OS Wars, Episide X.4 - Microsoft Windows

This is a discussion on OS Wars, Episide X.4 - Microsoft Windows ; In article , "Charles Jo" wrote: > We were exposed to Lotus' 2nd generation spreadsheet on NeXT boxes in > college and man that was some really cool spreadsheeting. I forgot > what it was called but it had all ...

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Thread: OS Wars, Episide X.4

  1. Re: OS Wars, Episode X.4

    In article <1115443080.211523.316340@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups. com>,
    "Charles Jo" wrote:
    > We were exposed to Lotus' 2nd generation spreadsheet on NeXT boxes in
    > college and man that was some really cool spreadsheeting. I forgot
    > what it was called but it had all kinds of features that I don't think
    > Excel has yet, 10+ years later.


    That was Improv, and all those features that Excel doesn't have is the
    reason Improv is barely remembered today. Joel Spolsky covers this in
    his book on user interface design:

    In the days of Excel 1.0 through 4.0, most people at Microsoft
    thought that the most common user activity was doing financial
    what-if scenarios, where you do things like change the inflation
    rate and see how this affects your profitability.

    When we were designing Excel 5.0, the first major release to use
    serious activity-based planning, we only had to watch about five
    customers using the product before we realized that an enormous
    number of people just use Excel to keep lists. They are not entering
    any formulas or doing any calculation at all! We hadn't even
    considered this before. Keeping lists turned out to be far more
    popular than any other activity with Excel. And this led us to
    invent a whole slew of features that make it easier to keep lists:
    easier sorting, automatic data entry, the AutoFilter feature which
    helps you see a slice of your list, and multi-user features which
    let several people work on the same list at the same time while
    Excel automatically reconciles everything.

    While Excel 5 was being designed, Lotus had shipped a "new paradigm"
    spreadsheet called Improv. According to the press releases, Improv
    was a whole new generation of spreadsheet, which was going to blow
    away everything that existed before it. For various strange reasons,
    Improv was first available on the NeXT, which certainly didn't help
    its sales, but a lot of smart people believed that Improv would be
    to NeXT as VisiCalc was to the Apple II: it would be the killer app
    that made people go out and buy all new hardware just to run one
    program.

    Of course, Improv is now a footnote in history. Search for it on the
    web, and the only links you'll find are from very over-organized
    storeroom managers who have, for some reason, made a web site with
    an inventory of all the stuff they have collecting dust.

    Why? Because in Improv, it was almost impossible to just make lists.
    The Improv designers thought that people were using spreadsheets to
    create complicated multi-dimensional financial models. Turns out, if
    they asked people, they would discover that making lists was so much
    more common than multi-dimensional financial models, and in Improv,
    making lists was a downright chore, if not impossible.



    --
    --Tim Smith

  2. Re: OS Wars, Episide X.4

    In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Peter Hayes

    wrote
    on Sat, 7 May 2005 20:36:02 +0100
    <1gw7l3u.bxv1dq1mjhazkN%peter@seahaze.demon.co.uk>:
    > The Ghost In The Machine wrote:
    >
    >> In comp.os.linux.advocacy, chrisv
    >>
    >> wrote
    >> on Fri, 06 May 2005 07:41:09 -0500
    >> <4dpm715vulcf71a94r6k030s38a9qdftkn@4ax.com>:
    >> > Randy Howard wrote:
    >> >
    >> >>In article <1115356298.615331.84030@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.c om>,
    >> >>charlesjo@gmail.com says...
    >> >>> The force has revealed the following:
    >> >>>
    >> >>> 1. Apple is first to release a cool OS
    >> >>
    >> >>No OS/2 actually met that description when it was first released.
    >> >>Compared to its peers at the time, it was "way cool, d00d, w00t".
    >> >
    >> > AmigaDOS was the first "cool" desktop OS. Multitasking, baby!
    >> >

    >>
    >> Well, the first few releases were a bit buggy (1.2 was usable,
    >> but in 1.0 and 1.1 the Guru visited often). :-)
    >>
    >> Nevertheless, I've yet to see the multiple resolution
    >> screen concept on any other 'puter.

    >
    > What was this "mutiple resolution screen concept"? BeOS had nine
    > desktops and each could have its own resolution setting.
    >


    "I've yet to see" applies here; I've not used BeOS.
    The other respondent describes Amiga's capabilities fairly
    well, and the metaphor was similar to a paper shuffle;
    a screen can be grabbed, moved up and down, exposing
    other screens behind it of a different resolution, event
    handling permitting (it was easy to cover up the dragbar,
    effectively taking over the entire display, but even then
    one could still use an ALT- or Amiga-key sequence to flip
    through the screens). Screens can also be reordered (a
    flip gadget at the upper right, or a hotkey). While the
    screen is being dragged the two screens are simultaneously
    visibile, in their own resolutions. (The technical
    term used internally was a ViewPort, which eventually
    was merged into a coprocessor display list, along with
    a bunch of other instructions. There were a number of
    Intuition-compatible hacks, as well, using this list;
    one displayed a rainbow border, for example.)

    Later variants corrupted this ideal somewhat, because of
    kludges in the resolution handling. I'd frankly have to
    look now, and of course the Amiga is now quite dead --
    but the spirit may live on. :-)

    BeOS appears closer than most, I'll give it that.
    Microsoft *does* have an innovation (at least, I think they
    innovated it -- and knowing Microsoft they probably didn't)
    in that, when a user requests a display resolution change
    (including screen depth, as well as screen size) every open
    window gets a message so that they can correct themselves.
    But it's not quite the same as the Amiga (which didn't have
    that particular capability).

    Ah, Commodore. :-) What might have been.

    --
    #191, ewill3@earthlink.net
    It's still legal to go .sigless.

  3. Re: OS Wars, Episode X.4

    On Sat, 07 May 2005 22:51:42 +0000, ed wrote:

    > In news:1115505361.762122.248270@z14g2000cwz.googlegr oups.com,
    > Charles Jo typed:
    >> ed wrote:
    >>> Charles Jo wrote:
    >>>> We were exposed to Lotus' 2nd generation spreadsheet on NeXT boxes
    >>>> in college and man that was some really cool spreadsheeting. I
    >>>> forgot what it was called but it had all kinds of features that I
    >>>> don't think Excel has yet, 10+ years later.
    >>>
    >>> like what?

    >>
    >> No viruses for one

    >
    > no, really, what features? you said it had "all kinds of features" that
    > excel still doesn't have- name just 3 cool ones.


    Here's one:
    Lotus 123 has the in-built ability to email a selected RANGE in a sheet
    to a recipient - not a whole sheet or a whole workbook, but a selected
    range, directly from within Lotus. So if you want someone to supply
    data in part of a sheet, email them the part, they fill it in, return
    it, and you just plonk it back where it came from.Yes Excel can do that,
    but you have to write a macro to do it.

    --
    Registered Linux User no 240308
    Fedora Core 3 and Open Office
    Was Windows XP SP2 and Office 2003
    gordonATgbpcomputingDOTcoDOTuk


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