Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

Coming up: beta of the new MS Office

According to Charles Cooper, Microsoft will soon release the beta of the next version of Office. he says this:

"MS Office and the holy grail The beta version of the next version of Microsoft Office will be out soon. (Click here to read CNET's interview with Office boss Jeff Raikes.) If Microsoft can make things easier for users, mazel tov. Usability remains the holy grail of the software industry, and the successful pursuit of it should only mean good things for regular folks. But I positively shudder at the prospect of some mad scientist in Redmond, Wash., dreaming up new ways to stuff even more "functionality" into the software suite when we're already choking on feature-overload as it is.

The track record there to date isn't promising. (Any surprise that there's a veritable cottage industry of tech authors writing books about powerful features nobody ever uses?) I spend most of my time inside Microsoft Word, but I don't have the foggiest notion how to use most of the bells and whistles in the application. Know something else? I don't think I'm in the minority."

No Kidding. A lot of the features in Office are truly useless. Some that aren't are buried in the seemingly endless menus and toolbars. In his article, Cooper also links to a related Interview with Jeff Raikes, Microsoft's top manager for Office. My favorite bit of the Interview is this:
"But Microsoft makes software with big footprints. Doesn't it make sense to come out with smaller versions that use just fraction of the total features now found in Office?

That's where customer education comes in--we have to do a better job on that part. When it comes to footprints, there was a point in time when I would have agreed with you. But the size of hard drives has outstripped our ability to fill them up. "

Wow. So the problem is not that they make big software. It's that we're stupid enough to demand small software. Good thing they're all for "customer education."

Incidentally, Cooper seems to be writing more and more articles with many disconnected pieces. Maybe he needs a weblog? :-)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 4, 2002 at 9:14 PM


Just watched Joel Schumacher's Tigerland again. What a movie. Shot like a documentary, with a lot of use of handheld cameras (and apparently sometimes digital cameras as well--or maybe it's all shot digitally?) with excellent photography, and a great story. Hopefully Schumacher will do more films like this (or even the not-too-bad A Time to Kill or Flawless).

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on October 4, 2002 at 9:09 PM

weblogs and the permanence of links

Weblogs are supposed to be, in a sense, "online diaries" of thoughts, ideas, events, etc. Sometimes what's written in weblogs is commentary on other people's posts, or news articles, or sites we found on the Internet. But we all know how "ethereal" websites are. Sites go offline. Companies collapse, and disappear. People die.

I wonder: are we building a house of cards made of bits that will be meaningless in only a few years? Will we have to revert to do our own local copies of everything we link to? Or will we end up linking only to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine?

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 4, 2002 at 3:47 PM

clinton's speech to the Labour conference

This Salon article has the transcript for the entire speech Clinton gave to the Labour conference in the UK. Very, very good speech. Here is reaction from The Guardian and The Mirror (linked from the article as well).

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on October 4, 2002 at 3:43 PM

a new UI

An article on the ever-more-frequent use of mouse gestures as a user interface.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 4, 2002 at 11:22 AM

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