On Hiatus


Due
to the holidays here in the United States and elsewhere, many people are taking time
off of work, away from their computers, and away from blogs.

I am no exception, and my blog will be on hiatus for two weeks.  If you're
new to the blog and looking for reading material in the meantime, I recommend
starting with this list of
thirty
top articles about the Office 12 user interface
.

I'll be back with brand new episodes starting Tuesday, January 3, 2006.

Have a safe and happy holiday season, and I'll see you again in the new year!

Comments (19)

  1. squid says:

    Happy holidays, and thanks for the excellent content you’ve provided this year. Looking forward to the next!

  2. John Doe says:

    Have you ever had a chance to use OpenOffice.org suit? If not then give it a try.

    It is 1 feature that I think should be ported to Word. I posted the request for this feature during beta of Office 2003 and 1 microsoftie responded that it would radically slow down word. But this feature has the possibility to radically alter the word processing industry.

    This feature is auto type. Basically, OOo stores every word that you type (greator than 5 characters). So, whenever you begin to type it again, it will show it on tooltip and you just press enter to complete it. You have to try OOo to really understand its benefits. This just seems like a natural feature that any Word Processor should have.

  3. Robin Capper says:

    Have a great holiday, Thanks for an amazing insight into the history & future of the Office UI

  4. John Waller says:

    >>>It is 1 feature that I think should be ported to Word.

    >>>But this feature has the possibility to radically alter the word processing industry.

    >>>This feature is auto type. Basically, OOo stores every word that you type (greator than 5 characters). So, whenever you begin to type it again, it will show it on tooltip and you just press enter to complete it.

    Similar to predictive text in mobile phones or MS smart tags?

    Google Suggest is a similar concept that I’ve struggled with:

    http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en

    It may help beginner or occasional typists, but I’m not in favour of auto type.

    If it was implemented, I would switch it off in my preferences.

    I type too fast to be pressing enter repeatedly to get words accepted or be checking my work to ensure that what I had typed had been accepted word for word by the software. It would be more of a hindrance than a help for me.

    Happy holidays, Jensen!

  5. Robert Moir says:

    "It is 1 feature that I think should be ported to Word. I posted the request for this feature during beta of Office 2003 and 1 microsoftie responded that it would radically slow down word. But this feature has the possibility to radically alter the word processing industry. "

    Yeah alter it for the worse. I can type faster than I can pick something out of a disjoint list of possible "predictive" options.

  6. ChrisC says:

    [[[PART 1]]]

    To the autotype suggestion from "John Doe":

    >> You have to try OOo to really understand its benefits. …

    >> This just seems like a natural feature that any Word Processor should have.

    Perhaps, though I doubt it.

    I’ve been working on a doc this morning which happens to contain the following three words:

    ¹ alteration

    ² alternate

    ³ alternative

    ) If I understand you correctly, you contend that it is more efficient

    a) for me to type "alter" *

    and notice that the computer suggested "alteration", which isn’t the word I want,

    b) then type an "n",

    but now it is suggesting "alternate",

    c) so I have to type the "a" then "t" (which are there)

    d) then I have to type the "i", and check to see if it is now offering "alternative"

    e) it is the word I want, so *NOW* I can press enter

    f) and save myself typing 2 letters ("ve")

    ) For me it is much faster to type "alternative" because

    a) it doesn’t interrupt my thought process with other things (most important)

    b) it doesn’t take that long to type the ‘extra’ six characters

    ) I think office (and computers in general) think enough for me as it is; autocorrect is sufficient.

    [[[PART 2]]]

    Now the question:

    What is a "microsoftie"?

    (a) Does my opinion make me a "microsoftie" because I agree with Microsoft instead of you?

    (b) Or am I not one because I don’t work there?

    Despite the suggestion in your post that the term "microsoftie" ~should~ be pejorative, feel free to label me that way; I can take all the name calling you can dish out 🙂

    [[[PART 3]]]

    Finally ‘John’, keep fighting for what you believe/want!

    I hope you choose to keep reading here, that you keep making suggestions to Microsoft, and that you make suggestions to help OOo become the best it can be, all of this will force Office to be a better product.

    (I’m paying for it, so I [selfish-ly :-] want it to be the best product it can be!)

    FWIW,

    -Chris C.

    PS

    * – You’ll notice I did not address the fact that if "alter" is the last word of a line, pressing enter will cause a misspelling instead of the desired action. A punctuation/space requirement is insufficient criteria for replacement as common grammatical style in some places does not punctuate the end of sentences in certain circumstances such as bulleted lists, et al)

    ‹end›

  7. John Doe says:

    Thanks for the detailed reply Chris. Yes you are right that it can be annoying for some people and situation that you mentioned in the above post does happen. But everybody is not a fast typer as you and the situation that you mentioned is not frequent. Besides, I am sure you are aware of lot of features in Office that aren’t useful to you but useful to others.

    However, I will insist that you do try OpenOffice . It is free and it wouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes to downlaod/install and try it. You will realize how useful this feature could be for lets say a gradma who has hard time typing (this makes up large population of computer users).

    I am a college student and my papers usually include lot of words greator than 5 letters. Autotype feature saves me ridicuouls amount of time retyping words.

    By "microsoftie", I meant one of the official developer from Microsoft. Nothing deragatory imnplied here.

  8. Merry Christmas! I just saw this link to your blog on technet and thought I’d drop a word in to say HI!

  9. mentas says:

    My school works based on "ribbons" (new MS Office 12 UI).

    I want to see softwares like "Photoshop" and "3D Studio Max" based on this UI!

    http://spaces.msn.com/members/mentas/Blog/cns!1pzHYt881pdx5NESSN5k7QFA!238.entry

  10. Robert Moir says:

    "I am a college student and my papers usually include lot of words greator than 5 letters. Autotype feature saves me ridicuouls amount of time retyping words. "

    OK, it works for you. But consider that when you break it down you’re proposing four sets of people:

    a) those who frequently use words > 5 characters.

    b) but who cannot type very well for some reason.

    c) and yet who are not scared by random things popping up on the screen while they’re trying to concentrate on their typing.

    d) spend a fair amount of time working in a word processor rather than an Email app or an IM chat window.

    I of course am not a UI guru, but I suspect (and have done some observation to confirm this) that the junction between those four sets is quite small.

  11. John Doe says:

    a) Robert just in your last 2 paragraph comment, you used 50 words which are >= 5 characters. Yes just 50 in your last 2 paragraphs!! Count them yourself.

    b) Maybe you don’t hang around people with very limited technical skills or people who use computers 18hrs a day. I do, I go to a tech school and I have worked at a public library teaching old people how to use computer. There are gazillions of people who don’t know how to type. My dad included, who uses his left hand + index finger on right hand to type, even though he has been a programmer for last 17 years. This feature would be god send for millions of people.

    c) I guess Clippy did really scare you Robert. I hope you still don’t have nightmarers.

    d) I wish someone would replicate such feature in e-mail app. I think I should request that on Thunderbird forum. Your statement contradicts your first quote itself.

    I think Microsoft should do some studies in finding out if this feature could increase the time typing the documents. It will be worth the effort and besides if it did increasse the typing speed, they will get good PR. I think study will show that this feature does speed up typing.

  12. Max Palmer says:

    A bit off topic, but does anyone else find that if an article has a lot of comments then they become corrupted?

  13. blogs says:

    Max: Using what operating system, service pack level, and web browser version?

  14. ChrisC says:

    John:

    You’re welcome, nice to know it was read (I wonder sometimes 🙂 I had hoped to mess with it next week while I’m off, but the gf seems to have plans for me – maybe I’ll still have time. My MSDN subscription has run out I really should do something 🙂 Best wishes in your studies.

    ”blogs”: I have this prob with some areas of this blog. IE 6.0.2800.1106.xpsp2.050301-1526

    Max: I can clear it up in my browser with View | Text Size | Medium

    (and yes, picking what it is already set at works)

    Merry Christmas everyone!*

    -Chris C.

    * – Feel free to wish me back a seasons greetins as Chanukah, Quanza, etc. (Christmas is my sentiment, whatever yours is, yours is 🙂

    PS

    I have a friend who types with his two index fingers and is faster than I am.

  15. NateB1 says:

    I have also noticed that the comments become corrupted.

    I am using IE6 SP2 on Windows XP Professional.

    The way I get around this issue is to keep refreshing the page. For about a half-second, nothing is corrupted, but then it suddenly becomes corrupted. I then press the Refresh button, and so on and so forth until either the page remains "uncorrupted" or I am done reading the comments. It is rather annoying.

  16. Max Palmer says:

    Regarding corruption of comments. My system specs are as follows:

    OS is W2K SP4

    Browser IE6 SP1 (6.0.2899.1106C0)

    Q867801,Q823353,Q833989,Q903235

    If you need more info then let me know.

  17. Max Palmer says:

    Update: I too can clear the problem by reselecting the text size. Thanks for the tip.

    Happy holidays to all …

  18. Stevbe says:

    < My dad included, who uses his left hand + index finger on right hand to type, even though he has been a programmer for last 17 years>

    MS IDEs have had intellisense for 10 years, I used it back then but no so much now. I agree with the *multiple* words with the same beginning mess me up as I have to keep looking at the list to see if / which word I want to pick. This gets even more problematic when you start memorizing your abrreviation list and then suddenly you add a new library (or expand your vocabulary) and all of a sudden the first 3 letters don’t resolve to the same word it did yesterday.

    Steve

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