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     Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 Launch tour Part III
    PCs: All about your desktop and laptop
    In part three of my coverage of the Vista and Office 2007 launch I talk about demos by Nick Stillings, Microsoft Information Worker Solution Specialist

    The bulk of this session was all about some cool features in Office 2007. One thing that is a paradigm change is the ribbon in Office 2007. The Office 2007 ribbon changes up the toolbars and menu items from the previous versions of Office. As a WordPerfect DOS to Word for Windows convert, I found the ribbon to be a more difficult jump than the DOS menu/function keys to Windows mouse menu.

    All about the Office 2007 ribbon

    The crabby Office lady uses the ribbon

    She has an excellent tip about the Quick Access Toolbar and putting your own favorite menu items there.

    The Microsoft folks have figured out what are the most popular features of Office by having thousands of users allow their computers to transmit logs of menu selections to Microsoft during use. This proved to be much more effective than have round table groups telling them what features they thought were most important. Kudos to Microsoft, for not falling for the “I am sure this is what our users want” fallacy. This is also the “My Grandma uses the undo, I am sure this is the most popular feature.” fallacy (also known as False Authority Syndrome)

    When all is said and done (and more will be said than done), the Ribbon is probably an ideal interface. The functions are not buried in menus three deep. When you click on a table, the table functions appear. When you click on a graphic, the graphic functions appear. I predict that Ribbons, or something even more clever will be ubiquitous in desktop application development in the next few years.

    Outlook 2007 and Exchange 2007

    With the new client (Outlook 2007) and new server (Exchange 2007), many more capabilities are available.

    Unified Messaging
    Unified Messaging is one of the server roles for the Exchange 2007 server. It enables you to listen to voicemail on Outlook, and then be able to put in written notes on the voice mail. This requires the Exchange Unified messaging connector, so get your E-mail IT and Telephony IT folks talking. On a very high level, it involves creating a connection between the Unified Messaging Server of Exchange to the PBX, usually by a VOIP connection.

    More about Unified messaging telephony with Exchange

    Task Integration UI
    You can handle prioritizing of E-mail for follow up with flags. The calendar shows a task well prioritizing like a weekly planner. Incomplete tasks roll over to the next day, which can lead to “You are killing me Outlook!” It is nice to use in that instead of having separate tasks, they go into your daily planner. Our office will be migrating from Lotus notes to Exchange soon. See the Forum article about the top things I do not like about Lotus Notes.

    Instant Search in Outlook
    This is actually handled through Windows Desktop search. Instant search beats the crap out of Lotus Notes. It searches across all PST (Outlook mailbox) Files. In practice this does work very quickly on Windows Vista. As mentioned before in the Group29 article about the Windows desktop search, this is a real dog on Windows XP. It works very well on my machine on Windows Vista with years of Outlook message accumulation in multiple Outlook data files / multiple personal folders files.

    Scheduling assistant
    The Scheduling Assistant prioritizes first required attendees, then optional attendees, and finally rooms and resources to determine the most optimal time for a meeting. The Scheduling Assistant also makes dealing with issues like flexible working hours and different time zones easy. Users can set their own working hours, defining when they arrive each morning and when they leave at the end of the day. Therefore a late sleeper who does not arrive at work until 9 or 10 in the morning can set their working hours to begin at this time. When others need to schedule a meeting, an earlier time such as 8 A.M. will not be suggested. If two groups in different time zones—one in London and one in Los Angeles for example—need to meet, only times that overlap in their working days will be suggested. Londoners will get a late afternoon meeting and Angelinos one first thing in the morning as opposed to a meeting time that is 2 A.M. for one party or the other.

    Exchange and Outlook: Better together (TechNet Magazine)

    Office 2007 and Smart Art

    Smart Art allows you to merge text with graphics to render information visually. You can access these features via the Smart Art menu item on the Insert Ribbon. The demo showed PowerPoint 2007 using Smart Art.

    In the example, they turned some simple, boring bulleted items into charts. A bulleted list like this:

    *Thing one
    *Thing two
    *Thing three

    can become a pie chart with Thing one, Thing two, and Thing three becoming slices of pie. This definitely needs a picture. Here is an example of Smart Art on the Excel 2007 blog

    PowerPoint is criticized for being boring or a crutch for the presenter, but perhaps criticizing the hammer for poor carpentry is not very rational. Good presentations require personality and enthusiasm from the presenter. Better slides help, but it all comes down to who is doing the speaking.

    SharePoint 2007

    SharePoint is much more robust. There are now blogs, mysites, document search with Google-like results, Social Networking with Wikis and Blogs. SharePoint now moves beyond a project portal and becomes an overall intranet solution.

    A new feature called Excel web access previews Excel spreadsheets in SharePoint to show snapshots.

    You can publish files and portions of files up to SharePoint. You do not even have to have Excel installed when you use SharePoint web access.

    There is also a SharePoint PowerPoint library. The SharePoint Slide Library feature builds on the idea of the Document Library. Like the Document Library, the Slide Library provides a centralized location where different people within an organization can go to access shared files. The Slide Library allows users to upload individual slides from PowerPoint decks to be shared throughout the organization. You can save individual slides to a Slide Library from within PowerPoint 2007. You can preview slides in the browser with thumbnails.

    One conclusion I came to was that implementing the new SharePoint would expose those people that actually have and share information as opposed to those that hoard information. Information is very valuable. And there are always subject matter experts within a company. There still exists the psychological barrier of actually entering the information in a “mysite” or “blog”, even if you are the type of person that shares information well.

    Windows Vista
    More was demonstrated about the Windows Desktop Search, already covered in this Group29 article.

    Windows Mobility Center
    A whole new control panel exists to handle the specific demands of laptop computers in the hand of road warriors. By default, you can edit the following properties quickly
    Brightness adjustment
    Sound adjustment / mute
    Battery level / power scheme selection
    Wireless network status
    Screen orientation (portrait or landscape)
    External displays
    Synchronization to other machines
    Presentation settings

    Other manufacturer specific items may also appear for different laptops.

    Meeting Space in Windows Vista

    Meeting Space is a safe ad-hoc wireless network where you can share your desktop like NetMeeting. The Apple/MAC guy next to me said, “Oooo, This is insane!”*

    This enables use in a conference room, a hotspot, or a place where no network exists. People can join a session that someone else sets up, or they can start a session and invite other people to join. You can share documents and make a presentation.

    Back to Windows Vista Launch Tour 2007 Part II

    On to Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 Launch tour Part IV
    Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 @ 12:50:40 UTC by BB
    "Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 Launch tour Part III" | Login/Create an Account | 0 comments
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