Chapter 1: Who're You Calling a Dummy?

Addison Wesley Professional

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  1. Sometimes this approach backfires. In October 2003, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled the book Candle & Soap Making for Dummies because incorrect instructions for mixing certain chemicals could create a burn hazard. I'm not sure what that implies for the publisher's breast cancer book, or its stablemate, Prostate Cancer for Dummies.

  2. Try this test around your company. It'll tell you something about your user population that you might not have known. Then use this book's Web site ( to tell me the results you get. Thank you. /p>

  3. This word comes from a class I once taught. A particular student didn't do well because he didn't work very hard, and he would write me these long, impassioned e-mails about how unfair it all was. On the one hand, he was obviously quite upset. On the other hand, it's difficult to take someone seriously who is allegedly in the final year of a college education and has not yet learned the proper spelling of the word idiot. He would write, "Platt, you're an idoit. And the grader is an idoit, and the guy who recommended this class is an idoit, and I'm an idoit for listening to him." Ever since then, my staff and I have used the word idoit, pronounced ID-oyt (or eed-WAH if you're French), to designate someone so clueless that he doesn't even know how to spell idiot./p>

  4. I just read today that Verizon is planning to offer driving directions to the location of the phone whose number you ask for, locating your phone by its embedded GPS chip. I sure hope they do it in a way that doesn't break the simplicity and power they already have.

  5. The sound itself is an anachronism. When was the last time you actually heard that sound from a cash register? The registers in modern stores beep and whir like the computers they are. But we still have the sound, as we still talk about dialing phone numbers, when most of us haven't touched a rotary instrument in decades./p>

  6. Right-click on the Recycle Bin, select Properties from the pop-up menu, and uncheck the "Display delete confirmation dialog" checkbox.

  7. It's a little-known fact that, in the earliest prototype of this feature, Amazon's programmers actually did pop up a confirmation dialog box saying, "Are you sure you want to order this with one click?" when the user clicked the 1-Click order button, thus making it a two-click process. They fought viciously to keep this feature, and required a direct order from Amazon's president, Jeff Bezos, to remove it and make it truly a one-click process.

  8. In one of my books for programmers, I coined Platt's Law of Exponential Estimation Explosion, which simply states: "Every software project takes three times as long as your best estimate, even if you apply this law to it."

Copyright © 2007 Pearson Education. All rights reserved.


Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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