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Vox Pop: What default settings would you change?

As I am wont to do, I was thinking out loud on Twitter this morning.

Twitter message: 'I wonder how different the world might look if the default 'new meeting' time in calendar programs were 10 minutes instead of 1 hour'

I'm convinced that, for better or worse, a lot of computer-related habits come straight out of using the default settings. For example a stock Mail.app install checks your email every 5 minutes (I reset mine to 'Manual') and, without interdiction, Apple's mail program will also create all your new messages as "Rich Text" (Nuh uh. Mine? 'Plain Text').

And then, in some cases, even if you want to do things differently, you have to swim upstream to do so. In the case above, I can't set iCal or gCal's default to anything but 1 hour (any more than I can autoset multiple alarms1). God only knows what poor John Gruber would give to have Mail.app more easily let people quit top-posting.

The Question to You:

What default settings would you love to change in popular applications? Taken a step further, what excellent habits could be taught to users by looking at defaults as something beyond familiarity and day one ease-of-use? Could the aggressive use of smart or personalized defaults create a generation of short-meeting-makers and intersperse-responders?

Zac's picture

I know I'm late to...

I know I'm late to the party, and this is perhaps a bit meta.

But I have enviously seen the way that mutt (unixy mail reader) handles its configuration: most settings can be set to yes, no, ask-yes, or ask-no. The last two allow prompting, with the corresponding default!

My single change to "default settings" would be to change all applications to offcr this kind of setting wherever it is meaningful to do so: let me set the default value, and let me also decide if I want to be prompted to modify it on a case-by-case basis. This should be the "default" methodology for application developers.

On an unrelated "note", I would like the default ringtone on cell phones to be "vibrate", and the default audible ringtone to be a simple low-volume, low-frequency "ring". I can't bear the stupid Nokia tune.




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