[aprssig] RE: APRSPoint

Stephen H. Smith WA8LMF2 at aol.com
Thu Dec 2 16:53:39 EST 2004

Curt, WE7U wrote on 12/2/2004, 1:04 PM:

 > README.MAPS might be a good place to start.  That and INSTALL.  You
 > probably referred mostly to README.win32 as you did the
 > Cygwin/Xastir install.
 > Once nice thing is that we have a team of developers plus a large
 > group of users who aren't afraid to speak their mind

Well for starters, using wierd extensions like .maps  or  .win32 is 
guaranteed to ensure that most of these documents never get read be the 
average Windows user that expects to double-click on a file name, and 
have it open in a relevent application.

Windows is almost totally oriented to file name extensions, NOT the 
content of files. It uses file name extensions to:

o   Determine what program to use to open a file. Basic ASCII text files 
must have the extension .TXT or .DOC to make them open properly when 
clicked from a file list.

o   Decide what icon to display next to the file name in lists

o   What file names to consider as protected system files (so their 
display gets hidden completely).

o   Decide what files should be blocked and made totally inaccessble as 
potentially dangerous attachments in email.

o   Determine whether anti-virus applications should scan a particular 
file automatically.

Assuming the user can even SEE these file names, clicking on extensions 
like .win32 will cause Windows to produce the annoying and confusing 
dialog about "Windows doesn't know how to open this file" that then 
forces the user to scroll through hundreds of arcane extensions they 
didn't even know existed.

Without the proper extension, the user has to:

1)     Guess that this is probably a readable text file of some sort.

2)     Start some application first, such as the Notepad basic text 
editor, WordPad or Word.

3)    Override the default file name extension filter in the File, Open 
dialog to reveal the strange file names normally hidden from the file 
pick list.  (Normally an applicaton's "File, Open" dialog only shows 
file extensions native to that program; i.e. .TXT for Notepad, .DOC for 
WordPad or Word, etc.) This has to be done every single time you open a 
non-standard file -- the override doesn't "stick".

4)     Navigate to the program's directory where the file is located 
(normal Windows behavior is for "File, Open" dialogs to always home on 
the directory called "My Documents")

5)     Decide whether to say YES or NO to various cryptic prompts about 
do you wish to have Windows reformat this file, etc.

Furthermore, in the default out-of-the-box settings present in about 95% 
of Windows installations, the file name extension, while critical to the 
internal operation of Windows, is HIDDEN FROM VIEW TO THE USER.
      So the user innocently clicks on a file like "README.MAPS" which 
he SEES as just "README" and can't understand why he keeps getting the 
maddening error message mentioned above.  [ One of the very first things 
I ALWAYS do in a new Windows installation is override this idiocy, and 
set the Windows file dialogs to show the entire file name. ]

In my opinion, this is all part and parcel of Bob B's constant refrain 
about programmers forcing unneccesary complexity and burdens on the end 

Stephen H. Smith                wa8lmf (at) aol.com

Home Page:                      http://wa8lmf.com

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