Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why movie-playing software has a "repeat" button

Short shameful confession: I had more fun than I can possibly tell you when I drew that last comic. Not only is it fun to create comics visually, but Comic Life makes these adorable sound effects when you resize images, delete them, increase the font sizes, etc.

My readers who are software designers - you seriously need to make more programs have cute sound effects. Can you imagine how much more joyful it would for people when they made a database entry it said, "YEAH!" every time they hit 'commit', or "Vooooooop!" when they resized a column in Excel? Help a girl out, put the FUN back in functional!

Anywho, on to today's post topic, which occurred to me in the wee hours of the morning.

For the longest time, I couldn't understand why movie playing software had a "repeat" button. These days I barely have the attention span or time to sit through one movie, let alone the same movie several times. I thought, well, maybe it's for those always-on televisions in places like hospital waiting areas and electronics stores. The people that work there, forced to watch this same horrible movie repeatedly, are not going to want to get up every time the credits roll. Especially if it's playing on forty TVs.

But, still, that can't possibly explain the design decision for a repeat button.

No, it had to be something else...

Image Description: Top panel, alarm clock says 4:12. Next panel, bright-eyed kid says,
"Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy!". Next panel, bleary-eyed mother. Next panel,
kid says, "Wakey WAKEY, Mommy!". Last panel, an iPad showing "Finding Nemo", with a
magic wand pointing to the repeat control with the words "Magic!"

I remember the first time I saw the magic. It was winter, and my son was at a party with a dozen small children. They were indoors and literally bouncing off the walls. After about an hour, another parent said, "How about a movie?" and all the hyper kids screamed, "YEAH!". He put the movie in. Snap - just like that - immediate silence. Stillness. They were transfixed for hours.

With great power comes great responsibility, speaking of comics. But ParentWars be damned, bright-eyed children at 5am qualifies as the fairest use of television ever conceived.


  1. Yes, I agree. There is nothing so helpful as popping in a DVD when you are at the end of your parenting rope.

  2. Yes, that. Exactly.
    --And great comic! I think you've got a good backup career ahead of you, if you get tired of academia.

  3. I really like forgathering utile information , this post has got me even more info! .

  4. The comic you attached is hilarious. And as for the Repeat button, I guess if your'e a hardcore addict to some movie you'll appreciate it if it played over and over, even while your'e already vast asleep.