Saturday, June 3, 2006

Don't steal my focus!

Craig Turner mentioned to me elsewhere that he's been using Missing Sync to synchronise his Sony PDA. Craig noted that if you tell Missing Sync to remind you to synchronise your devices, "it randomly pops up a box that steals focus from everything else telling you that you haven't synced recently." I noticed this yesterday when I got my first three-day reminder. I was typing away, eyes off-screen, only to realise about half a sentence had been dropped on the floor because Missing Sync stole my focus. For the love of god, software authors, don't steal my focus! Craig wondered why it couldn't just put an alert in, say, the menu bar at the top of the screen. Or wherever it would be most Macintosh to put one. I mentioned recently that the OS X Address Book has a habit of losing focus as well. Try this:
  • Add an address record somewhere alphabetically in the middle of your existing list.
  • Start entering information. Try to be constantly typing for a few seconds.
  • When Address Book decides it's time to re-sort the list, and your new record moves, you'll notice that the cursor suddenly jumps to the Notes field.
In the case of Address Book, it's clearly a bug. With Missing Sync, it's apparently a feature. A really annoying feature.


  1. > For the love of god, software authors, don't steal my focus!

    Well put.

  2. Instead, I suggest that the dock item should bounce or flash or change in some way, or the app could appear in the background with a dialogue box (I mean it's not that important)...

    grrr yes it's really annoying.

  3. Great idea—bouncing dock icon. In fact, that's probably precisely what Apple's own style guide would recommend.

  4. It's not random, it is a feature, and with a basic amount of investigation, you could have found how to set it to a different length of time or turn it off:

    Missing Sync > Preferences > [ ] Remind me to synchronize every (slider}

    @ toto: You do realize that it's completely pointless to post suggestions here where no one from the development company will ever see it, right?