battery plasmoid and remaining time..

Aaron J. Seigo aseigo at
Mon May 18 07:44:33 CEST 2009

On Sunday 17 May 2009, David Nolden wrote:
> > you're asking for magic to happen. "please predict how many phone calls
> > i'll get in the next 2 hours" <-- that's what it would take to translate
> > "one bar" into "38 minutes left"
> The computer can add use additional information for computing the time,
> like the power drain within the last minutes, and the exact power left in
> the battery. 

you really need to read what i wrote above until you actually understand it.

> So unless you show all the information, eg. "recent power
> consumption" and "mah left in batter", the user anyway doesn't have a
> chance to compute a precise value manually.

it would be nice to have a precise value.

but the user doesn't need to compute a precise value. (there are other 
acceptable modes of operation)

and the computer can't compute a precise value.

so let's just forget about precise values.

which is the whole point here.

> How do you think about weather forecast?

20 years ago they were nearly worthless and the weather man was a character 
people made jokes about. there reputation was horrible and nobody took them 

today they have proper computer models, insane amounts of data and their 
predictions tend to be very accurate. people rely on them and trust them.

with this "how much time is left in my battery" we are where the weather man 
was 20 years ago.

> My "left time" indicator is hell of a lot more precise then the usual
> weather forecast.

then you have a shit weather forecaster and/or your usage patterns are very 
consistent. for the latter, we need to step outside the "how i use my 
computer" and consider the wellbeing of "all people who use computers".

> People know that weather forecasts are not precise, still they like them.
> They don't mistrust the whole evening news just because the forecast is not
> precise.

they are precise enough. and, i'm sorry, but the "time remaining" on computers 
isn't even remotely close to the accuracy delivered by the weather forecast 
these days.

> Everyone who has ever used a laptop know that the "battery time left"
> indicator is not precise, and if you make it a bit more clear that it's
> just an estimation in the UI, then this shouldn't be a concern.

see, by intentionally lieing to the user in such a manner that the user knows 
it's a lie we create an environment of purposeful distrust and force the user 
to pay attention to things they should such as "is my computer being honest 
when it says ..."

a crash is an unintentional breach of trust: we don't mean for it crash, but 
when it does, it erodes trust. those events, being unintentional, can be fixed 
and improved over time and we can build further trust.

lieing to the user, esp when they eventually figure out that that is exactly 
what we're doing, is an intentional breach of trust. and the user knows that. 
and it means "i can not trust my computer". it's the WORST sort of breach of 
trust imaginable.

now, as usual, people are simply arguing for the inclusion of the feature 

* actually considering the psychological or other impacts of it
* thinking almost exclusively of themselves versus the global user base
* not coming up with alternative approaches that would make it better (and 
instead just keep arguing for the same broken feature exactly as is)

Aaron J. Seigo
humru othro a kohnu se
GPG Fingerprint: 8B8B 2209 0C6F 7C47 B1EA  EE75 D6B7 2EB1 A7F1 DB43

KDE core developer sponsored by Qt Software

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