Archive for January, 2009

Using Copilot to diagnose and fix problems on users’ computers

Jan. 21st 2009

I just finished using Fog Creek’s Copilot for the first time with a Felix user, and I must say that I’m impressed.

Using Copilot, I was able to remotely control the user’s desktop from my own computer. In a few minutes, I was able to run through most of the possible issues, eventually finding the problem (the user had been using an older version of Felix, and the Felix interface for Word had apparently crashed, because Word had disabled the Felix add-in).

From experience with other users, running through the kind of checklist I just completed using email or the telephone would have been extremely difficult, if possible at all. Copilot made it very easy to get in, find the problem, fix it, and get out while the user went for coffee. Very nice!

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in Felix, Other tools | 1 Comment »

Some of my favorite user-inspired new features in Felix

Jan. 20th 2009

I’m a professional translator, and I use Felix in my work. Actually using the software you make is called “eating one’s own dog food” (or “dogfooding”), and it’s a great way to improve the quality and usability of software (you might also be surprised to find out how rare it is — or not surprised, depending on your cynical bent).

While dogfooding does help make software a lot better, it also has two main weaknesses/blind spots:

  1. You get used to doing things certain ways, so tend not to notice other ways of doing things that are buggy or inconvenient
  2. You get so used to doing things one way that you don’t think of better ways of doing them

This is why user feedback is so important. I actually love it when users tell me things that they don’t like about Felix, or things that need improving. Firstly, I know that if one person takes the trouble to send me feedback, there are at least 10 other users feeling the same pain. Secondly, getting a new perspective on my “baby” can help me see new opportunities for improvement.

I just got finished doing a fairly large (200-page) translation, and I noticed that three new Felix features inspired by users were really convenient and made my work easier. I’ll list them below.

F6 to toggle between match and concordance views
Inspired by: Charles Aschmann
This is such a simple feature, that I’m amazed at how much time it saves me. When a translation match is displayed in the Felix window, you can select some arbitrary text in the query or translation, and press ALT + C (for source) or CTRL + ALT + C (for translation) to get the concordance for it — basically, find out how that string is used in context in other translation memory entries. That’s easy, but before it was cumbersome to get back to the match view. Being able to press F6 to quickly toggle between the match and concordance views made this feature a lot easier to use — and thus I find myself using it more and more often.
Saving profiles
Inspired by: Sako Eaton
This is great when I’m working on two jobs in parallel. I can save all my currently loaded TMs, glossaries, and settings in a profile, and then when I switch jobs, I can load the profile for that job to close all my current TMs/glossaries, and open the ones for that profile.
CTRL + Up to correct translations
Inspired by: Charles Aschmann
This feature also saved me some time. Before, when working in Word and I needed to correct a translation in the TM, I would have to either do it directly in the Felix window, or switch to Review mode in Word. Now, I can just correct the translation, and press CTRL + Up Arrow to correct the translation in the TM.

To Felix users: keep that feedback coming, it’s very much appreciated!

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in Felix | 1 Comment »

Felix version 1.4.4 released

Jan. 17th 2009

I’ve just made a quick release of version 1.4.4 of Felix in order to fix two bugs: one had to do with glossary lookup, and the other had to do with a GUI bug in the Memory Manager dialog.

Get the latest version here.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in Felix, release | 1 Comment »

Felix version 1.4.3 released

Jan. 15th 2009

I’ve just released version 1.4.3 of Felix.

Download the latest version here.

Below are some of the main changes and improvements in version 1.4.3.

  • Bug fix: When you edited a record, the match text sometimes got duplicated
  • Users can now customize user names (Preferences >> General tab).
  • Each translation record (or translation unit: TU) has a creator and modified-by field
  • Bug fix: Added .ftm and .fgloss file extension filters for Memory/Glossary manager dialogs
  • Bug fix: Cleanup Menus would fail if PowerPoint or Excel was not installed
  • Bug fix: The Save As dialog for the glossary window did not save glossaries in other than fgloss format.
  • Press CTRL + ALT + F9 to toggle shortcuts between enabled and disabled in Word. Each time the shortcuts are toggled, there is a system beep. Any other bindings to CTRL + ALT + F9 are preserved.
  • CONTROL+ALT+↑ corrects the current translation in Word, even in translation mode
  • Bug fix: The Office programs would sometimes stay in memory after quitting
  • Translation history is now disabled by default

For a full list of changes, see What’s New in the Felix manual.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in Felix, release | No Comments »

What are these “.fhist” files next to my MS Word files?

Jan. 6th 2009

If you’ve installed Felix version 1.4 or later, you might notice that “.fhist” files are created next to your MS Word or Excel files when you translate them. This is due to a new feature of Felix called translation history. Translation history makes it easier to revise your translations, and reflect your edits in your translation memory. For details about translation history, see here for Word and here for Excel.

If you don’t need this feature or don’t want these files to be created, then you can disable translation history in the preferences.

In Word, from the Felix menu select Felix Preferences, then go to the “Translation History” tab and clear the checkbox.

In Excel, go to Felix >> User Preferences, and do the same.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in Felix | No Comments »
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