What shall we do with the drunken save button?
So floppy disks are totally redundant. Very few new computers are coming with floppy drives. Ask a five-year-old kid what each of these things is:
In my totally unscientific research, I asked a mother of a six-year-old if her little boy would know what these three things were:
Memory Card: Yes.
Floppy Disk: Probably not.
So what did software developers do? Look for a new replacement.
Microsoft Office X for Mac (2001) has used a ZIP disk:
NeoOffice 2.x for Mac took me a while to figure out… Something akin to the Windows and OSX icon for Removable Drive?
Why did they have to confuse me?
The Steam Train Comparison
My reaction to this confusion was ‘why change it?’
In New Zealand, and as it turns out, Italy and Sweden, our road signs that say ‘railway level crossing’ look like this:
But hold on, that’s a STEAM train! These trains are not around any more except for in museums and… children’s books. Of course, we all know that this sign is a train. Digging further, it turns out here in New Zealand we have a sign for ‘light rail level crossing’:
What the hang is that… I guess it kinda looks like a train, but it’s electric, but it could be a tram.. huh… *SMACK!* Your car just got hit by an oncoming TRAIN. Talk about confusing and potentially fatal. Luckily, I’ve only got my learner driver’s licence, and I haven’t ever seen this sign in use.
My point is why change something that works?Â Luckily, developers have caught on that the floppy disk is an international symbol:
OpenOffice 3.0 Beta has a floppy disk:
And thankfully, Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac has switched back to a floppy disk:
Here’s the cincher: Google Docs, a web application that doesn’t even have access to your local computer still uses the floppy disk for its save button:
Curious and Curiouser
Looking for further examples, I dug around. It turns out many applications don’t even have save buttons any more. Apple’s iWork doesn’t have a save button in any of their applications tool bars; you can’t even customise the tool bar to put one there either! I guess these applications are expecting you to memorise the more universal shortcut of Command+S or Ctrl+S
I think that we should stick with the floppy disk. It’s recognisable by all us old timers, but I think that young ones who haven’t seen a floppy disk will still know that it means ‘Save’.
But then again, isn’t just using the keyboard a lot quicker?