Category Archives: Office

Office 365: First Impressions

I’ve been hearing about Office 365, so I signed up and am giving it a whirl.  There’s much to talk about, but here’s some notable first impressions:

  • BES is not supported.  I don’t know if there’s a way to integrate BES servers into your environment, but MS doesn’t support BES.  You can connect a Blackberry using IMAP.  If you do that, you have to sync contacts and calendars manually.  ActiveSync is fully supported.
  • If you have Office 2010 Professional Plus installed and integrated with Office 365, you cannot use web apps.  You have to use the installed apps and then save into Sharepoint.
  • Office Web Apps are significantly stripped down versions of the Office Apps.  They will probably be fine for most Office users, but this should be understood before making choices.
  • Office Web Apps can be used in IE, Firefox,  and Safari.  I haven’t tested Chrome, but I’m sure that works too.
  • It appears that Live Meeting has been rolled into Lync.  That’s great!
  • Lync can be accessed using OWA, but it’s a stripped down version.
  • Sharepoint Workspace is probably the best way to connect into Sharepoint file stores, but it is possible to map drives into the file stores.  I doubt this is advisable.
  • It’s possible to pick individual Office 365 services instead of the designated “plans.”  This ala carte ordering system allows you to spend as little as $2 a month for Lync only or as much as you’d like.  The nice thing about this is that if you are already licensed for Office 2010 Professional Plus, you can pick plan E2 and add-on services thus saving $12 per user per month (for Office).
  • Exchange Online Archiving is $4 per user per month.  I think that’s a good price.
  • Office 365 is a very powerful service.  It enables organizations to quickly put up Exchange and Sharepoint environments in very little time.  Office 365 can be about as simple or as complex as the user needs.

That’s pretty much it for now off the top of my head.  I recommend organizations of all sizes become knowledgable in the capabilities of Office 365.  It gives companies the ability to replace significant amounts of infrastructure with a very capable service.  And for small companies it puts them on a level playing field with the big boys.  I hate to say it, but once it’s rolled out, it requires very little back-end IT attention.

www.office365.com

Office 365 Buyers Guide (in .xps format for some bizarre reason)

Windows 7 is OK

I’ve been playing around with Windows 7 for a few weeks now.  I have tried to concentrate on features and configuration because I want to understand how it works, and how Microsoft intends some features to work.  Windows 7 is Vista with a new taskbar and some reaaranged menus. 

I like:

  • I like how quickly it installs and boots, though I wonder if it will load as quickly after I install some apps. 
  • I like the search feature.  It works well. 
  • The “Library” is a good idea, though I bet it’s going to trick some users at first. 
  • I also like all the new tools that have been added to the software like powercfg -energy.
  • I like how customizable the appearance is.

I don’t like:

  • That I can’t open multiple windows by clicking on an icon in the taskbar.  It works if I hold shift.  That’s very annoying.
  • Jumplists are meh.
  • Features that Microsoft considers major innovations like “Snap” , “Shake“, and “Aero Peek” (which is borderline useless) that are nothing more than minor additions to old technology.
  • XP mode only works with machines that have very specific hardware “virtualization” features.
  • That’s it not much of an improvement over Vista and the classic Windows platform.
  • Microsoft’s online “tutorials” and “walk-throughs” are WEAK, and disorganized, and really frustrating!!!

What does that mean for my companyand I?  An upgrade is likely in the works….  Windows XP is going out of support in a few years (though none of my current HW will be around then).  I want to get off of the old Windows XP platform and so does the IT management in my company.  Users feel like we’re “Out of date” on the desktop and Office (they don’t buy that Office 2007 is the latest version).  This put together with a Microsoft “Enterprise Licensing Agreement” means that we’re moving forward with Windows 7.  I plan to post about my experience with Windows 7 and the upgrade.