Buggin' My Life Away

Musings of a Mad Mac Maven

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  • Blog Post: Usability and Styles

    According to Pierre , I'm too ossified to discuss this subject. On the other hand, when Pierre uses the word "usability," it's very much like the way Vizzini uses the word "inconceivable" in The Princess Bride , and I'm often moved to quote Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it...
  • Blog Post: Open XML Converters for Mac Office

    There’s been a bit of flak about the Office Open XML file format converters for Mac Office. Sheridan posted an update on MacMojo, and Schwieb weighed in regarding some of the comments that people have made. There’s quite a bit of speculation gong on, and not a whole lot of information, so I’m going to...
  • Blog Post: Dave Luebbert on Channel 9

    What was the Ray Gram Memorial Feature that shipped in Apple's System 7? Who invented the combo box (drop-down edit control)? What was the real downfall of WordPerfect? What was the project code name for Mac Word 5.0, and why? You'll find answers to these questions and more in this Channel 9 interview...
  • Blog Post: Hitting the Office Links

    No, I'm not talking about a swing around the wing . Over the past several weeks, a handful of Office 12 related blogs have started up. While these are dedicated to the work that's happening in Windows Office, I expect quite a few people who read my blog will be interested in at least some of the subjects...
  • Blog Post: Abriendo Puertas con XML

    When Win Office 2003 shipped, there was a great deal of debate as to the “openness” of Microsoft’s use of XML. The debate resurfaced with the announcement of the new Office 12 XML-based file formats, and it’s been further brought to the fore in recent days with Massachusetts’ recent decision regarding...
  • Blog Post: Big Dave (Which One?)

    Dave Winer provided this link to an article posted by Dave Luebbert. Dave Luebbert was the development manager for Mac Word 5.0, and was my first boss at Microsoft. Dave (L) is an incredible guy. He's a musician, and a very big fan of Jazz. He's been working on a music composition program ( Song...
  • Blog Post: The Beginning of the Endian

    So the rumors have been true. Apple is moving to Intel processors, which, in some ways, makes sense. At least it does from Apple's point of view. The Kool-Aid has never really affected their ability to figure out what's right for Apple regardless of the direction they've taken. For users, the transition...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft Office Open XML Formats

    Scoble dropped the hint , and Mary Jo Foley spilled the beans . C|New has also jumped the gun on this . There's a piece on Channel 9 over here , and it won't be long before the official press release is here . (I waited more than 10 minutes past the deadline, folks.) Lastly, Brian Jones, PM in the Win...
  • Blog Post: Marketing are Bad

    Todd Bishop’s story in yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer about Professor Sandeep Krishnamurthy’s fisking of Word’s grammar checker is making the rounds. It even got a blurb on NPR’s Morning Edition today. Word’s grammar checker is a by-product of the Natural Language Processing group at Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: Shared Note-taking

    Chris Pratley talks about OneNote Shared Sessions . A while back, I wrote about the differences between OneNote and Notebook Layout view in Word . Well, this is one of those areas where OneNote shines, and Word doesn't. Unfortunately, Word's design doesn't lend itself to the kind of transacted changes...
  • Blog Post: Who is Responsible

    We’ve kept the beta e-mail list for Word 2004 open so that we can stay in touch with any lingering issues that people have been running into. This was particularly helpful when working on SP1. Last week, a message arrived under the subject “Who is Responsible!” With a subject like that, one tends to...
  • Blog Post: The Case of the Missing Tab

    One of the things we noticed when we first started doing some rigorous usability studies with Word is the way people used the tab key. It’s a holdover from typewriter days: you want to indent a line of text, so you hit the tab key a few times. It’s one of those learned behaviors that, over time, have...
  • Blog Post: Value Proposition(s) and Market Success

    Value Proposition(s) and Market Success Based on the comments to my last post, I need to apologize. Having worked at Microsoft as long as I have, I’ve acquired some verbal habits that have meaning inside these halls, yet fail to adequately convey the full meaning in discussions with people who don’t...
  • Blog Post: You Don't Need Word

    You Don’t Need Word Back in late August, my article on the Anatomy of a Software Bug got slashdotted . That prompted John Mitchell to post this missive over on artima.com. John and I had a brief exchange back then, but that was early September—right about the time when my workload became such that I...
  • Blog Post: Ode to Word

    Ode to Word One of my coworkers received this from a friend. The author is the friend’s daughter. I thought you’d all enjoy this, so I got permission to post it. Enjoy, Rick   Ode to Word By Rebecca Smith My word! It's Word! Wow, Look at that shiny blue thing that's the title I think it's a W But it...
  • Blog Post: Let Word Do It

    Following up to my last post on outlining, Marc Hedlund, one of the co-authors of Peer-to-Peer (O’Reilly), wrote about Word being too smart . Marc’s thesis is summed up in the last paragraph, where he says, “What the Word team lacks, in my view, is an awareness that, when a user is trying to get his...
  • Blog Post: Adumbrating in Word

    Whenever I used a word like adumbrate , my Grandmother would say, “Your high ejaculations are too copious for the low dominion of my comprehension.” Gran always had a wicked sense of humor. She ran a beauty salon for decades. One day, a customer, who apparently hadn’t had a very good day, plopped down...
  • Blog Post: AppleScript and VBA: the Story of Sid and Nancy

    In the few spare moments I’ve had over the past several weeks, I’ve followed some discussions of Word and AppleScript both in the comments to my earlier post and in the Microsoft newsgroups. A particularly good discussion, with input from both Matt Neuburg and Paul Berkowitz, can be found...
  • Blog Post: Scripting Word

    Scripting Word Now, this is weird. My more recent tasks have involved working with both the Word testers and the automated testing group to iron out some ways that we can improve on testing. In particular, now that Word has a more complete AppleScript implementation than previous...
  • Blog Post: From Bravo to Word

    From Bravo to Word Not long after the Wired article about Word 5.1 , someone sent me a link to this post on the Cult of Mac Blog . It mentions what I had thought to be a rather widely known fact: that most of the people who first worked on Word came from the Xerox PARC. In fact...
  • Blog Post: Word 5.1 Plus

    Word 5.1 Plus I got wired yesterday with a refrain I hear often: Word 5.1 was the epitome of word processing on the Macintosh. And, I have to say, it’s not as though this isn’t something we’ve considered over the years. We’ve even mocked up a couple of versions...
  • Blog Post: Repro, Man

    Repro, Man Written communication is amazingly difficult. Even when you’re aware of some of the pitfalls, as I was when I wrote my last post about the disk full save error in Word, it’s still all too easy say something that other people will take to mean something other...
  • Blog Post: Mac Office 2004 Launched

    Mac Office 2004 Launched Since Mac Office 2004 is available in stores, we've announced that it's available. For those of you who follow Mac news sources, you already know this. But, Joe Wilcox, over at Jupiter Research, posted a nice article about Using Office 2004 . When you ship a piece of software...
  • Blog Post: Anatomy of a Software Bug

    Anatomy of a Software Bug Chris Mason is the person who hired me to work at Microsoft. By the time he hired me, he’d already spent a great deal of time looking into the issue of general software quality, and had written a memo (known as the “Zero Defects” memo)...
  • Blog Post: More on Line Breaks

    More on Line Breaks Pierre Igot took my little text-wrapping gaffe from the other day, and proceeded to turn it into what he ostensibly called “ constructive criticism ” as to why people might want to use manual line breaks. Frankly, it looks a lot more like flame bait than...
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