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Technology

Goodbye, Ctrl-S 521

Posted by Soulskill
from the couldn't-save-itself dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'Save your work!' — This was a rallying cry for an entire generation of workers and students. The frequency and unpredictability of software crashes, power outages, and hardware failures made it imperative to constantly hit that save button. But in 2014? Not so much. My documents are automatically saved (with versioning) every time I make a change. My IDE commits code changes automatically. Many webforms will save drafts of whatever data I'm entering. Heck, even the games I play have an autosave feature. It's an interesting change — the young generation will grow up with an implicit trust that whatever they type into a computer will stay there. Maybe this is my generation's version of: 'In my day, we had to get up and walk across the room to change the channel on the TV!' In any case, it has some subtle but interesting effects on how people write, play, and create. No longer do we have to have constant interruptions to worry about whether our changes are saved — but at the same time, we don't have that pause to take a moment and reflect on what we've written. I'm sure we've all had moments where our hands hover over a save/submit button before changing our minds and hammering the backspace key. Maybe now we'll have to think before we write."
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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:22AM (#47075135)

    I've been using computers for over 30 years and have never once used this keystroke.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:28AM (#47075237)

      I've been using computers for over 30 years and have never once used this keystroke.

      In 30 years you've never produced anything worth saving? That's quite a feat.

      • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:32AM (#47075311) Journal
        Quite possibly, he's a Mac user, so it would be Command-S. That, or someone loves their mouse a little too much and never bothered to learn keyboard shortcuts.
        • by Noah Haders (3621429) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:21PM (#47075993)
          I'm a mac fan, but I have to say that apple screwed the pooch with mavericks on this one. for the stock apple programs they got rid of the save button entirely and now everything auto saves. This is ok, but the really bad part is they got rid of save as - you know, you make some changes but decide you want to keep the original so you make this file v2 or whatever? Even worse, bowing to pressure they added back in the save as, but accessible as a secondary choice with option-click.

          the whole thing is just weird and to tell you the truth it made me stop using the apple programs so I never got used to it or fully figured it out.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by azav (469988)

            I used to be a Mac fan.

            That's sad. Because now I'm not. Apple seems to only care about new gizmos and animating everything, rather than sticking with creating useful and predictable interfaces.

            Ive is the worst thing for the UI that I've ever seen. It's soul deadening.

            • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:48PM (#47076321) Homepage

              It's not just apple, Microsoft and everyone else is catering to the dumb.

              Remove features, hide "advanced" things. etc.. the MOST frustrating app in the world is MS word... i spend more time undoing what it is trying to help me with than anything else. why cant I have a single option, "Expert mode" that disabled ALL the freaking help shit and un-hides all functions?

          • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:42PM (#47076251) Journal
            The only Apple program I use is TextEdit, and that only for a scratch pad, so I'm more or less unaffected by that. That said, I can certainly see why it would be annoying... essentially, if you decide you want to save your changes in a new file, they want you to copy the most recent version (in Finder), then roll the original back the a previous version. The option-click "workaround" was added because people couldn't figure that out; not that they should have to, as "Save As..." should never have gone away in the first place. But, with autosave, it's somewhat of a hack, anyway; what does the original file end up looking like? Do you revert the original to the state it was in when it was last opened? The last autosave? Normally, it would retain its last manually-saved state, but there isn't one...

            Replacing a 3-step process (Command-Shift-S; Type new filename, Hit Enter) with a 7-step process (Close file [to ensure your changes are saved, since you can no longer do this manually]; Copy file; Rename copy; Reopen the file; Click File -> Revert To -> Browse All Versions; Find the version you want to revert to; Click Restore).

            Alternately, you can restore the old revision as a new file (the opposite workflow) in 5-steps (Click File -> Revert To -> Browse All Versions; Find the version you want; Option-Click Restore a Copy; Enter new filename; Click Save).

            Of course, Apple's own documentation [apple.com] does imply that the "Save" option still exists. It is there in TextEdit, but I can't confirm this for any other Apple apps under Mavericks.

            Bravo, Apple... Bravo.
            • by immaterial (1520413) on Friday May 23, 2014 @01:12PM (#47076661)
              I want Save As back as a first-class citizen as much as anyone, but the entirety of your rant there is simply flat-out wrong. You say there's no save option, but (as you half-acknowledge after complaining it doesn't exist) there is - and yes, it shows up in every document-based app. You say you have to go to Finder to duplicate a file, but the whole complaint here is that Save As has been replaced by Duplicate in the menu. The actual, still 3-step process is: Choose "Duplicate" (no need to save beforehand as it is the current state that is duplicated), type new file name, and (either the first time you do an explicit save or when you close the new document) deal with the Save dialog. The only way that is more difficult than Save As is that it disconnects renaming the new file from the save dialog. And if you prefer documents revert to the last manual-save state on close, simply check that box in the system preferences.
              • Edit (wish I could!): I forgot about closing the original document, which does add a step 4. Silly thing to forget, since that's the main reason I use Save As instead of Duplicate. I can only imagine some UI engineer thought this extra step would help dumb people realize they're making a second copy of their document (as opposed to renaming/moving it).
          • The idea is that you're not supposed to save anything on local disk, everything should be on the cloud, and you get to get blackmailed for access to it. Or at least intellectual property is fully contained, as there is a single copy of it anywhere on the web, and no 500 million copies on everybody's local harddrives. Then you pay for access, pay per view, and copyright fair use issues are simpler. Which is why I seriously started investing in oldschool tech, including old software, old computers, or old tv'
      • by sirlark (1676276) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:20PM (#47075969)
        :wq ... nuff said!
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      Sometimes the challenge with Ctrl-S was that you often didn't know if it did anything, and you found yourself going to the File menu to see if the Save button was grey, or to click it more than a few times "just to be sure."

      Trusting that your Google Doc was saved without hitting a button, or that a draft of your email was auto-generated takes a bit of trust that takes a while to build.

      If you're not a heavy user, it'll take time to build that trust.

    • And does that make you feel special? Better than the rest of us? Or what?

  • by Gavin Scott (15916) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:23AM (#47075147)

    When it stopped meaning "Suspend output to terminal" along with it's partner CTRL-Q.

    In-Band serial flow control ftw!

    G.

  • a text editor that is so error prone that *needs* to autosave constantly("continuously"). Or software in general, for that matter.

    • a text editor that is so error prone that *needs* to autosave constantly("continuously"). Or software in general, for that matter.

      You've got it backwards--it ain't an error-prone text editor, it's an error-prone human. Even conscientious, process-driven users make stupid mistakes and forget to save their work (especially when they're on a roll.) This protects us from ourselves, not the machines we're working on.

      Now, you may be among that handful of people who never forgets to save--in which case, I congratulate you on being in one of the outlier cohorts that software engineers really shouldn't ever spend their time worrying about. :D

      • by mmell (832646)
        You forgot the error-prone OS. QEdit never took a dump on me, but MS-DOS 2.x was known to crap out, especially once I started running TSR programs (carousel.exe and printman.exe come screaming to mind) - but I suppose that's what I get for trying to force MS-DOS to multitask.

        Old habits die hard - I still find myself repeating the mantra "save early, save often".

      • by gigne (990887)

        I used to be in the group of people that didn't save often.... at least until I owned a box that would bluescreen randomly.... and frequently. Amazing how that has changed my habits forever.

        Now I have the problem of auto-saving breaking my shit.

        If I open a doc and start changing it, I may want to save it as a different file completely. Problem is, autosave has overwritten theoriginal file. (admittedly this has only happened once, and it was a not so great application).

        Now if I am changing a doc, the first t

    • by ildon (413912)

      Perhaps you've heard of a thing called a power outage. I just had one last night. Or maybe you've had a cat step on your keyboard and somehow manage to close the window you were working in. There are enough acts of god and human error that still exist regardless of how flawless the program you're working in is to make autosave highly valuable. The 1000 times you don't need autosave are not nearly as critical as the 1 time you do.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:49AM (#47075553)

        Perhaps you've heard of a thing called a power outage.

        That's where you reboot and the file is full of garbage because it crashed half-way through writing the new file to disk and the metadata was updated but not the contents, right?

        • by lgw (121541)

          This is a solved problem: Office e.g. does a merry dance when saving files (save, then rename) to avoid exactly this problem, since it used to be such a big issue around 2000.

          You can protect against user error; you can protect against Acts of God; but I remain unconvinced you can protect against Acts of Cat.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Perhaps you've heard of a thing called a power outage. I just had one last night.

        Your laptop's battery or your desktop's UPS should have kept the machine running long enough for an orderly shutdown.

    • Back in my day, computers would fail for no explicable reason.

      Or, more likely, your hand would brush against the RESET key that was prominently featured on the keyboard right below RETURN.
      • Back in my day, computers would fail for no explicable reason.

        My favorite unexplained error message from back in the mid 1980s was from tcsh, "Assertion botch: This can't happen!"

  • by cashman73 (855518) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:27AM (#47075231) Journal
    Your material will be saved to the cloud where the NSA computers can check it and make sure you're not doing anything illegal. But please just ignore the prying eyes, citizen, and get back to work for the Man. After all, he owns the NSA now.
  • Good! (Score:5, Funny)

    by stewsters (1406737) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:28AM (#47075243)
    Truly it is the year of the Linux Desktop. Long live :w
  • is how do revert to older versions? I use a program that saves every change so while a crash would not result in lost work I can't revert to an earlier version unless I save a copy first before editing. Fortunately I use another program that saves a copy every time I use Carl-s so I can roll back from its copies.
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:30AM (#47075271)

    My IDE commits code changes automatically

    TFA doesn't mention this and, if the summary writer meant "commit" as in version control commit, this would be a killer bug in the whole process.

    Version control is not meant to be used as a backup, every commit should be deliberate, reviewed and well explained in the comments. Vide the post mortem of the heartbleed bug (or many other similar ones).

    • by Shados (741919)

      Auto-commit is probably overkill, but: distributed source control.

      I commit to my local branch at every semi-reasonable checkpoint, and yeah, after a while my commit messages look like those from that XKCD about git. Every so often I'll push to a private remote branch as a backup.

      Then when I squash my commits and push the atomic change to the main repo, yeah, that will be a deliberate, reviewed and well explained commit. But only then.

      We're not all on SVN and SourceSafe anymore!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lgw (121541)

      Version control is not meant to be used as a backup, every commit should be deliberate, reviewed and well explained in the comments. Vide the post mortem of the heartbleed bug (or many other similar ones).

      Only if you have the ancient, outdated, bad, deprecated, idiotic, CVS view of version control. To quote Linus "if you still use CVS, you're stupid, and probably ugly". Hopefully no one still does, but that "branching is expensive" mindset persists.

      A commit is precisely a backup, nothing more. A way to make you your work survive dropping your laptop. A merge back into a real branch should be the point of careful review.

  • ...control-S (XOFF) was used to pause the scrolling on a "dumb" CRT terminal. I don't think I have ever used it to save a document.

    Systems I care about (i.e. anything I use for "real work") are on UPSes. If the hardware or software is unstable enough that it crashes unexpectedly more often than once every couple of months (give or take), I fix/replace the hardware or start looking for alternative software to accomplish the same task.

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:33AM (#47075331) Homepage Journal

    I'm busy F4'ing.
  • by DJ Jones (997846) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:33AM (#47075335) Homepage
    What if I don't want to save my changes?

    "You can use the 'undo' command they say..."

    Yes but the undo command isn't persistent between applications, much less a power failure.

    You haven't solved anything, you've merely shifted the problem.
  • by ChrisC1234 (953285) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:34AM (#47075337) Homepage
    Sometimes, I don't want to save. I will open a document with the explicit purpose of making changes that I don't want saved. Even Gmail's autosave has burned me pretty badly. I spent an hour typing out a very long email. Toward the end of it, something happened, and the whole body of text was gone. I'm still not really sure if it was a keyboard shortcut I inadvertently triggered, browser bug, or what. But I just thought "no biggie... I'll just go back to the auto-saved version". So I open up the autosaved version, and the latest auto-save happened AFTER the email body was deleted. So much for autosave @#$!#$@!!!!
    • by Just Brew It! (636086) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:38AM (#47075423)
      Agreed. Definitely a case of "please do what I asked for, not what you think I wanted". A properly implemented auto-save feature does not overwrite the original document; it saves a secondary copy, to be used only if the system crashes and you need to recover your edits.
      • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:44AM (#47075495)

        A properly implemented auto-save feature does not overwrite the original document; it saves a secondary copy, to be used only if the system crashes and you need to recover your edits.

        This is what MS Office does. Of course, no one here uses MS Office, so that's not much help...

      • by Twinbee (767046)
        With unlimited undo/redo (and saving of that), then perhaps you don't need the secondary copy. Doubt it's practical though for space/HD access reasons.
        • If the undo/redo history is reliably saved, then yes I agree. But if the application is crashing often enough that you care about this, do you trust the undo/redo history to get saved properly along with the document?
    • XCode auto-saves any changes you make (to the settings, the project layout, etc). Now I use git and make sure I've committed the whole project before making any changes because it's so easy to accidentally mess things up.

      So instead of making things easier, we've added complexity to work around complexity.
    • by mmell (832646)
      Agreed. After one or two unpleasant experiences, I got used to the habit of 1) load file, 2) immediately save file with new name, and 3) work. I.e., I was manually doing bastard RCS/SCCS.
    • Sometimes, I don't want to save. I will open a document with the explicit purpose of making changes that I don't want saved. Even Gmail's autosave has burned me pretty badly. I spent an hour typing out a very long email. Toward the end of it, something happened, and the whole body of text was gone. I'm still not really sure if it was a keyboard shortcut I inadvertently triggered, browser bug, or what. But I just thought "no biggie... I'll just go back to the auto-saved version". So I open up the autosaved version, and the latest auto-save happened AFTER the email body was deleted.

      Ctrl-Z my friend. Undo works perfectly fine in many web forms (including Gmail) when you accidentally select a bunch of text and overwrite it. My wife almost cried when she thought she lost the text from a huge email to a relative she hadn't seen in a while, but luckily I was there when it happened or else she would have given up.

      I just tested it and undo works on Slashdot comment fields on IE, FF, and Chrome on Windows 7, and I know it works in Linux because I use it all the time at home.

  • Wow, déjà vu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hubie (108345) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:34AM (#47075363)
    This sounded so familiar to me [slashdot.org], but I can't believe it has been over eight years ago. I must be remembering a similar story posted much more recently.
  • Back in the day, I/O was dreadfully slow. Think about 5 1/4" and 3 1/2" floppy disks and slow hard disks, and how long it could take to save a document. I can still hear the clunking and whirring in my head as the little activity LED blinks and the operating system grinds to a halt.

    Now, with faster HDDs and even better SSDs, making "save" a separate, user-triggered operation doesn't make much sense. And with a jillion cores, you can easily offload the CPU work to do the saving to another thread so the UI is

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:38AM (#47075413) Journal

    Excuses that no longer work:

    My floppy disc isn't working
    My computer blue screened before I saved
    My e-mail was down
    I don't know why your computer can't read that format

    Every excuse I ever used to get a day's reprieve could not work now.

    • Excuses that do work:

      I can't get into my account.
      The internet is down.
      What do you mean the .mp3 I renamed .doc isn't opening in word?

    • by tepples (727027)
      The new excuse is "I made a serious mistake, and it autosaved my mistake."
  • Once upon a time in a far away land I was pounding away at my Apple ][. I forgot to save and lost an hour and a half of work. That was the best mistake I ever made. Since then I have always saved, made backup copies, sent the text to myself on email, written a CD/DVD, saved to a thumb drive, and so on. An hour and a half was a very cheap loss to have, if I was forever safe thereafter.

    Autosave still has not cured me. I will still CTRL-S every few lines. Even with autosave on CAD I will still do other save
  • by jittles (1613415) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:42AM (#47075467)

    No longer do we have to have constant interruptions to worry about whether our changes are saved

    Why would you interrupt your flow of work to save a document? That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. What I got into the habit of doing was hitting Ctrl-S after each thought. The thought was then saved and I thinking about what to write next anyway. Autosave doesn't know when I actually want to commit my changes and it could happen in the middle of an edit (say cut and paste to move some text around). If I lost power at that time I would rather have the unedited version of the document than the one with my precious text cut out of it and then lost in the event of a power failure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:43AM (#47075487)

    Apple users don't Control, they Command you insensitive clod!

  • by kylemonger (686302) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:45AM (#47075499)
    ... when GNU Emacs had auto-saving and backup versioning at any keystroke granularity you liked thirty years ago. Next we celebrate the boon of split screen editing.
  • Games that autosave only on checkpoints is a hangover from old consoles that didn't have the memory to allows gamers to save when they wanted to. Why this horrible restriction continues to perpetuate to modern PC games is beyond me. It's a throwback and it's annoying.

    I can hear some people saying "It forces suspense in the game! You don't know when the next safe place is!". If you want that kind of suspense, let the game auto save for you. Personally if supper is ready I don't want to have to tell my wife
  • For public work docs we put together. I was trying to hit "Alt+F, S" to save everything for quite a while.

    I personally don't like the change because not every piece of software behaves that way (yet), and that leads to confusion.

    I also like having control over what is saved and when for a reason. Maybe I don't want some server having every thought I've ever had (and then deleted later because it was a bad idea, such as an angry email you never sent) stored somewhere in "Big Data". Imagine the psychological

  • Inspiration! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Many years ago, I lost some changes in a vi clone named "stevie". The real vi saved your changes automatically by the simple (and at the time necessary) method of using a file to store your edit buffer, but stevie used an in-memory edit buffer. After it losing enough changes from that, I decided to write my own vi clone, "elvis", which also used a file to store the edit buffer. This was very handy in the early days of Minix (predecessor to Linux) which had only a 64K address space per process -- it allow

  • Obviously this guy isn't a fan of Bethesda games, if he thinks so highly of autosave.

    Just wait until you lose an hour of progress because you didn't save before getting smoked by a high-level troll at the bottom of that dungeon.

  • by jovius (974690) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:01PM (#47075717)

    Undo levels to zero, no saving. Live in the moment, on the edge. No turning back, it's all in.

  • by jratcliffe (208809) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:03PM (#47075739)

    Jesus and Buddha sit down for a typing contest. Both are given a lengthy paper document, and have to type it into their respective computers. The contest starts, and they're neck-and-neck the whole way. When they're both almost done, a lightning bolt comes down from the sky, and both computers crash. Who wins the contest? Jesus, of course. Jesus saves.

  • by pinkj (521155)
    I was writing a long winded post about how the days of 'ctrl-s'ing every 10 seconds are finally gone, but I lost it all after my computer crashed.
  • Maybe now we'll have to think before we write.

    The very act of externalizing something is part of the writing process. The idea that one who might think it all out and then type/code/compose/whatever a perfectly formed document/program/concerto/whatever only really exists in the imaginary Mozart that lives in Peter Schaffer's mind.

    Besides, I prefer to save my work at defined points. Just because the system can recreate what I was doing where I left off before that dead battery/power failure/segfault/system crash/emergency phone call doesn't necessarily

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:12PM (#47075839)

    I hate autosave. Its one of the first things I turn off in any editor.

    Over many years I have developed an optimal workflow of trying changes and only saving when I'm completely happy with it, so by not saving I can easily go back to the last good version.

    Autosave that saves at regular time periods or whatever totally ruins that. I don't want earlier versions automatically overwritten, especially with work-in-progress changes, nor do I want multiple versions saved so I then have the hassle of figuring out *which* version to go back to, and possibly on-top all the manual housekeeping of regularly having to manually clear out multiple old versions.

  • by Dishwasha (125561) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:13PM (#47075851)

    I totally had first post on this one, but I found out I actually have to click both a preview button and submit button for it to save to this forum.

  • since it was Commodore-s on GEOS.

  • It didn't even occur to me that there would be no auto-save until my character died about an hour into the game. I don't think I own any game from the past several years that does not auto-save.
  • M2C thats really scary, first I dont want everything I type saved, secondly I prefer my commit-log not to be spammed to oblivion.

  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @03:59AM (#47082033)

    CTRL-S still suspends scrolling on my terminal now just like it did in 1997 on Slackware. What nonsensical software is the author using?

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