Google announced today another update to their online Docs software. If you haven’t used Google Docs, it basically an online Office-type application that beat Microsoft to the punch. Docs is great for online collaboration and cloud storage. The latest update allows users to graph multiple ranges and the ability to hide sheets.
Graphing multiple ranges can be done by clicking on Select ranges… and add another range. This gives users the ability to create charts that show multiple graphs to contrast different trends. It’s handy, especially if you want to contrast and compare such things as origins of web traffic or company income. It’s something users have wanted for sometime now.
The ability to hide sheets is another Spreadsheet addition that Docs users will find helpful. To enable it you simply need to click a sheet and choose Hide Sheet. This doesn’t completely remove the sheet from a users view – to bring it back into view you can click the Hidden sheets option in the View menu. This probably isn’t as needed as the graphing addition, but I’m sure there are users out there that were really wanting this option.
While Microsoft’s online version of Office, known as Office 365, continues to languish in private Beta, Google Docs is moving forward. It’s encouraging that they are coming closer to a full suite that can rival Office. They aren’t there yet, but in terms of online applications they are probably ahead. And that, going forward, is probably the best place to be.
I just finished listening to the unabridged Audible audio book version of “The Man Who Lied To His Laptop” by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen.
After many years of working as a software interface design consultant, Clifford Nass has developed the theory that human brains cannot completely and fundamentally distinguish the difference between interacting with people and interacting with devices. This book details nearly 30 experiments Nass has performed that back up this revolutionary theory.
Remember “Clippy” from Microsoft Word? Chances are, the mere mention of the dreaded Microsoft Office animated paperclip brings up wildly negative feelings. Clippy’s main flaw was that he couldn’t learn and kept badgering Office users over and over for carrying out repetitive tasks that were not mistakes. Even though users “knew” that Clippy was just an animated character, part of their brain actually related to Clippy as a real, despicable character that lived in their computers.
Similarly, BMW had a big problem with male German car owners complaining loudly about the integrated BMW GPS units. It turns out that German men objected over and over again to BMW’s help line that the BMW GPS units came equipped with a female voice, and that just wouldn’t do, because it just wasn’t “right” to take driving directions from a female voice. “Knowing” that mostly male engineers had developed it wasn’t enough to eliminate the problem.
The book is filled with some rather amazing results of experiments that indicate just how suggestible the average person really is. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Most households in America are now starting to see more than one computer in them. Today my kids share a single PC, and as they get older I am sure each will have to have their own. My wife and I each have laptops. Not to mention the desktop machine I use for show production. A road trip earlier in the year caused me to have an extra laptop that the wife uses, but before she went house mobile she had her own desktop machine.
This makes for a grand total 5 computers in my household all running Windows XP, of those machines 4 of them will be able to upgrade to Windows Vista and all five to Office 2007. When I start putting the calculator to this I realize that probably I can only afford to upgrade two of them with the respective versions I will want to run.
Here is where I get into the crux of the issue. I am a loyal Microsoft user and have a number of computers in my household that I will want to upgrade and because consumers are not afforded volume discounts I will be unable to upgrade them all.
Granted Microsoft usually deals with companies that buy bulk license but how come a consumer who needs to upgrade lets say more than 3 computers cannot be cut a break on the software cost. This reduces the chances that a consumer will try and apply a hack to save some money.
How about it should loyal customers be given discounts on volume purchases?
I guess this revelation and the comments of Chris Pirillo may actually make me consider the upgrade. It’s not perfect yet according to the reviewer but at least it’s a start. [blogs.msdn.com/joe_friend/] [Chirs Pirillo]