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contextfree` contextfree`
  • Dat Start Menu (NOT COMING IN 8.1 Update BUT SOME TIME LATER edition)

    Yeah, I don't personally find that many of the changes actually make it better for mouse and keyboard in any inherent way, they are just trading one set of problems for another.

    e.g., the right-click menu does reduce mouse travel which is a real enough advantage, and also is more consistent with desktop conventions, but at the cost of breaking multiselection, reducing the effectiveness of visual memory in finding commands, and removing consistency between mouse and touch methods for doing the same thing.

    I would say that consistency with touch commanding is more important than consistency with desktop context menus given that in the former it's the actual layout and icons of specific commands that are consistent, while in the latter it's just the layout pattern of context menus in general, which doesn't really help much in terms of finding a specific command.

    So it's a tradeoff with both positive and negative aspects, but to me the pros don't outweigh the cons.

  • Make CodeLens Available Outside of Ultimate

    My theory is that Ultimate exists largely as an employee retention tactic :)

  • WPF isn't dead

    That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.

  • BUILD 2014 sessions

    that's not a "rumor" ...

  • BUILD 2014 sessions

    Thinking about it a bit, I guess the color thing could be explained by the fact that Build 2013 was mainly about Windows 8.1 a.k.a. Windows Blue, and Build 2014 will be mainly about Windows Phone Blue, so you could think about them as Parts 1 and 2 of the same thing (especially since they were spaced out 8-9 months apart rather than 12).

  • BUILD 2014 sessions

    The really disappointing thing about Build 2014 is NO NEW COLOR. They went from green in 2011, to red in 2012, to blue, to BLUE AGAIN. LAME. I was really hoping for purple.

  • My Metro / Modern IE broke

    I have a really obnoxious problem with Metro IE on my tablet whereby it somehow thinks/tells pages my screen is wider than it actually is, so pages don't quite fit on my screen horizontally. :@ 

    It just started recently, too ...

  • Humans Can Discriminate More than 1 Trillion Olfactory Stimuli

    1 trillion = about a 40-bit olfactory profile, so not actually that much information in the scheme of things ...

  • Windows 8.1 Update 1. Blurring the line between ​Metro/​Desktop ?

    It is ingenious, but OTOH "straightforward is better than clever" (an Office 2007 design principle that was not explicitly adopted for Win8, despite some of the same people being in charge). I'm somewhat ambivalent about these affordances and mechanisms - there are certainly a lot of complains about them, but I'm not sure there's a clearly superior alternative either.

  • Windows 8.1 Update 1. Blurring the line between ​Metro/​Desktop ?

    Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense. In many contexts that would be advantageous. In regards to charms people have used infinite edge to justify how great the feature is and easy for users to access because of it (and by no means am I suggesting you are one of those people or that you even like the charms implementation). What they overlook is the mouse actions after the target has been hit and how easy it is to slide off the charms bar while moving up or down the bar which causes the bar to disappear. So again in the right context infinite edge makes sense.

    Sliding off the charms isn't really a problem if you swoop around the corner in one smooth motion rather than stopping and waiting in the corner for a second. The momentum from moving to the corner will carry through and keep you pinned to the edge during the move up (exception: shared edges on multimonitor, which I still find to be somewhat awkward/unreliable even after the improvements in 8.0RP and 8.1).

    I find the gesture to be fairly comfortable, efficient and enjoyable when done this way, but I think the real problem is the visuals and animations don't really guide users to the "right" way of performing the gesture and tend to make people think they need to wait in the corner until the charms hint appears.

    BTW, it's interesting to remember this actually wasn't their first design for this mouse affordance. If you recall in the first Win8 Developer Preview the right-hand "hot corners" didn't exist, and the mouse way of using the charms was as a more compact "menu" that appeared in the lower left with the Start button. The main problem with that design I think was the excessive mouse travel it added to using any charm flyout (since they still appeared on the right) as well as being less consistent with the touch approach (not a big deal, but consistency here is a nice-to-have for ease of learning and comfort when going back and forth between input methods).

    The CP design solved those problems but also introduced a couple of new problems. The first is the weak visual feedback as discussed above. The second is more subtle, but I think even more significant: by separating the mouse affordance for the charms (right corners) from the efficient and familiar mouse affordance for Start (lower left corner) access to core OS functions became scattered - there was no longer a single entry point for fundamental Windows controls as the charms were intended to be. I think complaints like "why is shutdown/restart in a charm?" would be less prevalent if Start were perceived as "belonging" to the charms and so the charms were perceived as the top-level starting point for finding Windows functions, rather than an add-on.

    Personally, I'd consider going back to the DP design but just moving it from the lower-left to the lower-right corner. Of course this would mean moving the Start button to the lower-right as well ... would that freak people out? :)