Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Outlook GUI Stupidity #114

Sometimes Outlook really just pisses me off. This works out to be about once a day. Today's "outlook you piece of crap" grip is about mailing lists. I have a mailing list, which is a global one. I want to make a new mailing list which is more regional based, using a subset of the mailing lists contained in the global one. It's worth noting that the global list is a list of lists, and not a list of actual addys. So, what do I do? As always, I do naturally what a user would do. Type the list into the TO field, double click on it to see its contents, and drill down to get the list of lists that I want to copy, leaving the ones I don't. In steps MS Stupidity -- You CANNOT COPY the lists you see in the properties dialog box of the mailing list! You can SELECT them, you can double click on them to drill down, but you CANNOT DO ANYTHING MEANINGFUL to those list names. WTF. Seriously, I hope that MS pays their monkeys in QA their quota of bananas for this one. What reason would you want to restrict the users to just LOOKING at the list contents if you can't electronically copy them? I think that EVERY item in a GUI that is SELECTABLE should be COPY-ABLE* (even if cut is not allowed) I am forced instead to TAKE OUT A PEN AND WRITE DOWN THE LISTS ON PAPER.** So that I can add them to the new list I am building. Outlook is a piece of hot steamy shite. * Except for password fields of course ** Anytime poor software design causes an end user to have to do this, somebody at the company responsible should be forced to ceremoniously cut off a digit.

An OIJ for the Record books

Thanks to plangent on tokyopia who subtitled it, for all to enjoy. Just sums up Japan, in one video

Monday, August 27, 2007

Outlook GUI Stupidity #112

When you receive an email from an internet address, for instance Aya [mymail@hotmail.com] Besides replying, and saving the address in your contact list, what is the most natural thing to do with the email addy? well, cut and paste of course!, but once again, MS developers thought that they were smarter than you, the user, and made it so that you cannot select the email address part with your mouse. Any attempt to select it will select the whole line, [] included. Why anyone would want to cut and paste that line with the square brackets is beyond comprehension, and yet another testament to developers at MS not using their brain, or doing any sort of sensical user acceptance testing. I've always been a critic of the stupid so-called intelligent text selection algorithms that they employ at Redmond. But this is just plain dumb. (FYI, to get just the email address, double click on the email address and take it from the 'real' address text box in the resulting dialog)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh Canada! - you suck.

I'm allowed to say that. I'm canadian. And for once, I am embarrassed to say so. What the heck is up with this: Canada gets authoritarian This really stinks, and basically has seriously made me reconsider ever returning to my home country. At least until I get too old for bikes, and am ready to exploit the free health care.

Why Vista Sucks

What Joel Says about MS Design It's what I've been ranting about for the last 10 years. We were having a discussion along these lines at coffee time today with a fellow technologist. The topic was the general gui breakdowns of Outlook, and how apple stands a good chance of stealing the spotlight away from ms on this front as well (as it has on the ilife front of home apps) if MS doesn't sit down, and redesign outlook from the ground up, and trash all the legacy backward compatible old cruft that is over 15 years old and holding back the forward progress of the development. (no more, we can't do this because it would no be compatible with Ms exchange version 3.1) Like many big conglomerates, MS doesn't seem to care too much about the average PC user anymore. Why? Because Ms doesn't make money selling to you and me. MS makes money selling their software to OEMs. Why would OEMS care about the usability of the software that they preinstall on their systems? It's pretty much a secondary concern when they market a product. Besides, if the customer really cares, then they will install their own OS and apps on the system afterwards anyways. So MS can continue to make money selling million dollar contracts to Dell, HP and Acer... while caring about as much as a hot pile of poo what the customers really think about their product so long as they are legally safe from retribution. Besides, the design strategy they always seem to take in their apps is to make the system as accomodating (think cheap hoe) as possible, so that 3rd party software houses can come in and write better programs to fill in for the deficiencies and flaws in their own -- at the expense of 'good old human centered design' which other competitors use as a selling point. Since MacOS is (legally) only supposed to run on apple hardware, lets leave it aside, and consider linux as the only competitor to windows as far as OEMs go... So if MS's interests are no longer at the consumer level, and making the $$$ off of the middlemen, then why do the OEMs continue to support an OS that is unpopular and less than optimal in terms of functionality? 1) because they have to, because they sell to business users, who all (mostly) use windows, because linux on the desktop is still unreliable, and unsupportable (anecdotal). Besides, who wants to support linux? No thanks, I'll take MS crap ware, at least it is more or less standard and supportable. Any non-business user sales are most likely to the gaming segment. More games on windows, means these users will buy windows machines. They don't care about how crappy outlook is or how much extra work it takes them to configure/setup/admin their PC, they have lots of free time on their hands, most of them are still in highschool. (note how MS spends a lot of effort on DirectX initiatives.) 2) because they make money from 3rd party crapware firms who pay them to pre-install their demo/crapware at the factory, just like yahoo makes off of adware. Windows is crapware friendly. Whether that is a side effect of the market size of windows users, or because of general promiscuity of the OS apis itself, I don't know. But remember the criticism apple got when it said that it would only allow 'blessed' apps on the iphone? Well, rest assured, ms would never take on such an elitist stance. Win for the crapware houses, lose for end user happiness. What does this mean? realistically? I believe that this means that MS is rich and happy, and has long since shifted its sights on other industries like TV Media, and games. They don't give a rats bum about windows and the OS market anymore, so long as they can continue selling them enmasse to OEMs. They don't design vista with you the individual user in mind. It's not in their business model. They just need to crank out mediocre improvement versions to keep OEMs buying the new thing. And heck, its the correct business decision in my opinion. And Gates and company have always been shrewed businessmen. If you want an OS that is built for the average user for actual personal use, then either go apple, or build your own with linux.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hakone Skyline

The weather forecast for today was supposed to be rain. Well, for some of us riders, it may have been better if it did. Instead, the published 40% chance of rain, ended up being a cloudy but dry day, perfect for running the curvy bends of the hakone and izu skyline. 8 riders, 4 manufactuers, and 1 goal: to melt some rubber. We met up at the starbucks off the Yoga entrance ramp to the Tomei Expressway, the scheduled time was 8am, but it wasn't until 8:30 did all of us manage to trounce our way in. The field was varied, most were seasoned riders, a couple of beginners (myself included), and a seasoned veteran getting back into the game. 2 Ducatis, 2 Suzukis, 3 Hondas, and an Aprilia. The ride down was uninteresting, speeding through the tomei traffic was as always an exercise in nerves. When we got to the skyline the riding was pretty intense. Single lane traffic meant that we had to pass cars in pretty tight conditions. I almost found myself in the ditch at the side of the road once when I just couldn't negotiate a tight right hander after passing a slow car. Man, thank god for those tokino double disk front brakes, else I would be fishing my bike out of a storm gutter. We had lunch at the top of the hills, a mecca for bikers, as driving into the parking lot we could see a proverbial showfloor of bikes of all makes. We managed to sight one of the more rare bikes in the world, a Italian Virus. Orange, and looking more like a weapon in the US army arsenal with its missle launcher intake ramscoop, it was a marvel of engineering and a beauty to look at. I took several pictures before the rider invited us to his shop at the top of the mountain pass. Enjoy the pics. The mountain roads and conditions were beautiful, there were points when it felt like we were riding through a windy road in the shire, it was like one big roller coaster ride. After lunch in the biker mecca, it was onto the Izu skyline, which is professed to be even more beautiful than the hakone turnpike. The connecting road was windy and even more narrow, and unlike the turnpike, had many uneven changes in grade. Oh, and more slow cars. So passing them was even more nerve wracking. Not long after thinking that, did chance lay its (back of the) hand on us, and one of our group (who I'll call "M" ) overshot a quick right hander, and flew off the road into the dreaded storm gutter. I was fortunate to have seen it in my rear mirror, so I turned back to help. Another in our group, and a kind passerby on a R1200GS stopped to help M (thankfully unhurt) lift the bike back out of the gutter. No small task, as the bike is 150kg. A little shaken, but unhurt, the bike looked practically unscathed short of a busted passenger peg, and a warped windscreen, and we all thought that 'M' got off pretty lucky until we saw the big puddle of liquid that was gathering in the gutter. The bike was bleeding oil. On closer inspection, the bike had fallen straight into the concrete ditch, which is about 1 foot wide and 2 feet deep, and the concrete hand ground a 2 inch gash in the bottom of the engine block big enough to fit 3 fingers into. Not good. And because the engine was a wet sump, oil was bleeding out of it like a victim with a punctured carotid artery. Hmm... Thankfully, I had with me some electrical tape, so we fashioned a temporary patch of the hole, and 'M' and I continued to ride down to the closest town, while the others continued onto the Izu skyline. 'M's poor hornet was leaking the whole way... 20km later, we got to a gas station, where the attendant basically told us that he could do nothing for us. We got some more tape, (unfortunately, there was no duct tape for sale) and filled up the engine with more oil (it had bled itself dry). Immediately it started bleeding again(it was really hard to plug a hole that big with just tape) but we decided to make a run for it another 20km to Odawara, where there would be a bike repair shop. We make it there, and thankfully they can effect repairs there, so we leave the bike and double up to ride on home. What a testiment to honda reliability! Running an engine pretty much dry of oil, for 40km without a seizure. We were lucky. So lessons learned, and nobody hurt, we all congregated back in the Sizzler cafe on route 246 back in the outskirts of Tokyo to tell our tales. One thing is certain, some of us (myself included) will be paying a lot more attention to how hot we ride into right handers and also to always keep a roll of ducktape and oil cleaner while travelling, as that would have been able to make a much more effective hole patching kit (compared to electrical tape). Oh and the total bill for the repairs to M's bike? 15,000yen for a new engine cap and oil. Not bad at all. Considering when I replaced my front disk brake it was 25,000. We count ourselves lucky today. Ride safely. Here are the pics

Friday, August 10, 2007


I recently had an article published in Asia Geographic magazine on snowboarding in Japan. Just a short article. When it comes out, you can see it Here. My first time in print. Thanks largely in part from my singaporean friends in the travelling/exploring/adventuring industry who put me in touch with the editors of the magazine. Cheers Jo, next time I'm in spore, drinks are on me! On an unrelated note, I had a star sighting in Roppongi this week. Its not my first star sighting in Japan, but it is my first sighting of a foriegn celebrity. It was Nicole Richie, half of the dynamic duo of Paris Hilton and Nicole on the show simple life. She arrived at Grand Hyatt hotel while I was waiting in the lobby. For a celebrity of her caliber, there was suprisingly little or not body guards. Perhaps not many people know her here, although the Simple Life is shown on cable TV in Tokyo. She was lugging a very large pink suitcase. Straight out of the show. I could have gone up to her and talked to her, there was no fans, nor crowd in the lobby. But what would I say... I'm not even a fan. Though I do think that she was the cuter one of the pair. Perhaps she is here to film Simple Life Japan Edition.

Monday, August 06, 2007

GUI Design Problems in Microsoft software

Every journey no matter how long, starts with just a step. On that note, lets start this journey, of how I think many of the GUI designs of MS software just plain sucks, and how I die a little more each day as I struggle with using Outlook and other such bloatware that just gets in my way. Let me recant, and introduce myself. For those who don't know me, I'm just another middle class salaryman working in japan in the finance industry with a background in engineering and computer science. My degree is in engineering (from UWaterloo) and the thing that us engineers pride ourselves on (besides being able to drink heavily) is that unlike computer science majors at our beloved school we cared about the actual application of technology in the real world, while the CS guys hoo and hawed over the mathematical beauty of their creations and how wonderful and elegant their solutions to a problem were. Here is the problem. Microsoft (henceforth known as 'MS') seems to like to hire our CS grads, and those same geeks that loved to show off how they managed to write a doubly recursive self mutating widget to display 'hello world' in 17 languages ends up writing code for MS Office. Big, big problem. At least that's how my theory goes. My 'love' for MS software knows little bias. I've used it for years since the days of windows 3.1, but it has only been after taking on a job where computer science wasn't the primary product I began to notice how inefficient MS software was making my life out to be. I started a thread on a local forum, just so that I could vent my frustrations to the world, which soon became the longest active thread on the whole board, with over 20,000 views. Bad GUI Design I'll let the thread speak for itself. There are many many posts, most of them mine, but all of them about GUI design failures, and although not all are limited to MS software, outlook definitely is the winner of most number of gui design screw ups. Take a gander. So there, that was the first step. The first step with me opening up my critiques of the most heavily used productivity software in the world, and why it needs to improve a lot more if people are going to become more proficient at doing their REAL JOBS instead of fighting with the productivity tools constantly. Read the thread. And keep your eyes peeled for more news on this blog. I have had it up to here with MS software inefficiencies and blatant disregard for real people using their software in real ways. Instead they write their programs to account for worse case scenarios and rarely encountered special cases, or try to cram every last widget with the maximum level of affordance, and in doing so, make the tool completely unusable or impractical, or just darned frustrating to use. Here is a sample of a discussion I had with a fellow programmer (who is a CS major) about the problem with outlook tasks. (and subsequently, time widgets) The good news is that it has a happy ending with us agreeing on what would be an improved version of the widget. MS are you listening? Discussion about Outlook Tasks

Sunday, August 05, 2007

GUI Design Discussion #1 Outlook Tasks

> digitsu [11:35]: I hate those irritating outlook alerts, I end up ignoring most of them. > Mr CS Buddy [11:35]: then you should turn off the false alerts... > digitsu [11:36]: yeah, but you know how it is... > digitsu [11:36]: they are alerts for weekly status mails etc. > digitsu [11:36]: need to do them, but at what time... is not determined. > digitsu [11:36]: if outlook tasklist didnt suck so much, they should really go there. > Mr CS Buddy [14:02]: what's wrong with task lists? > digitsu [16:13]: where do I start. > digitsu [16:13]: > digitsu [16:14]: lots of usability issues. > Mr CS Buddy [16:14]: tell me a couple of things that it doesn't do > Mr CS Buddy [16:14]: i'm using it a lot these days > digitsu [16:14]: more like things it does poorly > Mr CS Buddy [16:14]: and it's decent > Mr CS Buddy [16:14]: so would be cool to know what i should complain about as well > digitsu [16:14]: I'ved never liked the completion percentage drop down. > digitsu [16:17]: colours would be nice too. > digitsu [16:18]: also the integration with mail is hacky. > Mr CS Buddy [16:18]: what's wrong with completion? > Mr CS Buddy [16:18]: you can colour tasks > Mr CS Buddy [16:19]: mailing others? yourself? what kind of integration with mail > digitsu [16:19]: I want a slider for completion. > digitsu [16:19]: not a drop down. > digitsu [16:19]: excessive mousing to use a gui always pisses me off. > digitsu [16:19]: as does mixing mousing with keyboard use excessively > Mr CS Buddy [16:19]: ic ic > digitsu [16:19]: and when I tag a mail > digitsu [16:19]: to followup, it should become a task, > Mr CS Buddy [16:19]: so more of UI issues, rather than functional? > digitsu [16:20]: but it doesnt and just gets flagged. > Mr CS Buddy [16:20]: you can drag a mail into your tasklist > digitsu [16:20]: i know > Mr CS Buddy [16:20]: (it's not the best interface i know) > Mr CS Buddy [16:20]: good pt tho > digitsu [16:21]: it just splits it up, so that some of your taskes are reminders, > digitsu [16:21]: and some are actual tasks... > digitsu [16:21]: and without a unified interface, enforcing compliance, things get messy > Mr CS Buddy [16:21]: i wish there was a good organizer system out there > digitsu [16:21]: and the whole system breaks down, unless you are organized yourself to keep it clean > Mr CS Buddy [16:21]: mail, tasks, contacts, finance > Mr CS Buddy [16:22]: should all tie up > digitsu [16:22]: yes. > Mr CS Buddy [16:22]: we should make one > digitsu [16:22]: hahah > Mr CS Buddy [16:22]: the ultimate PIM > Mr CS Buddy [16:22]: we'll call it PIM.P > digitsu [16:22]: another reason why I don't drag mail into a task > digitsu [16:22]: HAHAH > Mr CS Buddy [16:22]: personal info manager. portable > Mr CS Buddy [16:22]: it should work with your latest handheld gadget > digitsu [16:22]: is because when you are DONE your task, guess what, most likely you need to reply to that mail > digitsu [16:23]: Oh... TOO BAD, NO SOUP FOR YOU > Mr CS Buddy [16:23]: but if the task was assigned to you > digitsu [16:23]: if you moved or deleted that mail, then MS will give you the big middle finger > Mr CS Buddy [16:23]: as soon as you complete > Mr CS Buddy [16:23]: it automatically sends the update back to the person > Mr CS Buddy [16:23]: there are quirks with the assingment system tho > digitsu [16:23]: I only wish people actually used tasks like that > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: true > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: that's what i was about to say > digitsu [16:24]: NOBODY I know assigns tasks > digitsu [16:24]: maybe you? > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: most ppl don't use the features, so it breaks down any "integration" features > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: i do > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: hahaha > digitsu [16:24]: but nobody on the business side with little patience dose > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: i assign things to laj > digitsu [16:24]: does > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: so we look at the same lists > Mr CS Buddy [16:24]: ya, tru > digitsu [16:24]: well, in that case it has a use > digitsu [16:25]: id admit that we aren't using it as they should be. > digitsu [16:25]: communication in strat land is via email and yams. > digitsu [16:25]: and tasks you have to assign to yourself. > Mr CS Buddy [16:25]: i'm serious tho > digitsu [16:25]: and I used to always drag them into the calendar, (so that I can see them) or tasklist. > Mr CS Buddy [16:25]: i'm dying to have a PIM that works well > digitsu [16:26]: but I got caught once when I had to recreate the entire mail via cut and past of all the FREEEKEN addresses on the TO line > Mr CS Buddy [16:26]: i've been looking at this area for 10yrs > Mr CS Buddy [16:26]: it's gotten better, but so slow > digitsu [16:26]: when I had to report back that I had fixed the bug > digitsu [16:26]: that it pissed me off so much as to give the middle finger to MS tasks > Mr CS Buddy [16:26]: hahaha > digitsu [16:26]: you would think that a simple requirement would be > digitsu [16:27]: that mail <-> task <-> calendar <-> contact > Mr CS Buddy [16:27]: same object > Mr CS Buddy [16:27]: but different interface > digitsu [16:27]: should be a commutational operation > digitsu [16:27]: and changing an item to one and back again to another should be possible > digitsu [16:27]: exactly! > digitsu [16:27]: but apparently those who work at MS are too engrossed in their own egos to think about real usability > Mr CS Buddy [16:28]: i guess it's a balance what you hold at the core of this communal object > Mr CS Buddy [16:28]: and what are delegated to the interface layer > digitsu [16:28]: all objects should just carry a link back to the original data glob > Mr CS Buddy [16:28]: problem right now is that a lot is at the interface > Mr CS Buddy [16:29]: secdb concept? > digitsu [16:29]: and use an appropriate interface each depending > digitsu [16:29]: yeah... > digitsu [16:29]: hahah > Mr CS Buddy [16:29]: but then problem is that you're grounded to 1 place > Mr CS Buddy [16:29]: hence secdb is so hard to mvoe > digitsu [16:29]: so if I delete the original mail, then i can recreate it and forward it as long as I have a task that was spawned from it. > Mr CS Buddy [16:29]: it won't work if you want to be portable > digitsu [16:30]: well, how portable do you need your pim to be? > digitsu [16:30]: with our infosec policies > digitsu [16:30]: hahahaah > Mr CS Buddy [16:30]: i'm just talking in general > Mr CS Buddy [16:30]: not within gs walls > digitsu [16:30]: you can work off a common data file > Mr CS Buddy [16:30]: most business ppl will need the pim data to be mobile > digitsu [16:31]: download all current items to your local system > digitsu [16:31]: but keep the main data (like your archives on the server version) > digitsu [16:31]: yeah... there isn't a current good solution > Mr CS Buddy [16:31]: i'm thinking the problem with client-side is like secview > Mr CS Buddy [16:31]: it becomes bloated > digitsu [16:32]: secview is pretty lean when you compare to any other IDE > Mr CS Buddy [16:33]: that's only cuz you've thrown out the whole GUI > digitsu [16:33]: who needs a gui? > Mr CS Buddy [16:33]: to have a slider for %, you need a GUI > digitsu [16:33]: IDE requirements are not the same as PIM > Mr CS Buddy [16:33]: true > digitsu [16:33]: IDE is work. > digitsu [16:34]: PIM has the higher standards of being sooo useable and friendly and easy > digitsu [16:34]: as to GET OUT OF YOUR WAY > digitsu [16:34]: since its not a work tool, but a necessity of life. > digitsu [16:34]: like bureaucracy > Mr CS Buddy [16:35]: it's kinda interesting > Mr CS Buddy [16:35]: the analogy to secdb is quite similar > Mr CS Buddy [16:35]: if you try to hook this pim up to the work env > Mr CS Buddy [16:35]: it's like hooking secdb up to OMA > digitsu [16:36]: is that your job? > Mr CS Buddy [16:36]: you need to deal with the email volumes > digitsu [16:36]: ah > Mr CS Buddy [16:36]: cuz whilst the pim items would be easily converted between its different interfaces > Mr CS Buddy [16:37]: it's probably not going to be efficient for pure email > Mr CS Buddy [16:37]: about 50% which don't require convertion to another interface > digitsu [16:37]: well you don't need to convert unless you convert > digitsu [16:37]: I don't see any overhead > digitsu [16:38]: you may make the task object bigger > Mr CS Buddy [16:38]: but the whole tie-back to the glob would be the overhead > digitsu [16:38]: in order to remember who the original to.from was, but that;s it > Mr CS Buddy [16:40]: i'm going to save this conversation > Mr CS Buddy [16:40]: to think about more > digitsu [16:40]: yeah. > digitsu [16:41]: maybe if we come up with a killer pim we can start our own company > digitsu [16:41]: i'll be the complain generation department > digitsu [16:41]: otherwise known as the design despot > digitsu [16:41]: apple does a lot better job in its PIM app btw > Mr CS Buddy [16:41]: you can get some customer feedback > Mr CS Buddy [16:42]: market analysis > Mr CS Buddy [16:42]: i'm sure it does > Mr CS Buddy [16:42]: problem is that you have to give it to the masses > digitsu [16:42]: yep > Mr CS Buddy [16:42]: not just the ppl who like apples and mac > Mr CS Buddy [16:42]: and to put it on a handheld device > Mr CS Buddy [16:43]: i think it could be a good core function to start with > digitsu [16:43]: how do you colour tasks btw? > digitsu [16:43]: its not obvious. > digitsu [16:44]: another example of great gui > digitsu [16:44]: 99% of people probably don't have the energy to even ask > Mr CS Buddy [16:45]: you're right, it's probably not straightforward, like right-clicking and say colour > Mr CS Buddy [16:45]: you can format the view to auto-colour tasks of a certain category for example > digitsu [16:46]: ugh > Mr CS Buddy [16:46]: then just categorise your task > digitsu [16:46]: Just as I thought. you have to categorize first > digitsu [16:46]: who the heck has time for that u > Mr CS Buddy [16:46]: well, depends on what you want to colour > digitsu [16:46]: I just want to slap a colour > Mr CS Buddy [16:46]: you don't have to categorise if you're colouring things depending on time > digitsu [16:47]: without having to fill out application forms in triplicate and signing with blood > digitsu [16:47]: I just want to colour > digitsu [16:47]: no depending on. > digitsu [16:47]: I want to have in my brain what which colour means. > Mr CS Buddy [16:47]: well, for you to decide what to colour, don't you need to know which ones are what colours? > digitsu [16:47]: because I like green to mean X, > digitsu [16:47]: no > Mr CS Buddy [16:47]: well, you just answered my question > digitsu [16:47]: it should be like mail flagging > digitsu [16:47]: no > Mr CS Buddy [16:47]: i guess you do, but you don't want to explicitly define > digitsu [16:47]: exactly > digitsu [16:48]: why the fuck should I have to define > digitsu [16:48]: why the hell does outlook need to know? > Mr CS Buddy [16:48]: true > Mr CS Buddy [16:48]: i guess if you look at it this way > digitsu [16:48]: we all know, that unless you are David (whats his name) the organizational freak, who does nothing but reorganize his file cabinet daily > Mr CS Buddy [16:48]: do you want to always ahve to manually colour? > digitsu [16:48]: we categories will change > Mr CS Buddy [16:48]: or do you want the system to know why you colour what, and it does it for you automatically > digitsu [16:48]: categories change > digitsu [16:49]: keeping them fresh is a chore > digitsu [16:49]: making using a PIM a chore defeats the whole purpose of a PIM > digitsu [16:49]: or... creates jobs for assistants, depending on how you see it > Mr CS Buddy [16:49]: i see your point > digitsu [16:49]: besides, by your arguement > digitsu [16:49]: why the heck don't I have to specify the colour meaning in NOTES? > Mr CS Buddy [16:50]: but if you do change all the time, then your system will be out the window in a matter of months > digitsu [16:50]: or the mail reminder flags? > Mr CS Buddy [16:50]: you don't, but it doesn't do anyth auto for you > digitsu [16:50]: consistency... MS has about as much as a constipated pig > Mr CS Buddy [16:50]: true > digitsu [16:50]: well, I don't need it automatically done > digitsu [16:51]: because im creating the task anyway > Mr CS Buddy [16:51]: they should have the option to colour on the fly i agree > digitsu [16:51]: why would I need it to auto choose my colour? > digitsu [16:51]: if in return, I have to consciously choose (and maintain) a meaningful category list > Mr CS Buddy [16:51]: cuz the task might go through different states > Mr CS Buddy [16:51]: again, it depends what you're colouring it for > digitsu [16:52]: for visibility > Mr CS Buddy [16:52]: i'm colouring based on state changes > Mr CS Buddy [16:52]: and that is dynamic > digitsu [16:52]: I want my "pay parking ticket or get arrested" to be red > digitsu [16:52]: and about categories, the problem is that many things can fall under multiple ones. > digitsu [16:53]: is that a home task? or a work task or just a random thought? or a to buy, or a to do, or a remember bday. > digitsu [16:53]: work related bday > digitsu [16:53]: or personal bday > Mr CS Buddy [16:53]: i hear you > Mr CS Buddy [16:53]: i have that problem > digitsu [16:53]: I tried to categories. > digitsu [16:53]: I just gave up. > Mr CS Buddy [16:53]: i agree setup is someth that is unnecessarily difficult > digitsu [16:54]: since I spent more time categorizing and resolving cat unions and merges than actual work. > Mr CS Buddy [16:54]: and i believe that is a problem with most of the ms apps > digitsu [16:54]: yeah. > Mr CS Buddy [16:54]: i spent the whole wkend working in ms money > Mr CS Buddy [16:54]: and whilst i got the job done > digitsu [16:54]: hahahahaha > Mr CS Buddy [16:54]: spent a lot of time with setups/configs > digitsu [16:54]: I used to keep my finances using SB finance > Mr CS Buddy [16:54]: that is another reason why i think this whole idea for pim is worth exploring (finally) > digitsu [16:54]: for my PDA. > digitsu [16:55]: i gave up after 1 year > digitsu [16:55]: it was just too much work. > Mr CS Buddy [16:55]: i agree, but i want to make it easier > Mr CS Buddy [16:55]: cuz it gives a lot of insight into your data > digitsu [16:55]: yes > digitsu [16:55]: I know... it does. I agree > Mr CS Buddy [16:56]: i finally managed to aggregate all the reciepts i had for the last 4 yrs > Mr CS Buddy [16:56]: not every one > digitsu [16:56]: oh my got > digitsu [16:56]: god > Mr CS Buddy [16:56]: but the bulk > digitsu [16:56]: you reconciled all your reciepts?!?!?!? > digitsu [16:56]: do you put each item on your credit card as an entry as well? > Mr CS Buddy [16:56]: i went through one round of the high-level with the bank, salary statements, credit card bills etc > Mr CS Buddy [16:57]: i still need to sweep through again for major payments, like big purchases, utility bills, etc so i can work out a reasonable budget > Mr CS Buddy [16:57]: i categorised the items in the credit card bill > digitsu [16:58]: I did that too > Mr CS Buddy [16:58]: i had 90% of the receipts, but didn't rec all the items > digitsu [16:58]: I was quite proud of my purchasing categories > Mr CS Buddy [16:58]: threw out all the peti cash > digitsu [16:58]: sbfinance is cool cause I can run it on my phone > Mr CS Buddy [16:58]: nice > digitsu [16:58]: but still I get too tired to enter all the water bills and gas bills when i get them > Mr CS Buddy [16:59]: japanese ms money is not avaiable... pisses me off > digitsu [16:59]: esepcially when some of the bills are hard to read, and have multiple charges on different dates > digitsu [16:59]: yeah. > digitsu [16:59]: or japanese quicken > Mr CS Buddy [16:59]: that's where a combo of auto-paying in my bank, downloading to ms money helps > digitsu [16:59]: oooooh > Mr CS Buddy [16:59]: i can easily just have it auto-category my utility bills > Mr CS Buddy [16:59]: going fwd > digitsu [16:59]: your bank does a ms money download > digitsu [16:59]: sweet > digitsu [17:00]: that would be handy > Mr CS Buddy [17:00]: ya > Mr CS Buddy [17:00]: took awhile to work it all out > Mr CS Buddy [17:00]: but right, case in point, no one else woudl do any of this > Mr CS Buddy [17:00]: i'm just anal enough to do it > Mr CS Buddy [17:00]: and it's not that most ppl don't need it > digitsu [17:00]: well, I wouldn't say anal, > digitsu [17:00]: just organized > Mr CS Buddy [17:00]: ppl just can't be bothered > Mr CS Buddy [17:01]: or have the ability to work it all out > digitsu [17:01]: I know there is a certain level of satisfaction that comes from a tight ship being run > digitsu [17:01]: and a tidy apartment > digitsu [17:01]: unfortunately I barely have time to keep my physical apartment clean... so... something has got to go. > digitsu [17:11]: here is one for you > digitsu [17:11]: why the heck can't I assign a task with a due time. > digitsu [17:12]: like a reminder? > digitsu [17:12]: so if i have a task that has a reminder for the day, the only way i can do that is to mail myself and add a reminder to it? sort circumvents the whole task system. > digitsu [17:13]: lessening its significance > digitsu [17:14]: you asked for it, so now you are on my complaint list for MS task Gui > digitsu [17:14]: complaint #4 > digitsu [17:14]: why when I click on the time, does the cursor default to insert mode? what the heck use is that?!?!? > digitsu [17:15]: when I click on the time (for a reminder) then obviously i want to TYPE a TIME, NOT EDIT the time > digitsu [17:15]: because the time it takes for me to type '8' is less that the time it takes for me to type "del, del, del, 8" > digitsu [17:16]: and once again, stupid drop down box for time. > digitsu [17:16]: MS has a drop down box fetish > digitsu [17:16]: because they are freaken lazy with free text entry > digitsu [17:17]: choosing a time out of a drop down box is the most painful task ever. > digitsu [17:17]: I pity those with poor motor functions > digitsu [17:17]: clicking repeatedly on a tiny down arrow button > digitsu [17:18]: and why isn't the option to add a reminder to a task available from the right click menu anyway? > digitsu [17:18]: it is for mail items > digitsu [17:18]: convinced yet? the GUI is broken as far as I'm concerned. I'll have more complaints for you as i start to remember them > digitsu [18:13]: bitch #6 > digitsu [18:13]: why can't convert a mail item to a cali one via any discernable menu item? > digitsu [18:14]: drag and drop works well when i am staring at the inbox, but if I'm not, and I'm looking at my calendar (which guess what MS, that's what most people look at before deciding on inserting a new appointment! duh) > digitsu [18:14]: there is no way for me to turn an open mail item into a calendar item. > digitsu [18:14]: or task for that matter. > digitsu [18:15]: instead, I have to go back to the inbox, find the mail (which may be in a different sorting order or folder, and drag and drop. I hate you MS. I hate you > Mr CS Buddy [18:24]: not sure what you mean by task w reminder -- you can do this unless you're talking about the right-click method, which isn't there > Mr CS Buddy [18:26]: having a drop down for time allows you to just press the cursor keys to select a time, instead of typing, to guarantee correctly-formatted text, which is a good thing in UI cuz you give context to the expected input > digitsu [18:26]: dont agree > Mr CS Buddy [18:26]: but you're right in that insertion might not be the necessarily best default > digitsu [18:27]: pressing arrow keys is the stupid answer to the simple task of corect recognition > Mr CS Buddy [18:27]: and you're right about the mail->calendar or mail->task, not very obvious > digitsu [18:27]: most people can type 8:15 or 8pm > digitsu [18:27]: if you screw up, then you deserve the error message you get > Mr CS Buddy [18:27]: but having blank text boxes everything isn't the answer > digitsu [18:27]: better than having to pretty arrow key 15 times > digitsu [18:28]: carpel tunnel > Mr CS Buddy [18:28]: ppl sometimes don't knwo what to put > digitsu [18:28]: poor excuse > Mr CS Buddy [18:28]: so i agree that selecting the box and allowing for type over is good > digitsu [18:28]: most obvious choices can be easily accounted for > Mr CS Buddy [18:28]: but better to have an option > digitsu [18:28]: sure, you can have a drop down for the mentally unstable > digitsu [18:28]: but for those who prefer to save time and energy > digitsu [18:29]: just default to selecting the whole time when I click on it. > digitsu [18:29]: simple > digitsu [18:29]: apple does this with URLs as well as time fields. > Mr CS Buddy [18:29]: i know, i am agreeing with you on the second part > digitsu [18:29]: smart apple dumb MS > Mr CS Buddy [18:29]: but what i'm saying is that drop down (it doesn't really have to drop down) with the options is a good backup > digitsu [18:29]: everyone at ms will get carpel tunnel in 30 yaers > Mr CS Buddy [18:29]: i'm not syaing only the dropdown with cursor > digitsu [18:29]: yes > Mr CS Buddy [18:29]: it should allow both > digitsu [18:30]: fine as a backup, but it seems MS always wants to cater to LCD > Mr CS Buddy [18:30]: so it's the selection code that needs word > Mr CS Buddy [18:30]: work > digitsu [18:30]: its as if they design something with the stupidest people in mind > Mr CS Buddy [18:30]: well, i can imagine ppl not knowing what to put > digitsu [18:30]: and add on other features for the rest of us 'when they have time' as an afterthought > digitsu [18:30]: that doesn't matter > digitsu [18:30]: put what ever you want. > digitsu [18:31]: there is NO REASON to default to and edit > Mr CS Buddy [18:31]: that's fine > digitsu [18:31]: who the heck would want to EDIT the time field????!?!? > Mr CS Buddy [18:31]: i agree > digitsu [18:31]: I mean, that's just plain stupid. > Mr CS Buddy [18:31]: to be honest i do edit > digitsu [18:31]: and as for what to put. > Mr CS Buddy [18:31]: but i agree it shouldn't necessary default to edit > digitsu [18:31]: usually following whatever time format is displayed is a natural start > digitsu [18:32]: why would you edit when you can type over. > Mr CS Buddy [18:32]: cuz i might not want to type the colon > digitsu [18:32]: I find it easier to type 8:15 than to select, delete twice, and type 15 > digitsu [18:32]: oops, you screwed up, should of typed backspace. > digitsu [18:32]: hahaha. > Mr CS Buddy [18:32]: if you select in the right place, you only delete once > Mr CS Buddy [18:33]: or if you just select the right character, then you can type over > digitsu [18:33]: I bet you that 90% of the time you screw up and have to backspace out your mistake > Mr CS Buddy [18:33]: anyhow, that's just me > digitsu [18:33]: you are in the minority. your dextrous hands makes selecting 2 tiny characters easy. > digitsu [18:34]: you're lucky you don't have carpel tunnel yet. or that you dont have muscular diystrophy or something that makes minute mouse action difficult > digitsu [18:34]: or have bad eyesight and find seeing the cursor position difficult > digitsu [18:35]: maybe I'll stop bitching about MS inefficiency when I become a manager. > Mr CS Buddy [18:37]: but anyhow > Mr CS Buddy [18:38]: as i said, i agree the default selection should be the whole thing > Mr CS Buddy [18:38]: but the dropdown should stay > digitsu [18:38]: sure > Mr CS Buddy [18:38]: in fact that should be the case in any fields which have a finite number of options > digitsu [18:38]: I just think that a slider bar is a better widget for selection though > digitsu [18:39]: I haven't seen a good implementation of it, > Mr CS Buddy [18:39]: widget is not good for someth requiring precision > Mr CS Buddy [18:39]: slider i meant > digitsu [18:39]: but I sure like sliding up and down (cause you can use the roller on the mouse) > digitsu [18:39]: exactly my point! > digitsu [18:40]: the necessary level of precision for craetion of these tasks is what makes them UNUSABLE for me > digitsu [18:40]: you can make it precise, sliders with sticky points. > digitsu [18:40]: apple could do it. if anyone can > digitsu [18:41]: I don't like how MS forces you to put so much effort and precision to do something that should take minimal time, delegated to assistants. > digitsu [18:41]: like keeping a budget, if it becomes too much overhead, you'll stop doing it. and outlook (with the exception of calendar and mail) is 1 big fat ugly over head. > Mr CS Buddy [18:43]: but how does a slider make it better? > digitsu [18:43]: you can't be serious? > digitsu [18:44]: um the diff between 1 click and a drag with visual feedback and variable drag speed, compared with up to 24 clicks of a tiny fracken button > digitsu [18:45]: plus the biggest plus is that you can specify 8:17 without having to type it in manually > digitsu [18:46]: or any other denom that isn't on the hour or half hour > Mr CS Buddy [18:46]: but that just contradicted with what you said... when would you want to be so precise?? > digitsu [18:46]: you are playing semantic games > digitsu [18:46]: you know what I meant by precise > Mr CS Buddy [18:46]: no, i'm not > Mr CS Buddy [18:47]: k, there's 2 scenarios > Mr CS Buddy [18:47]: either a mouse, or a keyboard > digitsu [18:47]: one is precision in terms of choise of meeting time. which of course, choosing 8:45 conceptually is totally fine > digitsu [18:47]: the other is being precise as in ANAL about how to operate my software TOOL to represent my decision > Mr CS Buddy [18:47]: if keyboard, every cursor key you press would be the same between slider and dropdown, but you're pressing even more on a slider if it's going through the ranges (if only on set marks, then same) > digitsu [18:47]: software tool should be seemless > Mr CS Buddy [18:48]: if mouse, i agree it could be easier, but we're talking 2 less clicks on the mouse > Mr CS Buddy [18:48]: the 1 for dropping the box, 2 for making the selection (there's a slider already in the box) > digitsu [18:48]: not if the slider would actually move say a visual appointment up and down the calendar display. > digitsu [18:48]: which would be intuitive. > digitsu [18:48]: instead I feel like I am filling out a freaking application for a loan or some 1990 web form > Mr CS Buddy [18:49]: well, let me ask you > Mr CS Buddy [18:49]: what's better, to set the time > Mr CS Buddy [18:49]: or just pick up the appt and move it to the time? > digitsu [18:50]: have both, but if I have to set the time, let me type it in, if I want to scan a time, then let me scan visually, not a list of times. > digitsu [18:50]: scanning is inherently a visual experience > digitsu [18:50]: you are moving something. > digitsu [18:50]: you are using the visual part of your brain. > digitsu [18:51]: typing a time, you are using the logical part, so sure you can enter a time if you want. > Mr CS Buddy [18:51]: k, so if you want to be precise and type in a time, then coming back to the slider, how does that make it better in this case? > digitsu [18:51]: I've seen some better time entry systems on PDA apps > Mr CS Buddy [18:51]: (unless the 2clicks matter) > digitsu [18:51]: because the slider is sliding through a list of cryptic numbers > digitsu [18:52]: so that I can pick one. that is just silly. what if I want 8:45? oopps sorry. can't abort. type it in. Opps sorry, abort, you are in insert mode, select the whole thing, delete, type 8:45. > digitsu [18:52]: this is the usage pattern I fall through each time I use that damned widget > Mr CS Buddy [18:52]: k, drop insert for a sec > Mr CS Buddy [18:52]: we already agreed that it's a flaw > Mr CS Buddy [18:53]: and to answer your point > Mr CS Buddy [18:53]: that's true > Mr CS Buddy [18:53]: but you got to think about the number of times you want to pick 8:45 vs 8:30 or 9:00 > Mr CS Buddy [18:53]: if it's often, then add it to the list > Mr CS Buddy [18:53]: if it's not, then good the way it is > digitsu [18:53]: if you want to enter a time, precisly, but easily > Mr CS Buddy [18:54]: but with a slider, you're forced to slide through the whole range of 8:30-9:00 > digitsu [18:54]: they should have you enter the hour and minute separately > Mr CS Buddy [18:54]: every time > digitsu [18:54]: into 2 different boxes, which both default to 'type and overwrite' mode > Mr CS Buddy [18:54]: yes yes yes > Mr CS Buddy [18:54]: i hear u on that > Mr CS Buddy [18:54]: > digitsu [18:54]: so much easier to type '8' 'tab' '45' > Mr CS Buddy [18:54]: let's stop talking about that part > digitsu [18:54]: problem solved. > Mr CS Buddy [18:55]: my only question is only why a slider > Mr CS Buddy [18:55]: trying to understand the benefit as you are seeing it > Mr CS Buddy [18:55]: i can't see why it's better > digitsu [18:56]: well, its faster to adjust because I don't have to do the mental time conversion to 24 clock assuming the slider only covers a day > digitsu [18:56]: i wish I had a picture of old lotus organizer > digitsu [18:57]: the sliders were horizontal and showed a little arrow widget for each appointment that you have for the day. you know that the 7pm is pm because it near the right hand side of the slider,. > digitsu [18:58]: I've accidentally selected 6am instead of 6pm sometimes because the default time that outlook chooses for the appointment is unpredictable, and sometimes not in the same half of the day > digitsu [18:58]: and seeing where the list ends/begins on a drop down widge is much less obvious than on a visual slider > Mr CS Buddy [18:59]: gotcha > Mr CS Buddy [18:59]: that makes sense > Mr CS Buddy [19:00]: so whilst the drop down has the inherint ability, if you're just cursoring through, you have no context of whether you're at top or bottom of list > digitsu [19:00]: exactly > digitsu [19:01]: having a slider with 'sticky' points at every 15min, would be ideal > digitsu [19:01]: if you wanted to quicky move your meeting around > digitsu [19:02]: you wouldn't even need to label the slider necessarily > Mr CS Buddy [19:02]: hmmm...i'm thinking if the control looks like the way it does now, but when you click, cursor on the box, it should highlighte the whole thing for overtype, but also pop up with a vertical bar beside the text box with a marker showing you where you are on the bar > digitsu [19:02]: just move the time displayed in the manual entry time box to reflect the slider position > digitsu [19:02]: yes yes > digitsu [19:02]: that sounds right > Mr CS Buddy [19:02]: that'll give you both visual and logical context > Mr CS Buddy [19:03]: and gives you both mousing and keyboard function > digitsu [19:04]: when you press arrow down while in slider mode, it should jump by 15min increments, or 30min, whatever you choose > Mr CS Buddy [19:04]: yep, it'll be like the way it is now, but have the visual to give you where you are in the list > digitsu [19:04]: but if you pull the slider knob, then it will jump will move the time anolog like, and as quick as you can drag it > Mr CS Buddy [19:04]: kind of like the box on the scrollbar > digitsu [19:08]: we should start a gui design group > Mr CS Buddy [19:10]: just sent you a sample of hte widget > Mr CS Buddy [19:11]: it would move up or down at 15min increments > Mr CS Buddy [19:11]: but if you hold down the cursor, it'll jump quicker > Mr CS Buddy [19:11]: you can also move over the knob to move to the time directly > Mr CS Buddy [19:12]: and of course you can just typeover > digitsu [19:12]: did you just build that? > Mr CS Buddy [19:12]: yep > digitsu [19:12]: that's pretty cool > Mr CS Buddy [19:12]: look good? > digitsu [19:15]: can you make the knob look like the one I just posted on yams? > digitsu [19:15]: that would be sweet. > digitsu [19:15]: vertical of course > Mr CS Buddy [19:16]: need to open yams > digitsu [19:16]: yeah, MS doesn't let you post gif to this communicator > digitsu [19:16]: I like the bottom one, with the arrow widget and gradient > Mr CS Buddy [19:29]: keep in mind that the one i'm proposing tho > digitsu [19:29]: I think when it boils down to it, > Mr CS Buddy [19:29]: is that slider only pops up when you click on it > Mr CS Buddy [19:29]: cuz otherwise, it'll be pretty clutter all the time > digitsu [19:29]: you get satisfaction with using your gui if you feel like you are in control > Mr CS Buddy [19:30]: click or tab into it > digitsu [19:30]: and with the new slider we came up with, you I can see myself liking using it, as you can SEE the effects of your mousing movements > digitsu [19:30]: it has an immediate effect. > digitsu [19:30]: you are affecting your environment > digitsu [19:30]: not bending over and letting the environment drive you > digitsu [19:31]: plus, I think subconsciously there is something innately WRONG about clicking on a control without defined borders > digitsu [19:31]: Where the line between what is a valid click and a invalid click is invisible. > digitsu [19:32]: what I'm talking about, of course, is MS obsession with clicking on a time in a list of times, represented only by their alphanumeric representation in a free list. > digitsu [19:32]: that is just plain irritating on a primal level. > digitsu [19:33]: subconsciously, I'm thinking, since MS obviously didn't define any clear borders between what is 6:00 and 6:30, I'll be equally as messy with where I click, so half the time, you click the wrong one. > digitsu [19:33]: and the gui fails its task of facilitating ease of interaction between software and human > digitsu [19:35]: how far exactly from the number below can you click before it becomes the number above?, how many pixels? how far to the left or to the right? though not as vital, this willy nilly approach to the widget just irritates me to no end. > Mr CS Buddy [19:35]: haha > digitsu [19:35]: thats why apple makes me happy. > digitsu [19:36]: they seem to have gui designers that actually have a brain and live in the real world > digitsu [19:36]: they are not computer geeks writing widgets to be the most theoretically general and all-emcompassing. > digitsu [19:36]: they write widget to cover the most common use cases first. and the exceptional cases are secondary. > Mr CS Buddy [19:37]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance > digitsu [19:38]: yeah, that hits it right on the nose. > Mr CS Buddy [19:38]: i learned it my UI design class before > Mr CS Buddy [19:38]: first chapter > digitsu [19:38]: MS programmers are freaken geeks with no real world experience, so they design things to maximize all possible affordances > digitsu [19:39]: because who knows, you MIGHT want to toss the chair and sit on the ball one day. > digitsu [19:39]: so we better design for it. > digitsu [19:39]: what they end up doing is designing electric powered umbrellas > Mr CS Buddy [19:40]: i know you had a bunch of other UI complaints > Mr CS Buddy [19:40]: lets look at them and come up with a suite of better widgets > Mr CS Buddy [19:40]: for driving a better pim > digitsu [19:40]: yes. > Mr CS Buddy [19:40]: good side project > digitsu [19:41]: I swear MS should pay me for all this shite. I have started a thread on tokyopia for just my GUI beefs. its now the most read thread on the forum. > digitsu [19:41]: hahah > digitsu [19:41]: I should be the head of design acceptance dept at MS.