January 28th, 2010

Oysterology

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, you can now use Oyster cards on National Rail; this is a good idea, but they could have implemented it better. Since then, I've had several problems with it, where I've had to pay the £4.30 maximum fare (in addition to any price capping). They say: "Please remember to always touch in and out during every journey." However, the truth seems to be a bit more complicated, so take heed of my experiences...

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I'll use this LJ post as the basis for a letter to TfL, but I doubt that they'll pay any attention to it. In the meantime, it's giving me an incentive to avoid trains altogether, and do more cycling.

Ribbon Hero

Microsoft recently released Ribbon Hero. This is an add-in for Office 2007 and Office 2010, and the idea is to earn points by completing challenges (e.g. formatting a table). In the process, you'll become familiar with the new user interface.

The name is obviously inspired by "Guitar Hero", and I think it's unlikely that this will be quite so much fun at parties. Still, it sounds like an interesting idea. According to ZDNet: "It taps into social and adaptive learning paradigms and important research on motivation and learning." Where I work, a lot of people are reluctant to use Office 2007 because it looks so different, so I'm willing to give this a go. Unfortunately, it has some pretty fundamental problems, which make it completely useless to me.

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I reported these problems at the Office Labs blog, then I saw that "Bluehippo" had also reported them in the discussions forum. Microsoft are now aware of this, so hopefully the next version will work better.