Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Right-Click Saves the Day

I got a new computer at work yesterday, which means I spent the afternoon and part of this morning installing software and copying over important things, like my bookmarked web pages. I noticed immediately that an icon in the task tray (you know, the yokey near the clock) was going to drive me mad.

It looked like a sperm trapped in the game Pong, endlessly pinging only one way with its spermy little tail trailing behind it. I hovered the mouse over the icon and learned it was for some sort of monitoring program. I guess the icon is supposed to look like a heartbeat monitor.

The motion was eye-catching and then the fact that it resembled a sperm was somehow captivating. I was powerless to resist the icon's allure. Mid-morning, I knew I was going to have do something about it.

But what to do? I didn't install the program. I didn't know anything about it. This is the single instance I can think of where being a technical writer pays off. When you don't know what something is or what to do with it, right-click is your friend. In and of itself, right-clicking shouldn't do anything. I won't stick my neck out and say it will never do anyting, but the convention is that right-clicking should give you a menu. (Smartie tech writing types call this a context menu.)

The menu will hold various options that the developer or designer thinks you should be able to access easily. Sure enough, right-click yielded something a command similar to "Change the weird little spermy icon". I think it was actually "Make icon static" or maybe just "Static Icon". I selected the option and was rewarded with a non-moving icon. The new icon looks a little like a NATO defense screen. But as long as it never moves, I think I can peacefully co-exist with it.

So, the next time you are in computer trouble, try a right-click.

5 Comments:

At 11 February 2006 at 02:30, Blogger Career Guy said...

Oh yes--you taught me that. I use it all the time.

 
At 12 February 2006 at 13:19, Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

wouldnt it be great if a double-click could solve a lot of other troubles as well.
ps are you red-head?
I have a weakness for Irish redheads?

 
At 12 February 2006 at 16:51, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Computers are both bane and savior for me. But when they don't work they make me crazy.

 
At 12 February 2006 at 20:22, Blogger Arbusto said...

My computer 'sploded. I'm still in recovery.

How many people actually know what the NATO symbol looks like? I don't think I do.

 
At 12 February 2006 at 20:58, Blogger -Ann said...

Dad- glad you've learned at least one thing from me.

dmj - nope, blonde. But my brother's a redhead.

Jack - I'm with you on that. Been banging my head on a huge brick wall of a computer problem at work for the last week. Right-click, sadly, cannot save me on that one.

Arbusto- I probably didn't describe that very well. It's like one of the computer screens in Wargames - black with a green grid on it and a streak to show the monitoring (or the missile).

 

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