MS Office Beta Notes

This is a side-blog where I intend to keep all of my notes from Beta testing new versions of Office. This will keep them all in one place for future reference. I started this with Office 2003, and am bringing it back for the 2007 version. This is not an official Microsoft site, this is just the ramblings of one IT guy.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Exchange 2003

This KB article has a whole bunch of information on configuring Exchange Server 2003, including stuff about relaying, authentication and IP Restrictions. Looks like a lot of really good stuff for Sys Admins. Speaking of Exchange 2003, I was chatting with the Sys Admin for our ISP at work, who is responsible for our mail server, and he was telling me how has 2003 setuo at his house and is really impressedwith it. He's pushing hard to get all of their mail servers moved to Exchange 2003. Take that as you will but a recommendation like that means a lot to me!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Outlook 2003 and email marketing

Had an interesting conversation with the head of our Communications Dept. this afternoon. She was having some difficulty with sending an HTML email to our members, and I helped her with that. In the course of helping her I happened to mention the "Death of Email Marketing" spiel that Chris gave at Gnomedex. I pointed out that with the release of Office 2003, Outlook would turn off images and HTML by default, and since most users never change the defaults, HTML newsletters would become almost pointless. I really think this is going to force a huge change in the way we send email, and I'm sure it will for bunches of other organizations. In fact, when you combine this change with the increase in the number of spam filters companies and ISP's are putting into place, (and Outlook's own spam filters!) you may end up with very few people ever seeing your message at all! For certain you'll never be able to know for sure how many people are getting it, and that's a problem. For us it's a problem because some people are depending on us to keep them informed, and will blame us if they never get any emails from us.

Will we end up using an RSS feed to push out our news and event information? Perhaps, but it needs to be adapted much more widely than it currently is before we pitch email in favor of that. Most of our members have no idea what a feed aggregator is, let alone have one installed. Outlook's new features may just help push things in that direction, and it'll be quite a change.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Picture Manager

I was looking at some of the more than 300 pictures I took on vacation last week on my desktop last night and discovered the Publisher 2003 plug-in called Picture Manager. It's actually a nice little tool for viewing all the pictures within a folder and making some minor adjustments to them on the fly. It's not as full-featured as a Photoshop, for example, but it's a great way to make minor adjustments to a whole bunch of pictures or just browse through a whole bunch of pictures when you don't have the built-in XP photo viewer.