And Word gives you the finger when it crashes

I remember reading an article in Apple's old Develop journal about providing ambient feedback in software. I think the example they used involved respresenting the state of a complex system via a cartoon face--the slant of the eyebrows might represent one piece of information, the mouth would vary from a smile to a frown based on another, and so on. The theory being that it's hard to glance at a number of gauges and quickly identify if anything is amiss, but most of us have no trouble looking at a representation of a face and identifying whether it's pissed off or happy.

Anyway, I always thought that sort of feedback was cool, and this article reminded me of it.

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