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Now it's in CVS... - Technical Blog of Richard Hughes

Richard Hughes
Date: 2006-11-15 19:22
Subject: Now it's in CVS...
Security: Public

UI exposed in gnome-power-manager

Any comments on the language used in the warning dialogue? Legally I don't think I can use the words explode, overheat or fire. Thanks.
Post A Comment | 17 Comments | | Link

User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-15 20:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We're I in your position, I might consider even going further and say something like, "you can take advantage of" or "you might be eligble for a recall."

They might even think the word "risk" implies some kind of danger. Not that an exploding battery would be dangerous...
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-15 20:22 (UTC)
Subject: Perfect
Looks perfect to me.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-15 20:23 (UTC)
Subject: How about using negatives
How about:
  • The battery in your computer may not meet its manufacturer's quality standards.
  • Long-term stability of the battery in your computer cannot be assured.
Or, more positive:
  • To maintain operational safety, your computer's manufacturer recommends that your computer's battery be replaced.
  • Your computer may be eligible for a battery replacement free of charge.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-15 20:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Maybe you could contact the manufacturer regarding suggested wording.

I'm sure they would be very interested in the health and safety of their customers.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-15 20:30 (UTC)
Subject: Keep it simple?
What you have is great, but like some of the other posters suggest, just remove the risk phrase:

"The battery in your computer may have been recalled by $MANUFACTURER. For more information visit the $MANUFACTURER battery recall website."
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-15 20:47 (UTC)
Subject: Source of serial numbers
Where does it gets its lists of serial numbers affected? If they are
hard-coded or in a static file then by the time the dialog shows the
battery warning, it will be years too late.
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Richard Hughes
User: hughsient
Date: 2006-11-15 23:30 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Source of serial numbers
hal-info. See my last 5 or so blog posts...
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User: alanhorkan
Date: 2006-11-15 22:30 (UTC)
Subject: Battery may be recalled
Don't use contractions, use the words "do not" instead.
It is a bad habit and allows developers to fool themselves into forgetting that other languages will not need much longer strings and make their design look very ugly.

Also what if I were very busy and neither wanted to visit the website at this very minute nor dismiss the warning never to be seen again?

I like the suggestions in other comments that you avoid mentioning the manufacturer name explicitly, as you might want to reuse this dialog in future for other brands.

There is something difficult about the phrasing of "Battery may be recalled" seems clunky enough that someone reading English as a second language might have difficulty understanding exactly what that means, maybe you might try something even simpler like "Check your battery"?

The slow turnaround time of distributions does make me wonder if there are any downsides of this message or false positives annoying users for years to come. Nonetheless great idea, I love how the more frequent release schedule of Gnome allows for features like this but others cannot manage.

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Richard Hughes
User: hughsient
Date: 2006-11-15 22:55 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Battery may be recalled
>Don't use contractions, use the words "do not" instead.


>Also what if I were very busy and neither wanted to visit the website at this very minute

Then he knows there might be a problem, which is better than nothing.

>...avoid mentioning the manufacturer name explicitly...

This is already got from hal-info and so the vendor is actually %s.

>...slow turnaround time of distributions ....

See my posts on hal-info - all the data is stored there and not in g-p-m. This lets distros ship updated databases at any time, even in stable distros.

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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-15 22:58 (UTC)
Subject: Not strong enough
Personally, as an ignorant pc user, I would probably just click it away. Such vague language doesn't do anything to me. If I would have a lot of time accidentally I might just click the visit website button, but with such a vague message, don't count on it!
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 01:53 (UTC)
Subject: HIG
Users are known to click "OK" without even reading the message. In GNOME, the "OK" button is usually located at the right, so the "Visit Website" button should on the right, too.

IMHO message should be more affirmative. To start with, the title could be just "Battery Recall". I'd rather have the "overheating" or "explosion" words in the message, but I sense you had a reason to take them off. What about:

"Battery recall
%s is recalling some batteries (due to risk of explosion) and your battery may be one of them.
For more information, please visit the %s battery recall site.
[Don't show me this again] [Visit recall site]"

PS: I'm a translator and I don't remember all possibilities for this "%s". Please list them in the PO file comments, because it may avoid some syntactic errors.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 01:16 (UTC)
Subject: Legal Risk
Where are you getting this idea that there is a legal risk to saying that someones battery might explode? Have you talked to a lawyer? It would be one thing if you were selling your own laptops and running around claiming that all dell batteries were explosive, but you aren't doing this. So what is your supposed legal risk?
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 08:01 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Legal Risk
Exactly. You are basing this warning on published lists of recallable batteries, published by the manufacturer itself. What's the point of software if you can't make educated statements abut the hardware you are running on.

The manufacturer should be thrilled at the extra information campaign. It's not like you are pointing out Dell. There's all the others, too... It's really a Sony problem, if I recall correctly.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 02:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I too would prefer stronger language. Exploding batteries can be quite dangerous and I don't think the wording "you may be at risk" (risk of what?) conveys this well enough. You seem to be on good terms with the Red Hat folks - maybe you can get them to ask one of their lawyers? A wording that's legally safe in the US ought to be okay anywhere.

Thanks for all your work!

- Johan
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 02:32 (UTC)
Subject: Too mild
It looks far too mild to me. If it can catch fire, say so.

My reactions to this, had I not read about exploding laptops, would be one of:
- May be recalled? Well, it's working fine for me, so begone, evil dialog box.
- At risk? For what? (I know people who would take this to mean "computer virus", even though it's a battery recall.)

If you can't legally say "explode" (huh?), how about at least something like "may overheat and cause permanent damage to your computer"?

Finally, the "For more information ..." sentence seems useless. Say what's wrong, and show the buttons -- no need to waste precious words telling people that websites have information.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 07:53 (UTC)
Subject: tm
Looks good to me too!
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-16 07:59 (UTC)
Subject: Language
You are getting the information about the recall from the battery itself. You are probably 99% sure that the battery has been recalled if you are showing this message.

The message needs to be serious enough that the user pays attention to it, and safe enough that you are not accused of damaging the manufacturer's reputation. But honestly, the manufacturer's need to get this information out anyway, so they can hardly fault you for this.

If possible, make it so that you can update the battery tables as a security update... that way we make this message quickly disappear if we find there was an error in the recallable battery range. I think it works this way already...

I would like to see language somewhat like the following:

[BIG AND BOLD] Battery subject to recall

[NORMAL TEXT] Information reported by your hardware indicates that your battery may be subject to recall by . Please refer to the manufacturer's website for more information.

[SMALLER FONT] Failure to heed this notice may pose a risk of damage to your hardware.
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