New World Order
- Information technology
- Crime and punishment
Work in progress.
All plugs on mains power adapters are to be standardised in size, shape and polarity. Each of the allowed voltages (e.g. 5 V, 12 V) will have its own plug dimensions. If necessary there will be separate power classes, e.g. 12 V low current (1 A and less), 12 V high current (2 A and above) to help avoid confusion from connecting an adapter with inadequate current supply; this will be done using keying that allows a high-current adapter to power a lower-current device but prevent a low-current adapter being connected to a low-current device. This process will help prevent equipment becoming useless once the original power adapter is lost, as no equipment will be permitted to have obscure voltage and current ratings. It will also avoid equipment damage caused by power supplies of different voltage sharing the same plug (as with the Macintosh PowerBook 150 and Portable StyleWriter printer).
The available range of button cells will be reduced to a small number of standard types. Equipment will not be allowed to require difficult-to-obtain button cells. Other obscure battery sizes will be examined for the possibility of being phased out.
All appliances and electronic perhipherals are to have their exact model number positioned on the front in clear view. Most notably this includes laptops, computer monitors, printers and routers (the equipment most notable for being impossible for end users to identify) but also applies to mobile telephones, portable hard drives, portable media players and so forth. This means that technical support staff fielding telephone calls will be able to obtain model numbers from end users with no effort. The series name or product family identification is not good enough: the exact model number must be shown to avoid ambiguity.
This also applies to computer memory modules (DIMMs/SODIMMs) which must clearly identify the memory technology (e.g. DDR4), voltage, clock speed and voltage.
Ideally, clear product identification should apply to all products on the market, from wrist watches to wine glasses: anything where the owner wishes to obtain replacement parts or order replacement items. For items that only require owner identification, the model number may be placed out of site, e.g. moulded into the bottom. Where the owner is likely to be asked over the telephone by a support or service technician to identify the equipment, and thus where the technician does not know where the identification would be or where rotating or inverting the equipment is too onerous (for example due to size or weight or from being bolted into a cabinet) the identification must be in plain sight.
Serial numbers and other important identifiers on appliances and perhipherals must have characters in groupings no larger than four, e.g. “CN2248 0412-3001” or “AMXQ2234GHE”. Groupings must be separated by punctuation (typically space or hyphen-minus) or alternate between digits and letters. This ensures that anyone recording or passing on serial number information has a mental process for validating each block as it is typed or written. The use of punctuation is to be highly encouraged even where the characters alternate between digits and letters.
See also: Operating system design notes
Public no-reply addresses will be outlawed. All mail leaving a company’s mail service must be sent from an address to which all replies will be read by a human being. Thus, a human being can be held accountable for the contents of every message. Further, all such replies must be processed and heeded: having such messages automatically forwarded into an unread subfolder of a mailbox will be illegal.
Form validation on all public-facing websites must take into account reasonable human formatting. Formatting using conventional notation that helps the user visually confirm correct input must not be rejected. Field types that must accept spaces and commonly-used symbols include:
- Credit and debit card numbers: spaces will be accepted, as humans cannot mentally process long unbroken digit sequences
- Telephone numbers: spaces, brackets (parantheses), dashes and other relevant symbols will be accepted, according to national standards and common erroneous practices (e.g. “0208” for north London, which should be “020 8…”)
- Postcodes: spaces will be accepted according to national format
Under consideration only: Phone numbers should always be shown with spaces and other national formatting symbols. This is not a confirmed ruling because, in the United Kingdom at least, the formatting is variable (area codes have multiple lengths that seem not to form any pattern) and would require a database of area codes, something that may not be practical to achieve.
Certain public service websites such as operating system, appliance and perhipheral service websites (documentation, downloads etc) must retain the product overview and support and service material indefinitely, and all inbound links must be retained. Where a site needs to be restructured, the old addresses must all redirect to the corresponding new addresses. This applies especially to Microsoft, whose documentation pages disappear within a product’s lifetime.
Other UI concerns
The following are to be subject not to legal requirements but quality standards:
- Useless error messages like “File not found” that tell you nothing about which file was not found, where it is supposed to be, and what the user is supposed to do about it
- Error messages and codes with a mountain of vague suggestions as to the cause, especially when every suggestion is one that the computer could trivially verify
- Undocumented error codes, e.g. virtually every single one of Windows Update’s randomly-generated error numbers
- Progress bars that reach 100% and return to zero
- Progress bars that reach 100% and then nothing happens, as you were nowhere near 100% yet
- Progress readouts that don’t indicate the individual steps being performed, so you have no means of identifying what is happening when any operation is taking longer than anticipated
Crime and punishment
The minimum age for driving will change from 17 to 21.
Death and injury due to dangerous driving is to be considered equivalent to murder and attempted murder. Road traffic accidents due to obvious wilfulness or gross negligence will be deemed “deliberates” and not “accidents”. Humans are fallible and genuine accidents will occur due to weather hazards, lapses in judgement, inexperience, unforeseen medical problems and spiders, but incidents caused by intentional disregard for road safety will not be treated as accidental.