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"Check with your Network Administrator..."

There are few error message that a computer can give that could be more annoying than that old favourite: "If you are unsure what configuration to connect with, check with your network administrator".

Translated into English, this error message means "Our programmers were too damn lazy to tell the user what the real problem is, so we are going to pass the buck at this point to the mythical 'Network Administrator', who will curse and wail at how stupid and unhelpful our software is, and stab wildly in the dark until a solution is found by accident".

The software guilty today is MacOS X's 802.1X authentication client.

It's really easy to switch on. Select "Internet Connect" and choose "File -> New 802.1X Connection...". Now, try and switch it off again.

The trouble is that switching it on stops your Airport card from working on certain WiFi configurations, and even though I am the network administrator, I'll be damned if I can find the button marked "switch the stupid thing off".

Yet again, the 5 minute task becomes a 5 hour marathon undertaking, courtesy of our old favourites, Stupid Programmers.


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Did you ever get it fixed?

The fix was to drag the 802.1X icon off the dialog box and just... let go.

This new user interface paradigm is inspired by the real world case where if something is cluttering up your workspace, you just pick it, move it off the desk surface and... let go.

If I ever meet a guy whose floor is covered with waste paper...

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