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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SLOG As A Public Service

posted by on May 13 at 11:44 AM

From my inbox this morning:

Jonathan,

My name is xxx, and Iím a Program Manager here at the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft. I work on Excel.

Iím a regular reader of Slog, and saw your post back in February about the lack of custom error bars in Excel 2008.

I just wanted to reach out and let you know that our first Service Pack for Office 2008 became available as of this morning, and custom error bars are now back in the product (along with a host of other fixes and improvements). You can get SP1 from our downloads page.


Thanks very much for your business, and the feedback.
Have a great day!

I started dancing at lab upon hearing this. Custom! Error! Bars!

RSS icon Comments

1

Now if only I could find custom error bars in MATLAB.

Posted by tsm | May 13, 2008 11:59 AM
2

If only the Windows side of things were as responsive.

If only we could have customizable (truly customizable) ribbons in Office 2007 for Windows (the quick access bar is a joke, and too small, and too icony).

Oh, and maybe Visual Basic could be sped up to 1950 computer speeds, that would be helpful too. As it stands now, macros and VB-based add-ins take eons to run. You have no choice to but use Office 2003 for these things.

No one should upgrade to Office 2007 unless you're a wordprocessing newbie (for whom the interface changes will be a help). If you customize your toolbars and use macros or VB-based add-ins, you will stare blankly at Office 2007 wondering what on earth you just wasted $300 for.

Posted by Simac | May 13, 2008 12:04 PM
3

"Custom! Error! Bars!" Nerd!

Posted by killjoy | May 13, 2008 12:10 PM
4

Also announced: VBA will return to Office for Mac. (But we have to wait for the next full version.)

Posted by lostboy | May 13, 2008 12:12 PM
5

That person deserves brownie points.
That's some excellent customer service!

Posted by Nay | May 13, 2008 12:16 PM
6

I wonder if they fixed Application.FileSearch in their VBA macros. This was broken in Office 2007. Curiously, Microsoft's on-line help shows Application.FileSearch as a valid command. But it isn't. Fuckers!

Posted by Mahtli69 | May 13, 2008 12:26 PM
7

Sincerely, joy for custom error bars! And this guy's clearly doing a great job in personalized customer service.

However, I really can't stand the new 'friendly business' use of the term "reach out." As in, "We should reach out to that business and maybe we can make a deal." "Why don't you reach out to the media on this?" "I just wanted to reach out to you, blah blah blah."

I'm hearing this everywhere. Is there some business newsletter I don't receive spreading this godawful, saccharine, psychobabble of a phrase around town? "Reach out" sounds like evangelical church-talk to me, and it sounds like bullshit. What's wrong with "I read your post and here's an update: now we have custom error bars!"

"I thought I would extend a hand in friendship and love to you today, my dear friend, and offer companionship during our shared pursuit of health and happiness. This morning, I love you in the form of custom error bars."

(Why yes, I AM cynical and overly sensitive this morning! Sorry for ranting, Slog folks, and Microsoft guy, it's not your fault. This phrase is EVERYWHERE.)

Posted by Katelyn | May 13, 2008 12:27 PM
8

@7 - "Reach out" is stolen from The Sopranos.

Whoever uses the term in the real world is trying to invoke the image of someone trying to be diplomatic instead of "whacking" whoever stands in their way. It's a nice way of saying, "I could crush you, but I am choosing not to." Of course, the guy works at Microsoft, so it's easy to see where he gets this mentality.

At least, that's how I read it.

Posted by Mahtli69 | May 13, 2008 12:36 PM
9

That makes sense, I guess... I'm just annoyed at my young corporate-ladder-climbing friends who all of the sudden are seized with evangelistic fervor when it comes to networking, and this is the buzzword they all parrot at me.

Posted by Katelyn | May 13, 2008 12:45 PM
10

Real scientists use MatLab

Posted by Slim | May 13, 2008 1:21 PM
11

Hey Microsoft Mac guy - please tell your friends that work on Powerpoint for Mac that it sucks supreme that you can't drop a folder of images right into Powerpoint slides, yet you can with the Windows version.

I know, I know, I just use Keynote.

Posted by PPT Prisoner | May 13, 2008 1:55 PM
12

Real scientists use whatever tool is the best for the task.

Using Matlab to assemble simple charts is like using a Ford F350 heavy duty pickup truck to buy oregano from PCC. What, do you compose all your e-mails in LaTex? Pick your nose with a power drill?

Posted by Jonathan Golob | May 13, 2008 1:56 PM
13

I love when people invoke "Real ________ [do/don't] ________."† It helps me identify the snobs with no objective leg to stand on.

(The exception is use in a skilled parry, as exemplified by Golob @12.)

Posted by lostboy | May 13, 2008 2:41 PM
14

Golob@12, Matlab is great for assembling charts if you do a lot of number crunching well suited to Matlab anyway. Can you do an eigendecomposition easily in Excel?

Although, yes, it doesn't seem to have easily customized error bars.

Posted by tsm | May 13, 2008 5:14 PM

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