Office 365 Versus Office 2013

This post has been sponsored by Microsoft Office 365 and Cloud Powered Work, but all opinions expressed are mine.

Chris Pirillo on Office 365A few months ago I mentioned Office 365, Microsoft’s subscription-based and cloud-integrated version of Office. Now I spend a lot of money on applications, but when it comes to software I’m not using every day (or often enough to justify spending more money on), I don’t see any reason to upgrade to the latest version unless I’m either truly in need of the latest features or truly enchanted by the more polished user experience that is usually being offered with newer versions of software. With only a cursory glance at the software, it didn’t seem necessary for me to provide an Office 365 versus Office 2013 type of study. From my view, Microsoft just seemed to be catching up with Google Docs in the way that it integrates its office suite of applications with the cloud. What else was there to say about it? Even so, I felt the service was undeniably valuable for those who regularly use Microsoft Office as their primary productivity suite.

Has my position changed since I first passed over Office 365? Not entirely, but it’s now much more informed. Having only glanced at the latest implementation of Office back in January, I continued using Google Docs as my main productivity and collaboration platform, not truly considering the full potential of using Office 365 versus Office 2013. Microsoft now truly offers the type of synergistic functionality I’ve been enjoying with Google Docs for some time. I’ve gotten so used to taking advantage of Google’s free (some would say “personal data-gathering” rather than “free”) offerings that until now I just didn’t see the need to make the jump back to Microsoft. The majority of what I do is cut, copy, and paste, and for those purposes I probably don’t even need to use Google’s offerings. There are a lot of other solutions I could use, perhaps even something that involves free/libre open source software (FLOSS) such as OpenOffice. Yet even as I consider what I’m suggesting, I recall the many occasions I’ve gone the FLOSS route only to reach a remarkably well-developed cul-de-sac. And as propertied as that end of the street may be, I typically find myself having to seek out another pathway in order to complete the journey of my work.

FLOSS office suites are great for many purposes, but getting any real amount of collaborative tasks accomplished over the Web using free software usually requires a scenario involving more than one complicated application. Google Docs currently enables me to work on documents with others in a nearly seamless manner, though it’s not quite as polished an experience as Microsoft Office. In other words, it works well enough for my purposes. If I was a regular Microsoft Office user today, I’d be ecstatic to find that Office 365 has reached and perhaps surpassed the level of collaborative value that Google Docs has been offering for some time now. I’m now taking a closer look at Redmond’s latest offerings, and though I recognized Office 365‘s value before, I’m beginning to more fully appreciate the product’s evolution — and how worthwhile an upgrade both Office 365 and Office 2013 offer, particularly for those already accustomed to using the productivity suite.

Office 365 Versus Office 2013: Familiarity and Comfort

Before I run my Office 365 versus Office 2013 comparison, let me go over a few areas I believe Microsoft’s office software trumps its competitors. I’ll begin with familiarity. Who can dispute the familiarity of Microsoft Office, the standard-bearer in office productivity suites for over two decades? Unless you spend most of your days in Chalmun’s Cantina, chances are you’ve at one time or another opened a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, or a PowerPoint presentation. Microsoft Office is familiar to the vast majority of computer users, and as at least one Forrester researcher recently pointed out, will continue to be the primary office software for millions of PC users. The same researcher also indicated that Microsoft needs to deliver Office to tablets (and sooner rather than later), a point I wholeheartedly agree with. As I said earlier this year, if Office 365 makes its way to the iPad, I’m a subscriber.

There’s the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt.” The generally accepted meaning behind the saying is that we lose respect for the people or the things we have the most experience with. I used to be a heavy advocate of Microsoft products, having grown up with DOS and Windows, and I still test out everything the company delivers and intend to continue doing so. Several years ago, however, I strayed toward the Apple side of things. This culminated in my purchase of a Mac Pro just over five years ago. The overall user experience Apple had to offer at the time seemed more attractive than Windows Vista. Was I unhappy with the familiar? Possibly. It’s often the unfamiliar and mysterious “other” that one desires most. I didn’t feel contempt for Microsoft — I still loved Microsoft at the time, and still hunger for more of the company’s products to test — but my overall experience with its products back in 2008 had reached the point where it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it had once been.

That doesn’t mean that Microsoft had anything less to offer than Apple. Apple’s offerings were different (apologies for bringing to mind an old marketing phrase), and more suited to my needs at the time. The more I dabbled with Mac OS X and iOS, the more I moved away from Windows Vista and Windows Mobile (the latter being the precursor to Windows Phone). But Apple didn’t offer everything I needed. As much as I’ve enjoyed my time dealing with what was once a relatively unfamiliar platform, I must admit I’ve missed a few of the tools I’d grown accustomed to using on Windows, including Office. I only turned toward Google Docs because Apple didn’t offer the type of online collaboration platform that I was seeking, but Google was. Google Docs also offered an experience that resembled Office enough to suit my needs, more or less, and as the years have passed I’ve grown used to the way Google Docs works — hiccups and all. With Office 365, Microsoft is offering the type of interactivity between applications and the cloud that I wish it had offered years ago. There would’ve been no reason for me to rely on Google to meet my needs if Office 365 had looked as good as it is beginning to look to me now.

Regardless of whether familiarity breeds contempt or not, one thing is undeniable: familiarity brings with it a level of comfort. Both Office 365 and Office 2013 offer the comfort of familiarity, and Microsoft is working hard to maintain that for its users, preferring to work more on polishing the user experience of its Office products than to introduce unneeded features. More on that in a bit.

Office 365 Versus Office 2013: Research and Experience

Microsoft may be perceived as following Google’s lead in the online collaborative platform space, but the fact is that both Office 2013 and Office 365 have been a long time in the making. Since Office is one of Microsoft’s bread-and-butter products, the company took its sweet time developing the latest iteration(s) of what is probably the most-used software in the world. With the resources to take the time improving its product to meet the needs of its customers and with the opportunity to watch how consumers and businesses collaborate using online productivity suites, Microsoft may have developed better products over all than its competitors. Both Office 2013 and Office 365 clearly benefit from Microsoft’s vast resources and years of research and experience in the areas of office software development and cloud computing solutions.

Prior versions of Office weren’t as seamlessly connected to the cloud as the latest versions, but it’s not like Microsoft hadn’t been experimenting with Web-based applications while working on the next iterations. Office 365 is a direct descendant of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), an earlier foray into cloud-based services that was aimed primarily at business users. And even those who’ve never used Office know that Microsoft’s Xbox platform is one of the most Web-connected products in the world, offering an interactive experience that provided a type of testing ground for the company’s research and development department(s). So although it was slow to perfect the collaborative aspects of its Office products, Microsoft has excelled at implementing cloud-based services for quite some time.

Office 2013 similarly benefits from all this research. The more “traditional” version of Office looks and behaves in a manner quite similar to its forebears while also being more connected to the cloud. Yet although Office 2013 is more cloud-based than previous versions, it still utilizes the cloud somewhat less than Office 365. As mentioned before, Office 365 is descended from other cloud-based services Microsoft introduced some years back. Office 2010, on the other hand, kept it cozy by remaining a product that wouldn’t alienate existing users while gradually introducing more features that took advantage of the increasing number of broadband Internet connections. With the release of Office 2013 last year, Microsoft has somehow maintained the same level of familiarity of former versions of Office while moving more toward the cloud-based Office 365.

Office 365 Versus Office 2013In many respects, both Office 365 and Office 2013 are indistinguishable. But some differences remain. For one, subscribers to Office 365 are able to stream full instances of Office to computers on demand, without installing the software permanently to the computer. In other words, Office 365 is a portable version of Office due to its reliance on the cloud. This can be particularly useful for anyone visiting friends and family who don’t have Office installed on their computers, or for an employee who occasionally hops from one workstation to another. Office 365 also offers installation on five different Windows or Mac machines (though a new version Office for Mac isn’t scheduled to arrive until next spring). Office 2013, on the other hand, is generally intended to be installed on a single computer (though volume licenses are available).

Office 365 Versus Office 2013: Greater Compatibility

Microsoft Office has been the primary productivity suite in both enterprises and homes for generations, and each new version of the software offers the best compatibility with existing Office documents. Within a week of Office 365‘s launch, a billion Office documents were already being stored on SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud-based storage solution (which is integrated with Office). Billions more — heck, kazillions more — are offline, waiting to be imported into the latest version of Office. Though competitors are always working to mimic Office’s features, sometimes they fail. If your word processing software doesn’t produce documents that are easy to open in Microsoft Office, then your word processing software is useless to all but a very small minority of people.

FLOSS is wonderful in theory, but often cumbersome in practice. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great appreciation for the open source community. The fact that the community exists provides the competition that motivates innovation. But in my experience, many open source equivalents to commercial offerings don’t quite meet my needs. It’s not that they don’t offer all of the features I need, as many FLOSS applications match their commercial equivalents feature-by-feature. It’s more a problem of execution. Sometimes the open source offerings simply aren’t skillfully designed, at least not until the software has fully matured (by which time the applications have been shaped by several generations of user feedback). If an application is developed to replace an existing one, it must at least be as easy to use as the one it is replacing. Office applications have been one of the fundamental drivers of computer purchases for decades, and nobody wants to face an entirely new office productivity paradigm.

Microsoft Office helps to ensure document integrityAnd why not? Because having to face a new learning curve is inefficient, and inefficiency is only fun for politicians trying to slow down the progress of a bill through Congress. It’s already difficult enough to interpret the US Constitution without having to worry about the integrity of the document, which has been reproduced in various manners over the centuries since it was first written. Imagine if our only remaining copy of the Constitution was in a digital file format that no longer was able to be read because of software incompatibilities. Fortunately, Microsoft has addressed the unlikely potential of something like this occurring by adopting an open standard specification for its file format in recent editions of Office.

Both Office 365 and Office 2013 offer to consumers familiarity and comfort, the benefit of being developed from years of experience and research, and potentially greater compatibility with existing documents. These terms may seem like catchwords we’ve all seen before, but they’re not headed for the waste bin of overuse (as terms like “game changer”) because these terms are not hyperbolic or misleading. They are factual. Lots of people use Office, and lots of people are comfortable with the software. Microsoft has had not only the benefit of experience but the resources to take the best of what’s out there and build a product that has the potential to meet consumer expectations better than any other product its competitors have to offer. It is nearly an added bonus that Microsoft introduces solutions that ensure compatibility with aging documents (which should be a requirement for all companies’ software, though unfortunately it is not).

Office 365 Versus Office 2013: Pricing Differences

I’ve told you what I think differentiates Microsoft Office from its competition and what the main differences between Office 365 and Office 2013 are, but you’re probably wondering what, if any, other differences exist specifically between Office 365 and Office 2013. The main difference has to do with the pricing. Office 365 offers a subscription model, where Office 2013 is offered as a standalone, pay-once-and-you-own-it-forever purchase. There have been many examinations of this pricing structure, some researched better than others (I love this Computer World price calculator, which compares various pricing scenarios). Many will tell you it’s simple to determine which product to go with, including the author of the video I’m including with this post.

http://youtu.be/qg8dAbx28pE

The video is a fine outline of some of the differences between Office 365 and Office 2013, but it’s misleading to believe that it’s as simple as choosing the option that you’re guessing will be most economical over time. Even Computer World admits that its pricing calculator doesn’t take into account the additional applications the Home Premium edition of Office 365 offers in comparison to its most comparable equivalent, Office Home and Student 2013. When it comes down to it, nobody can tell you which version will be most economical for you in the long-run. If you choose to buy the least expensive option, you’ll be taking a gamble that you won’t need the applications or the functionality available with more expensive options.

What’s more important than price are the actual functional differences between the two products. As mentioned previously, the more traditional Office 2013 is the direct descendant of the previous version of the suite, Office 2010. It has interface improvements (including a more Metro-style look and feel), improved integration with third-party applications recently acquired by Microsoft (including Skype and Yammer), updated support for certain file formats, an improved touch (and pen) experience, and is more integrated into the cloud. Over all, it’s a more polished experience than Office 2010. In fact, one of the Word 2013 team’s driving philosophies was precisely that:

We will continue to focus on polishing existing user experiences/scenarios over “adding new features,” driving ourselves to make improvements in the things that users already do every day

Office 365 was originally planned for business users but now home users are also invited to the club, and for a very reasonable entry fee (and if you’re a student you can take advantage of an exceptional offer). You get a few extras with a subscription to Office 365, including 20 gigs of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes a month of Skype service. These are all fine added values if you’re going to be using them, but the main thing to consider, to the best of your ability to forecast, is how you will using Office in the coming years.

Office 365 versus Office 2013: which have you used, and which do you think is the better choice?

Why Would I Want to Consider Apple’s Ecosystem over Microsoft’s?

Jaren Lopez writes:

Although the Microsoft ecosystem is young and completely different from Apple’s, what are the major benefits of investing in Apple products instead of Microsoft products? I would prefer to keep myself in one ecosystem rather than having one Microsoft product, one Apple product, and one Android product. I’m leaning towards Microsoft, as I prefer the live tiles (Metro) interface, Xbox Music (free music), touch-centricity, and being able to sync settings across devices. But what is something that you can tell me about Apple’s ecosystem that would possibly make me change my mind?

Why Would I Want to Consider Apple's Ecosystem over Microsoft's?I hate to regurgitate one of the oft-repeated adages about Apple products being for creative types… so I won’t. For one thing, it doesn’t apply anymore, what with the steadily increasing number of quality productivity applications available for Mac OS X and even iOS. As for Windows-based PCs, a decade or so ago the strongest argument for directing someone to Microsoft’s platform would have been one application: Microsoft Office. Though the first versions of Microsoft Word first appeared on Mac systems over two decades ago, until OS X (and really, until the operating system had fully matured), the Apple platform had faced a number of shortcomings in being an acceptable alternative to Windows-based PCs in all but a few corporate office environments.

Importing and exporting Office documents between Macs and Windows PCs while preserving the original integrity of the documents was an issue, for example. This was just one shortcoming of working with Macs; there were also a limited variety of accounting, database, and other applications that most corporate office workers and even small business owners required to perform their daily tasks. Yet for anyone who was interested or already working in graphic design, desktop publishing, audio composition, video production, photography, or some other type of “creative” endeavor, the Apple Macintosh line of products seemed clearly tailor-made for such purposes.

Mac OS X was first previewed over a dozen years ago, and Apple, thanks in large part to third-party software developers, has since made great strides in office productivity. Most of the compatibility issues of bygone days have been overcome, and with the market share of Apple products continuing to grow, there is a continuous flow of new applications and apps being released for both OS X and iOS, many of which are dedicated to getting things other than media editing and artwork done. No longer is Apple simply considered exclusively the platform for artists, and regardless of what the Samsung smartphone commercials would have you believe, Apple mobile devices are not, and have never been, simply for hipsters and the technologically clueless. That’s not to say that some Android-based devices aren’t absolutely marvelous devices; it’s simply a marketing falsity to assert that the the iPhones are lesser device than Samsung’s Android-based ones. Both devices are exceptional, and deliver in the areas — and, by extension, the users — for which they are most suited.

With so many companies relying on social networking for their marketing purposes, iPhones (and even iPod touches) have for many purposes become preferable devices to use for sharing and distributing content. Unless the Windows Phone platform becomes more popular, most of the social marketing performed by those dedicated to Microsoft’s products will be performed using Windows laptops or tablets, since Windows Phone simply hasn’t reached full maturity yet, and developers are simply more interested in developing their best apps for the platforms that have (Android and iOS). So if you’re planning on sticking with Microsoft, consider purchasing an iPhone or an Android smartphone so that you’ll be able to get some work done, particularly if you wish to use the latest and most popular mobile apps.

One major consideration when looking into delving into the Apple ecosystem is one of major contention between both Apple advocates and the anti-Apple establishment: proprietary standards. Apple makes a good deal of profit by restricting the tainting of its products through quality control, and part of that control turns off a good number of potential customers. For example, every few years Apple likes to incorporate new types of technology into its products that aren’t yet widely adopted, such as its introduction of FireWire (Apple’s name for the IEEE 1394 standard) way before Windows-based PC vendors were incorporating the data-transfer technology into their systems. Apple also famously excluded floppy drives and optical drives from its computers before any PC manufacturers did. Most recently, Apple switched to a new type of connector for its iOS devices.

Whenever Apple introduces proprietary connectors or even open standards that are not yet widely used, the company causes just as many problems as it seems to be attempting to solve. Many peripheral manufacturers have to rush to develop solutions that will enable consumers to continue to use their products with Apple devices. Consumers have to spend more money to purchase the resulting solutions. And although many consumers are perfectly willing to pony up the cash for the changes that Apple introduces — since most of the technologies Apple introduces greatly improve the overall user experience and productivity for consumers — there are plenty of users who don’t appreciate these alterations. So you must decide if you are willing to be a flexible consumer when it comes to buying into Apple.

Apple also undergoes a more rigorous vetting process when accepting third-party developers’ apps into its App Store. This creates consternation for some developers, but for the consumer it usually ensures more reliable and well-built mobile apps. By comparison, Google Play (Android’s apps marketplace, formerly called Android Market) accepts far more apps from developers, resulting in what many perceive as a store of applications that is inferior to Apple’s. The subject is moot, however, as nobody has been able to reach a conclusion as to which platform offers the superior software. One thing that can be said for certain, however, is that Microsoft has a far smaller collection of applications available for its Windows Phone mobile operating system.

At the same time, with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 and Windows Phone strategies, you also have to be quite flexible. Fortunately for you, you seem to be enjoying the new interface and integration that Microsoft is offering with its latest products, so you won’t have to worry as much as other Windows consumers about upgrading into a new paradigm that may or may not turn out to be less inspiring than the advertisements would have it. So investing heavily into the Mac world may not be in your best interest at this time. If you can afford to, buy a Mac mini — you know, one of the “headless” ones that you can use with an existing display — and see how much it grabs you. It’s the least expensive way to gain a solid understanding of how Mac OS X operates. You don’t have to dive headfirst into the Mac ecosystem, and a Mac mini will provide you with what you need to test the waters before you decide to plunge in or not.

If you can’t afford a Mac mini right now, a good alternative may be the iPod touch or iPhone, which you may find you prefer to using a Windows Phone, anyway. With an iPod touch, you basically have a mini iPad mini and it’s the least expensive way to get a taste of the Apple user experience. Apple is still making a 16 GB version of the iPod touch 4th generation for $200 that runs the latest version of iOS, minus a few features (such as the Siri voice recognition technology). LockerGnome contributor Harold Johnson was able to find a 32 GB one for around the same price, brand new, during the last Cyber Monday sale, and you can find one on Amazon right now for slightly less than its price on Apple.com. That way, if you find you don’t take to Apple as much as you’d been expecting, you’ll at least have invested in what is still considered by most to be the best portable media consumption device available. It’s certainly still the best music player I have, particularly since it doesn’t rely on any type of wireless connection to play music.

Community: What am I missing here? What would you tell someone who is on the fence about exploring the Apple side of technology?

Image from Amazon

How to Use PowerPoint 2007’s Presenter View

One of the challenges of delivering a Slide Show view is that you do not have access to your speaker notes, unless you wrote them down or printed a hard copy. However, if you use Presenter View instead, you can run your presentation from one monitor while the audience views your presentation on a second monitor. This lets you, as the presenter, view thumbnails so you know what slides are coming up as well as your speaker notes.

In order to use Presenter View, the computer on which you are running the presentation must support multiple monitors. Most computers nowadays provide support for at least two monitors. PowerPoint only supports the use of two monitors for a presentation. However, you can run your presentation on more than two monitors if they are connected to a single computer. All you need to do is turn on multiple monitor support.

If you want to use Presenter View, you need to configure PowerPoint to use multiple monitors as described below.
How to Use PowerPoint 2007's Presenter ViewOn the Slide Show tab, in the Monitors group, click Use Presenter View.

Select the Monitor tab.

Select the monitor icon that you want to use to view your speaker notes, and then select the This is my main monitor option.

Select the monitor icon for the second monitor that the audience will view, select the Extend my Windows Desktop onto this monitor check box, and then click OK.

On the Slide Show tab, in the Monitors group, ensure that the monitor on which you want the audience to see your presentation appears in the Show On list.

Now you know how to use PowerPoint’s Presenter View. As you can see, PowerPoint’s Presenter View can be a helpful addition to any speaker’s armory of presentation tools. No more Post-It notes or scraps of paper to prompt you along your intended course will ever be necessary again.

How to Shrink a Word Document

Shrink Your Word 2010 DocumentSome people subscribe to the philosophy that bigger is always better (and not all of them are from Texas). On the other side of the coin, there are those who say that less is more. To the former group, too much is never enough. To the latter group, be succinct and cut to the chase! If you have a document that’s slightly longer than one page, Microsoft Word 2010 has a handy dandy feature that lets you shrink the document to one page. When can such a thing come in handy? Well, if you’re printing it out, for one, you may want to save money on expensive ink and paper (or just conserve resources if you want to feel the warm fuzzies of doing your part to save the environment). Why print four pages that are partially covered in text when you can simplify them down to one easy to read, easy to carry, and easy to store sheet of paper?

If you’re familiar with older versions of Word, you’ve likely seen the Shrink one page command. Looking for the Shrink one page command in Word 2010? You might think a feature that many found handy in those previous versions of Microsoft Word would be giant, bold, and beautiful in an easy to access location. And if you’ve finally adjusted to the much resisted Ribbon, you’d probably be wise to look there for it. Unfortunately, it’s not on the Ribbon, so you have to manually add it.

Within Word, click the File tab.

Click Options and click Customize Ribbon.

In Choose commands from list, click All commands.

From the lengthy list of commands, click Shrink one page.

Under Customize the Ribbon, click the group to which you want to add the command.

Click Add.

Click OK.

Now the Shrink one page command is available on the Ribbon and you can use it to shrink your document. There you have it, in a nutshell: how to shrink a Word document.

Embed .WAV Audio Files in PowerPoint

Embed .WAV Audio Files In PowerPointWhy in the heck would you want to jazz up your boring old PowerPoint presentation with a .WAV audio file? Isn’t it just going to be shown to a bunch of mid-morning, caffeine-deprived zombies (as most of us are) in a meeting designed to prod them into being more attentive to some counterproductive, company mandated policy or another? As soon as the lights are out and the gentle susurrus of the projector hums its soothing lullaby, half of your audience will already drooling on freshly pressed neckties and dreaming of long-over (or overdue) Caribbean vacations. Why would you disturb such tranquil slumber with imposing .WAV audio files in a PowerPoint presentation? Well, probably because you want to jar your congregation into a semblance of alacrity. After all, if you had to go through the trouble of making this damned thing, the least you should expect is that others will have to suffer through it. Misery, after all, loves the heck out of company; the more company there is, the merrier it shall be.

One of the challenges of using audio with a PowerPoint presentation is that the audio files and the .PPT file must be in the same folder. However, if your audio files are .WAV files, you can embed them into the PowerPoint presentation. The only disadvantage is that the embedded files increase the overall size of the PowerPoint presentation.

To embed a .WAV audio file into a PowerPoint presentation:

Within your PowerPoint file, click the Insert tab. Click Sounds and select Sound from file. Select the audio file you want to embed and click OK.

If the .WAV file is linked rather than embedded, you may need to increase the file size limit. Select the sound object and click Sounds from the ribbon. In the Sound Options, increase the value of the Max Sound File Size so it is larger than the .WAV file you are trying to embed.

Does Microsoft Windows Need To Do More Or Less In Future Versions?

There is little doubt that over the years we have seen Microsoft Windows continue to grow, into what some claim is now bloated beyond belief. Some have claimed that Microsoft has followed a pattern in their growing spurt as hard disks grew bigger, processors became faster and memory became cheaper. Microsoft also had no qualms in sharing the super sizing even for their prized software Microsoft Office.

Some have stated that this increase in size was needed as the operating system carried more of the load, offered my options, included more software such as DVD writing and other applications. Microsoft Office was also called upon to do more for their clients which in turn added to its growth in size. So if you run both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office latest editions, you saw a definite increase in size.

What also is bringing attention to Microsoft is that while the bigger computer cousins like desktop and laptops can handle the load, smaller hardware like netbooks and tablets struggle pushing the Windows code. Even though Microsoft has shrunk Windows down to a bare minimum these devices still struggle. While over at Apple and Google their operating systems thrive on lean hardware.

However, if it was that simple to compare Microsoft Windows to Apple iOS or Google Chrome, the argument would be easy. Except that there are distinct differences that separate these operating system for the specific needs of the consumer. So putting this argument aside and also the argument that Windows contains outdated code etc. , is Windows too bloated?

Hold on say some to this notion. They like the way Windows 7 functions plus they enjoy all of the new bells and whistles. They argue that they do not care how big Windows is because Windows works just fine on their desktop or laptop computers. In addition some want Windows to increase what it does and add more features. With the new hard drive sizes they feel that Windows getting larger is a none event.

One comment that I found of interest was from those who have chosen to put Windows on a SSD drive and store their data on a traditional hard disk. They complain that this type of system doesn’t function perfectly since Windows seems to feel that all software should be installed in the Programs file directory. Microsoft would have to address this problem, which some feel will not happen anytime soon.

How this idea? The user gets to choose what gets installed on a system and where it gets installed? This suggestion, coupled with a modular type of Windows, seems very popular.

Personally I don’t care. Windows 7 runs great on my systems and I have no complaints. The days of calling Windows or Office bloated make no sense, since the hard disks we have become so huge, and performance hasn’t suffered because of faster processors and more memory, the argument is a moot point to me.

So what do you think?

Source – Windows 7 News Forum

Why Has Apple Sold 15M iPads? Because They’re The Best Toys On The Planet!

In 1974 I bought what was a remarkable device for its time called a Radarange made by Amana. At the time the units were retailing for $700 and I thought I was getting a deal when I bought one for $450, which at the time was about a 1/2 month’s pay. But the unit proved to be a marvel, though most people who visited our home looked at the oven being similar to a nuclear power plant. We were  all going to be sterile, have our hair fall out, and all types of scary diseases would plague us if we got too close to the machine. Fortunately none of these things happened and I found the microwave not as a replacement for the traditional stove, but as a supplement to the kitchen range.

Let’s be honest. The Apple iPad is not a replacement for the traditional desktop or laptop computer. For some the fact that the Apple iPad doesn’t support Microsoft Office is also a reason it can’t compete with a real computer. In fact, compared to a smart phone, the Apple iPad cannot really be called a portable unit. So what is making the Apple iPad such a popular computer? The reason is because, like the microwave, people keep finding more and more uses for it.

People started to find that reading an eBook on an iPad while lounging on the couch was a good idea. They also found that surfing the Internet from just about anywhere and in any comfortable position was also a novelty compared to a real computer. Sure, the pint-sized wannabe doesn’t have the power to run complicated software programs, nor does it have a huge hard disk to store all of the junk we collect.

But the iPad has something else that makes it special. It is easy to use, simple to figure out, and offers some 400,000 apps that have something for everyone. So is the iPad just a toy? Not really. It is also a TV, entertainment device, a note taker for students of all ages, and can also be used to teach small children how to count, read, and just about anything else a kid would need. There is just about something for everybody that makes the iPad an attractive device for many.

2011 is being said to be the year of the tablet computer. No less than 50 devices will be hitting the market in the very near future. As prices drop and the tablets improve, the tablet will become more and more popular. Though it may not replace a traditional computer, it will find a place in more and more homes this year.

Just how good is an Apple iPad? Just give it to a child and watch.

Comments welcome.

Source – Gadget Lab

OpenOffice – Could It Be Right For You?

I have been using Microsoft Office for about 15 years and have always found it a very good software product. Yes, there have been some minor issues, but for the most it has been a very useful products. On the Windows side of my system I continue to use Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate and thus far I have enjoyed the product. But since I am also booting into Linux Mint, I have also used OpenOffice, which is the default product that comes with Mint.

I am using OpenOffice version 3.2, which, as I stated, was the default that came with Mint. OpenOffice is a complete suite of products that is very similar to what Microsoft Office offers. Though the product names are different, the Calc spreadsheet is similar to Excel, Writer is similar to Word and so forth. The basic functions are the same. Notice the word basic. Because using OpenOffice is basically the same as Microsoft Office, so the learning curve I found was minimal.

There was one thing I discovered about myself and my relationship with either Office products. I have changed how I use Office over the years. There was a time I used mail merge, spreadsheets, and made presentations. But that is no longer the case. I basically use Word for creating documents which require minimal functions. I also find that I use .pdf documents the most for receiving newsletters from other organizations.

I copied over all of my Word documents from Windows 7 to Mint. OpenOffice had no problem opening any of them. In fact, OpenOffice also allowed the saving of the document in either Microsoft Office file formats or its own file format. Compatibility for me wasn’t an issue.

The best way to find out how well OpenOffice.org 3.2 can work for you is to download it and give it a try. Versions are available at the link below and versions are available for 32 bit and 64 bit Windows, Linus, OS X, and also for Solaris.

After using OpenOffice, along with Mint, I discovered that OpenOffice has everything I needed. Your mileage may vary.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. OpenOffice is free. :-)

Comments welcome.

Download OpenOffice from here.

Microsoft OneNote iPhone App Review

If you are familiar with the Microsoft Office suite, then you know of Microsoft Office OneNote. This note taking application is essential for any student or individual who needs to keep notes and create checklists for themselves. Microsoft’s first iPhone app tied to the Office application suite looks very promising.

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For a limited time Microsoft is letting iPhone users download the application for free to let users access, edit, and create notes from their iPhone. With Microsoft’s new marketing for “the cloud,” all OneNote documents are synced with your Windows Live SkyDrive account to easily access via the Web app or OneNote 2010 on your computer.

Similar to Evernote, OneNote ties in the Office cloud network to store all your files for later use and retrieval from any Internet connected device or computer. I took some time to play with OneNote Mobile and I was very pleased with the design and navigation of the app. The ability to synchronize with my existing OneNote files was amazing.

With this iPhone application just launched, Microsoft plans to have a Mac OS X version very soon, so OneNote can be a universal note taking application.

Because of design limitations of iOS, OneNote on the iPhone will enter your data as plain text, but some rich text formatted notes will show up if you synced them from the Web app or OneNote 2010.

One amazing feature that I am very lucky to see is formatting buttons on the keyboard. When typing out notes, users can quickly and easily create bulleted lists or even check marked items so they can go back and check off once a task is complete.

Another feature I am excited to see is the in app camera feature. Enabling you to take a picture of, let’s say, a white-board, and pin it in your notes for later reference. One ability Evernote does have over OneNote is the ability to support audio recordings.

For the most part the app is attractive and easy on the eyes, providing a clean usable interface that lets even the most unorganized find their way around.

The performance of the app is very speedy and synchronizing is a breeze. On even slow Internet connections, like my own, it compared will with the Evernote app sync speed.

This app caters more towards the existing OneNote users who want to find an easy way to access their notes on the go. It currently isn’t at the point to compete with other services like Evernote, but they both are very nice apps and I recommend that users try both apps to see what works for them. I am also curious to see what else Microsoft has in store for future iPhone apps, hopefully breaking some type of basic word editor to the iPhone as well.

Download it here from the iTunes App Store!

Compress Media Files In Your PowerPoint 2010 File

One of the great things about PowerPoint is that you can embed video files into your presentations. The downside of this is that the embedded video files can dramatically increase the size of the presentation. Fortunately, you can compress the videos to keep the size of your presentation down.

The compress media files embedded within PowerPoint 2010:

  1. From the File tab, click Info.
  2. Click Compress Media within the right hand pane.
  3. From the list of options, click Presentation Quality. This option saves space while maintaining the overall audio and video quality.
  4. Once the compression process is complete, click Close.

Transpose Data From A Row To A Column In Excel

If you’ve entered data in four rows and four columns but want to transpose or switch the data so the row labels become column headings, you can do so without having to re-type the data. To do so, select the entire data range. Press CTRL + C to select the data.

There should be an image here!Next, click the drop down arrow below the Paste button and click Paste Special. From the Paste Special window, click the Transpose option. Click OK.

Excel automatically transposes the row/column labels along with the data.

[Photo above by Jennifer Chernoff / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Enable OpenType Ligatures In Word 2010

If you like experimenting with Word to create elaborate documents, this tip is definitely for you! You can create your own calligraphy-like text within Word 2010 by enabling OpenType Ligatures. Within Word 2010, simply click the button within the lower right corner of the Font group to open the Font dialog box. Next, click the Advanced tab. From the Ligatures drop down list, click Standard Only. Click OK.

Now, to see how great OpenType is, switch the font to Gabriola and start typing. Select the text, press CTRL +D to open the Font window, and click on the Advanced tab. Change the value for Stylistic Sets to 7 and you should see some great effects show up.

Quickly Select An Entire Worksheet In Excel

Here’s a nifty time save for Excel. Let’s say you need to change the font size of all cells in an Excel worksheet. You can use your mouse to click in a cell and drag the cursor to highlight the rest. For large worksheets though, this can be a pain.

There should be an image here!Instead, you can select all the cells within a worksheet using a single click. Simply click the light blue box in the top left corner of the worksheet (the box with the small triangle). It’s the box above the row numbers and beside the column letters. When you click the box, the entire worksheet is selected so you can easily change the font size (or perform some other action).

[Photo above by Jennifer Chernoff / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Use The Mini Translation In Word 2010

One of the nifty new features of Word 2010 is the Mini Translator which provides on-the-fly translation of words and phrases. Furthermore, the Mini Translator includes a Play button so you can hear the pronunciation of a word or phrase.

To use the Mini Translator:

  1. Within your Word 2010 document, click the Review tab.
  2. Click the Translate button. Turn on the Mini Translator by clicking the Mini Translator option.
  3. If this is the first time you’ve click the option, the Translation Language Options window appears. Click Mini Translator and click the arrow beside the Translate To list to select the language in which you want text translated.
  4. Click OK.
  5. To translate text within your document, simply select the text and hover the cursor over it.

How Do I Change The Paper Size In Word 2007?

By default, Word 2007 is set up for 8 ½ by 11 letter-size paper. This is typically the size of paper that most people use for printing documents. However, there may be times when you need to print to different sized paper such as 8 ½ by 14 legal-size paper. Fortunately, it only takes a few clicks to change the paper size in Word 2007.

To change the paper size in Word 2007:

  1. Click the Page Layout ribbon.
  2. Within the Page Setup group, click Size.
  3. From the drop down menu, select the paper size that you want to use.