Disclaimer

The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Focus stealing makes me less efficient at work !!!

Krazy Glew's Blog: Monday, February 15, 2016: "I can't believe that focus stealing is still the state of the art.  It causes bugs.  Accidental corruption and destruction of data. And it can be a security hole."
Add to this, something I just realized: focus stealing makes me much less efficient at work, because it makes switching to another task dangerous.

I do a lot of work that involves running background jobs scripting otherwise interactive apps.  FrameMaker today.

I like being able to monitor the progress of such apps by leaving them open in a window on a different display, so that I can watch them out of the corner of my eye.

I would love to be able to do something else while these long running apps run - e.g. read email.  Unfortunately, if the app steals focus, then what I am typing into an email sometimes gets inserted into the app.  BAD!!!

So, for more than a year - I blogged about this in Feb 2016 - I have NOT been able to switch to my email program while these scripts run, for 5, 10, 15 minutes, sometimes more.

Worse:  some time before this, IT disabled VPN access from mobile devices. Unfortunately, the only iPhone email programs that I can stand using - Triage, to which I have recently added Sift - do not use ActiveSync, only IMAP.

So, basically, I have been crippled keeping up with company email for the last year or more.

I only realized this because IT recently gave me VPN access.  And all of a sudden I am keeping up with email again, reading it when the GUI focus stealing scripts are running.

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I used to be able to blog while such apps were running - but haven't been able to do that with this focus stealing crap.  At least not using blogger - I don't thing the "Blog This" Chrome extension is available on my iPhone.

Ditto anything, like web browsing.  Pretty much I had to leave my MacBook idle except for the "should be background" app, because of frigging focus stealing.

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Usable phone or tablet apps allow some such task overlap.   But I still find it darned hard to write anything more than a few words on those devices.

Perhaps if I had a second laptop, or a desktop I could switch to.

You might hope that a virtual machine might work - unfortunately, the way I have configured Parallels, "Coherent", means that Windows apps steal focus from MacOS apps, and vice versa.

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Always scripting such apps to "open -g" is unsatisfactory.  I *want* the app to pop onto its screen - essentially a notification - but without stealing keyboard or mouse focus.

Oh for the old XWindows twm "click to focus" behavior.

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