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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Clippy and FrontPage Retired

Arrow 2In Microsoft Office 2007 there are two things missing. The Office Assistant Clippit who's nickname is Clippy and FrontPage Microsoft's long time web designer. Many people will probably be disappointed about the removal of both of these well at least FrontPage. After many complaints to Microsoft they decided to ditch the paperclip. Microsoft had a huge farewell party for Clippy in 2001 for the launch of Office XP except the little guy refused to leave and just hid from the user on default. But for 2007 Microsoft has officially kicked the poor guy to the corner. Just in case you need any extra employees Clippy is still in search for a job. To find out about FrontPage being retired click continue below.

Microsoft has also decided to say farewell to another major mark in the Office Suite, FrontPage. FrontPage has been around since 1997 which happens to be the same year that Clippy starting working at Microsoft. A lot of people complained that FrontPage put in a lot of unneeded code that made it difficult to edit just the HTML without using the user interface. When I first heard that Microsoft was discontinuing FrontPage I was disappointed. Yes, I use Dreamweaver but I was born and raised on FrontPage, well actually I started out using Publisher. But nonetheless I still like using FrontPage for certain things. However, with all the complaints Microsoft received and the fact that CSS has become very popular they needed to fix these issues and incorporate CSS better. Microsoft did this by replacing FrontPage with Microsoft Expression Web Designer.

Microsoft starting developing software for a new Microsoft suite in 2004. This suite is titled Microsoft Expression Studio and is Microsoft's answer to Adobe's Creative Suite and the newly acquired Macromedia Studio. This suite contains four programs for web design and image editing. Due to the release of Expression Microsoft decided to transfer FrontPage to this suite as Expression Web Designer. FrontPage 2003 and Expression Web Designer look very close but act very different.
Expression Web Designer uses XHTML as its default language as opposed to FrontPage's which was HTML. Also Expression Web Designer acts very much like Dreamweaver when it comes to CSS. I must say that even though FrontPage and Expression Web Designer look similar Expression Web Designer is easier to use and it does not put any extra code into your HTML.

You can download a trial version of all four of the Expression Suite programs by clicking here

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Continue reading Clippy and FrontPage Retired

Friday, February 16, 2007

The future of Office and Windows

Arrow 2In an earlier post I hinted that Microsoft was developing an Office Suite for the internet and now it is time to get the inside scoop. You have come to the right place because we have all the low down on Office 13, Office 14, and Windows Vienna. eNews has the exclusive on the upcoming versions of the Office Suite and Windows Operating System. Microsoft released the coveted release date of Office 14 and a huge twist to the Web 2.0 Office 13. I would spill the beans now but you will have to click continue to get all the scoop.

ZDNet released a while back that Microsoft was planning on developing a Web 2.0 Office Application to compete with Google Docs & Spreadsheets. However, Microsoft has been keeping the next version of Office very closely held unlike they did with Vista and Office 2007. Thus we do not know if it will be a web application or hard drive based or both. What eNews does know is that Microsoft will be skipping Office 13 because of its superstitious meaning. Like many 13's before it Microsoft does not want to have to say "Houston we have a problem." Instead Microsoft will be calling the next version of its office suite Office 14 (This is only the Microsoft internal codename not the final name).

In a Denmark press conference Microsoft released the schedule for Office 14. Office 14 started development in 2006 and will be releasing the Office 14 beta 1 in the first half of 2008 and the second beta in the second half of 2008. Microsoft plans on releasing Office 14 in the first half of 2009. Of course knowing everything technology I would guess that Office 14 which of course will most likely be changed to Office 2009 will be released in November, 2009. Microsoft also released that it will be spending a whopping $930 million per year on research and development which is 20% more than Office 2007.

Even though Office 14 is still in the planning stages Microsoft already knows what they want to focus on to improve on the Office 2007.

Individual Impact: Continued focus on individual productivity and effectiveness.
Communication and Collaboration: To enable better communication and more efficient information-sharing to keep communities, co-workers, partners, and customers in sync.
Enterprise Content Management: To author, manage, and organize complex documents and content.
Business Process and Business Intelligence: To make the right information available throughout the business process.
Office Business Platform: To make it simple to build client and web-based business applications.
Manageability and Security: To make it easy to securely deploy and manage around the globe.

Windows Vienna
There is not really much to say about Windows Vienna. Much like Office 14 Microsoft is keeping everyone a closely guarded secret. eNews can tell you though that Windows Vienna will be changing codenames for the third time. Windows Vienna was originally announced in 2000 as Blackcomb as a follow up to Windows XP. However after many delays it was eventually renamed to Vienna and Vista was announced to be the XP follow up. On February 15 Microsoft announced that Vienna will once again be changing names to simply Windows 7. Some people believe this is because it will be built on the NT 7.0 core while Windows Vista and XP were built on NT 6.0. Another thing we can announce is that Windows 7 will be released sometime in 2009 but most likely around the time of Office 14.

I know this was a lot to take in but this has been your daily dose of eNews

Continue reading The future of Office and Windows

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The WOW is NOW

Arrow 2I would like to start out by saying sorry I have not posted in a while. But lets get reading.

A lot of my friends have given great feedback about Windows Vista but, I personally have not had my go at Vista just quite yet. However I have been using Office 2007 since September and I must say that the "WOW" has arrived. I know many companies are advising against upgrading to Vista or Office 2007. I must disagree even though it has a lot of changes and it may be scary, it is a definitely worth the upgrade. Many things have changed in Office 2007 and the sooner you jump in and learn the better off you are.

Office 2007 is more productive and simply better looking. New in Office 2007 is the "ribbon" system that spans the top of the user interface. The ribbon system replaces the old file-view menu system and places everything in one space. Depending on what element you have selected different tabs may appear. For example when an image is selected a drawing tab appears which may remind you of the old drawing toolbar that would popup. Another thing added to the top is the new "office button" which looks almost identical to the new start menu in Vista. This menu has all the important functions such as print, save, and properties.

Another wonderful feature in Office 2007 is that when you select an element and highlight a configuration setting it auto previews what it will look like. For example if you have text highlighted and go to one of the preconfigured styles it will auto preview on mouse over what the text will look like.

Something I have heard a lot of complaining about is that Microsoft decided to change the format of the Office documents. They changed them from the standard format (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.) to an XML format (.docx, .pptx, .xlsx, etc.). The main reason people are complaining is because Microsoft will not be releasing a converter for Mac until later this year. Microsoft has already released a converter for Windows though. This really is not a very big deal because you can always save the file in the old Office 97-2003 format or you can save it as a PDF or XPS file. The nice thing about the new XML format is that it takes half the space of a normal file, of course until all your coworkers switch over it either takes half the space more than the old one since you will have two files on the computer.

I mentioned earlier that you can now save directly to a PDF file without the need for Adobe's multi-hundred dollar program. You can also save in an XPS format which is Microsofts new PDF killer. Microsoft develop this due to the popularity of the PDF whether XPS will come out on top only time will tell.

Microsoft's intention in Office 2007 was to make your lives easier and more productive. Do I think they accomplished this, absolutely I think they accomplished their goal with 110% satisfaction. I know a lot of people are complaining about this being hard drive based rather than following the other guys and using Web 2.0. Microsoft did not do this because Office 2007 has been in development since 2003. If you do not remember all the way back to 2003 there was no Web 2.0 and for Microsoft to change it to a web application would have delayed the release. If you are disappointed however do not go anywhere because in the coming weeks we will be taking a look at Office 13 and Office 14 which are Office 2007's predecessors. One of which will be a web application and one of which we will just have to wait and see.

This has been your daily dose of eNews.Arrow

Continue reading The WOW is NOW

Friday, February 2, 2007

It's official

Arrow 2On February 1st eNews representative Dennis attended the Cincinnati Windows Vista and Office 2007 launch. These events are usually very upbeat fun events. Dennis and I both attended the Windows 2000 and XP Launches and I must say we both had a blast. I was looking very forward to this launch since Windows Vista is supposed to be the "biggest release ever." However, this year I was not able to attend so Dennis went by himself. Dennis made sure to keep me filled in with the inside scoop on everything going at the launch. To my surprise though Microsoft "cheaped" out on this years launch. Microsoft really did not pay any attention to the consumer at the event and paid all the attention to their partners. Of course it is not the partners that keep Microsoft alive it is you and me the consumer that Microsoft is who it is.

Dennis was very disappointed with the fact that their were no hands on demo computers available to mess around with the guts of Windows Vista. At the event their was a huge showing from the key partners such as HP however eNews did not attend to check out the new computers that Vista can run on but the actual product. The individual sessions that Dennis attended were just video of the product and he even said that one of the machines received an error message. I must say Microsoft I love you but you are slacking off....BIG TIME. First you delay the product for three years then you do not even show it off very well. I have thrown many events in my day and I can pull it off. I expect for Vienna that you go back to the days of Windows 2000 which was the greatest launch event I have attended. Ahh I can still picture me walking into the convention center to the song "Ray of Light" by Madonna.

I understand that your stock is crumbling and that sales are down but lets be honest pumping up the product will turn both the other direction. I must finish this off by saying that the launch was terrible and that Vienne's better be 600 times better.

This has been your daily dose of eNewsArrow

Continue reading It's official

Monday, January 15, 2007

IE7 Reaches 100 Million

Arrow 2On Friday Microsoft reached a milestone for their newest internet browser Internet Explorer 7. Internet Explorer 7 experienced its 100 millionth installation on Friday. This milestone makes Microsoft's newest browser the second most used behind IE6. WebSideStory the company Microsoft uses to monitor web browser usage reported that 25 percent of all Web surfers in the United States are now using IE7.

On the other side of the fence Firefox has 70 million to 80 million users as of October 2006 according to Mozilla Vice President of Products Christopher Beard. I tried to reach Mozilla this afternoon for an update and have not heard back at this time. If I receive an update I will let you know.

Microsoft plans to release information on Internet Explorer 8 at the company's MIX conference on April 30, 2007. While Mozilla has already launched a public beta for Firefox 3.0 also known as Gran Paradiso which can be downloaded here.

This has been your daily dose of eNews

Continue reading IE7 Reaches 100 Million

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The LG VX9400

Arrow 2Verizon Wireless announced the LG VX9400 at CES on January 7, 2007. What is so special about the VX9400 you ask...it will be the first cell phone in the USA to allow you to watch LIVE TV. A partnership between Qualcomm's MobileFlo and Verizon Wireless has developed V CAST Mobile TV. V CAST Mobile TV will be launched with eight channels including NBC, CBS, Fox, MTV, Comedy Central, MSNBC and Nickelodeon. The LG VX9400 and V CAST Mobile TV will be available in late March 2007 (in select areas).

The VX9400 has a unique swing bar design with a 320 x 240 pixel color LCD screen. Just like the 8000 and 9000 series LG phones this phone will offer access to V CAST Music and Video, Get It Now® and Mobile Web 2.0SM plus Bluetooth® capabilities and a 1.3 megapixel camera and camcorder.

A Look at the VX9400

Here is an exclusive look at the LG VX9400 phone. This exclusive look is from CES 2007 and courtesy of a publicist for LG Electronics.

The Pros and Cons of the VX9400

1. V CAST Mobile TV - The ability to watch live TV
2. A microSD Memory Port - Even the iPhone does not offer this. A microSD port allows you to expand the amount of memory the phone has to store music, pictures, and video.
3. Flash User Interface - Abandons the boring old Verizon menu system and allows a flashier menu system.
4. Bluetooth stereo headset support - Allows you to listen to your music as if you were using a standard 3.5mm headset.
5. Speakerphone - Surprisingly enough not every cell phone has one. All phones should though.
6. Voice commands: call, send message, go to, check, lookup, My Account
7. Video Camcorder can take video at 320 x 240 and 176 x 144 resolutions.

1. I personally am disappointed in the 1.3 megapixel camera. The Samsung SCH-A990 has a 3.2 megapixel camera and the enV (VX9900) has a 2 megapixel camera.
2. The Camera can only take pictures up to 1280 x 960 the enV can take pictures at 1600 x 1200
3. Camera only offers a 4x digital zoom - My VX8000 that is two years old offers a 4x digital zoom as well.
4. No Macro Switch - Since the VX8000 they have stopped including a macro switch on phones.
5. Only allows 500 contacts - Though I do not know that many people the enV boast 1000 contacts
6. Battery Life is a little disappointing. At 3 hours and 35 minutes for usage do not expect to watch TV while travelling cross country

Unfortunately even though many of us (including me) are drooling over this new phone it does have a down side. One of the cons is the price. The price has yet to be announced for the actual phone and V CAST Mobile TV. Fortunately, LG phones are not overly priced and my guess is it will be $200 with a two year contract. The V CAST Mobile TV is another story and my guess is it will be between $20-30/month for the feature which will be added onto the current V CAST $15/month plan.

This has been your daily dose of eNews.Arrow

Continue reading The LG VX9400

Saturday, January 13, 2007

One Number For Life

Arrow 2I stumbled on the greatest service in the world. This service is known as one number for life from GrandCentral. This service is very easy to sign up and while it is in beta the service is free. Well you may be wondering what this service is and why it is so great. Most people have at least three phone numbers, a cell, home, and work phone numbers. This can get to be a real hassle so why not just have one number. Using GrandCentral you can register for one phone number and have it call up six phone numbers at once. In addition, an even better feature is that the number you choose will never change. If you do want to change the number because you are receiving too many calls unwanted calls or you are like me and they now have the area code you want it is a very easy process to change the number.

Ability to set ring back tones so people hear music instead of dialing

Beyond the One Number For Life feature you also get the ability to screen your calls, block callers, switch phones mid-call, voicemail, and the ability to record calls from anywhere in the world. I especially love the last feature. Currently you can only get a phone number with the area codes of most popular cities in 35 different states but they are expanding their database every day.

Settings menu to configure phone numbers

Check this service out and try it.
Go to http://www.grandcentral.com and sign up.

As always, this has been your daily dose of eNews.Arrow

Continue reading One Number For Life