Meanwhile, back at Adobe Labs

Prezi exposes Flash's rotten core
Prezi exposes Flash’s rotten core

A colleague recently showed off a slide presentation created using Prezi.com, a Flash-based slideshow program. (The home page of this site is atrocious, which is not a good sign, but I think the idea is actually better than you might guess from the home page.) The basic idea of Prezi is really simple and neat — instead of slides you simply build a giant poster and each slide is simply a subview of this giant poster. The thing that struck me about this is that:

  1. It’s very clever and simple,
  2. I don’t think it will be useful for most presenters who have enough trouble putting together interesting slides as things are, and
  3. It doesn’t work very well (basically, the second slideshow I tried out was a speaker’s package for TED presenters (not that I am or ever will be one) and the frame rate dropped to something like 2fps while performing a simple transition in a small rectangle on my screen — on my late model Dell desktop).

And the reason it doesn’t work very well is Flash.

To be fair, the slideshow that first annoyed me was heavy with bitmaps, so I tried out some really simple slideshows and discovered that it is fully capable of choking on a pretty much empty page (my guess is Flash is really bad at culling — which is a technical term meaning “figuring out what isn’t visible and not wasting time on it”) and surprisingly bad at rendering text (quite a few “prezis” seem to have text so badly misrendered as to be illegible).

The problem with Flash isn’t that it’s not optimized for Macs.

The problem with Flash is that it’s just not very good.

Would all this work better in HTML5? Not without a lot of clever programming. And producing something like Prezi in HTML5 would be a lot more work than doing so in Flash. The problem is that Flash is a “mature” product — it’s been through four scripting languages, multiple virtual machines, and over 10 versions of the IDE (I can’t remember what version FutureSplash Animator was at when it was acquired by Macromedia). Normally, maturity means that a product will have all this deep functionality, but Flash’s utility basically boils down to “it makes it easy to create custom video players”.

If you want a really tragic example, go to Adobe’s online store (yeah, it’s one of those sites that requires you to tell it where you are rather than automatically guessing and letting you override it if it guesses wrong). For some reason, Adobe has chosen to implement its store entirely in Flash instead of, say, HTML. As a result, it looks a lot like a web page but everything works much worse. For example, on Macs mouse-scrolling isn’t supported. On Windows it’s supported but it’s jerky and annoying (versus smooth-as-silk for most web pages of similar complexity in any browser on the same hardware). But hey, it’s only been 15 years and 10 (.1) versions — we’ll get to it.

Basically, if you’re using Flash to display thumbnails, captions, and a few UI widgets it works OK.

Thanks to bad press from Steve Jobs, Adobe suddenly got the performance religion with Flash Player 10.1, which it’s now touting all over the place, but the sad thing is that Flash still doesn’t do anything smart when simply drawing stuff on the screen — and that’s its core functionality — it also implements a whole library of UI widgets that don’t work properly, and it has an IDE which has an absolutely infuriating UI* and still screws up common tasks like importing graphics (from both Illustrator and Photoshop).

That said, Photoshop CS5 looks like being totally awesome.

* e.g. some panels won’t dock as tabs to other panels but need to be on their own, the code view of an external ActionScript file doesn’t go in Action panel where internal code goes so if you want your code in nice large panels you need to constantly futz with the UI, the online help is now on Adobe’s website which by default does not search through Flash’s ActionScript documentation and also, by default, shows links to random outside websites rather than Adobe’s official documentation (you’re pretty much better off using Google to find docs or online help for Adobe products these days).

Photoshop Alternatives IV

Acorn's biggest improvement is a really beautiful new icon. Photoline and Pixelmator have actually improved in a lot of actually useful ways... although sadly not in the icon department.
It's baaaaaack!

Acorn 2 is out and it’s getting very positive press. Unfortunately, much of it is from the usual suspects — i.e. folks who use their image editor for cropping and adding captions — so the question is, really is it any good?

Acorn 2 features direct RAW import (disabled in the free version)
Acorn 2 features direct RAW import (disabled in the free version)

First of all, Gus Mueller is doing something good, devious, and very very bad for his competitors. If you install Acorn 2, after the free trial it continues to work, providing about 80% of its functionality — which is plenty for most folks who use their image editor for cropping and adding captions. The most notable omissions from my point of view would be RAW image editing (Acorn 2’s single biggest added feature) and a bunch of tools for Photo retouching. (Note that iPhoto’s built-in retouching tools are pretty ridiculously good though, so anyone who doesn’t need advanced Photo retouching tools probably has what they need already.)

Acorn 2 also has a nice Web Export function (also disabled in the free version)
Acorn 2 also has a nice Web Export function (also disabled in the free version)

Acorn remains the cheapest of the credible Photoshop replacements at $50. (Upgrades from 1.x are $20. I just paid for mine.) And with Acorn’s free version, competing products that don’t offer significant levels of usability and functionality are pretty much screwed. Here’s an updated version of my giant table comparing the three main contenders. Significant changes are in bold.

Category Pixelmator 1.5 Acorn 2.1 Photoline 15.5
Simple Painting Tools Basic but servicable Strong support for brushes, cloning tools, dodge and burn. You name it, it’s there
Text Cocoa text with nice drop shadows Cocoa text with nice drop shadows and decent typographic controls (and a very slick, modeless interface) Fully styled and formatted text with both character and paragraph stylesheets and layer effects like emboss and drop shadow
Layer Support Blend Mode and Opacity, Text Layers Blend Mode and Opacity, Text Layers, Simple Vector Layers, Layers can be grouped hierarchically Blend Mode, Opacity, Layer Effects, Filter Layers, Vector Layers, Text Layers, Layers can be different modes (e.g. you can have 16-bit color, 8-bit color, Layer Masks, and monochome layers in a single document), Layer Styles, Layers can be grouped hierarchically (these are not new but deserves mention)
Filters Excellent Core Image support Excellent Core Image support and some additional useful filters, such as Clouds. Comprehensive set of filters (including some marked improvements over Photoshop) but no Core Image support. Stuff that Core Image doesn’t give you like comprehensive noise reduction tools, and fractal clouds. Oh and you can create and reuse named presets for almost everything.
Vector Layers None Basic (improved from “rudimentary” because a lot of bugs have been fixed) Full vector support with strong bezier tools and SVG import/export
Non-destructive editing Not supported You can composite filters interactively in interesting (non-destructive) ways, but ultimately the operation is destructive Non-destructive effects layers for most image adjustments (e.g. curves, levels, hue/saturation)
Image Format Support 8-bits per channel RGBA 8-bits per channel RGBA 16-bits per channel support, Greyscale, Monochrome, Lab color, CMYK
Digital Photography Support You can import photos in 24-bit color Direct RAW import Direct RAW import to 24-bit or 48-bit (16 bits per channel)
Architecture Some clever optimizations (e.g. filter previews appear to be at screen resolution) but chokes on large files. Chokes on large images and slower filters. Clever and flexible preview system allows you to keep the program responsive when working with huge files, 64-bit support, heterogeneous layer support
Workflow and Automation Some Automator actions (but no AppleScript dictionary) Python, AppleScript, and JavaScript scripting and plugin support Recordable macros and batch conversion, Save named presets for almost anything, enter expressions for numerical inputs
Web Export Support Slicing support. Photoshop-style (but far simpler) web export dialog with file-size preview etc. Some random subset of Fireworks is implemented (slicing, button states, etc.). Not really sure how good or extensive it is (much more extensive than Pixelmator or Acorn) since I have no use for such stuff.
Plugin Support You can probably build your own using the Quartz Compositor tools from Apple. You can build your own using the Quartz Compositor tools from Apple, and there’s extensive support for creating extensions using Python, Objective-C, AppleScript, and JavaScript Supports Photoshop plugins.
File Format Support Pixelmator, Photoshop, PNG, GIF, JPEG, JPEG2000, TIFF, BMP, SGI, TGA, PICT, PDF, and a dizzying number of export options Acorn, PNG, GIF, JPEG, JPEG2000, TIFF, BMP, RAW import Pixelmator, Photoshop, PNG, TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000, BMP, PCX, TGA, Mac Icon, Windows Icon, Windows Cursor, and a bunch more, and can import and export to an even larger number of options, notably including export to SWF and import RAW
Cute Stuff Live gradients, the “dangling rope” that joins position widgets to filter control floaters Gorgeous Icon, Filter Compositor, Elegant Minimalist UI Amazing gradient tool, full-featured yet it still launches amazingly fast, 64-bit support
Ugly Stuff Poor performance when previewing filters or working with high resolution images. Vector layers are still half-assed. Poor performance when previewing filters or working with high resolution images. OMG the icon … it burns! (Sadly, Pixelmator 15 introduced a new icon that’s just as ugly as the old one), half-assed web export and page layout features clutter UI without being useful
If I could add one thing from Photoshop Vector support, Layer Styles Proper bezier support (the big change here is this used to say “pretty much everything”), Layer Styles
Being able to use one layer as a mask for layers adjacent to it.
Online Community Active Forum, Excellent Video Tutorials None Active Forum, Some (Lame) Tutorials
System Requirements 10.5 10.6 10.4
Price $59.00 $49.95 €59.00

Bugs

It’s probably worth mentioning that all three of these programs have a lot of rough edges. Of the three, I’d have to say Photoline’s bugs get addressed the most quickly, while Pixelmator’s get addressed the most slowly. While writing this blog entry I encountered a half-dozen bugs in Acorn 2.1 and if I did not think they would be addressed in a reasonably timely manner I would not recommend Acorn to anyone (or pay for the upgrade).

Conclusions

It’s a bit unfair to compare a major new version of Acorn with a couple of “bump” releases from its rivals. Acorn 2 has definitely moved from being an over-hyped toy to a genuinely useful piece of software which still launches in under a second. Meanwhile, Acorn’s free version is going to be painful for anyone else writing a thin wrapper around Core Image. The bottom line is that Pixelmator retains its edge as the best “painting” program, but Acorn has the edge for more professional use (e.g. all kinds of scripting and workflow animation options), while Photoline wins the “ugly but really powerful” prize.

Photoshop Alternatives Revisited

Background

As you know, the Mac software market is enjoying something of a deluge of wannabe Photoshop alternatives, generally aimed at the casual user. Adobe has left this market wide open by (a) not lowering its prices, (b) not catering for non-professional image originators (i.e. the “lite” version of Photoshop is aimed squarely at photographers rather than artists), and (c) treating Mac pros as second-class citizens — something they don’t like and aren’t used to in the world of graphics.

Contenders

Acorn's biggest improvement is a really beautiful new icon. Photoline and Pixelmator have actually improved in a lot of actually useful ways... although sadly not in the icon department.
Acorn's biggest improvement is a really beautiful new icon. (I wish I were joking.) Photoline and Pixelmator have actually improved in a lot of actually useful ways... although sadly not in the icon department.

Pixelmator has the highest profile, Photoline probably has the lowest, and Acorn got in early and received a lot of recognition (awards, etc.). There’s always The GIMP and Adobe’s Photoshop Elements (if you really enjoy being treated like a second-class citizen by Adobe), of course. There’s also Pixel. And then there’s the lamentable Iris (which seems to be going nowhere — it’s still at “1.0” and Nolobe’s forums are still MIA: nothing says crap like an indie developer with no forums, except perhaps an indie developer who used to have forums and then took them down when they filled up with posts about how bad his software sucks).

I reviewed Photoline for MacApper more than a year ago (when it was at version 14.10 or so — it’s since received a major free upgrade (to 14.5x) and a major paid for upgrade (to 15.x). Since then the other major changes are that Pixelmator has received numerous significant (free) updates and become a pretty serious contendor for basic image editing and Photoshop CS4 has been released with little new functionality and no 64-bit support for Mac OS X. Oh, and Pixel 1.0 is — we are told — rapidly approaching its supposed 1.0 release (don’t hold your breath, the last 1.0 beta was in 2006 and was PowerPC only).

A Simple Head-to-Head Comparison

Here’s a simple example of using a single feature in Pixelmator, Photoline, and Acorn which — I think — pretty much underscores everything that I like and dislike about each program in a nutshell. The “zoom blur” function simulates the motion blur effect you see when staring straight ahead at high speed or zooming in really fast. It’s a neat looking effect that brings the centre of the blur effect to fore (since it’s the only thing in focus) and makes even a pretty boring image look quite spiffy. It’s also a feature Photoshop has had (unchanged!) since forever.

picture-3
Acorn requires me to type the coordinates for the focus of the zoom blur by trial and error (mostly error). I simply gave up.

In Acorn you get a really neat mechanism for compositing filters (which is of no use at all) but no method of actually setting the center of the blur effect except numerically entering coordinates (which is actually worse than Photoshop’s early 90’s dialog box). Correction: Acorn allows you to disclose a pane which lets you (somewhat clumsily, and in low resolution) drag the effect center graphically. It’s still clearly inferior to Photoline or Pixelmator in this respect, but it’s actually better than Photoshop. (End Correction.) Also since Acorn’s way of previewing the effect is to render the whole image (and zoom blur is not much accelerated by using CoreImage) it’s really painful to fine-tune. (This is still true.)

Pixelmator's UI is unintrusive and easy to use, but the slider's useful range is ill-considered and you can't type in a precise value. The full screen preview leads to poor interactivity for slower filters.
Pixelmator's UI is unintrusive and easy to use, but the slider's useful range is ill-considered and you can't type in a precise value. The full screen preview leads to poor interactivity for slower filters (but not as bad as for Acorn).

In Pixelmator you get a really cute method for picking the centre of the effect, but the slider for controlling “how much” of the effect is insanely biased to the “too much” end of things (basically about 15% of the way to the right is more than you’d ever need to use) and there’s no way to type in exactly how much you want. Cleverly, Pixelmator generates its preview by using Core Image, but only at screen resolution so it’s more responsive than Acorn. Unfortunately, when you actually apply the effect you get a beach ball because Pixelmator’s UI isn’t designed to handle slower filters gracefully.

Pixelmator's dialog does everything. You can preview in a pane or full-screen or both. Everything is resizable. And you can set the focus point in both the preview and the main view, and set the level of blur with a slider or by typing a precise value.
Photoline's dialog does everything. You can preview in a pane or full-screen (the pane is collapsible) or both. Everything is resizable. And you can set the focus point in both the preview and the main view, and set the level of blur with a slider or by typing a precise value. But the dialog is kind of huge and the icons are ugly.

In Photoline you get a big ugly dialog box which lets you preview with a small but scrollable and zoomable window with a draggable “before/after splitter”. You can also preview on the whole screen, click where you want the centre of the effect (in the preview pane or the view behind it). And you can set the intensity with a slider or type it in.

So in summary, Acorn has a really elegant UI for stuff you probably don’t need and a lousy one for stuff you do need, almost as if it’s never really been used all that much by anyone except to dick around, Pixelmator has a pretty UI that works well if you’re not editing a high resolution image and/or using filters that don’t benefit much from CoreImage acceleration, and Photoline has a butt-ugly UI that does the job really well and has obviously been thought out and tested.

A More Detailed Comparison

Category Pixelmator 1.4 Acorn 1.52 Photoline 15.03
Simple Painting Tools Basic but servicable Rudimentary You name it, it’s there
Text Cocoa text with nice drop shadows Cocoa text with nice drop shadows Fully styled and formatted text with both character and paragraph stylesheets and layer effects like emboss and drop shadow
Layer Support Blend Mode and Opacity, Text Layers Blend Mode and Opacity, Text Layers, Simple Vector Layers Blend Mode, Opacity, Layer Effects, Filter Layers, Vector Layers, Text Layers, Layers can be different modes (e.g. you can have 16-bit color, 8-bit color, Layer Masks, and monochome layers in a single document)
Filters Excellent Core Image support Uneven Core Image support (really nice compositing features but marred by lack of weaker (see correction, above) interactivity for things like setting points) Comprehensive set of filters (including some marked improvements over Photoshop) but no Core Image support. Stuff that Core Image doesn’t give you like comprehensive noise reduction tools, and fractal clouds. Oh and you can create and reuse named presets for almost everything.
Vector Layers None Rudimentary Full vector support with strong bezier tools and SVG import/export
Non-destructive editing Not supported You can composite filters interactively in interesting (non-destructive) ways, but ultimately the operation is destructive Non-destructive effects layers for most image adjustments (e.g. curves, levels, hue/saturation)
Image Format Support 8-bits per channel RGBA 8-bits per channel RGBA 16-bits per channel support, Greyscale, Monochrome, Lab color, CMYK
Digital Photography Support You can import photos in 24-bit color You can import photos in 24-bit color Direct RAW import to 24-bit or 48-bit (16 bits per channel)
Architecture Some clever optimizations (e.g. filter previews appear to be at screen resolution) but chokes on large files. Chokes on large images and slower filters. Clever and flexible preview system allows you to keep the program responsive when working with huge files, 64-bit support, heterogeneous layer support
Workflow and Automation Some Automator actions (but no AppleScript dictionary) Python script support Recordable macros and batch conversion, Save named presets for almost anything, enter expressions for numerical inputs
Plugin Support You can probably build your own using the Quartz Compositor tools from Apple. You can probably build your own using the Quartz Compositor tools from Apple, and there’s extensive support for creating extensions using Python. Supports Photoshop plugins.
File Format Support Pixelmator, Photoshop, PNG, GIF, JPEG, JPEG2000, TIFF, BMP, SGI, TGA, PICT, PDF, and a dizzying number of export options Acorn, PNG, GIF, JPEG, JPEG2000, TIFF, BMP Pixelmator, Photoshop, PNG, TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000, BMP, PCX, TGA, Mac Icon, Windows Icon, Windows Cursor, and a bunch more, and can import and export to an even larger number of options, notably including export to SWF and import RAW
Cute Stuff Live gradients, the “dangling rope” that joins position widgets to filter control floaters Gorgeous Icon, Filter Compositor, Elegant Minimalist UI Amazing gradient tool, full-featured yet it still launches amazingly fast, 64-bit support
Ugly Stuff Beach ball for slower filters Filter position controls require you to type in coordinates, (see correction, above) Minimalist Functionality (for a $50 app) and half-assed features (like vector layers with rectangles, ovals, and lines (only). OMG the icon … it burns! (Sadly, Pixelmator 15 introduced a new icon that’s just as ugly as the old one), half-assed web export and page layout features clutter UI without being useful
If I could add one thing from Photoshop Vector support Pretty much everything Layer management functions such as organizing layers into folders (and set folder compositing properties) and being able to use one layer as a mask for layers adjacent to it.
Online Community Active Forum None Active Forum
Price $59.00 $49.95 €59.00

As you can see, Photoline also wins, hands down, on the functionality front, offering much of the functionality of Photoshop* and then some, along with live editable gradients (not quite as “cute” as Pixelmator’s live preview, but more useful), formula support (type arithmetic expressions pretty much anywhere), variable blur (a gaussian blur where radius is controlled by masking — allowing you to simulate depth of field properly), an image browser that doesn’t suck, 64-bit support, and cross-platform licensing (oddly enough, it’s actually more attractive on the Mac than Windows though). And it still launches in less than a second — as do Acorn and Pixelmator.

Summing Up

Pixelmator has come a long way in the year-or-so since it entered with a big splash. Acorn has languished since it  won a bunch of awards and rave reviews, and Photoline has lengthened its considerable lead in robustness and functionality over pretty much everything except the gold standard.

Unfortunately for Photoline it has to compete with Paintshop Pro on Windows, and its lack of Mac-hip-allure on the Mac. Pixelmator is great for people who really aren’t doing anything very challenging — it looks cool and hey, you’re supporting indie Mac-only developers. On the other side of the equation Photoline is good but unglamorous — the question remains whether its few notable deficiencies (e.g. rudimentary layer management) outweigh its technical strongpoints (64-bit support, general snappiness, heterogeneous layer support). There’s no question that for actual professional users, Photoshop is unbeatable (except on 64-bit support — but who really needs that yet?) and well worth the money.

And finally, Acorn has become something of a joke. Its biggest new feature since I last compared these programs has been a new icon. I mean, really.

So… what is Photoline missing?

OK. Photoline sounds pretty great… so why use Photoshop at all? Photoshop has amazingly strong layer management tools (folders — which can have their own compositing settings and can be moved and scaled as one, and the amazingly useful layer-as-mask feature) which are vital to many users (if you’re prototyping UIs with Photoshop and have 500 layers in a document, then Photoline is going to be useless for you).

Photoshop also has pretty strong features for 3D texture painting and compositing (especially as of CS4) which none of these programs even attempt.

Edit: perhaps most important of all, Photoline takes some ugly shortcuts in bezier rendering that will definitely matter to professional designers. If you stroke an arbitrary object in Photoshop, the program infers a border path and then strokes it with a uniform width path. Photoline in essence uses a simple matrix transformation to build the outline leading to the stroke varying in width as it changes angle. Since this algorithm is used in many, many places (e.g. many layer effects), a lot of graphic design work, especially text layout, will look wrong and unprofessonal if executed in Photoline.

And finally, Photoshop has some “rocket science math” features such as the bleeding edge “selective scaling” function (which creates or throws out irrelevant content rather than stretching or squashing everything), panorama stitching (which is very hard to get right), a very good — some consider it the best — RAW importer, supports both scripting and a huge number of plugins — but even here I should note (thanks to an alert reader) that Photoline supports third-party Photoshop plugins and has better built-in noise reduction tools than Photoshop.

If none of this matters to you, then get Photoline and save a ton of money (and probably quite a bit of time). It’s not like Photoshop has that great a UI either. (Edit: and CS4’s UI is remarkably horrible.)

Final Note

You might also find this article on the Top 5 Alternatives to Photoshop helpful. I did.

Wannabe Photoshop Killers, Revisited

Photoshop Elements 6 for the Mac has shipped which means bad times for half-assed shareware products pretending to be cheap Photoshop replacements. It’s not that Elements is itself a Photoshop replacement, it’s just that it’s more of one than the half-assed wannabes.

If you’ve been keeping score, the candidates are Pixelmator, Acorn, Iris, and Photoline. I’ve tried them all and the short version of my opinion is that Pixelmator is a pretty but ultimately useless piece of junk, Iris is an ugly, useless piece of junk, Acorn is a tidy, scriptable little app that works well but will almost certainly be missing some feature you need, and that Photoline is actually a credible replacement for Photoshop in a pinch, although it’s a bit ugly.

Where does Photoshop Elements 6 come in? Well, it’s actually cheaper (at least in the US at the current exchange rate) than Photoline, and not much more expensive than the others ($89). For digital photographers it’s simply vastly more useful than these other programs, since it has ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) which is a professional quality RAW converter. Enough said. For anyone else it has several killer features that only Photoline can match:

  • Selection Tools that work (actually, Acorn’s don’t suck)
  • Text layers that work
  • Curves

I can’t stress enough how it fundamentally doesn’t matter what else a graphics program does, if you can’t select what you want, everything else is a waste of time. This is like trying to ship a word-processor with broken text selection*.

Eye Candy

Pixelmator and Acorn both have incredibly nice front ends for CoreImage. Just how much faster and more interactive these are than Photoshop’s filters is just breathtaking — I might be tempted to switch to Pixelmator just to use its zoom blur filter on the rare occasions I use zoom blur — but the sad thing is that Photoshop’s are good enough (as are Photoline’s) and unless you have no taste, filters are NOT the thing you spend most, or even a significant fraction, of your time in with an image editing application.

And because the guys who’ve written these applications are fundamentally just leveraging Apple’s toolbox routines, the set of filters you have is dictated by what Apple gives you for free, rather than what artists actually needs. E.g. fractal clouds and noise are two of Photoshop’s most useful filters, but there are no fractal clouds or noise filters in CoreImage so tough luck. (Photoline has a general purpose fractal generator with presets which is better in some ways than Photoshop’s noise and clouds filters, but worse in others.)

Useful in a Pinch

One of the really nice things about good freeware and shareware is availability in a pinch. If I find myself needing to edit an image on some random computer, I can download Photoline, using the license stored in my gmail account, perform my edit, and then uninstall in a matter of minutes. Most shareware apps aren’t so large that downloading them is painful (Photoline for the Mac is ~20MB) while Photoshop Elements is a 1.25 GB download and involves product activation.

Conclusion

Before Photoshop Elements came out only two of the wannabe apps could even begin to justify their existence. Acorn is scriptable, making it intrinsically useful for workflow automation in a way that Pixelmator and Iris can never be. Iris is simply a joke, while Pixelmator could be useful one day. Photoline is a useful Photoshop replacement in a pinch, and its capabilities complement Photoshop Elements’ capabilities since Photoshop Elements has features photographers will want, while Photoline fills the gaps if you don’t want or can’t afford Photoshop CS3.

* Well, Microsoft does that and seems to make money. You cannot select parts of two different words in Microsoft Word. E.g. if you accidentally typed “teh rpoblem with Word” you can’t select the hilited text to fix it. Once a selection extends beyond one word, Word forces you to select entire words, leading to endless annoyance.