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Archive for June, 2006

Office 2007 – First Impressions

I downloaded Beta 2 for Office 2007 last week and have been using it at home and at work since then. The install only had just the one speed bump on my work machine, which was this amusing error message:

OfficeInstallError

Hmmmm. Yes, I’ll just close, erm, whatever it is down then shall I? I told it to Ignore and it carried on without a hitch. Activation was a problematic at the time, but I was trying to activate on release day so I left it for a couple of days and it was fine.

I’ve tried both colour schemes, Windows XP (blue) and Vista (grey), and I prefer XP. The Vista style is just a tad too dark and you lose some of the nice detail. Something about the Vista theme just doesn’t look right to me.

Word2007-XPTheme Word2007-VistaTheme

The new look and ribbon set up are great. I’ve used Word and Excel a couple times but from what I’ve seen, I like. The new ribbon makes it so damn obvious as to where the various options are. The fact that it is also context sensitive and changes depending on what you’re trying to do is a real help, although it doesn’t always change. Why, I’m not sure at the moment. One really useful shortcut is CTRL+F1 which hides / shows the ribbon, just to give you a bit more screen real estate.

Most of my use has been with Outlook, and at first glance, it doesn’t look that different since the old toolbars are still there, and the ribbon only appears when composing emails. However it has been cleaned up a bit with the addition of the Navigation Pane on the right hand side of the screen.

Outlook2007-1 Outlook2007-2 Outlook2007-3

The first screenshot shows Outlook like it did in Office 2003, but if you close the Navigation Pane by clicking the << button to the right of the Mail caption, top left, it slides inwards (shot 2). If you then click on the vertical Navigation Pane label, far left, it shows the folder list as a popup (shot 3). This new way of work makes much more sense. I don’t need the folder tree view visible all the time, so I get more screen space for emails. If I do need access to folders, its a click away.

There is the new To-Do Bar on the right hand side which shows your calendar appointments and tasks, but I’m allergic to tasks so have tried my best to ignore it. I’ve also found Outlook to be a little unstable when closing, but I think that is down to plugins I use, and them not being compatible with Office 2007. (They’re for MindManager, Cloudmark Desktop and Speedfiler).

So my first impressions have been very favourable. Word will get a kicking in the next month since I have an assignment and report for college to do. I’ve got some tests to do at work to see if our Word and Excel output still works with Office 2007. Initial tests were not looking good for Word. We use a product called Office Partner (a Delphi component library) which uses the COM interface to access Office, and it looks to be broken now. A bugger really since Office Partner is no longer supported…

Anyhoo, expect more Office related ramblage soon.

Monaco Grand Prix

The event was overshadowed by Schumacher’s ludicrous parking manoeuvre in qualifying. This completely blew any chance Alonso had of getting pole. He was 0.2 of a second up on Schumacher’s fastest time in the first sector alone but the yellow flags at the penultimate corner threw that out the window. Amazingly he only a few hundredths off Schumacher’s time.

The cynic in me thought straight away that Schumacher had done it on purpose and it turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought that! The stewards thought he’d deliberately caused yellow flags and calm was restored by scratching Schumacher’s time, sending him to the back of grid. This meant Alonso took pole, but not as he would have liked. James Allen has some interesting comments on the incident.

Given Monaco’s street circuit layout, which is notoriously difficult to overtake on (but not impossible), it essentially gifted Alonso the race. The only pressure he had was from Kimi, which amounted to nothing since McLaren’s winning reliability showed itself again, as Ted Kravitz notes:

…this time when the heat shield that slots between the engine and the rear bodywork caught fire.

This is embarrassing on two counts: Firstly because exactly the same thing happened in Thursday practice, and secondly, because IT’S A HEAT SHIELD! You’d think that perhaps it would be made from non-flammable material.

There were some nice overtaking manoeuvres, particularly by Fisichella on Coulthard, which at first glance looked like disaster, but he made it stick. Schumacher fought his way back to finish fifth, getting ahead of Fisichella (who slipped back due to pit stop problems), and he would have destroyed Alonso and the rest of the field had he started at that position or higher.

Montoya crept up to snag second and Coulthard took an impressive third for Red Bull. He looked a prize tw*t wearing a red cape on the podium, but we can thank their Superman (film) sponsors! I can’t see Red Bull being on the podium again this year though.

Next up is Silverstone, on the 11th June. Hopefully, it’ll be good weather and it should be a corker since Renault were good there last year, but then again, so were McLaren.

New Formula One Page

I’ve knocked up a page listed in the Content links in the sidebar on the right for my rambling Formula One updates. Should provide a neater way keeping track of my waffle!

#tf stats for May

Hooray! More fresh stat droppings:

Half Life 2 Episode One – Sooooon!

Whoop, less than 13 minutes to go!

HalfLife2Ep1Soooooon

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