Fatal errors and illegal operations!

Fatal error

Originally uploaded by Dave Foord

Whilst, checking my email online the other day, I was presented with this screen!

What do they mean by a fatal error, fatal (if my understanding of the English language is correct) means that something has died – what has died, is it a person, a computer? Was the error my fault or someone else’s?

This is similar to a few years ago, when doing things on the computer you would be told that you “had performed an illegal operation” – again illegal means that something has broken a law – should you go and hand yourself in at the local police station in a hope that they look kindly on your honesty and reduce your prison sentence accordingly!

Now this may sound like I am being flippant, and obviously I know that refreshing the screen, or restarting the computing solves all known problems, but for someone less confident with technology than myself – what impact does this harsh language have on their uptake of technology?

Wouldn’t a message along the lines of “Oops, something has happened that we hadn’t foreseen – please try again later” – or similar have a more positive effect?

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