Beta-Boy

This blog WAS about my experiences with the new Microsoft Vista OS. I went back to Windows XP, so I'm no longer updating it. However, I decided to leave it on-line, at least until Vista is officially released. There may be a few tips here that will help other beta users.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Played With Office 2007 Today

Note: I apologize about the small font in this post. Blogger won't change it, no matter what I do. With many browsers, you can enlarge the font by holding down the Ctrl key and scrolling the mouse wheel. That should make this post more readable.

I didn't blog much today, because A) I had to work on a Psychology paper, and B) I spent a few hours playing around with Office 2007 and OneNote 2007. I'm not going to give a comprehensive review here, but I will give some quick thoughts.

OneNote 2007 has a whole lot of potential...a LOT of potential. If you don't know what OneNote is, you can find out by going here. Basically, it's a personal Content Management System on steroids. I was very impressed after I installed it. Like I said, it's got a lot of potential. As soon as I started using it, though, I could see that user friendliness was going to be a problem.

For instance, it's very easy to create tables to store information in. To test this out, I created a "page" in a "notebook" to store my Web site logins. The first thing that I noticed is that there is no way to sort the table data (at least, not that I've found so far). You have to put the sites in the order that you want them to be, or you're hosed. I'll post an update if I find a way to order tables in OneNote.


(As you can see in the above screenshot, I was able to select the column on the left, but I couldn't find a way to make OneNote sort the table by that column.)


Also, OneNote has a handy way to copy portions of your screen directly into the program. I really like that. No more pasting into Paint and then editing! The downside? You can't seem to paste into a page that you've already started. OneNote insists on making a new page.

I created the above screenshot by using the OneNote cropping tool (Windows key + S), and then pasted it into Paint. If I wanted to put the image into OneNote, though, I could have done it directly without having to use a separate program to edit the image first.

In short, I could see making the move to OneNote 2007...if they get it tweaked, and the bugs worked out. Right now I use Treepad X Enterprise for personal data management. It has about 1/100 of the features of OneNote, but it costs $64.95. I'm sure I'll be shelling out a lot more for OneNote 2007 when it goes to retail, and so I want it to work.

On to Outlook 2007:

Moving right along...I like Outlook 2007 a lot less than OneNote. I wasn't even going to install Outlook 2007 on my laptop, because I just don't need all the bells and whistles that it has. However, I saw that OneNote will let you flag pages for follow-up, and it automatically exports to Outlook 2007. I thought that was pretty cool, so I decided to try it out.

Low and behold, Outlook 2007 is just BUGGY! I can't believe it's even been released for public beta yet!

Okay, I'll be fair...it might not be AS buggy on Windows XP...I haven't tried it there yet.

But, that brings up another point: The beta site for Office 2007 states that it's not certified for Windows Vista yet (or words to that effect). In other words, they don't guarantee that it will work with Vista. I was like....what? You mean to tell me that the two mega-releases coming from Microsoft, due to be released about the same time, aren't even compatible with each other yet?! Someone dropped the ball here, folks...

Anyway, as I was saying, Outlook 2007 is buggy. I started it and opened the Task manager pane, and it kept saying that it was loading. What it was trying to load, I don't know. It led me add tasks, so I ignored it. I had to restart my computer to make it stop doing that.

The second, and more major, problem is that in the "New Task" window stuff is not laid out right. It initially looks ok, but as soon as you make a change, the interface doesn't redraw properly. You can see what I mean in the screenshots below (hopefully they'll come out detailed enough).

Screenshot 1 (above): Everything looks fine


Screenshot 2 (above): I made some changes that redrew the interface, and now there are lines through everything.

The final blow was when I figured out that Outlook won't shut down. You close it, and Vista immediately says that it has stopped responding, and then it auto-restarts it. If you hit cancel fast enough you can make it shut down, but who wants to do that all the time?

The short of it is, I'm very unsatisfied with Office 2007 so far. Microsoft really has no excuse for this. If the problems I'm experiencing are due to Office 2007 not working properly with Vista, then why isn't it compatible at this point? We're just a few short months from release, for crying out loud.

On the other hand, if these bugs (and many more that I did not describe) are happening on XP as well, then why did they put such a shoddy system into public beta?

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