What a great offer. Microsoft is selling it’s top of the range Office package for Â£38.95. The Ultimate Steal website allows students to buy the full Office for that very cheap price or a years worth of Office for Â£12.95. I think that’s a great deal and it’s not only for the next few days. The offer is open until April 30th 2008.
I’ve always held the view that if major software packages like Office, Photoshop, even Windows was sold at more affordable prices then people would buy it and piracy would drop. It wouldn’t be totally gone as lower cost items like CD’s and DVD’s are pirated all the time but more people would be comfortable buying Office at Â£40 rather than a pirate copy. I certainly would. Even a Word, Excel, Powerpoint package for Â£40 would be great value. I wonder if this is the start of a shift in how Office will be priced? Maybe Google Docs, it’s online cousins and Open Office are starting to make ground.
One little error I forgot to mention. The Ultimate Steal website was blocked by Windows when I first tried it. Irony.
As expected there has been a lot of development on Windows Live writer. Microsoft have announced that plugins will have their own page on the Live Gallery – until then a blog has spawned to capture current plugin releases – Windows Live Writer Plugins.
First screen from my freshly installed Vista Beta 2. After partitioning my drive to allow for dual booting with XP and getting an iso image to finally burn correctly I installed Vista tonight. It took around an hour and a half to install but this was unattended so you could wander off and watch some football while it churned.
Flickr set is up although with only a few screens to begin with. Quick impressions – boot time is long, looks to be more security aware, couple of nice window opening effects, alt tab nice, speed seems ok which was surprising, Windows Update managed to install all my drivers which considering the pc is two years old was pretty impressive, XP still works, there still some Win 95 icons in there – it’s not crashed yet. I’m really wanting to test out day to day functionality like search, robustness etc as I’ve almost made my mind up that my next pc will be a mac…the beta will be a good test before I switch. More updates when I’ve used it in anger.
Ok – first night with it. Not done much except install Office Beta and also anti-virus. Thought I would use AVG free but once downloaded I tried to run it but Vista wouldn’t let me install – there are issues that might break Vista and I should contact the suppliers to pester them for a fix. Sigh. Microsoft though have sorted out a PC-Cillin anti-virus package that runs for the length of the Vista beta – that installed with no issues.
Tried Media Centre – worked OK although it seemed to crash on building my music library. Started it off well before the England game tonight but by half-time it stil hadn’t doen anything. Stopped the program, set-up library via Media Player 11 and it seems to be ok now. It’s either really slow (pc left unattended for 90 minutes yet failed to import 5000 tracks) or it crapped out.
Saying that system feels really usable. Office works well and one O/S has loaded it doesn’t feel any slower than XP. Need to delve into search though and see how that works. Pop-ups asking for permission to run apps and install programs is a tad frustrating too.
Beta 2 is out and can be downloaded here. Flickr set of screenshots highlights some of the new features. So far I’m impressed. This marks one of the biggest changes to Office in years. New is the ribbon at the top of the screen for easy access to features that are required for the currently selected task. In the brief play tonight it felt far more intuitive than Office 2003 – a real step forward. The ribbon will be a love it or hate it feature – those that are used to Office as it stands today may feel uncomfortable with the change.
Excel has had the 64000 row limit removed and the chart formatting options are quicker and slicker than before. Table handling has advanced and data can be more easily manipulated. Outlook has seen very little change although the searching (once you download a beta of Desktop Search) is now more integrated with the product. The rest of the apps see the ribbon applied and easier to use themes although Visio hasn’t had the same makeover as other apps – new functionality is available but no ribbon.
One snag is I haven’t been able to activate easily – hopefully this will be sorted over the coming days. Looking forward to seeing how open the new file formats are and if Access has changed much since I last used it in anger.
Heard it from one of the guys at work today who was annoyed that his pirated Windows was now suffering from pop-ups telling him so and confirmed on tech sites also – Microsoft are updating their Windows Genuine Advantage software this week to make sure that those without officially licensed copies of Windows will know that it is pirated and keep nagging you until:
- You buy a Windows license OR
- You agree to not receive Windows updates from Microsoft
I guess it’s to be expected of Microsoft but seems a strange time to do it less than 12 months away from the launch of Vista. Crackers will undoubtedly get round it and you can disable the service although you will no longer be able to download updates. Time to budget for purchasing an O/S. It seems daft that people are willing to spend Â£30-Â£40 on a variety of games but not the Â£60-Â£100 on an operating system.