Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Power of Undo

We all remember the first time we sat down to a powerful piece of software for the first time and felt the thrill of excitement, or the dread of (do I really have to learn another program) or the ball of nerves as in (oh god, I don't know if I can do this) Then at some point it becomes normal. Learning more software is like driving. It's just something you do (especially if your income relies on your computer skills)

But there is always this nagging uncertainty as you tackle a new giant, can I do this? For me, the key to becoming comfortable with software lies in the power of one little button (or two consecutive keystrokes) which undo any mistakes you make. THE UNDO button.

Did you hit some unknown shortcut key and completely erase everything? No worries, undo!
Did you jump through a trail of hoops only to understand that you did something stupid? No worries. Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo (note that undo's are not unlimited! See your preferences panels.)

I've had many conversations where the power of this little button is something we crave in our real life.

A cop pulls you over for going 90 in a 65 zone - no worries, undo!
You drink too much at the corporate Christmas party, it mixes badly with the unidentifiable yet tasty pastries you scarfed, and you find yourself throwing up in your bosses lap. Not a problem! UNDO.

What I have NOT yet discussed as applicable to our real lives is the power of versioning. Imagine if you could make a version of yourself. One self sits down and waits while the other self, tests out the new improvements. So, if the purple hair, cocaine snorting, rock chic life ends up in a complete disaster where you're smacked around by your pimp boyfriend you can simple limp back home, restart the old version and try again WITHOUT ACCEPTING ANY emotional or bodily damages from your mistakes. Not bad eh!!

Ok, admittedly that IS a bit creepy.

Thoughts anyone?

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