Friday, October 24, 2008

The lesson I have learned today (placed here for your convenience)

I got up early.

I do get up early anyway, but a combination of cat, mental conniptions and conundrums and the glorious arrival of the sun into Paradise led me to arise from my bed at crack-of-dawn o'clock.

Luckily for me, I had a little job on my desk that would fit nicely into the gap between crack-of-dawn o'clock and reasonable hour.

So, saddled up with a cup of tea, I sat down to do a little document.

Now, part of my lustrous work life involves me tapping keys on my computer rather fast.

Another part of my lustrous work life involves me finding the right words.

Sometimes the right words required are "code" things, to make the computer or the internets do stuff that the people who pay me ask for.

Sometimes the right words required are "fancy" things, to put into documents when the right words haven't yet been found by the people who pay me and I have to grasp them out of thin air.

On these occasions, I have been knows to I stare into space, gesticulate, mutter and engage in other bizarre rituals for them to approach me. (I mention this embarassing fact to save someone who knows me IRL from outing me in comments).

During this whole song and dance performance this morning, the ever helpful Microsoft Word 2002 popped up one of those little notices and I waved it away mangnanimously. (I hate it when software programs interrupt me!)

I then found the right word and my fingers flew across the keyboard - to absolutely no bloddy effect at all!!!

(For those who wish to emulate the following lesson in a practical sense - get the message from Word by leaning on the Shift key for longer than 8 seconds)

I wracked my brains for a clue as to what Word had flashed at me while I was busy plucking ideas, and the word "Filter" fluttered past.

Luckily (?!) for me, the little help paperclip was lurking and ready to jump to my every request - so I decided to.

" " I tried to type. Nothing.

" " - again nothing. I hit keys, tried the shifts, alts, ctrls and combinations but nothing.

"F " after leaning on one key for a long period of time, a letter appeared.

"FI " gee whiz, typing when you have to be on one key for a long time is actually much, much harder (not to mention more frustrating) than touchtyping at speed.

"FILTER KEYS" - so easy to type off now, a real pain in the doo-what at the time. (And yes, the caps lock key was also stuck on).

I clicked the "search" button, and the the little help paperclip offered just that - very little help.

"Do you want to ask the internets?" it asked me.

"Why yes," I replied, and so it opened up an (COUGH-no-COUGH)help page from Microsoft Office XP.

And guess what? I typed " " - the bloddy thing was not just a Microsoft Word 2002 dilemna, but a computer-wide issue.

Even so, maybe Microsoft would know the solution if only I asked the right genie.

"FILTER KEYS" I asked the Microsoft Office XP site.

"I know nothing." it told me.

"FILTER KEYS" I asked the Microsoft Office 2007 site.

"I know nothing." it told me.

Now, this is where I GIVE YOU the benefit of my amazing computer fixit abilities.

A little ray of sunshine beamed into my mind. I remembered something. I remembered that if you have a computer-wide issue, you go to the Control Panel.

Once upon a time (pre Vista) you could click into Control Panel and find an icon called "Accessibility" - of course, in our "dumb everything down" technological revolution powered by Microsoft, Vista** tries to put it into touchy-feely terms.

Once you have selected "Ease of Access" (with a marketing background I know someone sat there and said "we have to give it a positive spin - use key words like "ease" and the punters will stop stressing" and got paid quite a nice sum of money to say that) option, you are faced with more...

Under the "Change how your keyboard works" (funnily enough without the additional "because we have screwed it up on you" topic heading isn't there), right down the bottom is a check box for "Filter Keys" (which apparently Microsoft Office help doesn't know about, it just automatically hits you with it).

Now, I can see the reasoning behind having an option to "Ignore or slow down brief or repeated keystrokes and adjust keyboard repeat rates", really I can.

I just think the darned thing should be easier to turn "Off" than it is to turn "On".

(Oh, and then Blogger wouldn't work for me to post my stress. Aaargh!!!)

Anyway, I hope this saves you the stress I went through this morning, and that everyone's Friday moves us all that one step closer to universal understanding.

(Oh, and just to let everyone know, I am the sort of luddite that has been whinging about every Microsoft upgrade for the last 20 years for the same things)


Debby said...

That you remained calm cool and! My hat's off to you! I just get really upset. It sort of stops there.

Debby said...

That you remained calm cool and! My hat's off to you! I just get really upset. It sort of stops there.

Debby said...

Hm. So Genie Jeanie...why did this post twice?

Mary O. Paddock said...

Jeanie-- Nothing like losing precious work time trying to figure out how to use supposedly easy software. Thanks for the tip. :)

I'm using Office 07 these days. No more little paper clip sadly enough (I kind of liked him). They've hidden even more features and Help is even more useless. This piece of software is so "smart" that it remembers your formatting choices (like when you want to off-set a paragraph or scripted dialogue), which wouldn't be so bad if wouldn't insist on returning to it despite the fact that you want something different this time. I've lost more time trying to figure out how to turn off hidden features, cutting and pasting, cursing, pounding on keys, highlighting text and jumping up and down. :)

BB said...

What do you mean "other bizarre rituals"?? Oh, you mean like rolling your eyes upwards, with one hand on the keyboard (possibly on the shift key) and waving the other around like an old Italian nona and mumbling? Like that?

No, I would NEVER mention that kind of thing...

PS I love you!

Jayne said...

Oh, you wise, clever one, I shall remember your words of wisdom when next my 'puter has a hissy fit ;)
I'm impressed you didn't heave it through a window, like I have been tempted to do on several occasions!

Anonymous said...

Oh! I can comment again! Yay.

I dislike all upgrades!

Pencil Writer said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned someone coming up with a "softer sounding name" (I know I'm taking a little literary license here with the " marks) made a ton of money for their clever twist on wording. Hiding the obvious and making life easier by making using your computer harder to do what you want it to do... It's all a conspiracy as far as I'm concerend! Ha! Who was it that used to say "Curses" whenever he was foiled in attempts to have his own way? Was it Snidely Whiplash? I forget.

MissyBoo said...

Why would microsoft even think someone would want to use a function like that???

It reminds me of the sort of things that occurred after having an infant bashing your keyboard (oops sorry your not an infant)!

Crazed Nitwit said...

No Vista for me! The horrors. I get peeved everytime I have to use my Microsoft word 2007 which sucks ricks compared to word 2003. All these freaking symbols instead of real words. I keep writing single spaced instead of double cuz the comps in our tech lab at school isn't set for double and I can't figure it out. You'd think a woman who can get a 100% on a pharmacology test could reset the line spacing!!!!!


Anonymous said...

I am so with you, I HATE it when software interrupts me. I cannot touch type and type looking at the keyboard, so by the time I realise I have f*$ked something up I think I have typed a freaking novel and then find myself looking at a blank screen and no idea what I did.


David said...

It was nice to have time to catch up with you today on your blog. I so enjoyed it when I had more time, and do miss it. I will try to keep up more often.

Anonymous said...

These kinds of things make me nutso. Because the remembering? Not me. Can't do it. In fact, I'm going to have a few fits pretty soon when I have to move to a Vista computer.


jeanie said...

Deb - thats one of those things that make you go "hmmm" - great for my ego though, extra comments!!

Mary - you have hit the nail on one of my gripes!! Don't think for me, computer!!

Bushbabe - yep, something like that... love you too!

Jayne - it has occasionally crossed my mind - luckily it is tethered within my window by (a) the power cord, (b) the fact that it cost me money that I won't get back, (c) the fact that it is the thing by which I get any income and (d) did you notice how tight I am? I do put it into time out, though.

Tiff - yay you can comment again too! I need to create a "luddites unite" badge.

pencil writer - the problem with the IT industry is not only is it most likely to spawn conspiracy theories, it is also most likely to create conspiracy theories also.

m+b - I felt like spitting the dummy.

Crazed Mom - ooh the old double-space pitfall. I also used to have to do many tests on my speed and accuracy, and that along with the "no hotkeys" were the bane of my existence.

rhubarbwhine - V read your comment and agreed wholeheartedly with you on that! Of course, I also use hotkeys A LOT and so the beeping and screeching will alert me before I am too far into a tome.

David - thanks - same here. (I am still subscribed, so I tend to get a few weeks of updates in one go)

Ree - held. Vista isn't as scary as the spooks make it out to be - but it isn't 3.1 anymore, either!!