Friday, February 09, 2007

I often wonder what could be done to simplify applications and desktop environments, such as Windows, GNOME, KDE, OSX etc. What is it about applications and DEs that annoys me? What could be done to make using them more enjoyable? What will simplify my workflow?

When I write a new email in Outlook, the toolbar has 21 buttons available. Twenty one! I don't send HTML emails, only plain text, so at least twelve of those are unnecessary. I always use keyboard shortcuts for copying, cutting and pasting. That frees up another three buttons.

I use Outlook at work - I receive far too many emails each day and never organise them into folders. I can sort my inbox by date received or the name of the sender. Outlook kindly groups emails into dates: "Today", "Yesterday". "Last Week" and "Last Month". I find this extremely useful as it provides a visual distinction that reduces the time I spend looking for older emails. I sometimes organise folders - most of them are labelled "Archive 2006 Q2" and so forth. So I guess I am lazy, but am I lazy because I want to be or because Outlook isn't helping me make the most of my time? Am I disorganised because "I am" or because Outlook requires too much effort to stay organised? I'm guessing mostly the former though organising folders and dragging and dropping emails info folders is painful when my folder hierarchy is too long to fit onto the screen.

Applications and DEs try to be all things to all people. Is this is a good thing or can functionality and configurability be reduced to reduce complexity?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

We decided to take Emma out for a ride on her sled that her grandparents gave her for Christmas. We should probably have checked the temperature first as it was quite chilly with the wind. We took her out to the Quickie round the corner, to get some milk and a paper. She enjoyed herself, though her cheeks were very red from the wind and there wasn't quite enough snow on the roads for the sled. Still, it was good to get her out; she always enjoys fresh air and it made a nice change from sitting in the living room trying to convince her she has great toys!