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Technical Blog of Richard Hughes - GNOME Power Manager "you have 10, 9, 8..."

Richard Hughes
Date: 2006-09-24 19:34
Subject: GNOME Power Manager "you have 10, 9, 8..."
Security: Public
Thanks everyone from the feedback (and lshal entries) from my last blog entry.
I have got lots of data on this, and am now in the process of getting a couple of patches finished and (hopefully) approved to be added to HAL sometime soon.



I've added initial code to gnome-power-manager (it's not going to work yet!) for the warning notification. I asked my girlfriend (a typical non-technical user) if she would check her battery faced with that warning and she said probably not as it didn't seem very serious.
I'm not sure I can (from a legal perspective and user sanity point of view) put up a window saying "YOUR BATTERY MAY EXPLODE ANY SECOND!!!" but the wording could do with some work. Comments please.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 19:34 (UTC)
Subject: such a long story?
very nice to see such a smart hardware management by software, but the error message is way TOO long. nobody wants to read it and many users might just skip it because of that.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 19:36 (UTC)
Subject: Suggestion
My suggestion:
------------------------


Warning!

The battery in your laptop may be defective. There have been several cases of overheating and other hazards reported for this type of battery.

To find out if your battery has been identified as potentially faulty, please visit the dedicated _DELL web page_.


Jon
jon_cooperuk_AT_hotmail.com
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 19:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I also think that the message is too long. I would link to the press release and instructions for checking your serial numbers in a message like:

*Battery Warning*
The battery in this laptop may have been recalled by [company name].

In some cases, batteries have been recalled due to flaws resulting in fire or explosions.

You should verify the status of this battery according to the [instructions provided by the manufacturer].
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 20:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Agreed. Make it shorter and please no !exclamations! please

That's great anyway :)
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Scott Robinson
User: quadhome
Date: 2006-09-24 20:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I agree, focus on the recall aspect of it. Then they know there is a legitimate issue.

Make fire and explosions be in bold. ;-)
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 20:26 (UTC)
Subject: What does Dell want it to say?
Have you tried contacting Dell and asking them if they have any suggestions about what the warning should say? I'm sure they've discussed the issue alot and has worked out how they themselves are going to tell end users and others about the problem without wreaking havoc.....

Regards,
Andreas Henriksson
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<andreas [...] fatal.se>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Have you tried contacting Dell and asking them if they have any suggestions about what the warning should say? I'm sure they've discussed the issue alot and has worked out how they themselves are going to tell end users and others about the problem without wreaking havoc.....

Regards,
Andreas Henriksson <andreas at fatal.se>
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 20:33 (UTC)
Subject: Your pants may be on fire!
"Please note that your battery is subject to a product recall, there are rare conditions under which it may dangerously overheat with the risk of fire and/or explosion. Please contact your vendor for additional information"

Please keep strings short and to the point, it makes them easier to translate. The same goes for program names having them in translable user visible stings puts translators in the position of having to invent names of your software or mix english and the native language.

Also how do you pop this up, I mean if the battery is confirmed good even when hitting the conditions set for the warning, we should have a way to "never display this notification again".

Finally, thank you for the massive effort on GNOME power manager, it's one of the coolest additions to my GNOME desktop in recent history. I especially dig the fact that you managed to add a "flamy doom warning".

- David Nielsen
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 21:23 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Your pants may be on fire!
There's a TODO in the code to implement "never show me this again".

Chris
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 21:19 (UTC)
Subject: Potential fire hazard discovered
I believe a headline such as this appropriately classifies the threat without creating any liability on your part.
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User: diegocg
Date: 2006-09-24 21:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
A minor pitnick I have is that adding "battery.is_likely_faulty" to HAL is a bit ugly, if it's just an attribute for bateries (i don't really know)

IMO many devices can be "faulty" in many ways. Fe: Apple sometimes recalls laptops for many other different reasons...IOW, I think that _every_ device needs to be able to be marked as "faulty" (well, not "faulty", it should be "user needs to be informed about this device"), not just bateries. That way, desktops could warn about other kind of warnings, not just batterie faults (not very typical, but...). But maybe this is how it was implemented and I'm just talking nosense 8)
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 22:24 (UTC)
Subject: Sound good to me
You know, that sounds like a a good idea.
In a not too far future, I hope some kind of daemon or programmed task could take a look to some components like the HDD s.m.a.r.t. registers or something like that, and tell the user -through a change in the HAL info- to be prepared for an incoming problem with the HDD, for instance. I made a hardcoded script to check that and some other similar info -average daily "cpu divided by load" to take a hint on when to clean the cpu heatsink, and other similar things-, but I whould like to see it as a OS service.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 21:54 (UTC)
Subject: GNOME Power Manager = GNOME?
Just small nitpick, you may want to say "GNOME" instead of "GNOME Power Manager", if you're gonna use the active tense (instead of "your batter has been recalled"). This may increase brand recognition and make people look into it earlier.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 17:04 (UTC)
Subject: Re: GNOME Power Manager = GNOME?
Someone who has just installed, say, Ubuntu, may not have any idea what "GNOME" is.

At least qualifying it with "Power Manager" gives the user some sort of indication exactly what is making this statement about their battery. You still get the branding of "GNOME" in there anyway.

Also, if it were just "GNOME", users who don't like this feature won't be able to send their complaints directly to Richard! ;)
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fragglet
User: fragglet
Date: 2006-09-24 22:13 (UTC)
Subject: A couple of points
First, doesn't the style guide say that you should use "Gnome" instead of "GNOME"? Secondly, I should think that "WARNING! YOUR BATTERY MIGHT EXPLODE AT ANY MINUTE!" would be exactly what you would want, because there is a serious danger to the user.
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fragglet
User: fragglet
Date: 2006-09-24 22:16 (UTC)
Subject: Re: A couple of points
By the way, if nothing else, you should seriously cut down the length of the message because users never read anything. If you make it too long there's a danger that they won't bother to read it at all.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 22:42 (UTC)
Subject: How about this?
Possible Battery Issue
Gnome Power Manager has detected your battery may suffer from a issue that in rare cases has caused fire and/or explosions.
Please check the DELL website to see whether your battery is impacted by this recall.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-24 23:40 (UTC)
Subject: warning
Fire or Explosion Risk
Your battery may be subject to a recall due to incidents of fire and explosion. Please contact your manufacturer for replacement.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 02:54 (UTC)
Subject: KISS?
What about simply:

"Battery detected which may be subject to recall, please visit _DELL web page_ for more information."

I guess I'm just not into drama. ;-)
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 10:31 (UTC)
Subject: A picture says a thousand words
See - http://www.jcooper.net/batterywarning.jpg

:)
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 12:25 (UTC)
Subject: Re: A picture says a thousand words
i'm sorry - couldn't resist :)

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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 16:31 (UTC)
Subject: Re: A picture says a thousand words
Times out :(
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 13:26 (UTC)
Subject: message too long
It would be probably ignored because of it's length.
My advise is (except for making less text) is something like "your battery's serial number is reported to be faulty and could cause intense damage to your laptop or even a person"

I think you should mention too, that this warning is just a precaution and is meant to warn the user befure it's too late, and the user can decide (through the webpage) if it really affects him (his laptop). This would help you with legal issues, like something from dell "hey what, you advertise exploding batteries to our customers?"

Maybe a "more" button would be cool to tell about the exploding and fire thing. That shouldn't be on the first screen (popup). But letting the user know everything is better than leaving him in the dark, he may ignore the whole thing not knowing what's at stake.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 13:28 (UTC)
Subject: Re: message too long
even better:

"your battery's serial number is reported to be faulty by _our community_ and could cause intense damage to your laptop or even a person"

It's more clear that it's we, the community who want to help, and the info is NOT comming from Dell or whatever company. Legal issues again.
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User: murraycu
Date: 2006-09-25 13:42 (UTC)
Subject: I blame Linux
Ignoring the difficulty of keeping this information up to date:

On the one hand, I think it'll be great to see reviews saying "And GNOME/Linux/Ubuntu even warned me that my battery was defective and likely to explode, saving me from personal injury (lawyers). Dell's default Windows installation couldn't do that."

But I fear that the good PR would be outweighed by the Slashdot users saying
"Linux broke my laptop. Apparently the battery is likely to explode now. I phoned Dell and they said that they don't support Linux. Thanks a bunch you latop-destroying open source bastards."
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 15:38 (UTC)
Subject: Re: I blame Linux
That's why the part in the prev post "reported by our community" and "check this site to be sure"

I think it is a _very_ good idea to warn the user, I'd wanna be warned even if I don't have this problem, I'd check it, breathe up, and click "don't show me this anymore, I checked and my hardware is not affected". Then whatever happens, we did our best.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-25 22:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I say:
Potential Urgent Battery Recall

A potential issue associated with a battery in your computer may be creating a risk for a fire or explosion!

Please verify if your battery has been recalled at the DELL Battery Recall Program website as soon as possible!
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-09-26 03:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Warning

Your computer's battery may be defective. If so, it could catch fire or explode.

Please visit the Dell Battery Recall Site for further information.
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aigarius
User: aigarius
Date: 2006-09-26 22:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That is one great idea! Thank you for doing this.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-10-13 02:46 (UTC)
Subject: Suggestion
Explosion risk detected

GNOME Power Manager identified one or more batteries which seem to be listed in a recall, due to a are danger of overheating and exploding. Please visit the DELL website to check if your battery needs replacement.


If GPM can be sure the battery is one of the faulty ones, then it would be:

Explosion risk detected

GNOME Power Manager identified one or more batteries which are known to be in danger of overheating and exploding. Please visit the DELL website to check how to proceed.


Leonardo F. Fontenelle (http://live.gnome.org/LeoFontenelle)
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 14:16 (UTC)
Subject: Not only Dell....
How about expending the battery check to Apple, Lenovo/IBM, Toshiba, Fujitsu, etc? I'm sure people are using other laptops. Of course Dell doesn't mind us giving them exclusivity in Gnome :)
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