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Doug's Mailbag: Thoughts on Office 2010, Chrome OS, More

Keep the Office 2010 feedback coming! Here are some of your impressions so far of the latest rev:

Yeah, I tried the latest Office and have been using it since the first release. Cool product. They have moved features around, and I think it flows better than Office 2007. Have not been real deep into PowerPoint or Excel, even though Excel has some nice features, but they seem to work better than 2007.

One thing about the beta I don't care for is the option to save it as a 97-2003, which is necessary but does not give you the option to save as a 2007 product like its predecessor. But it appears that with Office 2010 and Exchange 2010, it's going to be a good mix.

I installed and started using Office 2010 Professional (beta) last week. The biggest surprise I had was when I ran Outlook for the first time (on a new instance of Windows 7). It configured itself and connected to my e-mail ISP. Great job! The self-configuration saved me a lot of time looking up my configuration values that I would have had to enter manually.

Office 2010 is a disaster. I tried the Visio 2010 beta (only after multiple confirmations from internal MS experts that the two environments could reside as separate installations without interfering with each other) to check out its use of the ribbon/tabs vs. the prior command bars/buttons. Then I tried to open an Office 2007 doc. Any 2007 doc -- they all failed. The beta had screwed up something in common with the Office 2007 environment. And it prevented any part of Office from being repairable, removable or updateable. I had to strong-arm it out, rip out several key registry sets of keys, and then go back to SP2 check point, reinstall SP3, reinstall Office, then several additional attempts to reinstall Visio and Project 2007 (ongoing).

Now, a week later, I have yet to fully recover the prior Office 2007 environment. Beware.

Meanwhile, for those of you still trying to get used to Office 2007, one reader has a tip:

We did an Office 2007 deployment at my old employer with our Vista deployment last year. Our pilot project revealed a very distinct divider between "love it" and "hate it." Fortunately, I found the Getting Started tab add-on before the main deployment started. This add-on can be installed along with the main Office product (requires some scripting). We provided our users with a cheat sheet which included instructions on how to use the Getting Started tab. As a result, there were fewer support calls from the main deployment than there were from the pilot. It's a very cool feature which I think Microsoft should have simply added to the main product. Check it out here.

Finally, readers chime in with their thoughts on Chrome OS and some suggestions for dealing with the synchronization issues raised by having a cloud-based OS:

There are at least two product I am aware of that can help you with real-time data synchronization: Novell iFolder and Dropbox. With iFolder, you can have the iFolder server internally or use Novell's servers and the files are synchronized to every device that has a client. With Dropbox, you store your files on their servers and they are synchronized to every device that has a client.

I have just what you want: Exchange at work, which is synchronized in real-time with my BlackBerry and every other desktop and laptop that I own. I can even sit at a stranger's computer and access OWA from there. Oh, and if I really need something from my desktop at work, I can use a remote desktop client to get there from any Wi-Fi hotspot in the world. And, if I have no Internet access, I still have a local processor and storage for the stuff I have with me.

In short, what you seek from Chrome OS is capability that already exists in Windows (and presumably from both Mac OS X and Linux). Chrome OS may have all these applications in the cloud along with my data, but I would really much rather not have to rely on Web-based apps and someone else keeping track of my data since any application that Chrome OS will offer me for free will also be downloadable on the PC that I already own. In the end, Chrome OS is just another Linux variant -- but this time tied to Google and its business model (likely to change without notice).

Macs are too expensive. Windows is too unstable (perhaps Windows 7 will help). But MAYBE Google Chrome OS will be computing nirvana -- run on lots of hardware, be stable, remote manageable, have lots good apps like OpenOffice, and support virtual machines.

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

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/02/2009 at 1:17 PM


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