Time and place

I’m annoyed at the sate of the user interface for computing these days. It’s too hard to sync or share data across applications (the ‘suite’ concept for office seems to be missing completely – little app buttons in various programs or not) and it’s both annoying and difficult to get my computer to present information to me in the way I want it. I think the root of the problem is that there is no concept of relationship in (or god forbid, between) applications. I’m constantly typing information and then retyping or cutting and pasting it somewhere else. I can’t easily clip something from one work area and put it into another. Other than folders (which are painfully annoying and take forever to sync), there’s little concept of work-group or workspace in computing today. Here’s a great example, which both shows what a bone head I am as well as how far away from ideal we are. I missed a call this week. It was a short update call with one of the companies I work with, but still I missed it and it annoyed the heck out of me (which for me means that I’m its going to be on my mind for the next week). Here’s what happened: When I travel, I put information in my calendar in the time zone of the place where I will be that day, rather than in my ‘home’ time zone. To me, this just made sense – no need to adjust for where I was when looking at my calendar. Since there’s no way in Outlook to easily change between time zones this seemed like the best plan (although I really like their feature that allows you to place a second set of times on the left side of the screen – very very helpful and even better, only six short clicks away! [sarcasm intended]). The problem, which is what messed me up today, is that when someone sends me an invite it shows up in my home time zone, so I need to remember to change the meeting in Outlook to the time zone where I’ll actually be. I forgot to do this today, looked at the meeting time, assumed that it was in the calendar in pacific time and missed the meeting.Apparently somewhere between Office v1 and Office v11, no one ever figured out that time shifting is important. There’s no ability in Outlook Calendar to set different time zones for different days (let alone w/in a single day). There’s literally dozens of time zone options to choose from, but you can only display one at a time (other than the kluge I describe above) – there’s just no concept of shifting time temporarily.  I would have thought software was more well thought out than that by now . . .

  • Seth on Time and Place

    Working in a different time zone from all but one of my coworkers (hi, Nick!) I bang my elbow on Outlook’s lack of decent time zone support every day.