LAST EDITED ON Nov-11-03 AT 06:32 PM (Pacific)
A true life story:
Once upon a time,
(All great stories begin that way. Usually, this leads immediately to a boy or girl, who is going to meet a beautiful princess or handsome prince, respectively, by the end of the story, and they'll get married and probably have awesum se . . . . Oh, wait, that happens off-screen. Besides, this isn't one of THOSE stories anyway.)
Once upon a time, not at all long ago, Scary's workplace upgraded his computer and operating system. Now, Scary whizzes along at 2.4 ghz in his most frequently used program: a word processor.
(Most folks probably think that all lawyers do is "whiz." I can tell you from experience that this is no more than HALF what they do.)
Not only does Scary now "whiz" more than he used to, his work also "upgraded" his OS to Windows XP, because Win '98 was old (although not as old as Scary). And besides, Scary had figured out how to use Win '98, and such knowledge infringes the exclusive prerogative of the IT staff and makes them nervous.
This has brought unhappiness and confusion into Scary's life - notwithstanding all the extra "whizzing" he gets to do. You see, those Gatesian gnomes in the far-off land of Redmond, WA, set out to do a "favor" to Scary and other "whizzers" by making a change by consolidating items in the task bar at the bottom of the screen.
"I've got it!" the gnome with the green cap shouted, "Less clutter. When a whizzer like Scary has five, six, seven different documents open at the same time -- however many it takes to do some proper whizzing -- instead of burdening him with five, six, seven additional tabs in the taskbar, let's just give them one tab for each application. So if he has five Word documents open, he will just have one tab, for MS Word, in the task bar. A whizzer like Scary can click on the Word tab to bring up a list of his open documents, and then click on the specific document he wants to jump to. Why wouldn't Scary be happy with that?"
Sadly, the little gnome was mistaken. Scary LIKES clutter: look at his office; look at his home; look at his desktop. Clutter is the sign of an active mind. Indeed, clutter is a sign of a BUSY mind -- too busy when a more-senior whizzer walks into Scary's office with a new project that Scary may not want to whizz on . . . .
A little more to the point, Scary never wants to make two clicks where one should do. In good whizzer fashion, Scary calculates that twice as many clicks probably doubles his risk of repetitive stress syndrome, and Scary knows that workers comp. just isn't the best of retirment plans. Also, if Scary's clicking ability is impaired by overuse at work, Scary will be unable to overuse his clicking ability at home, indulging in some of his favorite CRPGs.
Such impairment might please Scary's wife, but Scary does many other things to bring happiness and sunshine into the life of his beloved-spouse-who-nevertheless-fails-to-see-the-point-in-playing-computer-games. Scary reasons that he has stocked sufficient spouse-karma that he need not frustrate his urgent quest for a light sword, so he can listen to its "swoosh, swoosh" as Scary defends his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of varios cosmic artifacts against spiders, rhinos, rats, slimes, and so forth.
Perhaps Scary should try contacting those charming and helpful little gnomes who created this issue, and they could tell him how to set the taskbar to display each item separately, instead of grouping them under the relevant application.
"Silly Scary!" he remonstrates with himself. "Don't you know those little gnomes are too busy trying to patch the multiple security flaws that keep popping up in their software?" Besides, Scary hasn't trusted gnomes since a gnomish psionic (purposefully?) backfired an insanity spell in a battle with some breeders on Dominus.*
So, instead, Scary went to the Well-of-Knowledge-of-All-Things-of-Great-Importance, the UniMind that is the Greatest RPG Fans Forum. On a strip of parchment, he wrote the following question, wadded it up, and tossed it into the well:
"On Windows XP, how does one set the task bar to display each document, e-mail, internet window, or whatever, separately, instead of grouped under the related application?"
Then, he sat back and waited.
*I made that up. It is a fundamental tenet of my life that truth should almost always yield to humor. The truth is, I don't play with gnomes. Well, okay, I do have a gnomish samurai in a Wiz 1 party, but that was only because of affirmative action.