My colleague just enlightened me by telling me something you probably already know; that yellow box that appears in Microsoft Windows when you point the mouse at a link or a command button is called a “balloon”. I find it hard to see any resemblance whatsoever between these boxes and a balloon. Apparently, “Balloon” is also the correct term in Microsoft English. I guess Bill Gates must see the world quite differently from the way I see it. In fact, that’s rather encouraging to me, since I have never viewed Gates as a person who truly understands human motivation – a skill I am utterly reliant on in my job. Remember that thing Gates said about the internet being a hype? Now he’s come out and said that TV as we know it will be dead in 5 years time. Bollocks. He seems to think that TV watching is primarily driven by convenience – watch what you want when you want to. What he fails to understand is the sense of belonging and the “communal” aspects of TV watching that “watch-what-you-want-when-you-want-to-enabling-technology” will never be able to generate.
Looking at the “Gates balloons”, it would seem to me that illogic is more conducive to business success in the software industry than logic. Because in Windows, illogic seems to be the guiding principle in the entire interface construct. Here is an example….why do I have to click a button that says “START” every time I want to turn my computer off?