For the e-discovery folks, there is just one question. Does that mean Office for Mac users will have a PST that is easily transferable to Windows? Does anyone know? Getting email from a Mac into a form we can work with tends to be one of our complaints, and anything that gives us one less complaint can only be good, right? ;)
So, I was in a Sam's Club the other day with the wife, and found myself wandering over to the PC aisle, mostly to lust after the 24 or 25 inch monitors. (I need a bigger desk before I get bigger monitors, how sad is that?)
Anyway, this was the first time I had noticed that all of the PCs that were for sale there, were 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. When did 64-bit become the standard OS for home users? Aside from the increased RAM capacities (these had 6-7GB of RAM generally), what is the big benefit to using 64 bit for the kinds of folks who buy PC's from a non-tech store? What kinds of weird incompatibilities are they risking by buying a 64 bit version of Vista?
I don't own a 64-bit version of Windows myself, and I'm not really in the market for a new PC, so I really haven't been paying attention at all. I figure I might want to ask some questions about the up and downsides before someone asks me about picking up a new PC with Vista Home Premium 64 bit and I steer them wrong!
Neville Hobson noticed this last week, and now after having spent a few days watching my Outlook 2007 install after installing SP2, I totally agree that it is running so much snappier than it ever has.
Back when I first tested Outlook 2007, I decided that there were a couple of things I didn't like. One being the inconsistent use of the Ribbon UI, it's on the individual email view, but not the inbox view. That remains, though I understand the next version of Office promises to move toward using the Ribbon UI everywhere in Outlook. The other issue was purely a matter of performance. Typically, it is simply very slow to open, slow to do a check for new mail, slow to close, and just generally slow.
Not any more. SP2, in my experience, has definitely brought back some of the speed that's been missing. Got to love that!
Thanks to yesterday's post by Ed Bott, complete with a link to a newer Sigmatel driver for my Dimension E521 from Dell. Don't know why this version isn't listed in the driver repository for my model, it clearly says it's compatible with the E521 on the page he linked to!
Anyway, once I got that installed, I was finally able to update my desktop to vista Service Pack 1 and all seems well, thus far.
Oddly enough, while the Vista virtual machine on my Macbook prompted me to get SP1 Tuesday, my actual Vista desktop still doesn't see it as an available update. What's up with that? (I'm assuming it was the fact that my laptop saw it while connected to another network, my home roadrunner network seems to not see it.)
Well, as it turns out that fit pretty well with my plan anyway, go ahead and do the update on the VM and see how it goes for a few days, then do it on my desktop. Other than the length of time it took to install, it hasn't really created any noticeable problems or performance hits on the VM, even with a few programs running on both it and on the host OS X. Of course, that VM never really had any problems either, at least not that I've seen in the short time I've had it running, so I can't say that there's much for me to go on with that.
Then again, isn't that the point of a stability update like SP1? To make it so you don't really notice your OS? I haven't really noticed anything about Vista running in the VM since then, so that's a good thing, right?
Anyway, so far so good. I've even reached the point where I'll go ahead and allow the update when my desktop sees it, whenever that will be!
I didn't even realize you couldn't use more than one signature in a message in Outlook 2007. I use that feature quite often for boilerplate messages at work, but we're still using 2003 there. Thankfully, the latest edition of WinXP News has the way to continue to do this in Outlook 2007.
How to get around the new sig line restrictions in Outlook 2007 A recent article in the Network World Security Strategy newsletter discusses one of the changes in Outlook 2007 that has some users unhappy. In past versions, you could use the signature feature to create a lot more than just sigs. You could construct boilerplate messages, for instance, and then just select them from the signatures list to insert them into messages. You might want to insert several such boilerplates into a single message (as well as your real sig line). This doesn't work in Outlook 2007, because suddenly you're only allowed one sig per message. If you insert a signature, then select and insert a different one, the second one replaces the first. I actually like this feature because it prevents having to then highlight and delete the first one - but I only use signatures as signatures, not as boilerplate. I think Microsoft should have made it user configurable so you could choose whether to replace or add. Meanwhile, you can still use boilerplate (and in my opinion, more effectively) by using Outlook 2007's "Quick Parts" feature. Here's how:
Open a new message window and click the Insert tab.
Type the text you want to set as a boilerplate in the message body and highlight it.
Click Quick Parts in the Text section of the ribbon, and then select Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery. Give it a name to identify it.
Now whenever you want to insert that same block of text in any message, just click Quick Parts and choose the name you gave it. It will be inserted into your new message.
Have I mentioned how useful the newsletter is? You should definitely take a look.
Yesterday, I was writing about the bump in the road with using Open Office instead of MS Office on our pool laptops, namely, PowerPoint presentations. Today, my further research into that led me in some interesting directions.
I started out getting a copy of the PowerPoint viewer. I know that not everyone has their presentation ready to go in it's final form before they head out with it on a laptop, but I thought if this would display the timed slide advances properly, I might be able to use Impress to make slight edits, and the Viewer to display the slide show.
Unfortunately, while the viewer displayed the animations correctly from the original PPT file, any portions of it that I changed in Impress, lost these features. This led to such things as a bullet list that was timed to display one bullet every 20 seconds having one bullet half way through the list display the entire time, because I took out one comma in the text. This is obviously not going to work.
However, with the news this week that IBM was rolling out a beta of their free Lotus Symphony, I thought maybe, just maybe I'd see how the Symphony Presentations handled these animation features. So, I registered with IBM and downloaded it.
Turns out that Symphony has had no difficulties with my test presentation at all. It displayed all the timed transitions just fine and the animations worked perfectly, even after making small changes in the slides and saving it. The problem, though, is that, unlike Impress, Symphony presents a very different interface for working with presentations when compared to PowerPoint. If we go this route, there will be a learning curve with attorney's who want to work on presentations at the last minute on the road. That's something to consider, and something I'll be concentrating on if/when I demo it for the folks who will ultimately have to make that call.
In the mean time, there is still much more testing to be done with Symphony, as well as the other parts of Open Office before I'm ready to make the call either way. I will definitely keep Open Office to handle Excel and Word files, I haven't run into too many major problems there yet, but Impress, well, simply doesn't.
We're still a long way from determining that we can get by without Microsoft Office on these laptops. At this point, I'm not holding my breath.
One thing that does jump out at me though, is number 7:
Enterprise companies have to constantly think about government regulations and standards?while Google can store a lot of data for enterprises on Google servers, there is no easy-to-use, automated way for enterprises to regularly delete data, issue a legal hold for specific docs or bring copies into the corp
Joe, rightfully, points out that Microsoft has plenty of it's own hosted services, including email that would suffer from the same problem. So, it's a bit disingenuous of them to make it a reason not to use Google. The truth is, it is a pretty valid reason to think twice about using any hosted services.
The more I learn about legal holds, and e-discovery, the more I realize just how much trouble can be caused by your organization's data being spread all over the place. When it comes time to produce these documents, having them hosted on-line as part of a collaboration project just adds one more place, and one more cost, to the discovery process.
In fact, just the other day when I was in a meeting where a desktop sharing product was being demonstrated, the chief concern of the attorney present was whether or not the site stored any information on the documents as they were being changed. (It doesn't) This is a major concern for any legal situation. You want to have control over what information, and metadata, is in any documents you are sending out, or that may have to be produced as part of discovery in the future. The more places you have documents being stored, the harder that is to do.
Personally, I know that any e-discovery process is going to be more complicated when any of the information custodians is using web-based services as part of their job. Like PDA's or home computers, it just adds one more place that needs to be searched for relevant information. Any organization that wants to utilize on-line apps has to at least consider that and have a plan to deal with it.
Using the new beta version (2008) of Windows Live Writer to post this. I've been a fan of WLW for awhile now and they really do just keep making it better.
Of course, now that they've rolled all these Live services into one installer, trying to just get Live Writer involves a whole lot of unchecking options during the installation. Can't say I'm a big fan of that.
I'm trying out Open Office, which isn't really a new thing for me, but the fact that I'm doing it at work is pretty new. It seems that our attempt to add two laptops to our pool of machines to be used at trial has hit one large roadblock. Namely, we can't get them with Dell OEM Office 2003. Only 2007 is available. Apparently, we are also limited from adding a couple of licenses to our existing Office volume license, which would give us downgrade rights to load 2003, since MS only sells them in batches of 5.
So, it appears our choices are to force the users of this laptops to learn Office 2007 even though they use 2003 on a daily basis, buy 3 more licenses than we need, or experiment with Open Office to see if we can get all the features we would use at trial without paying for Office.
It'll be an interesting experiment. Obviously, we couldn't replace Office across the organization, but as with much open source and free software, there are some limited situations where it could be very useful.
One thing that I immediately found interesting though, for our 2003 users the menus of Open Office actually will seem a lot more familiar than Office 2007's ribbon would! So that's a plus. :)
We'll see how my experiments go, and when the laptops get shipped to us, I'll be able to really put them through the typical trial setup and see what happens.
Twice in the last week, when I logged on to my laptop, "Windows was unable to load my profile". It loaded a generic, temporary profile instead. Both times a quick restart fixed the problem, but I wonder if this is a sign of bad things to come? Maybe it's time to do some disk utilities on it and see what's happening.
The other night, I told you about iTunes crashing, and 17 song files going "poof". It was weird, but since I had a pretty recent backup of my music files on an external drive, I didn't worry too much about it. The next time I cranked up the PC, however, I was greeted with the Chkdsk utility. I figured, what the heck, and let it run.
It fixed the "missing" iTunes music files. They're all back where they should be and the iPod is syncing happily again without any errors.
I'm amazed. In all my years of working with PC's, I can probably count on one hand the number of times Chkdsk, or Scandisk, actually did anything useful for me, aside from marking bad sectors. The first time my Vista machine runs it, is one of those times. Pretty cool.
I'm not holding my breath for it happening again any time soon, but I'll take it. :)
Saw this in Support Alert today, and thought it's worth publicizing. As much as the common security advice is not to run as Admin, there are a number of tools that simply don't work without the Admin rights. It's frustrating.
Just a few things that have struck me about my new Vista machine:
OK, so Dell announced on June 18 that they were going to allow customers the option to not have some pre-installed software. I ordered my system the week before that and saw that option, how new is it really? This system came pretty clean, although the Roxio Drag and Copy program apparently uses a driver that isn't compatible with Vista. There's nothing like the feeling of starting up a PC and being told there's an incompatible driver in the software that came with it.
To be fair to Dell, I was prompted to get an update to Roxio on my first boot, and it was the second boot where this problem started, it may well have been a Roxio update.
Other than that, and iTunes losing all my podcast subscriptions because the XML file got corrupted, I've been enjoying the new machine. I can especially see where Office 2007 is really helped by the increased RAM and Vista OS. Outlook 2007, which is a real system drag on my laptop, hums along pretty nicely on this machine.
Now I just need to continue getting all the various tools setup and getting used to where things are in the menus and options, and I'll be uber-productive at home like I am at work.
Speaking of work, I also spent a good part of my work day doing the same thing to that machine after replacing the hard drive and re-installing XP. Somehow, I'm still not getting burned out on tweaking new machines, go figure!
I didn't even realize that Microsoft had disabled the ability to dock the quick launch bar on the right or left of the screen, forcing it to stay down with the taskbar. That is, I didn't realize it until I just tried to move mine! Since I like to hide all the desktop icons and just have a toolbar along the right side of my screen to launch programs, I wasn't very happy about that. Luckily, I found a little tutorial on YouTube and learned how to workaround Microsoft's decision.
In case you ever run into a laptop like the one I did today, where you had to reload applications, the Internet activation of Office 2003 failed and you couldn't get the phone activation information to come up. From KB article 875452:
SYMPTOMS The Microsoft Office 2003 Activation Wizard disappears when you use the telephone option to activate a Microsoft Office 2003 license.
CAUSE This behavior occurs if the following conditions are true: • You have activation information on your computer that is from a previous installation of Microsoft Office 2003. • You activated the previous installation of Office 2003 by using the Internet.
RESOLUTION To resolve this behavior, follow these steps: 1. Click Start, and then click Run. 2. In the Open box, type the following location: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Data 3. Click OK. 4. Right-click the opa11.dat file, and then click Delete. 5. Close the folder, and then start any Microsoft Office 2003 program to start the Office 2003 Activation Wizard.
One of our attorneys asked me an interesting question the other day. Actually, the question was as interesting as the tone of her voice.
It seems that she has recently purchased a brand new laptop with Vista/Office 2007 on it. She was sharing this information with me when she suddenly got this very frightened look on her face. She proceeded to ask "We're not going to be moving to that soon are we?". I assured her it would be quite a while before we did that. (We haven't even finished rolling out Office 2003!) She breathed a sigh of relief at that, explaining that it had taken her over 5 minutes to simply find the Start menu and open Word, and when she did, she was blown away by what came up!
Perhaps, by the time we actually roll it out she'll have gotten plenty used to using it on her own laptop, but it certainly goes to show that there is a pretty serious learning curve to Vista and Office 2007 for average users.
How many of your average users have been exposed to Vista/Office 2007? What has their response been?
You know what I really love about Office 2007? Microsoft finally got wise to the number of people who make changes to email attachments and lose them.
We don't use Office 2007 at work, and I can't tell you how many times we get phone calls at the helpdesk because someone opened a Word document from an email attachment, made changes to it, hit save, closed it, and couldn't find it again. No matter how many times we tell people that documents they get as attachments are not in our document management system, and that hitting save doesn't magically get them into our document management system, I still find myself navigating to someone's OLK"X" folder on their C drive remotely to grab the document they saved there once a week or so. (And yes, if you really want to have fun, try explaining to them how they could do that themselves the next time. Ever tried to navigate to your local OLK folder?)
When I open a Word attachment with 2007 and hit save, Word doesn't just save in the same place, it forces me to file it somewhere. It's about time!
Something that I thought about today when I was talking to someone on the Friends in Tech forums. Their question was about being unable to see the Temporary Internet Files folder even after showing hidden folders. I've found that when I installed IE7, that, and the history folder are "protected operating system file and folders", and are hidden by default about three options down from the option to show hidden folders. As the discussion over there shows though, why did MS bother to do that, and then make those folders available to be browsed through the browser? If they're viewable that way, why bother making them hidden when using Windows Explorer? I just don't get it.