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Doug's Mailbag: In Defense of Office 2007, More

A couple of readers just don't see the harm in the Office ribbon, despite some recent letters griping about it:

It is a shame when someone talks about their frustration with a product, then tells you about their "Eureka!" moment, but you realize they still don't get it. The ribbons are how you work within documents; the button in the corner is how you interface with other components within your computer environment (storage, printer, SharePoint, etc.). So his idea that he had "to ADD these basic items to your toolbar" just reiterates that he is trying to force his old round peg into the new square hole.

It should also be noted that not that many new features were added to Office 2007. The ribbons just make old features more visible. So you could say the comment about "not needing the new features" means the ribbons did their job; the many features in Office are now more visible to this user.

I finally converted to Office 2007 about a month ago. Quite honestly, I don't know what all the fuss is about. The ribbon is different, but useable. The Office button and quick access toolbar is efficient. Everything else seems to be grouped how I would expect except for Excel pivot tables (not under data) and macros (view?).

John thinks Microsoft's recent COFEE spill isn't the disaster some are making it out to be:

As you mention, most if not all the tools in COFEE are already in the toolkits of the crackers. One possible outcome might be improvements to COFEE as it circulates among the hackers (good guys).

Readers reminisce about the bygone days of networking:

Long ago, I started as a network admin working on an Arcnet network (Thomas Conrad). That sucked. Arcnet was dead before I even learned it. We moved up to a Cabletron hub with a backplane frame. Nicer. Finally able to justify switches (broadcast storms help with that), we moved up to some 3Com switches and although they were half the cost of Cabletron and Cisco, they were excellent -- fast, efficient and fully capable of handling everything and even giving me better statistics on it. Those were the days.

I loved USRobotics modems. They were the first, in my opinion, to give reliable dial-up access to Windows users.

And finally, Earl wants to get a few things straight regarding the flack Microsoft gets about hiring H-1B workers:

Before I begin, please note that I am a "natural-born" U.S. citizen. Microsoft is getting criticized for being the largest employer of people with H-1B Visas in the United States, but there is a lot of misinformation about H-1B Visas. It is vile and jingoistic. Microsoft employs over 30,000 people in the Puget Sound area alone. In 2006, approximately 3,000 (10 percent) held H-1B Visas.

Here are some facts. One, all jobs filled by people with H-1B Visas must be publicly advertised and available to U.S. citizens and residents. This means that Americans have the opportunity to try for these jobs and all equally or better-qualified Americans must be given preferential treatment. Two, all jobs filled by people with H-1B Visas must pay the prevailing wage for the position. This means that H-1B Visa workers cannot "work for peanuts." In fact, it costs more for companies to hire H-1B Visa workers than to hire Americans, because of the added 'red tape' and liabilities. Three, no U.S. workers can be displaced by H-1B Visa workers. Four, H-1B Visa workers pay U.S. taxes at the same rates as the rest of us.

Go to any major American university and look at their graduate student demographics in engineering and sciences. You will find that Americans seem to be in the minority. Yes, we have the best schools in the world. One of the reasons for this is that we attract the best students from all over the world. It is a symbiotic relationship. So we educate these best and brightest. Should we then tell them to leave and take their expertise to competing nations? Or should we get the benefit of their training at our universities?

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Posted by Doug Barney on 11/20/2009 at 1:17 PM


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