Getting Ready To Eat My Words About 2007 Office And Windows Vista
In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: Getting Ready To Eat My Words About 2007 Office And Windows Vista 2. Today's Top Story - Apple Dealt Setback In Suit Against Online Journalists 3. Breaking News - Symantec Says Its Own AV Product Has Zero-Day Vulnerability - Microsoft Adds 'Ultimate' Office To Lineup - Brief: Winamp 5.22 Update Crushes Bugs - Sacred Heart Latest University To Lose Identities - New IBM Program To Woo Appalachian Students Into Tech Jobs - Windows 2000 Bug Already Patched, Microsoft Says - Sprint Nextel Sues IBM Over Outsourcing Deal Gone Bad - Google Cuts Deal To Put Its Desktop Software On Dell PCs - Physicists Posit Theoretical Blueprint For Harry Potter-Like 'Invisibility Cloak' - Researchers Demo New Robot-Human Interface - Hummingbird Assailed For Accepting $465 Million Offer - Brief: Cambodian PM Bans 3G Phones In Anti-Porn Drive 4. Grab Bag - Humor: In Praise Of Car Rentals (Wired News) - 12 Tips For Avoiding A Mac Disaster (MacWorld) - TorrentSpy Suit Accuses MPAA Of Hacking (CIO) 5. In Depth - VA Secretary Comes Under Fire At House And Senate Data Theft Hearings - VA Worker Took Data Home For Years Before Colossal Data Loss - Citywide Wi-Fi Moves Forward In New Orleans, Philly - Feds End Excise Tax On Long Distance Calls - High-Tech Groups Laud Senate Immigration Bill 6. Voice Of Authority - VoIP Difficulties Don't Seem To Improve 7. White Papers - Telework: A Critical Component Of Continuity Of Operations Planning 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day: "Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis." -- Jack Handey
1. Editor's Note: Getting Ready To Eat My Words About 2007 Office And Windows Vista
I'm not prepared to eat my words just yet. But I'm setting the table in case I have to chow down.
A couple of months ago, I predicted Microsoft would have big trouble getting users to upgrade to Vista and the next version of Office.
Well, Microsoft dropped Beta 2 of 2007, and it's looking pretty tasty. It may be a big hit after all.
The most intriguing—and controversial—feature of Office is the new user interface. Microsoft has dispensed with drop-down menus, a standard of user interfaces for more than 20 years. Instead, 2007 Office uses a tabbed bar across the top of the screen, which Microsoft calls a "Ribbon." Take a look here. It'll look familiar to anybody who's ever bought anything from Amazon.com.
In the past, I've thought that the Ribbon was the worst part of 2007 Office. Even if it's better, I argued, it's still different, and that means users have to be retrained, running up big expenses for IT departments.
Our reviews editor, Barbara Krasnoff, shared my skepticism, but she seems to be on her way to becoming a Ribbon convert:
There has been a lot of skepticism about the usefulness—and, indeed, the necessity—of the Ribbon, and I have to admit that I was among the doubters. Why change something that works for many people? Because, according to Microsoft, the current interface has become bloated with too many menus.
Jenson Harris, the lead program manager for the Microsoft Office user experience team, explained that the current system of toolbars has meant an exponential increase from two toolbars in Word 1.0 to 31 in Word 2003. "Conventional punditry was that people only use 5 percent of Office and that everything we need was in older versions," he said in a recent press event. "However, we found that real people said that people simply can't figure out how to use what features there are in there." He described the new interface as providing "one home for functionality."
You can appreciate better organization for controls if you've ever spent long minutes hunting through Office menus and toolbars, looking for some obscure command you only use every few months.
So the Ribbon could be a hit after all.
The software also adds Groove and SharePoint integration to make it easier to collaborate and communicate with colleagues from within the application suite.
I also predicated big trouble for Microsoft in getting users to adopt Vista. It still looks like Microsoft will have troubles there, but our reviewer Preston Gralla gives the latest Vista beta high marks, commending its security and search features and noting that it eliminates annoying nag screens that plagued earlier versions.
So will I be chowing down on my own writing? What do you think? Leave a message on the InformationWeek Weblog and let us know.
Or just hang around and see for yourself. I've got the Pepto-Bismol ready.
Microsoft Adds 'Ultimate' Office To Lineup The new version will sell for $679 in retail channels and include all the applications scheduled to ship within Office Enterprise 2007, the top-end corporation version to be available only to volume license customers.
Researchers Demo New Robot-Human Interface A new interface allows near real-time operation of a robot without invasive incisions into the head and brain. The breakthrough, demonstrated this week in Tokyo, opens up possibilities for new interactions between machines and people.
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4. Grab Bag
Humor: In Praise Of Car Rentals (Wired News) Columnist Lore Sjoberg writes: "Rental cars these days also have buttons all over the steering wheel, which makes me very happy. This is because like all rational, mature adults, I want to be Speed Racer. All I need is a child and his chimp in the trunk and I'm ready to rock."
TorrentSpy Suit Accuses MPAA Of Hacking (CIO) In a tale of intrigue that's perhaps fitting for the parties involved, the Motion Picture Association of America has denied that it paid a hacker to steal information from TorrentSpy, a popular BitTorrent file-sharing site, as alleged in a lawsuit filed by the file-searching company in California.
High-Tech Groups Laud Senate Immigration Bill The key provision sought by technology companies was an expanded high-tech visa program, and they got it. The Senate bill proposes raising the cap on H-1B visas for highly educated temporary workers to 115,000 per fiscal year, a huge jump from the current 65,000.
6. Voice Of Authority
VoIP Difficulties Don't Seem To Improve Eric Hall says: Back in October 1998, I co-wrote a cover story for Network Computing on VoIP in the enterprise, introducing the technology to our readers and describing some of the deployment challenges that admins should watch for. What's interesting is that every time I've gone back and reread that article, I've expected to find it completely outdated, with most of the early problems resolved and newer challenges in place. But instead I keep finding that most of those old problems still exist in one form or another, even though we're now closing in on that article's 10-year birthday.
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