Friday, April 21, 2006

Keylock and usability in the Palm Tungsten

My Tungsten E2 was dead in the water. It wouldn't respond to any keypresses or gestures. I figured either a disastrous hardware failure or a glitch with some of the old odd software I rely on. I was ready to try a hard reset. To do that one must press and hold the power switch -- a switch I rarely touch because it's known to fail in the T/E2.

That brought up the keylock warning dialog. Keylock had accidentally engaged, that's why nothing worked. I had only to press and hold the powerswitch to get the dialog to disable it. Press and hold turns it on.

Fascinating! Is it really a usability flaw, or more a side-effect of my use of the command buttons rather than the power switch to turn on my Palm? (I do that to avoid wear on the fragile on/off button.)

I've now disabled keylock so it never activates. It was previously set to manual activation.

Update 4/22: On reflection, I think it's a usability bug. With keylock on pressing the power button gives the message that it's on. However, pressing the other buttons that start the PDA do not produce this message. With keylock on, pressing any button that would normally power up the PDA should produce the same keylock notification message.

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