Changing directions / online in Stamford
  • At risk of wearing out my welcome, here's another nit.

    I've got all the options checked for moving to blank spaces when doing this, that, or the other thing. That all works. What bugs me is that if I switch directions by double-clicking on a square, I'm gratuitously teleported to the first letter of the newly current word if it's either completely filled or completely blank.

    If the word is already filled in, there's no blank square to move to, so why move? If the word is completely blank, the square I double-clicked must be blank, so why move?

    On another topic, is anyone else doing the Stamford tournament on-line? There were some fun puzzles in the first day, especially if you don't mind morbid humor.
  • ephraimephraim said:
    On another topic, is anyone else doing the Stamford tournament on-line?

    Yup, I blogged about the first day here.

    I should probably go to sleep now so I'm not a complete zombie during the finals. :)
  • Oh, and I'll chime in with a couple of nits of my own.

    "Pause on direction change" is partly fixed, but it doesn't do what I expected in the case where the selected square has a letter in it. It moves to the next blank even though I have "Move to blank after switching direction" turned off. And by the way, I would think "Move to blank after switching" and "Pause on direction switch" would be mutually exclusive but they aren't.

    Also, it seems weird that "Move after entering letter" is an option. *Where* you move to could be a matter of preference, but at the moment I can't imagine why a user would prefer *never* moving.
  • Thanks for the feedback about the navigation settings. My goal first of all has been to exactly replicate the MacXword behavior. I know that for the most part this has evolved in sensible ways over the years, so I don't want to undo any of that progress by willy-nilly reinventing behaviors.

    I think with the recent bug fixes that we're not at "just like MacXword" mode :) If any experienced MacXword users beg to differ, please do soon!

    So now the question is how to integrate the feedback you guys are giving without stepping on anybody's toes:

    ephraimephraim: The "move to black after switching direction" preference is a bit misleading. I examined the source and actually it currently only affects mouse-click based changes like you describe. The specific bug here is that "searching for a blank" appears ignorant of the case where you are already located "in the word"... it should take this into account when searching, and do the "smart thing" as you describe.

    Andy: Are you sure it's jumping to the next blank? Or just to the next square. It's an existing subtlety in the behavior that I think is probably appreciated by some solvers. If it's a nuisance to others we might consider adding another preference somehow. The logic is if you're pressing the arrow key on a letter that is already solved, you probably aren't concerned with pausing there to solve it before typing the rest of the answer.

    As to the "don't move after entering" preference - I'm with you, I would never want to simply stay in the same square. Is anybody reading this who likes to explicitly move with arrow keys to the squares they are filling in? It does seem dumb and I'd be inclined to axe it in favor of some more interesting solving preferences.

    Daniel
  • The only time I ever want to not move is if I'm trying a large number of letters in a square to see how it looks.

    As far as the changing directions thing goes: I'm used to (from AcrossLite) it never moving when you change directions. But I'd be happier learning to adapt than making the preferences box an incomprehensible mess.
  • Not sure if I am following all the details of the preference possibliities, but I want to be sure you keep the ability to switch direction by clicking the mouse (and not having to use the arrow keys). AcrossLite does not have the feature and it drives me nuts. I don't use arrow keys to navigate the grid; I use the tab key and mouse clicks.

    I use the "switch direction with mouse click without moving to blank" when I'm considering the crossing possibilities or the overall grid in that section. I would like to keep that possiiblity.

    Thanks
  • Only have a minute now and will come back later, but Vicky, you can switch directions in Across Lite by right-clicking or Control-clicking.
  • ...and personally, I would prefer the same in Black Ink rather than entering multiple-character mode. The latter is rare; switching directions is frequent.

    Daniel said:
    Andy: Are you sure it's jumping to the next blank? Or just to the next square.

    The next square. I see your reasoning, but one of the reasons I change direction is to see the clue in the opposite direction to see if it can help me fill in the square.

    Okay, *now* I have to run. Back later...
  • I agree you should be careful the navigation prefs don't become a confusing mess.

    Upon reflection I have slightly changed my opinion, so here's another two cents, and a suggestion for cutting the "Insertion Point" complexity in half. Apologies in advance for longwindedness...

    I think a lot of my issues would clear up if there were a *slightly* more convenient way to just toggle direction and do nothing else, as Vicky requested, other than arrow keys or clicking on the exact square. The nice thing about the right-click in Across Lite is that I can do it anywhere in the puzzle. I don't have to point the mouse exactly inside the small square (which is time-consuming) and obscure the letter I was looking at in the process.

    The reason I want this toggle is that when I'm not sure about a letter I want to see what the clue is in the other direction. If the word is long, it also helps to highlight it. Sometimes just getting confirmation about one letter gives me enough confidence to fill in the whole word in the original direction.

    I think some of my problems arise from overloading arrow keys for direction-change-only by having the "Pause on change direction" flag. Although I previously asked for that option to be fixed, I now think it should go away, and arrow keys should always move the selected square, as well as change the selected direction if it is different from the current direction.

    If you do decide to get rid of the check box for "Move after entering letter", then I'd suggest you can simplify the "Insertion Point Movement" options to three check boxes:

    [ ] Move to blank after entering letter
    [ ] Move to blank after switching direction (with arrow keys, as opposed to clicking on the selected square or whatever other gesture you may decide to add)
    [ ] Move to blank after changing words (by tabbing or Shift-tabbing, as opposed to clicking or arrowing)
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