Friday, November 20, 2009

Office 2010 Beta

Having failed hopelessly in my attempts to setup Windows 7 (all blame to be directed at my pathetic PSU), I thought I'd go with the much simpler to install and review Office 2010 Beta. The beta is available as a free download here.

This was fairly slow, and Office has ramped up in size to use 2.34GB in total. Not too bad, but on my work laptop I'm a little short on space. They've made it really easy this time to actually install along side your existing (read: safe) version of Office, or upgrade it if you want to. Seriously, don't upgrade yet, its a beta for a reason. The installation has the awesome affect of making your task bar disappear. Kindly, it is returned after about 5 minutes. I hope that one's on the issue l

The install appeared to finish, so I tried to access the programs. However it had actually not finished and got quite grumpy.

Word, homey
Once it had finished being grumpy it finally asked me to be restarted. Begrudgingly I obliged. On finally excitedly opening up Word, the splash screen appears and *crash*. The "Send to Bluetooth" feature crashed on load. On second opening of Word, it asked me if I wanted to disable the feature, which is a significant improvement for Microsoft over their "keep trying, its you thats the problem not us" approach.

For some unknown stupid reason, Microsoft have chosen to set the default appearance to the "silver" theme. This has the effect of making Word look like Open Office. Now, I'm all for a bit of open source, in fact I hugely respect it, and understand when it looks like a Romanian gypsy's dog's arse. But I dont expect the same of proprietary software. Not least of all Word 2010. Changing to the "blue" theme really helps with this. Microsoft, pick a new default!

So, as you can see they've gotten rid of that ridiculous round windows button, and brought back a familiar favourite, File. They've spent some time considerably improving the access to the features under file, which is a big plus for me due to work requirements.

Outlook very kindly changed itself to be the default mail client. Now I would love and have begged to be able to use Outlook and Exchange, but until further notice I'm stuck with Lotus Notes. Microsoft, don't change the default when I don't ask you to. Naughty.

Excel at what exactly?
Other than the additional of File, excel remains seeminly largely unchanged. The marketing blurb speaks of new conditional formatting. New? Seriously new? The writer must be new to the marketing department. Perhaps they should open up Excel 2007 and have a look closely, seems pretty much the same to me.

Other than some bug fixes and behind the scene's work, this is pretty much a bog standard release of Office. It's an uglier version of 2007, with minor improvements. However, there's one small thing about this beta for which Microsoft deserves a bravo (or rather a cry of "finally!"):
The two smiley's represent a feedback capturing system. If you like something that you see in the new office, click the happy smiley, and a screen shot of what it is you like is taken. Add some comments about why you like, and send to Microsoft. Ofcourse the same applies to stuff you don't. Three cheers to finally garnering user feedback in a friendly way. Huzzah!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Windows Sucken

I've just eagerly got hold my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (x64) and key from TechNet and now I'm going through the fun of trying to install it. I thought this was supposed to be a simpler process than Vista, but so far it's been hell.

First problem:
It looks like my Asus P5K SE/EPU motherboard drivers haven't been updated for Windows 7. So I'll be off to Intel to get the chipset drivers then...

Second problem:
It took forever to actually get to the setup screen. I'd been told this is a common issue, so I wasn't too concerned. When it eventually got here, I chose to do a custom install as I wanted to format the partition (leaving no trace of Windows 6, so that Windows 6.1, sorry 7 :P, wasn't held back by it in any way). Like Vista, you've only got the option to do the ridiculously inadequate lightning quick format. It does that, moves on with the setup (while taking forever to get to the next screen). Eventually, at about 15% into it, I'm told that something's corrupt and good day to you sir.

On second attempt, the same happens. Getting some advice, I was told to use a familiar friend to format properly. What friend was this I hear you ask...

Third problem:
And this one I can't gleefully place on Microsoft. My admittedly pathetic 400W power supply has finally caved in, as the nVidia 8800 Ultra is killing it, causing it to randomly restart all during the install. Now, as I'd like to keep my HDD, my Windows 7 saga will have to wait until I get a new psu...