Friday, March 30, 2007

Enso launcher

I've been trialing ENSO launcher by Humanized.

The idea that "All you have to remember is the name of the command that you want to use" is a nice idea but in practice that can be an awful lot of commands. In reality I've found that it can be good for a number of situations
but, unsurprisingly, it's not perfect for all situations. After all GUIs were designed, in part, so that users don't have to remember things.

It's a good product and a welcome addition to my desktop. A couple of things I'd like to see added though:

I'd like to to automatically be able to open any file added to the desktop. I keep a few key files there along with ones I'm working on at the moment. It's frustrating to have to set up shortcuts ('learn as open...') each of these when they change every few days. Maybe 'open desktop .......' ?

It would also be nice to be able to open any saved bookmark or favourite in IE or FireFox, in a single step without having to open the browser then select the favourite or teach enso the favourites I open most regularly. Maybe 'open favourite .......' ?

It would also be nice to be able to teach enso to be able to open shortcuts. I often save parameters in shortcuts so they open programs the way I like. Enso can't currently handle shortcuts. I've found a way round this by creating a .cmd file and having enso learn how to open that but it's an inelegant solution. I have to create the extra file plus an extra console window is opened.

How Google could be better

I can see three areas where Google could be better.

  • In the new version all dates of posting in the RSS feed say 2007/01/01.
  • The 'remember me' feature doesn't work when logging in.

Google Groups
  • In order to maintain a consistent experience when accessing usenet groups via the web, it would be good to be able to have a signature when posting via the web as well as via a mail client.
  • The list of unread message in subscribed groups doesn't update properly.

Google Desktop - News gadget
  • It would be good if it was possible to block a news provider. For instance, I don't ever want to receive news from foreign language newspapers, which sometimes show up and there are some sports news providers I'd quite like to stop showing up.
  • The "Do not show me items like this" feature could be made better. Sometimes I indicate that I don't want to see an item, I later get the exact same articel from another agency or an update on the same story.

Maybe, one day these will be addressed.

Polite Notice:

Signs which start with 'Polite Notice' annoy me.

  • They contain redundancy - You should be able to tell from reading it.
  • They are insulting - That we wouldn't know otherwise.
  • They show laziness - That the person authoring the notice couldn't take the time to write it such that it wouldn't be understood as being impolite.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Jesus and Your Job

Watch the 'Jesus and Your Job' talk here

there is nobility in serving other people
to serve is to add value
work is to create value

do work for a greater purpose.

workplace - a place to: be known and relate to people

Remember the dignity of people (as human beings)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In defense of PowerPoint

We have had poor talks long before PowerPoint.

"Listeners cannot absorb too much information at once. Talks should be limited to getting across just a few critical points. The goal is to get the listener interested enough to explore the subject in more depth on their own, perhaps by reading, perhaps by conversation. If too much is packed into a talk, the listener becomes overloaded and is apt to remember less than if the talk were better paced with less information. Worse, the listener may simply give up and cease following. Perhaps even worse is that listeners might get interested and pause to pursue some implications mentally, only later to discover that they thereby missed other material."

Friday, March 09, 2007

How I blog

In that I've just had a blitz on posting, I should probably explain how I tend to do it.

Mostly, I blog once a week, normally on a Thursday or Friday evening. It seems that's the only time I have to get to play (as my wife likes to refer to it) with my computer.

It isn't that this is the only time that I think about posting though. Whenever I get an idea or see something worth commenting on, I'll make a note of it in a text file I keep on my desktop.

Once a week I'll email all those ideas to my home address so that when I get the chance I'll write them up. And if I don't write them up straight away, I'll start a draft and finish them another time.

Why do I blog? That's currently a draft that I'll finish another time.

Politics and the English Language

"Politics and the English Language" by George Orwell

  • Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Updating mobile applications

OpenID and writing for the reader

I'm under the impression that OpenID is about identity over the web, not identity in general. That said, this is a very good example of writing (The OpenID spec) not serving the reader.

Zune phone

I've had a draft post kicking around for a while about the rumoured zune phone (see: for more.)

Rather than keeping hacking away at that, I'll just say that at first I was at bit disappointed that/if it would not run on Windows Mobile. But, if it can do brand new, cutting edge stuff like sharing files during calls then I'll excuse it for a bit. Hopefully we'll see such feature make it over to the WM platform at some point in the future.

viewing snippets

I wish there was a way that you could easily highlight the text Google used for the snippet in the results page.

Sometimes what appears in the snippet doesn't contain a keyword but is something I'd like to read around on the page. At the moment searching through the cache to try and find it seems to be the best way.

On a similar note it would sometimes be useful to know where the snippet is from. Is it the meta description, is it from meta keywords, is it extracted from text on the page. Plus if it is extracted from the page, how many locations is it from.

Maybe this feature exists in other search engines. It's highly unlikely that anyone will ever know though, because no one (well it seems that way) uses them any more.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I am Word - apparently

You are Word 2007!
It would be tough to find a book, poem, document or report that you haven't read. You love the spoken and written word, and you thrive on information. You are known for being verbose, but eloquent. Among the four 2007 Office applications, you possess the most chutzpah, particularly because you know what "chutzpah" means and have added it to your own Office dictionary. Your vocabulary is constantly growing; even the latest buzz words won't slow down your spell-checker. Secretly you may admit that you miss having Clippy looking over your shoulder. With the new Microsoft Office Word 2007, you can spend more time doing your favorite thing - writing - and less time formatting. You have always been effective at communicating and collaborating, and now you'll find it more efficient and enjoyable than ever. Your favorite new feature in Office 2007 may well be the new blogging tool in Word 2007.