What Windows Live™ Needs to Make it Work

Microsoft seems to have a winner on its hands with the Windows Live™ product/services series. Looking at a list of Windows Live services on MSBlog, it struck me that I use very few of them, though many of them would be guaranteed to save me time. So what is it?

The problem is that they are a whole new generation of products, and have no place in “yesterday’s programs” so to speak. What I’m talking about is Microsoft’s multi award-winning PIM, Outlook. Microsoft Office would be nowhere without Outlook, and without Outlook many successful people wouldn’t be where they are today. Without Outlook, NeoSmart Technologies would never have made it to the playing field. Ours is a world of crazy, mixed-up technology, and Outlook sorts it out.

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A Comprehensive Look at the New Microsoft (Vista) Fonts

With every new version of Windows or Office, Microsoft Corporation seems to generally like to package a couple of small freebies that make it a sweeter deal, after all, as they say: it’s the little things that count. Windows Vista and Office 2007 are no exception: not only is Microsoft apparently trying to make up for lost years (almost 6 for Vista, and four for Office), and it is doing a great job! At NeoSmart we’ve only had praise for the Office team, and we feel that the Microsoft Typography team is at the very least on-par with them, if not even higher… Once you’ve read this review, we’re sure you’ll agree.

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Word 2007’s Blogging Issues

Following our article about Word 2007 introducing a fairly powerful desktop blogging client that actually produces clean code, it turned out most bloggers didn’t care so much for the client part as much as they did about whether or not it was 100% XHTML compliant.

From what we’ve been able to piece together, the Word 2007 blogging tool outputs XHTML 1.1 compliant code almost all of the time (we have yet to see it break, but nothing is bulletproof), with one (rather important) exception: it doesn’t know encoding!

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Word 2007: Blogging to WordPress

Microsoft has long led the fields of desktop innovation with Microsoft Office, and have done an amazing job with what they have. After developing the technology, Microsoft has proved time and time again that they are capable of protecting their position via sheer innovation and creativity – even if the Windows® line of products never matched the same bill.

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Microsoft Office Public Beta 2 Available!

Microsoft has just made publicly available Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2, the latest installment in the new Office 2007 Suite.

This is a public beta, meaning that anyone who wishes can download the software or request it mailed to their address.

NeoSmart Technologies will be conducting in-depth reviews of the entire Office 2007 suite now that it is no longer covered by the NDA, and our picture gallery will soon enough have more pictures than you’re probably interested in seeing.

Microsoft Office 2007 Professional Edition is 440.8 MB, and can be downloaded via Microsoft SmartSource (not to be confused with the now-extinct SourceSafe!).

Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2

Microsoft Expression Web Designer CTP 1

A new CTP for Microsoft Web Designer was recently released, and we finally got to take a look at it.

The first expression we felt was probably closest to anger, when we found out that Expression wouldn’t install on a machine that had Office 2007 Beta 1 TR 1 installed, but it seems that in using the Office 2007 installer (an excellent idea BTW, that installer is really easy to use, though a color other than grey would probably suite it better) it requires that no older versions of Office be installed. So we uninstalled Office 2007 and continued, the installation didn’t take long, and we were up and running 7 or 8 minutes later.

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Curiosity Killed the Cat..

While not strictly a ‘technology topic,’ for me it is just as important. Anyway, its OK, since Ramblings of a Computer Guru is “Everything Technical,” no? I’m talking about curiosity. Curiosity applies to everything everywhere, all features of life, all aspects, the harsh truth, in all its misery… And it applies to technology far more than we realize. Take this morning for example. I had a Physics Lab class; and our Professor returned three previous lab reports. Imagine my shock at receiving a 7 and an 8 on two them! I usually get 9.5 -10, not to brag to prove a point.

Well, I opened up the reports, and discovered that all equations in those two (written with Office 12 Pre-Beta) had printed wrong! Rather, they did not print at all! In the second paper, each character done with the equation editor came out a “?” in a box, and in the first it looked like some kind of weird pattern of dotted lines! The third, written in the Official (and legit) Office 12 Beta 1 was much better. Thought it had a couple of mis-printed characters, they were all Bullets from unordered lists, and the equations were thankfully OK. I talked to the Professor and he is letting me rewrite the first two :).

But I will have to do it all over since Pre-Beta files are not properly compatible with Beta 1. But this blog is not about me, its about Technology. And this particular entry is not about my boring & miserable life on the 3rd day of December; but about the dangers of mixing Curiosity and Technology together… Continue reading

Office 12 vs. OpenOffice.org

Well, today it became official, the Office12 Beta is about to begin. NeoSmart has just been accepted, and will try his very best to break it… (Let’s hope its a challenge, don’t want a program too easily broken..) Anyway, at NeoSmart we got a sneak preview of Office12 with Pre-Release Build 12.0.3111.1011, and though it is covered by the NDA, I think we’ll be safe giving you a few reasons why OpenOffice.org v2 will not be stealing the show (not this year, sorry).

We have been testing OO.org since its pre-beta stages, downloading the latest builds and CVS when available, and overall, we have been impressed.

  1. Office 12 has a brand new look to it. From the PDC Screenshots (same build we’re running here) you can see all the new-fangled buttons and ribbons and tabs. Its hard to get used to, especially if you are a hard-core Office user, but from what we can gather, its biggest theme seems to be making things available. You highlight some text, and it intelligently realizes the tools that you will need, making it by far the simplest Office-Environment program we have ever seen.
  2. Though the pre-release of Office 12 that we are testing is sluggish, all previous versions of Office have been very spontaneous (on modern hardware, without spyware, etc. obviously) especially when compared to OO.org v1, which was plagued by sick and slow Java code. Though OO.org v2 has done away with most Java, it seems that the code beneath all the spotless glamor is still dirty, it has some of the same tell-tale symptoms that v1 had.
  3. Office 12 is pure power. The new and *completely* redesigned Excel and Access are centered purely around productivity and giving you the tools that you need. Outlook 12 includes a new extra sidebar whose sole purpose is keeping all your information available at once.
  4. Office 12 may cost money, but then again, most businesses aren’t expecting to get their company’s software platform up to scratch free-of-charge. Most expect to have to pay, and in exchange they get the results of years of planning and engineering from one of the biggest R&D around.
  5. Office 12 will most likely forever ship in some limited form or the other with new PCs. 98%+ of all OEM PCs ship with Works + Word. In contrast, almost none ship with OO.org.
  6. OpenOffice.org is made by Sun. Office 12 is made by Microsoft. OpenOffice.org is made largely (though most likely reluctantly) for the Linux crowd. Office 12 is Microsoft for Windows. Microsoft has all the Windows Code at its disposal, and everything can be integrated smoothly and cleanly, without worries.
  7. Office 12 looks cool. You may think it does not matter, but its actually one of the most important marketing ploys known to man. No one will buy software that looks like it was made for Windows 3.1.1, but Office 12 looks modern.

Despite what it looks like, we are quite impartial, and wish OO.org the best. We will continue to test it and submit bugs to Sun in an ongoing effort to improve the quality of software everywhere, just as we will the Office 12 Beta; but in this case, we have a clear winner.