Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carpal Obvious

My day started out well. Ok, kind of well, but still.

I got my review and it was excellent. The work for next year is not "how to make me acceptable" but how to get me from "excellent" to "best". Whoo hoo!

Then Microsoft intervened. We "upgraded" to the new products a couple weeks ago and now use the hugely wasteful ribbon instead of the toolbars. I never had a problem with toolbars so I don't know why they changed. At any rate, now everything that used to take one mouse click takes at least two, if not four. And every click doubles my carpal tunnel inflammation.

I was in tears today, for the second time this week, trying to do crap in Excel and Powerpoint that I can normally do in my sleep. Tasks that normally take 5 minutes and no effort take gargantuan effort and an hour as I re-learn where all the commands are located because I'm making the attempt to re-learn how to do everything at the same time I'm trying to work on my work. And it's hard to know at the start of an obstacle if it would be more expedient (keeping short term and long term goals in mind) to come up with a new workaround, or to figure out what the hell they've decided to call "autofit selection". (For the record, what was
[one-click] Format - columns [one-click] Auto-Fit Selection

is now
Home [one-click] Format [one-click] AutoFit Column Width

While being an exception to the extra clicks, it took me a while to figure this out as previously trying to "Auto-Fit Column Width" would select every row in the column and fit to the widest one, which is exactly what I was trying to avoid, so I didn't immediately select this but went to the help section, which does NOT say "this used to be called...".

It turns out that I have a link to an application that allows me to run the command I used to use and it will tell me where the new command with a different name and location is. This should save me some time now that I know what it is (I assumed it was a video tutorial, most of which are 85% worthless and 15% useful, so I was putting it off.) I also found a "Ribbon Hero" application that might be useful, except for the fact that I only used the toolbars when I couldn't do things with a keyboard command, so my score is still very low due to using keyboard shortcuts. But maybe it will help.

Anyhow, jump to this afternoon when I was tearing my hair out in my boss's office. "I'm trying to give it a chance, but I can't figure out if I don't like it because the old way was better or because I was used to the old way". And she said, (drum roll, please) "You don't like it because it hurts you."

Oh. Yeah. That. It's a good reason.

If you add mouse clicks to tasks, it hurts me. And I will hate you, personally. That really isn't too strong a word.

Having to do extra clicks for the same function, plus all the running around to figure out how things work now, practice them, find them again, and go back to the help has flared my carpal tunnel up to the point where I should stop typing and go home and rest my wrist for the evening. Eventually I'll have to get used to it. Eventually, I'll be able edit the dratted thing so my most used commands are on it rather than my least used commands. But today, when I just have to do something that should have taken 5 minutes but took an hour and not-inconsiderable pain, when I think about the new microsoft layout Jesus Christ has about 40 middle names.


MarciaBC said...

I feel for you. We went through the ribbon switchover last summer, but in stages, so some of the office had it, and the rest didn't til later. Made it really hard to share files. And we all would pile in cubes to figure stuff out and find where things were. I've never liked the graphs in Excel, and they are ever more nasty, now. Just let me go back to Corel. That stuff actually works and has real options for other than business applications.

CrankyOtter said...

I use Excel for any number of things - including graphs - but it sometimes doesn't do what I want so I import everything to JuMP which is also quirky, and while I can manipulate jump charts better, I can't manipulate the data table as easily so I wind up porting smaller files back to excel to write easy functions (I do harder functions in JuMP but they're rare) and various other tasks then reimport... But yeah, they've messed up what little chart functionality they used to offer. If I have to relearn everything, why not switch products?

AMLJ, we bought an analysis/display package called Spotfire. They gave us 2-3 days of training on it, and after that it rocked. You could plot X by Y, scroll through Zs, color by Q, and change it all with one click and zoom in and out dynamically. Really wound up being useful for tough analyses (overkill for routine charts, but more fun generally).

I'm so with you on knowing that there are better products out there that do what you want but getting saddled with a product that pretends to deliver functionality but mostly doesn't have the capability to do the exact thing you need it to do. Le sigh.

I need to figure out how to be less frustrated though because this screaming hissy fit doesn't seem to be helping as much as I'd like it to.