Logitech SetPoint and Microsoft SharePoint

I just solved a tricky SharePoint 2010 problem at work for a particular user who, whenever they clicked on a Microsoft Office document to open it, Internet Explorer would hang. Other documents such as PDF’s would open OK.

In the end I found that the problem was caused somehow by the Logitech SetPoint software that had been installed relating to the Logitech mouse that the user had. Uninstalling the SetPoint software made the problem go away.

When conceptual modelling goes bad

A good sign that conceptual modelling and terminology has gone astray is when you get to a contradictory definitional statement like this in the documentation:

“A flag indicating that the contact is busy and inactive.”

Yes, I’m looking at you Microsoft Lync 2010 SDK. I think I need to lie down now.

[This content was originally posted to Google+]

Cross at cryptic Word

Here’s a cryptic puzzle for those of you who like them: In Microsoft Word 2007 shade the background of a table cell with a custom colour. Close Word and re-open the document so that your custom colour is no longer in the ‘recently used colours’ list. How do you then shade another cell in the table with the same colour??

This seemingly simple task turns out to be more complicated than you’d expect. One answer is:

Use the “Reveal Formatting” pane (Shift F1) to inspect the existing shaded table cell to find out the RGB values of the shading, then use these values in selecting the custom colour for the new cell.

[This content was originally posted to Google Buzz, #133]

Intuitive user interfaces

People often say that user interfaces in computing applications should be designed to be “intuitive”. I think that’s a load of rubbish. The trouble is that the definition of “intuitive” for most people is “the way I would do it”, which of course is potentially different for every person on the globe.

An engineer helpfully pointed out to me the other day a much more meaningful design principle …

“the user interface should not create uncertainty in the mind of the user”

The application may not work the way I would want it to, but it’s still clear what steps I need to take to achieve what I want to do.

[This content was originally posted to Google Buzz, #127]