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Names for the "spinning gear"

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On the 3/1/2008 show I mentioned that we should come up with a better name for the gray "spinning gear" icon that shows up from time to time in Mac OS X. You can see it during the first start-up screen in OS X when you have a gray screen and the gray Apple logo. Well, thanks to a comment in the show post, I now know what Apple calls it. According to their developer documentation it is called the

 

"Indeterminate Progress Indicator"

 

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/C...rProgIndic.html

 

Here are some listener recommendations from the comments and email:

 

Mine:

Grey cog of delay

Spinning gear of sloth

Wheel of waiting

 

Listener suggestions (via email):

The 8th Circle of Hell.

Carousel of Impatience

The Windmill of Woe

Whirling orb

Spinning orb

The grey gear of misfortune

The spinning gear of grief

The spinning gear of grave annoyance

The Infinite Loop

The Infinity Loop

The Dial of Delay

The Infinity Dial

The Dialling Phone of Frustation

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"Indeterminate Progress Indicator" ... That's rich! :-)

 

The gear isn't a progress indicator at all but rather an activity indicator. There is no indication of progress, it only lets you know "something" is going on.

 

So, for a name, I'd say .... hmmm......

 

Activity Cog

Wheel of Misfortune

Bicycle Spokes

Wheel of Wanting (your Mac to boot)

Apple Roulette

Edited by Mark Sheppard

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Grinding Gear of Purgatory

or

Pernicious Gear of Purgatory

?

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It always reminded me of Weather Radar ( as it rotates, the previous "spokes" fade and the refreshed ones become bolder ) therefore, my term would be

 

 

Reboot Radar Meter

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I really like

Grey Gear of DOOM!!!!!

 

It may be a bit over the top, but it has an Invader Zimmish quality to it.

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I like some of these suggested names less than others.

 

I don't like the names that make a value judgement. Worst (in my mind) are the names that imply that the wait will be eternal, that the user should abandon hope:

  • Windmill of Woe
  • Eighth Circle of Hell
  • Grinding Gear of Purgatory
  • Gray Gear of Death
  • etc...

Not so bad are the ones that merely imply a long, long, long, long wait, although I still don't like negative overtones:

  • Gray Cog of Delay
  • Wheel of Waiting
  • etc...

I don't like the ones that describe it as a wheel, because those descriptions are too easily confused with the multi-color cursor that also suggests something is taking longer than it should. If someone writes in that they are experiencing a "Wheel of Waiting" problem, are they referring to the "Gray Cog of Delay" or to the "Spinning Pizza of Death"?

 

The name also shouldn't be specific to reboots, because this same icon (usually in a smaller size) is also used by ordinary applications to show lengthy operations in progress. For example, Automator displays it to show that a worklow is running.

 

So what do I like? How about:

  • Spinning Spokes

It doesn't make any value judgements, it can't be confused with the spinning rainbow cursor (which doesn't have spokes), it's not specific to boot time, and when you hear the name you immediately know what it is. It's short, and it even has alliteration.

 

If you ever do get stuck there (which does happen), and you do find yourself wanting a more pejorative name, then you can expand the name to "Ever-spinning Spokes".

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I second the Wheel of Waiting, but it should be the W.O.W. for short.

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Whirling Pinwheel of Death?

 

Also, I have a theory as to its origin:

 

Many unix systems will indicate that something is working by alternating | / - \ | so the result is kind of a spinning spoke or stick. I think they just kind of extrudd that so all the stages are arranged in a circle.

 

On the 3/1/2008 show I mentioned that we should come up with a better name for the gray "spinning gear" icon that shows up from time to time in Mac OS X. You can see it during the first start-up screen in OS X when you have a gray screen and the gray Apple logo. Well, thanks to a comment in the show post, I now know what Apple calls it. According to their developer documentation it is called the

 

"Indeterminate Progress Indicator"

 

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/C...rProgIndic.html

 

Here are some listener recommendations from the comments and email:

 

Mine:

Grey cog of delay

Spinning gear of sloth

Wheel of waiting

 

Listener suggestions (via email):

The 8th Circle of Hell.

Carousel of Impatience

The Windmill of Woe

Whirling orb

Spinning orb

The grey gear of misfortune

The spinning gear of grief

The spinning gear of grave annoyance

The Infinite Loop

The Infinity Loop

The Dial of Delay

The Infinity Dial

The Dialling Phone of Frustation

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Since the spinning gear works most of the time, I think it should be known by two names. When it works like it's supposed to, it is "W.O.W." (Wheel of Waiting). When the machine stops responding, the wheel then becomes "G.O.D." (Gear of Death). I can just hear myself saying, "My machine was WOWing me, but then I knew I saw G.O.D."

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I have no idea what the correct name for the spinning wheel is, but I know why it exists! It comes directly from NextSTEP and OpenSTEP. It was the only "wait" cursor used in those OS, and I guess it got included in the OS X subsystem from that codebase..?!

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No it isn't. Read the article again and note the words "the spinning of the barber pole" - quite a different thing - something made even clearer via the menu-accessible page "About Progress Indicators".

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spinning wheel of dooom

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I have always just called it the spinning cog. Not the most exciting name for it, but people always seem to know what I am talking about.

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I was going to say the spinning pizza, but that's the yellow/orange spinning icon you get once you're logged in and the Mac is working really hard.

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I know this thread is over a year old but I just thought of another one.

 

the Finder Grinder

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