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Adding a horizontal line to the top of an Excel Line Chart...
User Rating: / 2
Written by WATYF on Friday, 28 March 2008 (10655 hits)
Category: Nerdery

I've run into this problem before and always ended up falling back on crappy work-arounds, but it came up again the other day, so I figured I'd find a suitable solution once and for all. Here's the problem... I have a line chart in Excel... I want to display data going upwards and across the chart (like a typical line chart), but across the top of the chart, I want to display a horizontal line that shows a "target" (a single value in a single cell somewhere) that I'm trying to reach. There are several ways to approach this, but none of them I had found up to this point were elegant and/or sufficient for my needs...

Digg's new comment system gives me ulcers...
User Rating: / 5
Written by WATYF on Monday, 23 July 2007 (9185 hits)
Category: Nerdery










But I DID refresh the page... AND restart the browser... AND clear my history... AND delete my cookies..... yet still you torture me!!!


WHY?!?!?! ...WHY, I SAY?!?!


(a thousand pardons for the blog spam, but I had to get that off my chest Tongue out)



Unequivocal, undeniable, irrefutable proof that the new Office 2007 interface sucks...
User Rating: / 27
Written by WATYF on Friday, 13 April 2007 (26498 hits)
Category: Nerdery

That's right ladies and gentlemen... today I'm going to offer conclusive proof that the new Office 2007 interface has been endowed with copious amounts of suckage...

...but first, I'm going to ramble on for a bit (much like I do at the beginning of all of my articles, before actually getting to any kind of point or useful content). Tongue out

As many of you may know... I very quickly grew an intense dislike for the new Office 2007 layout (or interface, or GUI, or menu system, or whatever you wanna call it) the minute I was forced to use it at work. You may think it's because I'm a luddite, but that's not the case at all... I rather like new things... just so long as they don't make my life a living hell. You may also think that I just like to bash Microsoft for fun... but that's blatantly untrue... I would never bash Microsoft just for fun.. that's what I have Apple for. Tongue out

But after ranting about how much Office 2007's new look sucks, and trying to find ways around its idiosyncrasies, and hacking together a (very lousy) way to get it to (kind of) look like Office 2000 (or 2003), I was finally delivered from my turmoil (at least for now).

And I thought that was the end of it... I figured my articles would just fall into oblivion (much like every other article that I write on this site Tongue out) and I would move on with my nerdy little life... but it appears I won't be able to forget them so easily...

Corporate HQ saves the day...
User Rating: / 0
Written by WATYF on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 (7031 hits)
Category: Nerdery

Just as the darkest hour seemed to be upon me.... just as I was ready to give up my quest to get a decent, efficient customized GUI in Office 2007.... just as I was about to throw up my hands and give in to a life of slow, inefficient navigation at the hands of the bloated "Ribbon"....... my Corporate office saves the day.

So I'm sittin' at my desk minding my own buidness when I get an email... someone in IT informs me that Corporate has raised some concerns about us using Outlook 2007 because it causes some kind of issue with the corporate email server. My eyes lit up.... what's that I see on the horizon??? Is it a gleaming beacon of hope??!? Is there a chance that I don't have to suffer through using Outlook 2007 anymore, or possibly even --*gasp*-- any Office 2007 applications???

Getting back the old GUI in Office 2007.... sort of.
User Rating: / 9
Written by WATYF on Thursday, 14 December 2006 (25540 hits)
Category: Nerdery

Normally, right about now I would link you to a previous article about how much I hate the new Office 2007 GUI (as a means to get you caught up).... but there are just so many of them now... it would take too long. Tongue out Suffice it to say, I hate the new interface and find it extremely counter-intuitive and inefficient.... so I decided to change that.

As anyone who's spent any time looking into customizing Office 2007 knows.......... it sucks. Modifying the Ribbon is much more involved and restrictive than modifying the CommandBars, and QAT modification is a slow waste of time. The only hope (kind of) that we've been given is that whenever we use code (for Office 2000-2003) to add a button to a CommandBar, that button gets dumped into a Ribbon called "Add-Ins". Well.... this gave me an idea. Since I know how to control CommandBars quite easily... and since any CommandBars I create are gonna end up in the "Add-Ins" ribbon... why don't I just recreate the entire Menu and Toolbar system in the Add-Ins ribbon and just ignore the rest of the Ribbons.

After much toil and tears... I was able to do just that......... for the most part. Tongue out

Learning to Deal with the lousy new Office 2007 interface...
User Rating: / 0
Written by WATYF on Tuesday, 05 December 2006 (8727 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 (6835 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 (6490 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...

More cool touchscreen crap....
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Written by WATYF on Wednesday, 14 June 2006 (5860 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.


The coolest freaking thing ever...
User Rating: / 5
Written by WATYF on Friday, 10 February 2006 (9166 hits)
Category: Nerdery

How many nerds, like myself, watched Minority Report and remember that scene where Tom Cruise was working with the "future telling" machine thingy and he was dragging visuals around in mid-air and using that wicked cool user-interface to check out all the crimes that hadn't happened yet? How many of you also remember thinking how cool of a UI that was, but that it wasn't very realistic and probably wouldn't be a "real-world" technology any time soon (if ever)?

Anyone? Come on... of all the countless thousands of people who real this blog every day (whuh?!) there has to be someone else who thought that. I dunno... it just came across to me as being a bit too "Jetsons"... a nice piece of eye-candy, but just not a technology that I could see being developed for widespread use.

Well,... I'm happy to say that my initial gut feeling was wrong...

My Google, My Google... why hast thou forsaken me...?
User Rating: / 1
Written by WATYF on Friday, 13 January 2006 (8293 hits)
Category: Nerdery

It seems like only yesterday I was shilling.... I mean... "praising" Google for all the cool stuff that they keep putting out. But I guess even the greats have to put out a stinker every once in a while.

It looks like the general consensus all... over... the net is that Google Video is a huge bomb. Not only does the interface suck, but the content offering is anemic, at best. On top of that, Google has created their own DRM (for the paid videos) that makes it impossible to import the videos on to a portable device. Some are even saying that videos you purchase are only available as live streams, which means you can't truly download and view them offline (I haven't confirmed this one yet). Google also won't tell you what format the video is in until you've purchased it. All that stuff combined, Google Video is looking like a really lousy release. Me thinks they shoulda done some more in-house testing before letting this thing out into the wild.

But, as with anything Google makes, there are always a few cool attributes to it... and since I'm such a "glass is half-full/look on the bright side" kinda guy... (whuh?!?) I'm gonna point a few of them out to you...

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