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Progress bar (1) Fri, Feb 24, 2006
The progress bar is a great invention in computerland.  It performs the mighty feat of telling how much of a task is completed in terms of a percentage.  This is great because if a task is 35% complete and it's been working for a minute, you know that you have a while longer to wait, so you can go do something else while your dumb-dumb slow computer completes a simple little task. 

To the creator of the progress bar, I ask these questions: 

1.  What's the point of a progress bar making it all the way to the end and then starting over from the beginning?  It's like it's saying, "Hey I'm done.  Oh wait, just kidding.  Ok I'm done again.  Nope, not really.  I'm really done now.  Or am I?" 

2.  Why does stuff keep happening even after the progress bar is filled up?  This seems to be a bit illogical.  Shouldn't it only say it's 100% complete when it's actually complete?  Towards the end of the process, shouldn't it say it's 99% complete until it's actually complete? 

I guess some questions just can't be answered. #technology

Comments:
Dave Fri, Dec 15, 2006
Jeremy Wagstaff from the The Wall Street Journal Online emailed me last week about this post.  He said he was writing an article along similar lines and wanted to ask me a few questions.  A few emails went back and forth, and today his article was published.  Unfortunately, he doesn't mention me at all, but some of his statements line up pretty closely with what I wrote:  "[The] indeterminate progress bar ... is a progress bar that, by definition, doesn't measure anything.  You might have seen one:  It looks like a progress bar, the gauge gradually moving to the right edge -- that is, until it starts moving back again."  I've finally made it big time.  Let the money start rolling in.


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