Hypersensitive Computer Displays

I’ve noticed this many times over the last decade. computerized display systems are often hypersensitive to the point of being silly and absurd. Years ago I noticed downloading files via some clients would show me the speed of the transfer to the Nth place, where N is totally ridiculous. I was getting 83.92384293842903k download and all but the first three numbers were a blur as they changed too quickly to read. Instead of updating the number every 1 second, it updated as fast as the computer could. What does that do for me exactly?

Along these lines are computerized estimates of time left. Microsoft Windows is well known for showing absurd times to complete a task. One minute it shows 4 minutes to copy that file, the next it shows 83 minutes. I’ve actually seen it show over 6,000,000 hours to finish a large file copy (that ended up finishing in about an hour). Some programs (names fail me right now) also have install progress meters that are totally worthless. as the bar reaches the right and you think it is finished installing, the bar resets and does it again. And again. And again. What is the purpose of the progress bar if there is no “overall % complete” or indication of how many bars we must suffer through?

Jump to today which triggered this. I’m driving through Atlanta in a PT Cruiser, feeling like a douchebag, I notice the readout showing me “291 miles until empty”. Yes, the car is so smart it can tell me how many miles I can drive before i have to refill the tank! Wait, it was 285 in the rental parking lot 15 miles ago. I pull in to my hotel some 8 miles later and it shows me 294 miles until empty. So apparently in the state of Georgia, driving the car actually fills the tank, not empties it. gas buyers rejoice!

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