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Legally Enforceable Progress Bar Linearity

Turn progress bars into something actually useful
  [vote for,

The progress bar has been a feature of computer software/operating systems for as long as I can remember. A typical example would be the install of a new piece of software onto your computer.

You open setup.exe, untick some bundled garbage and agree to the terms and hit "install". Now a box pops up with a progress bar in it. The bar races to 10% in the first 2 seconds and, being a human accustomed to the linearity of time you think "ah, so we're only 15-20s away from being done here, no time for tea". Then the progress bar races to 53% and you think "huh, faster than I thought, the software engineers must not have anticipated the sheer power of my mighty rig!". But then it hangs at 91% for 4 minutes and you wasted perfectly good tea-making time. In this situation, the progress bar was useless, or worse, misleading.

Modern devices are, if possible, worse still. Progress is often indicated by a circle with a rotating highlight or similar, no information is conveyed at all. This situation must be changed.

Software install times can easily be measured during testing, the various parts of install can also be timed and assigned as milestones for the progress bar. Where variation occurs is when diverse hardware has different performance characteristics. A fast CPU PC writing to slow large-capacity storage HDDs might be fast at some processes and slow at others while another machine might have very fast disk write speeds but a low-power CPU. But, PC's have some level of self-awareness. Windows 7 had scores for CPU/RAM/Graphics/Storage etc. This info is the key.

You separate your progress into the limiting hardware, and use the local hardware score as a modifier for the time/bar progress. Then, when install is complete, the hardware config and times for various parts of the install can be uploaded and used to inform future installs.

If the progress bar is linear and accurate, we can all go and make a nice cup of tea. If it isn't, the software company CEO is led away in chains.

bs0u0155, Jun 16 2021

If your progress bar isn't progressing, try moving the mouse rapidly from side to side, or round and round in tiny circles Process_20interrupt..._20mouse_20dynamics
[hippo, Jun 16 2021]


       //no information is conveyed at all//   

       Not entirely true, it does at least impart the information the download has stalled & your computer is frozen if the wheel stops spinning .. which lets you switch off & restart rather than sit there like a twit for an hour or so thinking 'this is a big install'.   

       But I'm all for leading any company CEO's away in chains these days [+].
Skewed, Jun 16 2021

       //has stalled & your computer is frozen//   

       hmm, not really, you nearly always have to work that out by other means. I've used plenty of software that freezes during processing, then unfreezes when done, but you can work out that the rest of the computer is fine - most easily done by jabbing the "scroll lock" key to see if the light changes.
bs0u0155, Jun 16 2021

       The scroll key? hadn't thought of that one, will have to remember it.
Skewed, Jun 16 2021

       //The scroll key? hadn't thought of that one,//   

       That's the use I have found for it. If I honest, I'm not sure what it's intended function is, I just know a properly crashed computer doesn't change the keyboard light when you press it.
bs0u0155, Jun 16 2021

       I'm old enough to remember the intended purpose of all those keys, sadly.   

       I actually prefer old DOS systems to modern ones, possibly my deeply supressed masochism expressing itself :) .. but I did prefer having control over my system & being able to wipe it completely & reinstall from the DOS up with a trusted store bought disk to purge any viruses, impossible to get something like that any more unfortunately.
Skewed, Jun 16 2021

       My keyboard doesn't have the handy "Lock" lights. It's a nuisance.
The only place I found that Scroll-Lock actually did anything was in Excel spreadsheets; it makes the cursor key move the page instead of the "selected cell".
neutrinos_shadow, Jun 16 2021

       This is the old age question of factual user informnation versus the prowess of the software or system. Sadly, because of societal pressure the latter is the default.   

       But then again, software and hardware is getting more and more complex and nuanced. It's easy to miss consequences.
wjt, Jun 19 2021

       I was skeptical, but after some though this could be done. (or at least improved to the point of being useful)
ixnaum, Jun 19 2021

       Component- based software design is going to make this challenging.   

       Application A depends on components X and Y, and X depends on Z, etc.   

       X may already be installed. If it's not, the installation of A is held up while X is installed and so on, recursively.   

       The component installations may have their own progress bars, which don't know they're being triggered from within a larger installation process.   

       Meanwhile, CEOs seeking to avoid chains will break up each installation into a number of components of trivial size, whose individual progress bars will flash past to quickly for you to see whether they're moving smoothly or not, and none of which betrays any potentially incriminating information about whether, in the overarching installation, you have time for tea.
pertinax, Jun 20 2021

       Another solution is to use image-recognition algorithms to measure the average time for the user to disappear from view and re-appear carrying a cop of hot tea (can use an IR camera to do the image recognition). hen, calibrate the progress bar so it always allows just enough time for the user to go and get a cuppa, no matter how quick the task is.
pocmloc, Jun 20 2021

       [ixaum] sure was skeptical ( hah ) but i like this +
xandram, Jun 20 2021


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