Microsoft Announces Web-Based Office Companion
- By Peter Varhol
Microsoft yesterday announced Office
, a free Web site that will let users store, share and comment
on documents online. Starting Monday, users can sign up to be part of an early
beta test of the service.
Users can upload Word, Excel and PowerPoint files (Office 2003 or 2007) to
the site, and then invite others to read and add comments to those documents
through the Web interface.
This looks to be an extension of an earlier
Office Live service that I reviewed for the August 2007 issue of Redmond
Have you tried out the Office Live services yet? Send your impressions to me
at [email protected].
Yahoo Ups the Ante on Search
As search continues to generate a high level of competition in the industry,
Yahoo is responding by upgrading
its search engine with enhancements designed to catch up and, in some cases,
pass the primary competition, notably Google and Microsoft's MSN.
One new feature enables the integration of multimedia -- including video, images
and audio -- into a single search results page. This feature seems to be the
equivalent of Google's Universal Search feature.
A second feature is the Yahoo Search Assist box, which offers suggested searches
as soon as the user starts typing a query, and also provides several related
topics once the user is done. There's also Yahoo Shortcuts, a box that offers
relevant information and links based on the search keyword typed by the user.
Do you try new search engines, or do you stick with what's worked in the past?
Search me out at [email protected].
eBay Takes Big Charge on Skype
Online auctioneer eBay, which acquired Internet phone company Skype for $2.6
billion in 2005, has admitted failure by taking a $1.4
billion write-down on the value of the company yesterday. At the same time,
eBay also announced that Skype co-founder and chief executive Niklas Zennstrom
was resigning his position.
According to analysts, this represents an admission from eBay that it paid
too much for Skype two years ago, and hasn't found a good way of integrating
Internet calling into its core businesses. While Internet calling is often seen
as a reasonable secondary service, few seem willing to adopt it as their primary
I use Skype occasionally, primarily for overseas calls. It seems to have greater
acceptance in Europe, where the company has its roots, than in the U.S. What's
your take on Internet calling? Does it have a future, or is it destined to be
relegated to the sidelines? Tell me at [email protected].
Mailbag: Readers Show Their Age
Doug's looking for the youngest
and oldest Redmond Report readers. Here's how the field looks so far:
Hi, Mr. Editor-in-Chief-VP-Barney. You said you could include family
members. I believe that my younger sister reads this...on her own. Every day.
Almost more religiously than Pat the Bunny. She will be 1 year old in 24 days.
So, she's technically 11 months and 1 day old. Beat that!
I'm probably not your oldest reader (at 60), but since I just reached
that august age, I thought I'd report it anyway.
I'm 67. Like the kids that anticipate their next birthday, I'll be 68
in December. (Partially) thanks to reading the Redmond Report, I'm reliving
my life -- but with a twist. Started as an autocoder programmer in 1966. Then
segued to COBOL and assembler. Left IT in 1978. But one year ago, I took an
assignment at a software company as an application programmer using PowerBASIC.
What a difference 40 years make. Virtually unlimited compiles versus one a
Born on June 1, 1962. I have worked on networked computers since ARPANET,
MILNET and BITNET. I used punch cards and punch tape to write programs. I
used acoustic modems (300 Baud) that connected to the headset of a phone.
I remember when HTML was just a thought and then finally this Netscape thing
came out. I remember when 'Net news was the "big thing"; I even
read the Swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork list. I remember the Morris worm. I have
seen enough changes with computers; I cannot even guess what computers, and
how they communicate, will look like in the next 20 years.
I'm old. I am 64 years old and still involved with Windows XP and 2003
server here at school.
I love Redmond magazine. And I've been alive for 53 years.
At the age of 45, I went back to college to train for a new career in
networking. I am now 50 and have been reading Redmond for the past
five years. Keep up the good work!
I am 60 years old -- not the oldest reader, I am sure. I remember when
Bill Gates was an upstart who thought he could outsmart IBM and all their
legal guys. I guess he did.
I'm probably in the middle of the pack for age; I'm 36, working out of
Santa Clara County in California.
I'm an old fart in IT; I'll be 53 this month. I've been a staunch Microsoft
supporter all along and remember having dinner with Bill when he came to Sacramento
to speak at the PC Users Group. He was as soft-spoken and unassuming then
as he appears to be still. I remember holding his laptop in the Sacramento
venue where he began stumping for "Information at Your Fingertips"
in the early Windows days. I was tickled by the note taped on top of his laptop
by his administrative assistant that said, "Do not load anything on this
laptop without checking with [her name escapes me]." I was so moved by
the speech that I took the first opportunity I had to load Windows Server
NT 3.1 on a "spare" server.
Our California State Department had standardized on NetWare and we had
Sperry/Unisys Unix boxes for midrange servers. I put the NT server next to
a worktable in the computer room and asked my system admin team to take a
look at it and tell me what they thought. The system admins all had Windows
for Workgroups 3.11, so they were getting used to the GUI and I figured NT
was a natural for servers. This was the week of Veterans Day, 1993, and my
older daughter was 11. I brought her into the computer room that holiday (I
know, not very good family time) and led her up to the console on the NT server.
"Oh, Windows," she said, and immediately started moving the mouse
from icon to icon. I asked her how she would find out information about Daddy
and she clicked on "User Manager" and found my name. I asked her
how she would save data from the computer to a backup tape (a slight hint)
and she opened up "NT Backup" using the cassette icon. I knew then
that Mr. Gates had a hit on his hands. My daughter was more comfortable with
the intuitive interface than many of my admins.
I called the manager of our network support team at our "centralized"
IT support office and invited him and a few other geeks to come take a look
after I had some PCs connected. I explained to them how the "Information
at Your Fingertips" concept that Gates described could be easily implemented
in our geographically dispersed State Department. It worked. The network I
built became the model for the Department of General Services, with 3,500
employees in offices throughout California. An employee can log in at any
location and get to their e-mail, documents, etc., thanks to our implementation
of 'Information at Your Fingertips' using Windows servers, workstations and
My age is 53, and I say XP should stay around as long as Vista continues
to be a pain in the rear.
Thoughts? Send them to us at [email protected]
or leave a comment below.
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university