud, shrill, repeating bleep.

        And I thought at the time, apart from really annoying everyone around me, why the hell is it hastening the battery's demise when it should surely be doing all it can to preserve what little remains.

        Stupid design choice.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

          "Stupid design choice."

          What's likely to have happened is that a lot of manglement have a say in designing the camel. One of them has been upset by finding his laptop has a flat battery and insisted that Something Must Be Done. Good design choices rely on there being one person who has the final decision no matter how senior the person who wants to smuggle some feature in. They also rely on that person having good judgement of what works for the user.

          I believe, however, that it's a good principle to delay making a design choice as late as possible, if possible delay it to run time so it becomes a matter of user choice.

      3. logicalextreme

        Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

        Yeah, I'm glad that Android has taken a more nuanced approach to this as of late. I seem to recall some of the old Nokias would vibrate themselves immediately to death in a low-battery situation, which was cathartic if not particularly helpful.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          That's hilarious.

          Thank you for the laugh.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

          Yep, they were FUN to use that way... I ended up giving mine a cute name.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

            Mister Throb?

      4. Shooter

        Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

        Makes a certain amount of sense in this particular use case - a battery too drained to power the car's drive motor would still have plenty of juice to operate a few LEDs and a speaker.

        On the other hand, it's not like Junior is driving a Tesla through Death Valley. No big deal if the toy car just grinds to a halt.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

          "No big deal if the toy car just grinds to a halt."

          Try telling that to a toddler.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

      It clearly wants to be stolen by someone who will charge it up and not leave it in a shed all night.

      1. EVP

        Re: Does your neighbour have kids?

        Perhaps they wished that someone heard and stole it?

  7. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Flame

    Nothing to see here

    The ones that really wind me up are the Windows Defender notifications which pop up to say that nothing was found since the last scan. I've just been interrupted by a notification saying that there's nothing to notify me about.

    1. Jason Bloomberg

      Re: Nothing to see here

      But to be fair; if they don't appear you soon start wondering if you are infected and just haven't been told.

      Like hearing from a relative or friend with nothing to say, there is a place for 'everything is fine' alerts as long as not too frequent.

      1. ArrZarr
        Mushroom

        Re: Nothing to see here

        No. An alert should always come with a meaningful action. There may be exceptions to this rule, but I don't care. If it's not something I need to jump on, then why are you telling me this?

        Of course, nothing is a worse offender than automated emails from Jira going into outlook. Every. Single. One. will come in and beep at you.

        Something outside of the virus scanner should warn you that there has not been a scan in the last X days. If the scanner has not found anything worth notifying you about, then it should stay quiet until it's got something to warn you about.

        1. logicalextreme

          Re: Nothing to see here

          I've been using Jira as an example to try and explain to people why they shouldn't receive the daily reports that they're asking for every day for a number of years now. There's surprisingly little buy-in to the concept. Of course there's always a "who watches the Watchmen?" angle on things — have you had no notifications because everything's fine, or because the buzzer's broken? — but it's not like it's something that IT hasn't figured out and addressed decades ago.

          It's really hard to get people to agree on an acceptable signal-to-noise ratio, so you often just end up with a wall of noise "just to be safe" which of course has the opposite boy-who-cried-wolf effect of the signal being ignored.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Nothing to see here

            When available, I tend to make a bot to read the reports and send me a summary, usually a one-line summary, when things are fine. A single message at a predictable time confirming that the expected reports have been received, are available for me to read, and contain no issues means I have a good amount of information. If I don't get one when I expected it, the monitoring bot or my email is broken. If one of the things it's reading doesn't show up as expected, this gets recorded as an anomaly and a different message is sent. On a normal day, I read a message with a subject line indicating that I don't have to read other things. It's not always feasible to do it that way, but when it is, it's nice.

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: Nothing to see here

              A similar solution: there's a cron job that needs to run every five minutes just to tickle some remote webserver into doing what it apparently can't do on its own. As it's more efficient to have said server not become constipated the interval is set at those five minutes, but a status mail that said cron job has run and gotten the server to process $number of orders would be a lot of noise with rarely a message that manual action is required. So only on top of the hour that cron job actually sends a mail, and if three of those mails in sequence are not received in its destination mailbox an alert mail gets sent to an actively read mailbox.

              It's usually because that webserver (which I have no control over whatsoever) has gotten a bit stroppy and needs a kick.

        2. Psmo
          Windows

          Re: Nothing to see here

          Don't agree- remember certain malware would silence any notifications from your antivirus (doable with local user rights at the time).

          Blame the malware devs for us not be able to have nice things.

      2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to see here

        as the Night-watch was fond to shout loudly:

        "It is midnight, good citizens, and everything is fine!"

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Nothing to see here

      On Windows, you have something ...

      The ones that really wind me up are the Windows ...

      Hmm ...

      @AD + @HN-B

      How about using a decent OS (hint: Devuan Linux) and rid yourselves of all that nuisance?

      Have a great week-end.

      Best,

      O.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Nothing to see here

        I'm pretty sure that Teams is as obnoxious on Linux as it is on Windows

        The only redeeming feature of Teams on Linux may be the inability to have your webcam properly working because of a lack of drivers...

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Nothing to see here

          Teams works fine with the webcam on this Linux Mint laptop.

          The main redeeming feature of Teams on Linux is that it is available on Linux, It's a pile of shit there, but slightly less so than on Windows.

          -A.

    3. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to see here

      > I've just been interrupted by a notification saying that there's nothing to notify me about.

      Well, it's difficult to understand, but apparently some people need this: Think your manager telling you he needs hourly updates on something which will take weeks to complete: Most of your updates will be copy-paste repeats with a slightly different timestamp; won't they. But your manager still needs them to feel he's on top of things.

      So, I guess Defender is just catering for those who need to feel they're "in control". Also, don't forget in Microsoft's mind Windows is a self-contained activity center supposed to keep the user fully occupied and amused (while they monetize him). You're not supposed to do anything else than play with the OS, which means it has to be noisy and intrusive, lest you get bored.

  8. Bebu

    talky toaster?

    Appears Grant+Naylor's talking toaster (Red Dwarf) is pretty benign by comparison.

    At the time I thought Douglas Adams' talking lifts (Hitchhikers Guide) were rather fanciful but his "Happy Vertical People Transporters" are probably now "best practice." We are spoilt for choice were we required to identify a candidate for the "Sirius Cybernetics Corporation" but some chap at leading contender thought they had already created a "Genuine People Personality."

    Actually Marvin (Android) would be an improvement on Siri, Alexa et al.

    What a world!

    1. Scotthva5

      Re: talky toaster?

      More like Talky Microwave. I have a mid-range micro that announces every key press with a shrill and incredibly loud beep with no option of turning it off. Why? Ostensibly it's for the visually impaired but a closer inspection reveals that to be false: the number pad is perfectly smooth (so no tactical feedback) and the tone is the same for every key press (so no audible feedback). The best I can come up with is the micro has taken it upon itself to inform the entire household that Dad is back from the bar and reheating that last piece of pizza at 2 am.

      1. Calum Morrison

        Re: talky toaster?

        Doesn't every microwave do that? Mine also beeps loudly every couple of minutes after finishing if you don't open the door. Arguably a safety reminder, but annoying AF.

        My in-laws gave us a toastie maker as a wedding gift that doesn't beep at all - for some reason Breville decided it should play "comedy" celebrity impersonations, loosely themed on toasties. Even when we received it back in 2004 it was dated stuff - Ooh Mavis, Ken and Deirdre Barlow type guff that would even embarrass Les Dennis back in the 80s. It was truly dire and yet also utterly awesome in that very terribleness. Of course we've still got it...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: talky toaster?

          I hope that when your in-laws visit you feed them exclusively on toasties until they tell you they're quite happy if you just throw it away.

  9. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

    I don't understand why every FUCKING device and website and software has to provide a weather forecast box wherever there are more than two pixels unused. The only question I need to answer is "do I need a jacket?" I can get a 90% accurate answer by remembering what month it is. I can get to 99% accuracy by looking out the window.

    Yes, I understand that the weather data is there to be scraped and it seems like easy customisation, but just because you can, it doesn't mean you should. Weather wankers!

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      It's a simple way of geotracking devices.

      It seems innocuous, but it is sending back your usage and location on a regular basis.

      Bit like stock trackers.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: just because you can, it doesn't mean you should

      Words to live by.

    3. Julian Bradfield

      90% accuracy by the month? You don't live in Scotland, I take it. (Looking out the window doesn't work either - it can look the same at 10C or 20C.)

  10. Franco Silver badge

    It's not just computers and mobiles and tablets either. A couple of years ago someone ran in to the back of my car and I had a Hyundai something as a courtesy car whilst it was being fixed. It was around Jan/Feb so dark when I was commuting (IIRC early 2020 so just before commuting stopped being a thing). The car would inform you about everything.

    LIGHTS TURNED ON/OFF

    WINDSCREEN WIPERS TURNED ON/OFF

    CHANGE GEAR

    RADIO STATION CHANGED

    LANE CHANGE WARNING

    And of course as these are "safety" warnings they cannot be turned off.

    It's a bit like those signs that say "New Road Layout Ahead" which are always left there for at least 10 years after the road was changed. Not helpful in the slightest.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      It's a bit like those signs that say "New Road Layout Ahead" which are always left there for at least 10 years after the road was changed.

      And if you're a regular user of the road you'll almost certainly have been held up by seen the roadworks that changed it. If you're not then it will be meaningless as you'll have no knowledge of what it was like before the change

      1. dajames Silver badge

        New Road Layout Ahead

        ... if you're a [not] regular user of the road ... it will be meaningless as you'll have no knowledge of what it was like before the change

        Not entirely. It's still a useful warning that you're about to encounter people who think they know the road layout, but don't, and who will come screaming at you out of the blue where it's not (but used to be) their right of way.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: New Road Layout Ahead

          ...and people blindly following a SatNav that's not been updated in years, if ever.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: New Road Layout Ahead

            Or if it had, not realising that f***ing Garmin take a while to notice things like a whole new exit from the M6 to the M1 South that's been years in the building. So that they are in the wrong lane and or go sailing off past the exit until they run out of motorway and find themselves (OK, myself) in the depths of rural Nowhereshire with no way to find where the f***ing M1 has gone.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: New Road Layout Ahead

              M1 & M6 Losing one motorway could be seen as careless. Losing two...

    2. AnotherName
      Stop

      But they NEVER give a warning sign for when the speed limit has changed on a road you've driven down for years and you get caught out by not noticing the numbers on the signs have changed.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        That probably being the fine line between safety and profit...

        1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

          In France, the government changes the speed limits regularly on a whim. Obviously it is not practical or affordable to change all the road signs every time the speed limit is changed. So they change some of them and leave the rest where they are and you just have to know what the legal speed limit currently is - by catching it on the news, for example.

          Not so long ago, the national road speed limit was lowered to 80km/h, so whenever you see a signpost marked 90 you are supposed to drive at 80. Just recently, the government relaxed the restriction, allowing a number of regional governments to allow the speed limit to return to 90km/h.

          Some did, some didn't.

          So now if you drive around France, the national road speed limit is either 80 or 90km/h depending upon which département you are in at the time. You may see a sign marked 80 but the limit is 90, and vice versa. Just possibly, if you're a really lucky, the speed limit marked on the road will actually be the real speed limit.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            I read recently that Wales are introducing legislation setting a universal limit of 20mph on all roads not at national speed limit, again, presumably irrespective of what the signage says. Not that it bothers me, I have no plans to go there & can easily avoid making any.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              No, they are just changing all current 30 limits in built-up areas to 20mph. I actually agree where the road has lots of pedestrian traffic, where the pavements are often crowded or around schools but the blanket imposition is problematic. I'm also convinced that driving at 20mph in 3rd is more polluting than 30mph in 4th though of course, it's exactly the opposite in an electric car.

              The whole of North Cardiff has been trialling it for a few months and it's an absolute nightmare. There are 'arterial' roads with 20 limits where anyone actually doing 20 gets squeezed past by impatient delivery drivers, busses and even cyclists, who then have to be re-passed on the next hill, only to come past you again a hundred yards later.

              They tried it around Caldicot too... and then had to change it back.

              M.

          2. Dr_N Silver badge

            Not just the national government.

            When the prefecture of Alpes Maritimes asked ASF/Vinci to install a variable speedlimit system they refused on cost grounds.

            So the prefecture passed a local decree to reduce autoroute speed limits from the already reduced 110kph to 90kph around Nice. And now we are stuck with that.

          3. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Ah, this must be the Tesla tax.

          4. dajames Silver badge

            In France, the government changes the speed limits regularly on a whim. Obviously it is not practical or affordable to change all the road signs every time the speed limit is changed. So they change some of them and leave the rest where they are and you just have to know what the legal speed limit currently is - by catching it on the news, for example.

            ... which must be particularly annoying if you have paid extra for your car to have a little camera that reads speed limit signs so that it can tell you how fast to drive! I understand that's a "thing" nowadays.

            [SWMBO has a 6-year-old mini on which such a feature was available, but strangely she did not elect to spend the extra cash on it!]

          5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            I completely agree, and I am quite fed up with this situation.

            I work in Luxembourg, I live in France. I am what is called "frontalier" (trans-border worker).

            I am waiting for the day when a gendarme will stop me and say that I was 10kph above the 80kph limit.

            I will then make it my duty to point out that the panels at the border on the highway still specify that the speed limit on national roads is 90kph.

            You want me to do 80 ? Put up a speed limit or fuck off.

          6. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            No true.

            As long as there was a sign stating that the limit is 90, you could go up to that speed.

            Otherwise, the default was 80 km/h.

            The local authorities complained loudly about the need to change (not remove, change) and of course PAY for ALL the signs for the roads where the limit was lowered, following complex rules meaning that in some cases you could go at 80 km/h going one way, but 90 km/h when coming the other way...

            Nowadays they can move back to the old limit, but it will cost the same or even more to again change the signs...

          7. Potemkine! Silver badge

            whenever you see a signpost marked 90 you are supposed to drive at 80.

            You may see a sign marked 80 but the limit is 90, and vice versa. .

            No, this is not true. Follow the speed limit indicated by the sign or you may be in trouble.

      2. Fred Dibnah

        You are supposed to look out for, and read, all road signs, not just the ones outside your local area.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Joke

          I am in London, should I read the signs for Edinburgh also?

    3. logicalextreme

      It's a bit like those signs that say "New Road Layout Ahead" which are always left there for at least 10 years after the road was changed. Not helpful in the slightest.

      Positive me would say that that's done based on accident statistics of road users returning to a familiar spot after a time away, but evidence speaks otherwise. There's a footbridge over a river near me that somebody went through a few months ago, and while it got repaired much sooner than expected the signs alerting walkers and cyclists to the bridge closure can still be discovered in various locations within about a half-mile radius of the bridge. It's like a summer 1992 intern at the council accidentally ordered a hundred times as much sheet metal as was required and they're still trying to balance the books.

    4. Andy A Bronze badge

      <It's a bit like those signs that say "New Road Layout Ahead" which are always left there for at least 10 years after the road was changed. Not helpful in the slightest.>

      We still have a "New roundabout ahead" sign, seven years after it was converted back into a crossroads.

      1. CuChulainn Silver badge

        They also do that with the 'slippery road' signs.

        They put them up when a new road is built or one has been completely resurfaced, so the new tarmac holds water and might pose a skid risk. But they never take them down.

        On a bridge near me there's one on the gantry from when the bridge was previously fully resurfaced (and it was recently done again after being closed for nearly two years because they discovered it might fall down).

        That sign has been there for around 20 years. They probably don't have a big enough ladder to get to it.

        1. Fred Dibnah

          When the line painting crews go out to do their thing, I wish they had a line at the end of their job list which said ‘Take away No Road Markings signs’.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Trollface

            We've still got several "flood warning" signs around the local area here.

            I mean, after all the rain we've had lately, they are so accurate and relevant...

            1. Fred Dibnah

              Just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, those flood signs will be true again some time in the future :-)

              1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

                are they relevant in case of the Flood?

      2. 105kayem

        Ha!

        There’s a local chip shop that still displays a prominent “ Voted Best Chip Shop in Dorset “ Twenty five years after The “ award “

        The chips are crap…

        1. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

          Evidently the sogn still works though, if it's bringing in new customers.

    5. captain veg Silver badge

      Can anyone explain the utility of those signs warning of rocks falling? I can only imagine that it's so they can say "we told you so" when your roof is stoved in. The likelihood of any driver's safety being enhanced by looking into the sky is small.

      -A.

  11. Disk0
    Meh

    The scourge is real

    Disabling notifications in every possible way and context is one of my first actions on any new system. That being said my phone insists on notifying me of messages that I am actually reading.

    1. AnotherName

      Re: The scourge is real

      I log into my banking app in the morning, see that some payments have gone out and log out. 10-15 minutes (or even hours) later, the app tells me that the same payments have gone out. I log in to transfer money to/from my saving account and log out. An alert pops up to tell me that I have received that amount in my account. And so on, ad infinitum...

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: The scourge is real

      Absolutely!

      Lloyds bank insist upon sending me text messages informing me that "We have transferred £xxx from $ACCOUNT1 to $ACCOUNT2" usually a minimum of TWO FUCKING DAYS after the transfer has taken place (which I've already seen). And this is a transfer that I've usually initiated myself! AAAARRRRGGHHHH!

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: The scourge is real

        That's computer lag. As you all here know, computers need up to 48 hours to process any instruction.

        It can be even longer if the weather is humid or the stoker doesn't feed the computer enough coal.

  12. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Alert

    Power fail

    My APC helpfully goes "BEEP....BEEP....BEEP" every 30 seconds to let me know there's been a power failure.

    Just in case the overwhelming silence and darkness didn't clue me in.

    And, after 15 minutes, my alarm system sets off a continuous "BEEEEEEEEEEE.....", just in case I hadn't noticed there was no power.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Power fail

      The UPS might be configured to expect a higher load and a generator, so when there isn't one, it assumes it's going to die in a few minutes and you need to shut down things attached to it. It might be possible to disable that warning beep in the settings.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Power fail

        Nope. The APC SmartUPS that keeps my network gear running in case of a power outage does that too. It's neither over- nor underloaded, and is of a size and model that is not expected to sit behind a generator.

  13. OhForF'

    STFU mode

    >Request to OS developers: can we have a total STFU mode, please?<

    The developers are fine with the request, you just need to get it approved by marketing and the PHB.

    Don't hold your breath.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: STFU mode

      And when it's finally released, marketing will have forced through a mod so that it reminds you every 15 minutes that it's been enabled and would you like to switch it off now in case you miss some important emergency alert notifications, like upgrade announcements or requests to give a 5 star review of the new STFUAlert App.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: STFU mode

        You are so last year...

        To get rid of the notification you'll have to subscribe to the "no notification" service, that will allow you to disable 1 (one) notification for $0.99 per month.

        The premium service will allow you to disable 2 (two) notifications, for the fabulous monthly fee of $9.99 per month.

  14. Martin an gof Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Everyone's at it

    Our milk-person seems to perform their monthly accounts on the dot of midnight once a month. Cue "new email" alert from phone, if I've not remembered to turn data and WiFi off before going to bed. FreeNAS (or whatever it's called these days informs me it's starting - and then finishing - a scrub, by email at about 2am most mornings, too.

    And as for the blasted car... it has an annoying habit of doing the "warning bleep", flashing up a message on the little LCD display between the speedometer and the rev. counter, and then flashing it away again before your eyes have even had a chance to dip down, let alone refocus. On the rare occasion when I've caught it, it seems to be the collision avoidance alert, which is the very last thing that should be distracting me at a crucial moment, and often turns out to be incorrect anyway as anyone older than about three can see that there's no way I'm going to run into that hedge, and even if I did it'd hardly tickle the wing mirror.

    On my own car I've managed to turn the parking sensors off. There is a real physical switch on the dash somewhere. It's impossible to do this permanently in the wife's car which means, as I reverse carefully down the drive at a relative's house, the system gives me no useful information at all as I brush past the various overgrown shrubs and grasses. On top of that, when it is dark, the LCD turns on - even when I've switched it "off" - to show me a useless graphic of the car reversing, which totally ruins the lighting environment and makes it much more difficult to see in the mirrors. Even if I push the "back" button to turn it off again, the first time a feathered grass-head brushes past one of the sensors, the blasted thing comes back on!

    M.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Everyone's at it

      "On the rare occasion when I've caught it, it seems to be the collision avoidance alert"

      My wife's car also has this horrible misfeature (yes, I know I've just changed lanes into a short slot, now the next thing is to ease up and get a bit more space to the car in front). It also flashes lane warnings. Locally there's a stretch of road with hatchings down the middle. Presumably some highway engineer had a surplus of white paint to get rid of and not even the local knowledge of local parking habits that a glance at the OS map would have provided. So if one pulls out to pass the parked cars outside the fish restaurant in order to avoid triggering the collision warning let alone an actual collision the lane warning triggers.

      Then thee was a test drive some years ago in a car which had adjacent lane traffic warnings. That could have become annoying very quickly unless it could be turned off. I didn't buy it.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Lane warnings

        I'm 56 years old.

        I have already driven 1.5 million kilometers ( I counted ).

        I know how to stay in my lane, thank you.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Lane warnings

          I think it's not really meant for the aware driver, but rather is for the dozy driver who has lost awareness.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Lane warnings

          " I counted"

          Wasn't that a bit distracting?

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Lane warnings

            well, I counted from 0 to infinity (twice), it was mostly boring

        3. herman Silver badge

          Re: Lane warnings

          …and at 57, when Altzheimers set in, you may need it.

    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Everyone's at it

      On the rare occasion when I've caught it, it seems to be the collision avoidance alert, which is the very last thing that should be distracting me at a crucial moment, and often turns out to be incorrect anyway as anyone older than about three can see that there's no way I'm going to run into that hedge, and even if I did it'd hardly tickle the wing mirror.

      You are Homer Simpson, and I claim my fi... Mind that chestnut tree!

  15. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Because I live near a road junction, I get to hear a lot of lorries warning people that they are turning left. What puzzles me is why the manufacturers decided to have the warnings voiced by Donald Duck.

    Incidentally, I thought Dabbsy lived in France. If so, it's odd that his "neighborhood" is in America.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      "his "neighborhood" is in America"

      We use north American house style at The Register. Donc mon quartier serait "my neighborhood" tout de même.

      1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        We use north American house style at The Register.

        Un gros morceau de l’Amérique du nord emploie l’orthographe « neighbourhood » — n’oubliez pas le Canada anglophone !

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "his "neighborhood" is in America"

        Ah yes. It's obvious when you think about it. Prime base being in London, owned by a company based in Liverpool, yeah, using a "North American house style" is the most natural choice to be understandable around the world. A mish-mash of cockney and scouse probably wouldn't work all that well :-)

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: "his "neighborhood" is in America"

          I was born in the US, moved to Belgium when I was 2, returned to the US for 3 years, moved to Australia for 2-1/2 years and returned to the US at age 11.

          Thus I have a bit of a problem with mm/dd/yy vs dd/mm/yy (vs yyyy-mm-dd on my computer files, per work convention) and with neighbours vs neighbors and such things. The amount of Brit fiction and video I consume doesn't help. El Reg is only a minor inconvenience (and a welcome distraction)

          Also -- at around age 11, when I had to take a language in school, I discovered I already knew a lot of French ...simply by having absorbied it when I lived in Belgium (and attended a French-speaking daycare). I'm the one who laughs at the French lines in the movies (which aren't always subtitled accurately)

          // icon because I never know...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As an application developer ...

    This complete lack of consideration for what is critical, warning, information or what ever type of message impacts on my application.

    Customers raise tickets with service desk saying "Order hasn't processed" and you ask them what message was posted on the screen and they respond with "I don't know, I just click OK until the messages go away but this order hasn't processed and you need to fix it" ...

    I'm not fucking psychic, I cannot see the messages you ignored.

    And my application does not beep, that was the first thing we turned off.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: As an application developer ...

      This ^^^

      I've experienced this as an app developer. People are so inundated with shitty little marketing messages and ads masquerading as notification prompts, not least when they land on mobile web pages, that users are accustomed to dimissing them without reading them. So when you send out a notification that actually means something, it gets lost among the slurry spray of all the rest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an application developer ...

        I've had this in real life. Whilst living in Leeds about twenty years ago, while walking around the city center, I had to tune out all the Big Issue sellers and Charity muggers competing for the attention of passers by.

        Mind you, I didn't notice I was doing this until some years later, at the time in London a tourist asked me politely what the time was, or some similarly inoffensive request. Well, I say "at the time", but actually it was about 30 seconds later, after I'd rudely ignored them, them that my brain finally realised what my subconcious had been doing....

        :-/

      2. Geoff Campbell
        Boffin

        Re: As an application developer ...

        That's nothing to do with the proliferation of messages.

        I started out in the '80s, programming single-task applications on PCs. The sort of thing where a company would buy a PC, a printer, and our software, stick it on a desk, and use it for that one task, you know? Running DOS, so the computer booted up, automatically loaded our application, and did *absolutely* nothing else.

        Any error message that came up was definitely and absolutely an error, and came with a summary text and a warning that we would want to know what the text said.

        Did the users make a note of it before dismissing it? Did they fuck.

        GJC

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: As an application developer ...

          Would be nice if error messages popped up & said in large friendly letters.

          DON'T PANIC - PLEASE SCREENSHOT THIS ERROR MESSAGE BEFORE YOU LOG A TICKET

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As an application developer ...

            it will still be clicked through... clicking through notifications... setup instructions... anything... really became popular and grew drastically after 1995...

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: As an application developer ...

            "DON'T PANIC - PLEASE SCREENSHOT THIS ERROR MESSAGE BEFORE YOU LOG A TICKET"

            Cue a queue of message to the hell desk asking for what that message means, what is a "screen shot", how do I do it and what calibre gun would best for the job?

          3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: As an application developer ...

            would be nicer if the application could log itself the ticket before shutting down the computer...

        2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: As an application developer ...

          Why not look in the logfile ?

          You do write a log, don't you ? Not just ping up unmemorable messages and expect the user to do your work for you ?

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: As an application developer ...

            "You do write a log, don't you ? Not just ping up unmemorable messages and expect the user to do your work for you ?"

            And you now need to get the user to send you their log, or have an automatic collection system so you can find it. When does it become the user's job to use the software as it was designed? Why, when something happens during the user's use of the software, on the user's machine, while the user is controlling it, on the user's data, is it the developer's fault when someone won't read a message?

            Unless that error message says "We should never get here. Start panicking now." or "Segmentation fault", it's likely a message that's been written by a developer so the user can read it. Yes, sometimes the developer is available for a user who is confused, but it's still the user's responsibility to provide information so they can get answers. It is not my job to read every log so the users never have to do something easy while doing their job.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: As an application developer ...

              Subcontracting means there is slightly less time to do the job than is needed, especially if there are penalties for over running too. So pesky details get dropped.

            2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: As an application developer ...

              The worst part is when you are giving the hell desk all the information to help the users, and when everything fails the exact location where to find the various logs that are generated.

              And in the ticket you find only a screenshot of the logs folder, with all the log files listed...

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Facepalm

            You do write a log, don't you ?

            And now the setup program needs to make sure that the error log is available to the developer. Either by mail, or another method of transfer, and which requires the user to answer questions they don't have the foggiest about.

            If the system they're using is actually sufficiently capable that way. Up to W95 few if any desktops as described above would have any form of connectivity to the outside world. At best some local file and printer sharing, if at all

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: You do write a log, don't you ?

              Then how about a button that, on the request of the developer, the user pushes to see the last few error messages ?

              Or better still emails them (on command, to avoid privacy issues) but I accept that may not be possible, especially as many failures will have broken connectivity.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: As an application developer ...

          "Did the users make a note of it before dismissing it?"

          Pause the program for about a minute before clearing the text "to give them time to make a note". Helping you fix the problem means they won't get delayed like that in the future.

          To be really sneaky, write a file which will tell the program to pause longer next time. Have some key combination that clears it that you tell them about when they report the error message properly.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an application developer ...

        this is a big issue for security as well.. users clicking through alerts, notifications, text messages... etc

      4. ChoHag
        Windows

        Re: As an application developer ...

        The users were accustomed to clicking on whatever made the irritating message telling them what had gone wrong go away long before they were used for advertising.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: As an application developer ...

          I put this down to the sheer uselessness of messages - starting with the old yes/no style options where either seemed much use and it was not possible to work out which action (if any)would be helpful.

          1. herman Silver badge

            Re: As an application developer ...

            Abort, Retry, Fail.

      5. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: As an application developer ...

        So when you send out a notification that actually means something, it gets lost among the slurry spray of all the rest.

        The one time I had do do development on an user-facing application[0] I devised[1] a method to get error messages[2] reported correctly:

        The error message comes up full-screen, blocks alt-tab and other key combos that would switch away from the error message, shows an error code, the time and date of the error and a check number based on that. There's an entry field that has focus and can't be navigated away from. The helpdesk then enters those numbers into a reporting application which uses the reported error code, time, date and check number to calculate the unlock code the user needs to dismiss the error message screen.

        [0] Long ago, and kind of by accident.

        [1] Quit that job before implementing it, which would likely have been denied anyway.

        [2] Yes, actual error messages. Not just warnings or informationals.

    2. Andy Non

      Re: As an application developer ...

      I've had service calls like that in the past. What I started doing was getting my software to create a log file of anything untoward so I could subsequently diagnose any issues without relying on such users.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: As an application developer ...

        Which works if you can get a user to send you the right file when they have an issue. You could have the program send it automatically, but this can lead to privacy problems (I argue for privacy all the time and I won't give up on that, but having worked with user support requests there's a reason people like automatic telemetry). I've had users automatically delete the log file on completion, users who got annoyed if the log file was anywhere but the temp folder, users who couldn't find the temp folder, and users who couldn't find the file even when it was set to a path they selected. Logging helps, but a user can still find a way to weaken it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an application developer ...

        I saw this week an application log where the only message was "null pointer exception" (of course a Java application, why did you ask?).

        Even the developer had troubles finding why it did occur, even knowing that the application had been reinstalled on a new server, in a different datacenter than the previous setup.

        After a few minutes scratching his head he asked the customer to check the configuration UI, asking to change a few settings, before noticing that at the bottom of the screen two paths, intended for a module that was not in use anymore, were referring to a server in the previous datacenter...

        Once they were replaced by a blank value, everything worked without any more issues (for the time being, it is a Java application).

  17. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

    Outlook into the past

    At work, as an occasional user of micros~1's finest (I usually work on a Linux desktop) I am regularly reminded to my bewilderment of meetings hours, days and weeks in the past. Whenever I turn my Windows machine on and Outlook starts up, it reminds me of all meetings that have taken place since the last time Outlook was up and running.

    While a similar feature of facebook shows you pics you posted years ago may evoke fond memories, the reminder of yesterweeks meeting is simply pointless.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Outlook into the past

      You don't need to be an infrequent user for that. Just have it installed on several machines, one of which you haven't used for a while.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Outlook into the past

      "it reminds me of all meetings that have taken place since the last time Outlook was up and running."

      Teams does that on my phone too. It even includes a helpful "Join Now" button for a meeting last week FFS.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outlook into the past

      How about actually dealing with the reminder? - i.e. dismissing it, not just closing the dialogue

  18. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Honda

    Honda displays will pop up notifications ( gone over the speed limit etc) with a "Ting!" So you can glance at the display and see why it went "Ting". Except,frequently, it just goes "Ting" but no reason is given.

    1. fargoneicehole

      Re: Honda

      You're hearing a "ting" but it is really "ka-ching". It must be the internal service notification that lets them know you did something with the car that will cost you a bit more during the next service appointment!

      1. Andy A Bronze badge

        Re: Honda

        No, it's an attempt to get more cash NOW.

        For only £20.99 a month, you can access the text which goes with the noises.

        For only £299.99 a month, you can turn the noises off.

  19. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
    Pint

    The mysterious beep in the night....

    It's always worth noting nature's little contribution to electronic-sounding 'beeps'. The Midwife Toad (common in France..... and parts of the UK) has a very annoying call. They can be identified by this distinctive call which is a clear, high-pitched staccato whistle, often described as an ‘electronic bleeping’ sound: 'like a smoke alarm on low battery.'

    I have searched high and low for these blighters, but have never seen one, even on the road.

    There's no cure apart from -->

    1. fargoneicehole

      Re: The mysterious beep in the night....

      There are birds that fly around local that like to warble out sounds that sound like a ray-gun I had in the late 70s / early 80s. The bird or birds chirps are melodic and change without break like a young child cycling through the different tones and pulses while holding the trigger.

      I often find myself wondering if those tones and pulses from the ray-gun were inspired by natural sounds the birds made or if they have learned the sounds from our toys and have passed them like oral record through their progeny.

      Either way I will somewhat fantastically attribute it to loved ones long gone reaching out to say hello any way they can.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The mysterious beep in the night....

        Quite possibly starlings. They're good at imitating sounds like that. There used to be one in the mews behind our lab that had a Trimphone ring off to a tee.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: The mysterious beep in the night....

          With the slow increase in volume as the thermistor warmed up?

      2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: The mysterious beep in the night....

        Reminds me of this song: Cell Phone

      3. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

        Re: The mysterious beep in the night....

        The birds learn. Back in the 90s a lot of cars had aftermarket alarms that would sound a series of 6 different alarm tones in a set order. For a time, birds were duplicating it. You could be in the middle of nowhere, no cars nearby, then hear a car alarm going off up a nearby tree.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: The mysterious beep in the night....

      Some of the Scops owl calls can sound quite electronic too

  20. Calum Morrison

    Windows System Sounds - office hell!

    In the old days, users needed speakers to annoy everyone in their office with bings, dings, dongs and whooshes so it was a relatively rare phenomenon. Since pretty much every PC has a built in speaker now and laptops all do, any open plan office is a hellscape of windows and Outlook notifications unless they're disabled - particularly as volume sliders are usually set to max for Teams calls, youtube vids etc.

    Most people don't notice or know how to silence these constant bloody nuisances and it's not a system-wide option - it's per profile, with Windows seemingly even copying the WAV files into each user's profile so even deleting at source doesn't help. As far as I can find, there's no GP method to do it (why!!!???) so every single user I set up has to have it done manually - in the old XP-style dialogue box natch as Windows 10's sound panel doesn't seem to do it. It's either that or know that Betty in accounts has hit the wrong bastarding key yet a-f**ing-gain.

    I hate you Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Windows System Sounds - office hell!

      Not to mention certain colleagues who seem to spend a quarter of their lives on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and suchlike, and thus most of the other three quarters are spent with their phones binging, chirping and making other irritating noises when they get replies or posts...

      I have a colleague who is so bad for that, her phone has come close to becoming projectile more than once, and on occasions even she gets irritated by them.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Windows System Sounds - office hell!

      Nope, sorry.

      You can turn the sound off.

      It's pretty easy, there's an icon on the taskbar.

      What you can't turn off is the marketroids making their phone calls in an open floor.

      One of these days, I'm going to murder one of them.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Windows System Sounds - office hell!

        One of the first things I do when I get a new Windows machine: turn off all sounds. Also disable pop-up notification balloons in the taskbar. Also, also show system files in directory listings...and on, and on.

      2. X5-332960073452
        Megaphone

        Re: Windows System Sounds - office hell!

        Just ONE ??

      3. Calum Morrison

        Re: Windows System Sounds - office hell!

        Pascall, you can indeed turn the sound off, but a lot of people don't like you fiddling with their PCs so you either have to do it surreptitiously or - as would be easiest - via GP.

    3. TSM

      Re: Windows System Sounds - office hell!

      I just keep a pair of earphones plugged in to mine. I put them on if I'm on a call or want to listen to music, and the rest of the time they absorb whatever sounds my laptop wishes to inflict on the general environment.

  21. Nugry Horace
    Go

    My favourite discussion of this type was on Raymond Chen's blog, where the comments section turned into a jokey arms race about how a program could ensure it was the one whose alerts ended up on top. From memory it ended something like "My program uses a robot arm to draw on the screen with permanent marker. It needs to do this to tell you that you could free up space by deleting temporary files." "Well, MY program uses the robot arm to stick a post-it note that covers the monitor entirely. It needs to do this to tell you that you have unused icons on your desktop."

  22. Spamfast
    Alert

    Oh, 'eck. Arroogah and Petrocelli?

    I think I'm starting to believe in the collective unconscious, M. Dabbs.

    But returning to topic, my other half is also shy of all the bleeps and so routinely mutes her phone - which is fine until I need to contact her. 'Infuriating' doesn't cover it.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Pirate

      Ex Sister

      Had this habit of turning off her cellphone at 8pm at night (if on as she leaves it off until she needs it. Email & FB are out due to paranoia).

      This is incredibly annoying when you land at Gatwick on a Sunday Morning, try to tell her you will be late due to a missed train at 9.30am. having arrived in our home city station to find out where she & our father is, discover after a taxi to my hotel & walking into the two local bars, that they are in a bar that was 4 minutes away from the station, wondering where I am & why I haven't called.

      Decided not to ring me at 4am (Local time) to tell me our father passed a year later, but did decide to finally make contact at 4pm (Just before she went to bed). Cancelled the sale of the family home, by stomping into the Estate Agents & verbally instructing us & then went dark for 36 hours. Agreed a price so she & her partner could buy it & 24 hours later went to the estate agent to put the house back on the market, thus concluding 50 hours of stress.

      *Ex as the final straw was when she took legal action against me 9 years later.

  23. Blackjack Silver badge

    This is why I don't use any Internet Of Things stuff.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      but what about the Intentionally Devilish Internet Of Things?

  24. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Yeah, the fight of attention is off all charts.

    It started with the HTML BLINK thing, and here we are. I knew the game was up when MS finally got into the game, and then Google came around to really feck it up. Soon Facebook came along, and mopped up the remaining attention whores.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Terminator

      Looks like you are trying to rant about something.

      Do you need any help?

      [Yes] [Of course]

      (where is the Clippy icon?)

    2. Spamfast
      Thumb Up

      It started with the HTML BLINK thing

      Oh, the rot started much earlier.

      Teletext had blinking text character codes way before HTML.

      DEC VT escape codes earlier still. Not sure whether IBM block-mode terminals did so before or after that.

      But we're talking 1970 or possibly earlier either way.

  25. Daedalus

    Click!

    As many a tale from Tech Support has related, the average drone pays no attention to any message appearing in front of them, and will dismiss it in the quickest way possible, up to and including yanking the power cord. This may, of course, simply be the inevitable result of pouring a stream of notifications they'd rather not deal with down people's throats.

    Over to you, Talkie Toaster....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Click!

      "up to and including yanking the power cord."

      Is it information overload or have they been trained by the helldesk default "Have you tried turning it off and on again"?

  26. cosymart
    Meh

    New car

    I bought a new car in the Summer and after a few weeks managed to understand the varous icons and beeps emanating from the dashboard - A few months later and I am driving home at night and I hear a strange high pitched beep accompanied by an orange dashboard icon that looks like an angel. In fear of my life I pull over and investigate, apparently it is a low temperature warning frost alert. On closer inspection the icon is a representation of a snow flake set in a triangle and for some unfathomable reason is set to come on below +6C All through the winter this annoying thing would ping into life :-(

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: New car

      On mine, it's just a snowflake icon, comes on at +4C, which is reasonable as there will, likely be colder areas down the dips, in hollows etc. and only happens either when turning on the ignition or if the temperature drops to 4C while driving. The icon remains lit but the beep is a one off per ignition cycle.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: New car

        Interestingly, with various Hondas, as far as I can work out it's temperature differential that triggers this. i.e. if the cold road shows as substantially colder than it was/or the air temperature or something of that sort.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: New car

      In the US, it comes on at 36F. Every time you start the damn car in the winter!

    3. Shred

      Re: New car

      Driving a work pool car to the big city two and bit hours drive away from home. Just as I get in to heavy traffic on an unfamiliar road and with nowhere to safely stop, the damn thing starts beeping and whistling at me. Look down. Yikes! There’s a yellow light on the instrument panel. Something has gone wrong and it’s going to break down on me!

      No… it was a little icon of a coffee cup. The car had decided that it was time to take a break,

      Death would too good for the sort of people who dream this rubbish up. I drive a 24 year old car for a good reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: New car

        Death would too good for the sort of people who dream this rubbish up.

        The old Windows File Copy progress dialog - the one where an image of a paper would fly between two folders ...I wanted to get hold of the perpetrator of that, or failing that, Bill Gates, tie them to a chair in front of a computer showing that dialog, with their eyelids forced open with tape - and keeping that dialog on endless loop/repeat until the person became a blithering wreck.

        The current circular dotted progress indicator on Windows 10 is no better - where the motion is not even - it wants to grab your attention... just raises my BP

  27. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Thanks for reminding me about notifications .. every time I go to a new website it asks if I want notifications. Obviously I always answer no, but this finally motivated me to search for the setting in the browser that prevents them even asking.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        In Brave, that appears to be in

        settings->privacy and security->site and shields settings->Notifications->default behaviour

      2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        FF:

        about:preferences#privacy / Notifications

  28. Kev99 Silver badge

    What the pop is Focus Assist? NONE of my OSes (Win19, ElCap, Puppy Linux) or apps throw off any beeps, squawks, chirps or other noise. That annoying as hell notifications sidebar doesn't show up. I guess that's what happens when you turn off everything not necessary to using the osor the apps.

  29. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Nothing to worry about...

    Until that is, the beeping stops!

    At which point all IoT Smart Yoghurt Makers in the locality will go berserk.

    1. that one in the corner Bronze badge

      Re: Nothing to worry about...

      What are those noises in the kitchen at night? Could it be the Smart Yoghurt at the back of the fridge, Making their means of escape?

      CASE NIGHTMARE GREY GOO WITH A FRUIT CORNER!

  30. Spanners Silver badge
    Happy

    I made a hard to dismiss message.

    In large white letters in a big red box I put, "This application has been updated" and "Please restart this computer". I put no boxes to click and removed the minimise, expand and close boxes.

    They stayed on people's screens for months! They just alt-tabbed what they wanted to the top and never restarted.

    These were the people who called us and had conversations like...

    I had an error message.

    What did it say?

    E.R.R.O.R.! Are you deaf or stupid?

    Neither. I have a certificate of sanity too.*

    So what are you going to do about it?

    Ask you to restart your PC and please let us know if it says more than that next time

    *CF The good Soldier Sveck by Jaroslav Haçek.

  31. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Samsung, please pay attention

    I bought a samsung phone, a bad mistake. Every 3 days, i get an urgent alert that their legal terms have changed.

  32. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    That beep, beep, beep

    ... is the Apple Airtag that my obsessed and psychologically challenged ex stuck on me somewhere. Just to keep tabs.

    As if the boiling bunnies were not a sufficient clue.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    some options.

    1) If they're on vacation, walk next door and shut off the mains power.

    2) to be on the safe side, you should also shut off the water and the gas

    3) buy a 'no longer at this address' sticker and stamp all of their mail and raise the flag (don't actually do this, you will get in lots of trouble!)

    4) use a drone to drop 2 kilos of peanut butter down their chimney.

    5) drop pencils down their vent pipes

    6) use gorilla glue on their windows and door locks.

    7) put down an inch of dirt on their driveway and lay sod.

  34. AndrueC Silver badge
    Unhappy

    ..and can we please for the love of God stop with the focus stealing Windows! Applications should only be able to steal the focus from the desktop. If I've launched an application then clicked over to another one the launched one should start in the background.

    A particular shout out to the abomination that is Visual Studio because if you have the option 'Show Error List on completion if there are errors' it will continually focus the Error List during a build (possibly related to Nuget Package Manager messages). Despite me and several others reporting it the best they've offered so far is a suggestion to disable the option. That's the quality of software development you get from the VS UI team.

    1. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

      Could be worse - an application I have to use at work does just the opposite. It's an alert that says the app is starting and it won't proceed until you hit OK. The app hides this box under everything open on the screen so to run this you have to minimize everything, click this one box, then bring everything back up again. Annoying as hell.

      1. TSM

        Something similar with one of the apps I use (though not as useless as a mere notification) - on launch, the application displays a dialog box for you to select which connection to use, and to enter login details if you don't have the option set to save them. If you have so much as looked at another application while this one is starting up, this window appears underneath everything else, and doesn't have a task bar button; you have to alt-tab to it - and it appears at the end of the alt-tab list, though of course that's not particularly hard to get to.

        More than once I've gone to restart my computer, and on closing down everything else found one or two of those windows patiently waiting for input.

  35. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    Upper hearing frequencies/Teenagers

    Some public places such as shopping malls have devices that emit noise in the upper frequencies which are less audible to adults - to stop teenagers congregating. Same idea as those rodent repellent devices. My local shopping centre pipes the output of a middle-of-the road music radio station at times through the PA system - which I presume is for the same reason

    Could it be that your neighbour wants you to move ?

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Upper hearing frequencies/Teenagers

      "to stop teenagers congregating"

      Play classical music.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Upper hearing frequencies/Teenagers

        Yeah, but you'll have old people congregate, which is hardly better.

  36. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge
    FAIL

    I have the opposite problem

    A recent Android update messed up Do Not Disturb. It used to work flawlessly, only allowing my set alarms and favorites to ring through when on, but now it randomly shuts all sound off with no warning. Haven't figured out the cause yet, but the goal seems to be to convince me to not use Do Not Disturb so spam calls and texts can ring through. Annoying as hell, it is.

  37. Stu 18

    I like that man - even if he did move to France

    What I hate is the semi related 'grab the focus' thing that apps have a habit of doing. I'm working away typing and then randomly some weird pop up appears from something deep in the OS with a question like 'Do you want me not to not delete the critical files, 'cancel', 'close'.

    Of course it has selected something and gone before I fully read it, or I'm stumped as to what the hell it means or I need a button option that is not there.

    If there is 'help' of course it is 'contact your system administrator for help' - whom of course is sitting in the same chair thinking the same wtf!

    1. TSM

      Re: I like that man - even if he did move to France

      SQL Developer does this to me all the time - I'm typing in a query and part way through it pops up a dialog box to tell me that the database connection has been reset, and waits for me to click "OK", which of course is the only option. Everything I type before I notice the dialog is there gets lost.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I like that man - even if he did move to France

      Yup - focus stealing. A worse scenario is if you're in the middle of entering your login credentials and a text box steals the focus. You can end up typing your password in full sight of anyone looking over your shoulder. Heck - you might even end up sending it out as an email or chat message.

      "Microsoft Windows-based systems use pop-up dialogue boxes which can steal focus from the current application. On versions of Microsoft Windows prior to Windows 7, there is a user setting that will by default prevent a cooperative application from stealing focus when launching another program or popping up a new window or dialogue box. This same method does not work in Windows 7 or later."

      The barstewards took it away. My guess is it was deemed to interfere with touch screen operation in some way.

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