OS Switch Imminent

17 04 2007

The new version of Ubunutu is due out in 2 days now, and I for one plan to install it.
I’ve been using Vista for the past month, and it’s really not floating my boat. Sure it’s pretty but I can’t help feeling that the new Start Menu makes things harder to find, the admin rights alert is just asinine (since everbyody still creates apps that expect admin rights), and who really uses widgets?
I’m hoping that Compiz is nice and easy to install on Ubuntu. There was a nice walkthough for Fedora Core 6, and I found it to be a big leap over Beryl. On the subject of distro’s, I seem to be yo-yoing between FC and Ubuntu. I think the only reason I keep going back to Fedora is the default theme on Ubuntu. Fickle I know, but Fedora Core just looks so much tighter.
Functionality wise, i’d take apt over yum any day; plus Canonical seem to look after their repoistories a little more, to my mind.


Shoehorning: or why nobody uses Maya for spreadsheets

10 01 2007

I like my job. I get to do plenty of different things and learn a lot while I do. Sometimes my work is unused and lies dormant, sometimes it’s mission critical. Sometimes I feel like I’m being counter-productive.

I’m currently working on adapting an application to perform a task it was not intended to do. I can’t modify the program, as it’s closed source. While it may be possible to change it’s function, it isn’t easy and more than likely won’t yield very good results. In a perfect world I’d grab the source code and mod it myself, but I haven’t got the option this time.

Lets take for example an application designed to send an email, so your user interface has a button marked ‘Send Email’. An untrained user can rev up your app and know instantly what that button does. Now lets assume that you need this app to instead send a net message, you plug in a new DLL and it now does net sends. That’s great, but that big button still says ‘Send Email’. You see the problem?

I don’t have an issue with getting more value out of a product, but to use it out of context is just confusing for users. It’s much better to use a less specialised application with a customizable interface, than one with the required functionality but the incorrect UI.