Computers to have an ‘Oops’ button to help users

Not that long ago I gave my computer keyboard a bit of a wipe. This turned out to be a really stupid thing to do as the computer was on and working… and unfortunately the keyboard was very responsive to being wiped. Suddenly I spotted that whatever keys I’d pressed had unintentionally turned the screen 90 degrees to the right and hidden the cursor. If I’d have been able to move the cursor into a web search window I could have searched for the fix but I ended up switching it off and on again and fortunately whatever I’d done was reset. No harm done.

I’ve written twice before about the need for an Oops button. The first time was about my mum ringing me to ask if I knew what on earth she’d just pressed because things suddenly looked unexpected, or the cursor had leapt somewhere it hadn’t been a moment before. In fact the “Oops” button was her idea. The second time was after my dad rang me to ask why he could see lots of dots and backward Ps (¶ – a pilcrow) on a Word document and how to get rid of them.

After publishing the second post I sent a copy to some computer companies half-seriously, half-jokingly suggesting that this could make life a bit easier for less tech savvy people. My dad was actually pretty tech savvy but he’d never pressed the “show non-printing characters” button before so had no idea what it was when he did.

I’m pleased to say that manufacturers and software designers are now considering implementing this. They’ve not said exactly what form it will take (or when it will start to appear) and it may not even be an actual button, although since hardly anyone uses AltGr I expect that would be an obvious one to co-opt. It might be a function key or a short series of keystrokes similar to Ctrl+Z (which undoes the last action) but which would bring up the last five or ten actions taken and let the user revert anything unintended. My preference would be for a function key as a button anywhere else on the keyboard might, ironically, find itself being unintentionally pressed.

It’s nice to know that one of my mum’s brilliant ideas might actually make things a bit easier for computer users.

In other news Twitter is finally rolling out an Edit function for users. It’s been one of the most highly-requested features for a few years and hugely controversial given that people would be able to write a tweet with one meaning, gain likes, RTs and replies – then change the meaning of the tweet. Similar to the feature on Facebook the edited tweet will carry the word ‘Edited’ as part of the tweet itself, clicking on that will let you see the original. Users on desktop will also be able to hover over any edited tweet and see the original pop up but this is not currently available on mobile. I’ll write more on this when I can get some screenshots to share. It will be interesting to see how this is used (and misused) and if Twitter will change its mind.



How to download Vines (yours or someone else’s) via a desktop computer

The short video service, Vine, is going to be switched off – though old videos will apparently still be accessible (though after some point it may be impossible to add any new ones). This helpful article from has lots of information and suggestions on how to download your Vines to a computer or to an iPhone etc. This post is just about doing it on a desktop computer.

tl;dr version
1. Find the URL of the vine you want to download
2. Stick it on the text box on this website –
3. Save the video by right-click, save as on the Download button

Here’s how I did it, with screenshots.

My vines can be found here, here’s a selection


To download one you need to put its URL / address into the Vine Downloader website (the article linked above has some other websites that do this as well). Make sure you use the right address for the vine – you need to pay attention to what’s appearing in the address bar as it might not be the right address. If, on my vine page, you click on any of those vines then the list view will appear and the vine in the active bit of the window will play, but the address doesn’t reflect the ‘real’ address of the vine – you’ll just see this for all of them

To get the download URL you need to click the vine’s timestamp (or right-click, save as to copy the address) and then the vine will open in its own window and you can copy its address. « a valid address for one vine video


Put that URL into the Downloader and click download.


…then right-click, save as to start the download and choose where you want to save it.


You’ll now have a copy of the video in your downloads to keep and you can also upload it elsewhere. I’ve saved a copy of this example vine on another blog, it’s on this page). Note that it won’t loop.

I don’t know of a way to do this in bulk though. Fortunately I don’t have very many vines!