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Doug's Mailbag: Office Savings, Gartner's Burton Buy, More

Bruce praises MSDN for making Office upgrades a little less painful on the budget:

If I were not a developer, I would probably never buy another version of Office again. But I have Office "everything" for reason: MSDN. I got the subscription a number of years ago when I realized I could get it and save a huge ton of money on software. For $2,499, I get everything and then some, plus all of the updates. Included in this deal is Office in whatever flavor you want. They also throw in MapPoint and Project and all of the other bells and whistles. And yes, this includes the OS too. And the nice thing about it is that you get the REAL install DVDs and you get to install the software any darn way you want without Dell, HP, etc. making choices for what to leave out. And believe me, they do leave things out which force you to either install new parts -- which may or may not be on the install DVD they give you.

So basically, what we get through MSDN is what you would call the retail version, but you end up paying less than retail. If you are in academia, this is DEFINITELY the way to go as the academia price for MSDN is dirt cheap. I wish I was in that world, but I'm not.

Don shares his thoughts about Gartner's acquisition of Burton Group:

I am rather sorry to see the Burton Group go under Gartner's wing. Hope they are able to hang on to their top talent. My company has a contract with Burton that gives many users access to all the research available on their site. Have found their mostly non-biased information and analyses particularly useful when doing trade studies (such as virtualization solutions).

Gartner has made many predictions that, to me, seem way off base and I really don't rely on their information too much. It may depend on the area in which one's research lies as to whether an analyst's conclusions are useful and/or accurate.

Stephen's feedback on Azure isn't very encouraging:

My experience with Azure was terrible. One, the best documentation I could find on how to access and use Azure came in a SQL newsletter I receive about two months after I had given up. Two, it was not obvious that I had networking access to my Azure account as the test tool never responded in a meaningful fashion. After getting corporate IT to review it, we concluded I did have access, but then I couldn't figure out how to configure any client-side tool to connect with it. It was only after reading the article referenced above that I found out I was supposed to be using a command-line tool. (Command-line? What decade is this?) Three, there did not appear to be any facility to upload an existing database; a simple tool that imported a SQL backup file would have been ideal. Four, a tool like phpMyAdmin would have been great to interact with the database remotely since I could make a database, but couldn't work with it.

So yeah, I gave up. Maybe I'll try again in a year when the technology and documentation match my expectations of SaaS technology.

And finally, a Gmail gripe:

Google's Gmail is surprisingly behind the times with user friendliness, IMHO. For instance, why does it take three mouse clicks to mark a message unread? One, check the box next to the e-mail. Two, click on "More Actions." Three, select "Mark Unread."

I'm hanging in there with the faith that they will improve their functionality.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/18/2010 at 1:17 PM


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