Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

HP Pavillion’s webcam software – What happened to the common GUI?

Geeez, I’ve been messing around with the webcam software that comes with the HP Pavillion dx6000 laptop. I suspect that HP is outsourcing the coding…….. to the local zoo.

The whole idea of a common Graphical User Interface was that you would flatten the learning curve so that when you picked up a new app, all of the main menu items would be relatively in the same place.

The interface for the camera is confusing at best. In order to record, you have to find the icon on the left that looks like a bunch of stuff jumbled together (the black and white scheme doesnt’ help with id). Oh, by the way, there is no mousover tag, you need to right click if you aren’t sure. Now, you’ve found the icon with the camera, film reel and microphone. Click that.

Hold on, we’re not there yet. You need to go and find HP webcam under ‘source’.

Almost there now. Double tap the HP webcam line and wait for the blue light on the webcam.
There is a disappearing menu at the bottom. Move the mouse around till you see that. Now look for the big red bullseye next to the camera icon. Click that and you will see available disk space and recording time so far under the video.

Ok, how do you stop it? Clicking the record button just tells you “Recording in progress”. Hey, I want out… Look for the Square block.. Yep, the square block on the disappearing bottom menu. That will stop it.

So now. where the heck is your video.?? With any luck you will see files on the right side of the screen with names such as webcam_2008_03_03_1300 or something like that. Click on it. Go ahead, I dare you. What I was getting was a video but the sound track was some dopey elevator music. My 12 year old son suggested going to my computer, then to the public folder and playing it from there using windows media player. That worked and my voice was the soundtrack not the elevator music.

Hey HP , If you are going to outsource code writing to the zoo, at least try to have simians do it, not turtles. Well, actually, I suspect turtles could have designed a better interface.

Oh, in addition, if you are in full screen mode, you can’t alt-tab to get to your other windows.

One final word – The Common Graphical User Interface was designed for a reason.

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