I know that properties of UI objects such as live.dial can be changed dynamically by sending the object a message
i.e. "active 1".
However, is that the case for all object properties? I’m having trouble changing any property that has that has a space in it’s name, for instance – "long name", "short name" properties of the live.dial object.
In general, though, it sounds like you're using the attribute label, not the attribute name. You can turn on the attribute name by right clicking on the columns in the inspector as shown in the image below (alternately, you can drag the row out of the inspector into your patcher (or onto your object) an create an appropriately filled-out message box). Ben's comment about parameter attributes is correct, though, which is why their names are hidden and the drag-n-drop trick doesn't work.