Old dog new tricks

I have had a few set backs recently.

The Ribbon ruined my main work environment (that would be Excel for those that are new here), and Subaru released a new pig ugly Impreza that is even uglier than the hideous bug eye version they got ridiculed for a few years ago.

The deal was when I gave up my Ducati to be a responsible parent I could get a scooby doo instead. I did, and its ace, but its approaching time to change it and I can’t think of anything in the world that would make me buy that new bush pig (offers to the usual address though! ;-)).

That lead me to wonder if it was just a case of being and old dog not capable of new tricks. An accusation that I think was levelled at me when I first brought up how crap the ribbon is.

I was reassured then to read this Following broad condemnation of the conservative five-door hatchback shape which shows at least I am not alone among the scooby faithful. Rather than devalue the current model, I think the new one turns it into a classic, a bit like Excel 2003.

And back to computing, since Excel 2007 was released, I have changed browser to Firefox, changed email to Thunderbird, I now use Linux as my main web stuff os (on my magnificent Asus Eee). I’ve also moved to VS2005 (for C++) on my dev machine, reviewed Resolver including playing with Python and tried a bit of Ruby. And I have started poking around VS2008 have also been working with MS on Office 14. And of course I started this blog.

Outside computing, I’m training to be a football coach (thats proper football, involving foot and ball, not any kind of hand throw misnomer) and I have my eye on some other new stuff too.

In short I don’t think my dislike of the ribbon can be explained by some fear of change, or some inability to pick up new things. I think the only rational explanation is that is doesn’t support either the way I work or the work that I do. Other user interfaces do.

What new stuff have you been looking at this last 12m?



16 Responses to “Old dog new tricks”

  1. Jon Peltier Says:

    New stuff in the last year:

    I started a blog.
    I’ve started using FireFox, still in evaluation, but it seems worthy.
    GoogleTalk (voip).
    Google Maps (I used to be a MapQuest adherent).
    GPS for the Jeep.
    I started programming to the ribbon.

  2. Biggus Dickus Says:

    I have been working more and more with SQL 2005. Frankly I am finding it a frustrating experience though.

    I hope:
    1. That 2008 doesn’t mean yet another UI change and
    2. Any day now the bell will go off and I’ll get the idea of why SQL 2005 was designed this way – just like the bell that went off for the Ribbon (??) in Excel ….. ;-)


  3. Harlan Grove Says:

    Just got a new laptop at work (end of 3-year lease cycle), so spent the week before getting it backing up everything, and most evenings this week loading them onto the new machine. I’ve now learned the lesson (again, unfortunately) that I need to keep notes on what I have to do to configure everything, e.g., editing group policy to ensure Microsoft Messenger doesn’t run every time I run Outlook Express.

    [Rant: yes, the geniuses in IT who’ve set standard group policy to enforce Tiles as the default view layout in Windows Explorer so I have to change it back to Details every time I login as well as other pointless settings (such as using Internet Explorer’s autoconfig script to restore urls to MSN and Hotmail to Favorites even though the company’s proxy server prevents access to those sites) nevertheless don’t prevent mere users like me from editing parts of group policy or the registry.]

    As for software, I’ve been seeing which of my Excel models OOo Calc can handle. Not that it’s likely the company I work for would ever switch to it.

  4. Marcus Says:

    Hmmm. Let’s see,

    Moved to the other side of the planet (Oz to UK),
    New laptop (Toshiba Qosmio)
    Learning new language & IDE (C#/VS2005)
    Continued building domain knowledge (derivatives – never ending story)
    New dbs environment – Oracle with PL/SQL. Usually in the Access, SQL Server or Sybase sandbox.
    Skype with WebCam

    Meanwhile, haven’t touched MSO 2007.

  5. Simon Says:

    New language? British English?

  6. Marcus Says:

    Yes, I’m having to unlearn “stray-lian” (that’s how you’d pronounce it). Watch Kath & Kim sometime – it’s scary but true.

    Ironically enough, where I work, I’m surrounded by ex-pats.

    Cheers – Marcus

  7. Johan Nordberg Says:

    The biggest new thing in my life is my now three month old doughter. :)

    I’ve also bought a very mature family car. A 1.6 liter Skoda Octavia. The last car I owned was a Subaru Impreza GT. (Btw – I think the new Impreza looks better than the old one. The WRX was pretty ugly. But the new Impreza actually looks like a normal car, but with the hidden beast within. :))

    Running Vista and Office 2007 on all my computers. Only use Office 2003 for development now.

    New Windows Vista Media Center machine. It’s sooo much better than XP Media Center! And with the free WebGuide 4 it’s so good!

  8. Simon Says:

    Congratulations on the recent alarm clock Johan

  9. Biggus Dickus Says:


    One interesting point not necessarily related to this thread:

    Have you ever tried to tell some low-end user how to perform some action that is only available on the Ribbon, from memory? (i.e. not on the shortcut menu)

    Say add an AutoFilter or Freeze Panes, etc. etc.

    It’s impossible to explain and I think will ALWAYS be difficult to explain even once we get comfortable with the interface.


  10. Biggus Dickus Says:

    I should add that I meant “OVER THE PHONE” sorry. Does it makes more sense now???


    One interesting point not necessarily related to this thread:

    Have you ever tried to tell some low-end user how to perform some action that is only available on the Ribbon, from memory (i.e. not on the shortcut menu) over the phone?

    Say add an AutoFilter or Freeze Panes, etc. etc.

    It’s impossible to explain and I think will ALWAYS be difficult to explain even once we get comfortable with the interface.


  11. Chris Says:

    I’m with Johan – the new Impreza looks much better than your frog-eyed monster. I do still like the original rectangular-headlights ones, but I think the new one’s a big improvement. There is a saloon version of the new one, btw, but it’s even uglier than yours.

    The 1996 one I had was an estate, though, so that might colour my judgement…


  12. Simon Says:

    Mines not the bug eyed freak, my one is after prodrive fixed it for them (2004/05).

    Seriously you guys, My grandad might drive the new one. You might as well buy a honda civic 1.1 and save 15 grand.

    I fancy an EVO next – unless I upgrade my tranny van instead.

  13. Johan Nordberg Says:

    Chris: I also owned the estate.

    Simon: Isn’t the point whole point of buying a Subaru that you get a totally normal looking car, but with not-so-normal performance? If I had the money I would love to buy an Audi RS4 Avant, but I guess I need to change profession first. :)

    But I think the Impreza and maybe even the Legacy with the big engine is the same type of car as the RS4. Practical, comfortable, everyday type of car, but with mean performance.

    I kind of enjoy that it looks like a Toyota Corolla, that has spent too much time on the gym.

    Before the Subaru I owned a shiny red Ford Mustang. It had all the looks of a really cool and beautiful car, but it was really boring to drive. I was like driving an american truck.

  14. Simon Says:

    I’d say thats what the hot hatches are.
    Scoobies are meant to be rally derived and look and drive the part, maybe they will improve once they start actually rallying the 2008 one.

    I’d quite like an iconic yank car, but they are too wide for our roads and the left hand drive is a major PITA here, especially when trying to overtake.

    Ideally a ’69 Dodge charger (in orange of course)( http://www.general-lee.co.uk/ )

  15. Harlan Grove Says:

    ’69 Dodge Charger? Maybe, but the ’68 and ’69 Pontiac GTOs are cooler outside the deep South.

  16. Chris Says:

    Johan – I agree. Perhaps you’d like to go for a drink sometime.

    Simon – Ah, the classic Impreza vs Dodge Charger dilemma. I appear to have misunderstood… let’s, erm, ditch this and talk about computers again…

    Chris :)

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