chronovore: (Default)
I played several Kinect games recently. The differences in front end implementation are stunning. Adventures! and the Kinect Hub have very similar models, where the "stickiness" of the cursor remaining on an interface icon feels similarly weighted, and the timing with which it initiates and processes item selection are nearly identical. Joy Ride seems to ape some of the conventions without actually understanding why it's doing it. Specifically, it makes the cursor stick when over a selectable area, but then the timing of initiating the "selection countdown" seems to trigger quite late. This works in negative conjunction with whatever tolerance they've built into the stickiness, so right when it seems like I'm going to get what I was trying to select, it instead leaps off the item and forces me to re-select.

Don't even get me started on the maddening, unclear, complete freak-out Joy Ride had when I tried to start a two-player race with my kids' accounts logged in. It managed to completely kill their enthusiasm for the game before it had even started.

Dance Central, OTOH, seems to have its ducks in a row. They made some very smart decisions about limiting the selectable items, and instead of using the "mouse pointer" and countdown timer model of everything above, there is a stack of selectable items, and then use relative limb speed to move between the selection. Did you ever own one of those cell phones with a jog wheel? This feels like that; you can very quickly move to the item you want, even within a large list. There is also simple and consistent separation between right-hand and left-handed operation, where a swipe with the right hand is "select" and left hand is "go back." Super simple, very low user stress.
chronovore: (furious)

Forgoing the glib and overenthusiastic tone, and unnecessary inline pictures, the guide above very helpfully returned Firefox's default search engine behavior to use Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" results from the Wunderbar (Awesome Bar? Magnifibar?) instead of sending me a page of pretty but useless Bing results.

Bing. Man, seriously, I hate search bar items; I should never have installed one, even to get free Xbox Live points.
chronovore: (Default)
Stealing Focus XP - How To Prevent Programs From Stealing Focus in Windows XP Using Tweak UI:
Focus stealing is annoying and serves no purpose, unless you have a program that you want a full-screen interruption from on a random basis.
Using said "Tweak UI" from Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP to prevent our local build tools from spazzing out and popping up every single window and dialog over my database and email efforts while it is supposed to be updating IN TH' FREAKIN' BACKGROUND.
chronovore: (furious)
Like the cake in Portal, Microsoft Office Excel 2007's "Compatibility Mode" is a lie.
chronovore: (furious)
Who the hell do I complain to about the ads that are appearing on Xbox Live's Dashboard?

The Dashboard auto-loads the "Spotlight" channel which has, until now, limited itself to new game announcements, content, tips and strategies, community events, and in the non-game category, special Netflix offers or Xbox media-specific music and videos. All about the Xbox 360 and things you can do with it, no problem. Occasionally there are TV show and movie promotions for items which are not yet for download on the service, but they usually offer free gamerpics or themes for the 360; those are called presents.

The other day there was a item in it for Progressive Auto Insurance. Like a trained monkey, I automatically selected it to see if it had a contest or some DLC for it, or Forza or PGR DLC associated with it. But selecting it just played a low resolution TV advertisement. Nothing to do with games, nothing to do with Netflix or any other XBL-connected service. A TV ad hosted front and center on the Live service I'm paying US$50 a year for. What's next, unskippable advertisements?

Edit: Apparently SONY already had this great idea. I am speechless.
Thanks to [ profile] andrewv for the clue.
chronovore: (Default)
Oh, man. What were they thinking? MS Word, in an ill-advised attempt to make itself more accessible has converted all of its previous menus into nested, tab-like palettes of buttons. I've never seen anything like this in any other program... and I'm pretty sure I know why: it sucks!

If anyone else has been trapped into using this for their work, please show me your best "Office 2007 for people who have used computers for over 25 years" tutorial sites. Handy mnemonics, even.

AND EVERYTHING IS BLUE. What is up with that?
chronovore: (Default)
In December or January, I bought Microsoft's karaoke game, LIPS; essentially a direct competitor for Sony's own Singstar title. Microsoft had hired INiS, makers of the very clever music game, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (Elite Beat Agents) to bring their music-game know-how to the table. While INiS made Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! a quirky, Japanese singleplayer Nintendo DS title, it appears they inadvertently turned LIPS into something similar. It's quirky, unconsciously very Japanese, and manages to get everything related to multiplayer very, very wrong. And its Down-Loadable Content appears broken.

I had purchased a DLC track for LIPS at 160 MS Points (Smashmouth's All-Star), only to find out it doesn't work. I deduced from info on game forums, official LIPS forums, and finally the MS support center, that the DLC purchased from the US store are not compatible with the region-free Asia-version of the game. US Xbox, US DLC, region free game -- verily, it maketh not the sense. My adventures with MS support ended with them saying, while they were really sorry about the trouble, refunds were not handled through web/email inquiries, only phone support.

I've been unable to make the time to call MS while they're open -and- it's waking hours in Japan -and- I'm not looking after seeing my kids off in the morning, so my little OCD "unfinished business" blinker has been going off for about a month now. I've got all of 120 MS Points left, not enough to buy anything -- and today Rock Band's DLC, which works just fine thank you, had Losing My Religion go up. Excellent!

The MS support center took my details twice, my existing Issue Number twice, gave me a new issue number once, and finally gave me back 160 MS Points. They asked me to confirm it by trying to buy something, and I did so -- by buying REM's Losing My Religion.

My little OCD lamp has finally gone dark.
chronovore: (furious)
For six years I've been using MS Office in Japanese. I've hated it the whole time. Today I finally got a US-English version of MS Office 2003 installed. I cannot describe how nice it is to have the user interface AND HELP FILES in my native tongue. Good christ.
chronovore: (Default)
Service Pack 1 Will Turn Off Vista's 'Kill Switch' | Compiler from
partial article text )Perhaps the strangest part is that, in spite of the fact the Microsoft is doing away with the kill switch, Sievert claims that it’s been a huge success — Vista piracy is roughly half that of XP.
It is worth noting that correspondence does not imply causation. It's highly likely that Vista piracy is down because anybody who knows enough about computers to install an OS off a P2P'd ROM wants anything to do with Vista.
chronovore: (mouthy)
I returned from lunch to find that my computer had rebooted itself. The cute word-balloon message in the taskbar more-or-less read:
I knew it had installed an update, and before lunch when it gave me a countdown dialog saying it would happen automatically, unless I chose later. I CHOSE "LATER."

OTOH, this excellent Moka French from Kaldi Farm is making me reconsider my Windows Rage. Yummmmm.


Oct. 10th, 2007 03:21 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
Visual Basic for Excel:
No need to learn about very rarely used functionalities like pivot tables, solver, goal seek, scenarios, group, outline and other specialized tools.
Just misread the emboldened text as "soul geek."

Spreadsheet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
While spreadsheets are effective at certain tasks, they are sometimes used for tasks that they are not suited to.
*dies from overwhelming resonance*

Anyone else here hate Excel? Consider this your chance to vent.


Sep. 28th, 2007 11:43 am
chronovore: (mouthy)
Whenever MS Visio opens, it defaults to keeping the right-hand "Rate this template" sidebar open, about 20% of my screen is eaten by it, and I have to close it every time. Talk about needy software. "DO YOU LOVE ME? Does this template make my memory footprint look bloated?"

chronovore: (mouthy)
Keyboard shortcuts - Visio - Microsoft Office Online:
ESC - Clear selection of or focus on a shape.
F2 - Toggle between text edit and shape selection mode on a selected shape.
HOLY CRAP, how can they use "ESC" as the only key which means "I'm done inputting text in this form"? ESC means "NO, WAIT, ABANDON SHIP!"

Edit: What's more, unlike everything else in the MS Office suite, it doesn't create application instances across the task bar; only the one active document shows up, so you have to switch focus by going to whatever the current Visio document is, then Window menu > 1, 2, etc., or (ew!) "cascade" view within the single App window, which requires its own Shape Palette for EACH INSTANCE. Yeah, I know Visio's a separate product from Office, but it shares SO MUCH with Office structure, it's strange that these fundamental UI choices are so far off!

Edit: I mean, Visio even puts its "Headers and Footers" in the same, ridiculous "View" menu which Excel and Word also use. That's an option that should be under a "Format" menu or even "Page Setup" -- "View" is how you LOOK AT the document, not how you EDIT what's in it.
*shakes fist impotently*
chronovore: (mouthy)
Demo: BioShock - Xbox Live's Major Nelson:
Content: BioShock Demo
Price: Free
Availability: Not available in Japan
chronovore: (mouthy)
i.e. definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta
that is to say
[Latin id est "that is"]
Word Usage
See e.g.
No, seriously though; the reason I'm looking this up is that MS Word wants me to Capitalize "i.e." as the beginning of a sentence to "I.e." - that's wrong, isn't it? ...Like the time it wanted me to type "and etc." - right?
chronovore: (mouthy)
  • "Save As..." and then selecting a filename that exists already; every other application in the world, even other apps in the Office suite, and the OS itself just says, "That name exists. Overwrite?" but in MS Word, it pops up an additional dialog with three choices, which is one more than the asshole in "The Lady, or the Tiger?" had to contend with. Basically it wants to know "No, really, how about a different name" or "No, no - really overwrite" and "OK, how about I fold the differences between the two documents into that older document, and let you keep working on the mutant, hellacious, and probably corrupted offspring?" And in my case, it's in Japanese with several kanji I can't read, and thanks to Microsoft, I can't highlight and copy the dialog box text to check it out via a translation software. But choice is good, right? NO, IT ISN'T.
  • Highlight some text, and then start typing - again, anywhere else, in any major OS and in any application, the highlighted text will be replaced with whatever you type next. Not in MS Word. Oh, sure: USUALLY it works that way, but sometimes it decides to just take the left of the selection as the cursor point, insert the new text, and keep the old text there, just off to the right. Meaning it has to be re-selected, then deleted. What the hell causes this, and why isn't it consistent?
  • And don't get me started on its List function. Especially Numbered Lists. Eww.
chronovore: (furious)
I had... storage issues with MS Word as well as our asset management application at work yesterday, which started me off cleaning. And then I couldn't stop.
  • work Inbox
  • work mail DMZ which has been languorously loitering for an embarrassingly long time
    (note: this hack works with a messy desktop just as well)
  • work HDD
    • deleted heaps of music that I have on my iPod
    • deleted movies that i've been telling myself that I'd watch -- for the past two years
    • deleted completed, archived project files
    • consolidated remaining media into one location
  • home iTunes Library, because there were a heap of duplicate files; i had over 300MB of them, apparently due to the way I'd transferred my library from previous machines and backups - here's a neat trick to get rid of them, from my friend K
  • home external HDD (to make space for the iTunes stuff, above)
  • Xbox Live messages folder
  • did the dishes
chronovore: (mouthy)
For a long while, I worked with Illustrator all day, every day, for the four days a week that I (mostly) worked my way through college. At the time I was so impressed with the Illustrator UI model that I was beginning to wish Adobe would make its own OS; I felt it would trump MacOS for usability. This was the "pre-Photoshop 6 world," you see...

But my one-time prowess has dulled mightily, and even the muscle-memory that is still devoted to chorded keystrokes is betrayed by Adobe's revisions to longstanding keyboard shortcuts, while keeping 80% of them identical. I also find that I'm having a hard time hunting out changes both subtle and gross because my entire fucking UI is in Japanese. So...

Bless these folks' hearts:
Update: After finally getting the drawing the way I wanted it, I find that MS Word 2003 is not willing to import .EPS graphics. It demonstrated this to be by crashing grandly when I tried it, somehow eradicating text that I'd written an hour ago, despite the auto-save feature of Word being set for "10 minutes." This also happened to be the text where I'd had an epiphany of not only how the system I'm designing should work, but how to concisely define it.
So now I'm relegating that drawing to the in-app tools that MS Word has, which suck, and trying to remember what the hell I wrote. It was marginally clever. Honest!
chronovore: (furious)
Print on both sides of the paper (duplex printing) - Word - Microsoft Office Online:
You can also use the following procedure to set up your printer for manual duplex printing:

1. On the File menu, click Print.
2. In the lower-left corner of the Print dialog box, in the Print box, click Odd pages.
3. Click OK.
4. After the odd pages are printed, flip the stack of pages over, and then in the Print dialog box, click Even pages.
5. Click OK.

Note Depending on the printer model, you might have to turn and reorder the pages to print the other side of the stack.
Wicked Cool: Microsoft Word tip: Printing in reverse order:
Depending on how your printer works, there's a good chance that when you print a big document in Word, the pages end up in reverse order (with page 1 at the bottom of the pile). You have to then go through and put all the pages in correct order....big pain!

I'm here to relieve you of that pain! You can reverse the order the pages print. No more fussing when it's done printing!!

Here's how:

1. From the "File" menu, choose "Print"
2. Click the "Options" button at the bottom.
3. Check the "Reverse print order" box.
4. Click "OK".
5. Click "OK" again, and you'll print in reverse order!
Or alternately, on the "Print" dialog box, there's a "Print" pull-down menu just above "Options..." Select print Odd. Then reload the paper, and on the next "Print" dialog, hit "Options..." and reverse printing order of Even pages (or Print in Reverse Order which is also on this "Options..." dialog, probably making it accidentally possible to reverse one's reversal, and cause mucho confusion). Sorry the text may not correspond exactly to US-English versions of MS Word.

Now to see if this works in Adobe Acrobat; I've got a PDF of Zantabulous Zorceror of Zo waiting to be print-on-my-own-immediate-demand.


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