Thursday, April 17, 2008

Autosave isn't always your friend - the world of unintended consequences

I'm sure we've all either suffered from or taken advantage of the old "track changes" or history aspects of Microsoft Word, you know the bit where you are able to read what the writer actually wrote first time, like a price of £100,000 before they found out the budget was £200,000. I've seen some bad things in my time on this with people shipping confidential information to a company accidentally by using an old document from one company as the base for a new company.

Now however I've just seen a cracker that comes from the Autosave feature in a certain online tool. The person in question wrote a pretty good document but obviously had a bad phone call at one stage while writing it and let their fingers do the talking

"If that idiot asks me to do one more stupid f***ing change just because he doesn't understand how to breath without assistance then I'm going to tear is f***ing head off. How on earth did that tw*t ever pass an interview."

This text was then rapidly deleted, but not before the autosave had kicked in and added it to the history. The target of the abuse indeed doesn't have the ability to work out how to use the editor, let alone the history, but I let the writer know anyway and we now have a nice new document that just contains the final text.

This came as a bit of a wake up call to me as I regularly will just let my fingers ramble while I'm thinking about what to write next, and I have on occasion written elements in a document for the person next to me to read while in a very dull meeting pretending to do the minutes.

Autosave is a great feature, but it might save more than you intend.

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1 comment:

dbt said...

Honestly, I'm waiting for someone to implement this with xmlhttprequest on their blog comment forms...