Saturday, December 11, 2010

There's an option for that

One thing many computer users don't seem to intuitively understand is the idea of customization for the programs and apps they are using.

My approach to using software is to try to use the software, and when I find something I don't like, to try to find some way to change it. For example, inside of Microsoft Internet Explorer, you can change the start page. Most computer savvy users know this, but one of my friends just called this morning saying he changed his somehow and couldn't figure out how to switch it back.

This applies to Web sites as well. For example, Facebook allows you to turn off certain notification emails, change privacy settings, and change many other options. Most free email providers allow you to set up "filters", which would basically let you screen your mail (for example, you could have all email from people at a certain college go in to a special folder so it does not fill up your Inbox, but does not get deleted). If you use a site such as Yahoo! Calendar, you can set it up so it will send email reminders for events to a certain email address or phone number by default, instead of having to set that up every time you create a new event. Even games like World of Warcraft are customizable. You can switch things on or off using some of the menus in a game.

Chances are, if you are annoyed by something, there is an option to change it. Don't like Excel starting every file with three worksheets? You can change that. Do you hate it when you open a bunch of windows, and things compress on your taskbar? That can be changed. Would you prefer your Word to always space in one inch when you hit tab instead of a half inch? That can be done. Does your Blackberry give you annoying little "message sent successfully" messages every time you send an email? That can be removed.

The key is knowing that things can probably be changed, and finding the answer on the Internet.

No comments: