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Learning to Deal with the lousy new Office 2007 interface...
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Written by WATYF on Tuesday, 05 December 2006 (9048 hits)
Category: Nerdery

In a previous article, I ranted on about how much I hate the new look and navigation system of Office 2007. Well, this article will be less "rant" and more "informative".

As many people know, with the advent of the new Office 2007 interface, there is no longer a menu system... and there is no longer a standard toolbar system.... there are only "ribbons". If you can't find it right in front of your face on one of the ribbons, then chances are, it's gonna be hard to find and less-convenient to use. Tongue out There are also a few things behind the scenes that have to be done differently. This article will be an attempt to help poor souls like myself find all of the functionality that they've been using for years, which has now been moved to a completely different location just to make our lives more eventful. Tongue out I'll be providing some MS docs, as well as stuff that I personally stumble across or find on the net.

Note: I probably wouldn't have felt compelled to do this if it weren't for the fact that the first two major functionality needs that I was looking for were nowhere to be found in the "amazing" new "Help" feature. I searched every way from Sunday for what I needed to do and not one search result even hinted at where I could find it.

Microsoft: Slowly ruining my life... one new app at a time.
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Written by WATYF on Friday, 01 December 2006 (7158 hits)
Category: Nerdery

So as if my woes with Office 2007 weren't bad enough, today I discovered a new aspect of my daily Windows usage that has been ruined by Microsoft's latest "improvements" to their software.... and that would be File Searches.

That's right folks... "Searching" is the new thing... it's the way to do everything. Sure, it's faster to put your commonly used apps/files in a standard location and just open them directly, but wouldn't you rather put some criteria into a search box and have it return you a bunch of results, most of which aren't what you're looking for??? Or better yet... how about you put in a very specific set of criteria, and have it return you ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY NOTHING, even though you know that what you're searching for is right there?

Well... that's what happened to me. Part of the new Office 2007 paradigm involves forcing you to upgrade to Microsoft's new "Desktop Search". They do this by annoying the hell out of you every time you open Outlook with messages about how you need to install Desktop Search, until you finally cave and go download the piece of crap and install it. Not that there's ANY noticeable different in Outlook after you install the "oh so crucial" Desktop Search tool... but hey... I'm sure it's doing something. Tongue out

So I installed it, and didn't notice any difference (except for having to remove the annoying thing from my Taskbar, and from the Startup menu, so it wasn't running in the background all day long). Yeah... I didn't notice a thing... that is... until I went to do a file search in Explorer.

Office 2007: Changing everything you've known about computing for 20 years, just for the hell of it.
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Written by WATYF on Thursday, 30 November 2006 (6706 hits)
Category: Nerdery

I remember it fondly... the days of my youth... (ok, so I can't really remember my youth at all, but that's beside the point)... The good ol' days of playing with computers... teaching the other kids in my class how to use the Commodore 64's... writing dumb little programs in BASIC that never worked... Running pointless commands on the Apple IIe's... and then came the Windows GUI. I was in love. As if by natural instinct, I could find everything. It all made sense to me. When I opened an application, I could learn pretty much anything that the application was capable of, just by looking though its menu system... the old familiar menu bar... File.... Edit.... View... Tools... Help.... ah... good friends...... its too bad that Microsoft has decided to plunge a rusty knife straight into their hearts and send them, screaming, to their demise.

You see... I've been noticing a disturbing trend lately. Every time I try the Beta (or latest) version of Microsoft software, I find that they've decided to completely change how navigation works in a Windows application. And, I guess, in some way, that might be cool... IF they were smart enough to make the same changes across all of their apps AND if the new way was actually better than the old way... but we're not so lucky. Open up the new Windows Live Messenger... where's the menu? Well... it's hidden... you can choose to display the menu, if you can find the option that does so. Tongue out Open the latest Windows Media Player... similar deal... nothing is where it used to be and finding anything more advanced than "play" and "stop" is a chore. But if you search long enough, you'll find the old menu. This is the disturbing trend showing up in much of Microsoft's newest releases. They take the navigation system that you're used to, and that works, and that has worked for countless years, and they hide it from you... only offering it up if you're smart enough to find it.

But then comes Office 2007...

Reading an XML document from behind a proxy...
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Written by WATYF on Thursday, 31 August 2006 (15103 hits)
Category: .NET Programming

Well... it's that time again... I've gone back to messing around with TaskRunner. I'm updating (and adding to) the list of things that I plan to cram into its feature-set, and doing some preliminary code tests. That's not to say that a new version will be out "soon"... but at least I'm finally back to doing some coding.

And as a result, I can take a break from the monotony of bashing Mac users, and actually post something useful. Laughing

One day into working on TaskRunner again, and I already have run into the typical scenario: I think of something simple that I want to do, and go out in search of a straightforward solution, only to find that no one seems to want to do it the easy way. All those C# nerds out there are too good for a three-lines-of-code solution. Wink They've gotta go making up a bunch of classes and methods and properties and crap just to do what can be done in a few short lines. Well I'm a VB.NET hack, thank you very much... I don't wanna have to add classes and functions... just tell me how to do it in two lines or less. Cool

So without further ado, I present... how to read an XML document, when you're behind a proxy (in 5 lines or less Tongue out)...

Best Mac Slam... ever.
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Written by WATYF on Monday, 21 August 2006 (5242 hits)
Category: Apple Bashing

I just thought I'd take a quick minute out of my busy day to pass along a very funny conversation I was witness to just recently. You see... I take pride in my Mac-bashing... I'd like to think... in some small way... that I'm actually good at it.... but alas... there are those who are much, much better than I am at pointing out the absurdities of Mac zealots... and here's a perfect example.

 (But first... a little backstory...)

The program I use to record audio is called Pro Tools. It was originally written for a Mac, so many of the "pro" studios who use PT run it on Macs. The fact that Macs are the "standard" platform for PT only feeds the "elitist" attitudes of Mac users who get into pro audio... ok... so now that you have the background... here's the funny part...

Hacking a Mac... the easy way!
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Written by WATYF on Thursday, 03 August 2006 (7349 hits)
Category: Apple Bashing

In my continuing quest for things I can use to make fun of Macs and Mac users as much as possible, I stumbled across a little article today about some very interesting vulnerabilities in the latest Macs.

It appears that a couple of hackers have found a way to completely take over a Macbook in mere seconds, using nothing but it's wireless connection. That's right... completely take over the machine. Not just plant some trojan on it... or run some spyware in the background... but gain complete control over your machine, as if they are sitting at the keyboard themselves (doing things like deleting all of your important files and saying mean things to your friends using your iChat).  Apparently, one of their motivations for presenting a demo of a Mac being hacked was what they called the "Mac user base aura of smugness on security". Which, as you all know... I would staunchly disagree with... I mean really... Mac users...? Smug...? That's just ridiculous!

Anyway... I would say that this is a pretty good find.... but that would be the understatement of the year... so I won't. Instead, I'll just tell you more about the hack (and how you can witness it yourself), while throwing in a couple stabs at Mac users, just for kicks.

My only good story...
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Written by WATYF on Thursday, 15 June 2006 (5387 hits)
Category: Misc Mentations

I was reading a blog the other day and the author was asking people to post their most interesting personal story. After a brief scan of what little memories I have of my life, I came to the conclusion that I was a very boring person, seeing how I couldn't think of one good story about something I'd experienced. But a day or so later, I was reminded that I did have a somewhat notable event happen to me, so I typed it all out and posted it on the site. I figured I might as well put it on my own website as well, seeing how it's the only semi-interesting personal experience that I'll ever have to offer.

When I was in my late teens, I worked at a used auto part yard on the far south side of Chicago... there were a number of VERY interesting characters who worked there, one of which was "Ned". At least... I'll call him Ned to protect his identity. He was pretty new at the yard and, I swear, he was the spitting image (in personality more than looks) of Ned Flanders. He was always chipper and dorky and "okeley-dokely" and what not, and he didn't quite seem to be "all there". Anyway, Ned was going to unknowingly have a large impact on my life... which I'll get to later.

More cool touchscreen crap....
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Written by WATYF on Wednesday, 14 June 2006 (6052 hits)
Category: Nerdery

A while ago, I posted a link to touchscreen UI that was being developed that looked like it had good potential. Well, here's another twist on touchscreen UIs. Instead of a back-lit touchscreen, this one uses touch sensitive projections (on a tabletop device) and voice commands. It doesn't look quite as cool (visually) as the last one, but functionally, it does a good bit more. They're integrated the UI into a few different kinds of software (Google Earth, Warcraft3, etc) and shown how it can be used in a fairly practical manner. Pretty cool stuff.


Introducing the all new Mac/Windows love affair...
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Written by WATYF on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 (8111 hits)
Category: Apple Bashing

So... everybody and their mother knows that Apple said that they wouldn't do anything to hinder or support the installation of Windows XP on their new Intel Macs (commonly referred to as Mactels). And everybody and their dog knows that some guy won 13 thousand dollars by figuring out how to boot Windows XP on a Mac.... and now everybody and their pet fish knows that Apple went back on their original promise (of not doing anything to support Windows installs) by offering BootCamp, which allows any dumb shmoe a chance to boot Windows XP on his shiny new Mactel.

But my question is... where is all this mad Mac/Windows love coming from...???

The evolution of the Mac virus...
User Rating: / 4
Written by WATYF on Wednesday, 22 February 2006 (5676 hits)
Category: Apple Bashing

You know... it seems like just last week that Mac users were sitting... all smug and metrosexual... in their coffee shops... wearing their ridiculously over-priced Diesel jeans... sipping their lattes... and feeling all secure in the "fact" that their computers were "safer" than the "inferior" Windows PCs of the "lesser" humans.


Oh wait.... that was just last week. AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

And then... a little thing I like to call "reality" set it... and the ginormous myth that Mac's are "impervious" to viruses was dashed against the brutal rocks of inevitability.  For in one week's time we have seen not one..... not two.... but THREE viruses/security flaws appear on the radar screen.

And the best part about it is.... they just keep gettin' better.

Apple's (and my) latest dillema...
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Written by WATYF on Tuesday, 14 February 2006 (2060 hits)
Category: Apple Bashing

I just wanted to take this opportunity to point and laugh at Apple over its latest troubles.

As if all of Apple's previous problems weren't enough.... here they go again.... puttin' a happy smile on my skinny little face.

Apparently, someone has filed suit against Apple claiming that they're.... wait for it....



.....a monopoly!!!!



So I guess that cornering a whopping 3% of the global computing market has put them in dangerous territory with the DOJ.

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