I have some good news and some bad news (aka Occupy Input!)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/08/30 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2012/08/30/10344892.aspx

Yesterday in And they seem to have thus shipped what rightfully should have been exiled from the product, I explained how I was a little annoyed about how it seemed like the people who could have fixed a problem all collectively decided it was not something to do at that point.

I went into work and worked with the machine directly.

i have some good news and some bad news to report.

The bad news is that as far as I can tell they didn't fix the problem at all. Or any of the related problems I reported.

The exact list of things that were reported to various people are:

  1. Cherokee still has an optimized phonetic keyboard that is unintelligibly bad;
  2. That layout is the one you see when you choose to add the Cherokee Phonetic layout;
  3. The option to Make the standard keyboard layout available is not available on machines without Multi-Touch;
  4. The option to Make the standard keyboard layout available is still off by default when it is available;
  5. The standard layout is never the default for Cherokee Phonetic or Cherokee Nation -- which means that neither optimized layout is accurately named.

Eventually, once you change the setting in #3 above and reboot, you can get the standard layout option even from non-Multi Touch machines, but if the hope was to make it easy for everyone, something was lost here. :-(

Now the PM who informed me of the user interface issues behind #3 and #4 had told me how hard it would be to get the changes made so late -- he had been trying to get them made even earlier and had troubles.

But the one cool thing about the optimized keyboard layouts is that if no optimized layout exists, it is always a standard layout, no matter what the mode!

This is for example how MSKLC-created layouts live in Windows 8. 

So although the larger UI issues may have been deemed out of scope, the team that owns all of the optimized layout could have worked around the problem for Cherokee if they had just removed the two awful optimized layouts!

This fix, which is what they originally said they were going to do, is the thing that they did not do.

Though as I said, there is some good news though.

The (admittedly somewhat tortuous) steps I described in Can't Touch This! (Though I can TYPE this because I have the hardware, and the keyboard…) previously will still work -- provided you are on a machine with Multi-Touch support.

And of course the On-Screen Keyboard will always work.

It won't give you those great productivity features that optimized layouts can provide (as I discussed in Can't Touch This! Feedback and Questions....). But they aren't so great for Cherokee anyway!

This has made me realize what I will be doing from now on, as my own personal Occupy Windows 8 Input protest on my machines.

I will always enable the On-Screen Keyboard and never use the optimized layouts.

Ever, until they fix this bug.

Even if it makes them mad at me and unwilling to do that guest blog on the optimized layouts.

Here, for people running Cherokee builds in progress, are the simple steps to get it (I was going to make the alt text the Cherokee words in the UI but those strings aren't selectable in the UI so you'll have to enjoy the mostly translated UI in the screen shots!):


Control Panel

Ease of Access Center

Start On-Screen Keyboard

On-Screen Keyboard

And there we go!

Now one of the most common complaints about both the On-Screen Keyboard and the optimized layouts is accuracy of hitting the right buttons, so one cool feature of this bad boy is stretchability:

Very big On-Screen Keyboard

And now we have a ball game!

The moral of the story is that I should have put the bug in. And then when they resolved it but it wasn't fixed I would have re-activated it.

I never should have trusted that it would get done without that.

There are all kinds of good reasons that something can be forgotten or deferred.


The circle is now complete. When I left I was a developer; Now I am a Program Manager.

kickass alternate title!

Omi Azad on 30 Aug 2012 7:51 AM:

In Windows VIsta/7 when you are in MS Word and changed your layout and go to Internet Explorer, the layout changes to default and when you come back to word, the layout comes back automatically. So Vista/7 use to remember the layout you were using on an application. In 8 the layout is same all the places. Do you know that Linux can remember layouts on browser tabs? Didn't expect that from Microsoft.

Michael S. Kaplan on 30 Aug 2012 10:01 AM:

I will be talking about that soon!

Ian Boyd on 30 Aug 2012 9:06 PM:

So what is the level that such a thing could be fixed in?

If something has been classified "out of scope", does that mean that the next time it will be considered is for Windows 9?

Are Service Packs allowed to contain new features?

A language interface pack? An optional download? A hotfix?

What is the level of granularity in which new features can be added to the product?

Michael S. Kaplan on 13 Sep 2012 10:01 PM:

Also an interesting topic for another blog!

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