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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Friday, May 26, 2006
Office 2007 Beta 2 Thoughts
Er - actually, this probably focuses more on Outlook 2007 Beta 2, because that is the program by FAR that I use the most, but since Outlook is still part of Office, I suppose it fits. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts (good and bad) about Office 2007 Beta 2.

1. THANK YOU for including the subject of an RSS feed in the preview pane. I can't tell you how frustrating that was to not have it present in the previous version, and have the message list window cut off the subject if it was longer than a certain number of characters.

2. On the same subject of RSS feeds, why is it that there is still no option to be able to pull down the entire article? Isn't the whole point behind RSS to have an easy place to read things? If I'm subscribed to an RSS feed, the LAST thing I want to do is "Click here to read the FULL article", especially when the ONLY thing that the feed includes is a short one-line preview of the article. This makes me want to go back to using intraVnews. I may still go back to that. It's free (for personal use), and actually has an option to pull down the entire feed. If the feed is an actual web page? I can tell it to download pictures and all kinds of stuff. Why isn't this an option here? Oh, and DON'T tell me that the option to "download article and any enclosures" is the solution. All that does is download the content and place an html page link in the feed. Oh, BTW, if I click on that IE icon? I get a nice "This file cannot be previewed because there is no previewer installed for it". Thanks. Just another reason to switch back to intraVnews.

3. Why are there STILL no other Theme choices than the UGLY Sky Blue and Slate Gray? Oh, sorry, you call it Windows XP (Blue), and Windows Vista (Gray), as if that identifies them any better, or makes them look any better. Both of them stick out like a sore thumb. I've got the Silver theme for XP, so why can't Office use the same OS theme that I am using? Who in their right mind would want to use a Baby blue interface for Outlook (and the rest of Office)? I certainly hope that there will be more choices for RTM.

4. Thank you for fixing the text color on the status bar. I use the Slate Gray theme, and prior to Beta 2, the text was black. Black text against a slate gray theme, well, doesn't work too well! It's now white text. I'm still not happy with the theme choices, but at least this makes things visible.

Whew! I have a point about another program besides Outlook! That makes the title valid! Woohoo!
5. OneNote 2007 gives you an option to install OneNote Mobile 2007. I like that there is a OneNote Mobile, but I HATE how horribly ineffective it is as a notation application. The built-in Notes feature of Windows Mobile 5 does MUCH better. Why is there no option to ink/draw in OneNote Mobile? At least the fuzzy text was fixed. In the previous version, typing text resulted in fuzzy text until you went to the next line, or did something else. That was annoying.

OK, that's all for now. Post your comments of your thoughts of Office 2007! Don't have the beta? Get it from the Office 2007 Preview site. As far as I know, this is an Open beta, so anyone can get it.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Microsoft slips out 2 beta product updates today

This one seems to have sort of slipped out.  I don’t recall seeing any big announcements.  Beta 2 of BOTH Vista (build 5384) and Office 2007 were released today.  The funny thing is that Microsoft didn’t put the Office 2007 beta2 bits on their beta site in hopes of staving off the huge mess that the last beta build created in terms of the download servers not keeping up with the load.  Instead, they put links to the Beta 2 bits on the Office 2007 preview site.  Of course, what happens a few hours after everyone found out it was up there?  LOL.


Due to high demand the site is temporarily unavailable. Please try it again later.

It also seems that the new method of downloading the files (SmartSource) is miserably failing as well.  I had to shut down my computer to put more memory in it, and ever since then, it can’t connect and retrieve my profile, so I can’t download the software.  Oh well – at least they are trying to fix problems…


Vista Beta 2 appears to be both on the MSDN site (for those who are subscribers) and on the Connect site (for those that are part of the actual Beta).  At least that one is downloading, though it’s gonna take a while, being 3.2GB in size!


Monday, May 22, 2006
Thoughts on Windows Vista
Brad Wardell over on WinCustomize wrote an excellent article detailing what we have to look forward to with Vista, and also what some of the current concerns are. For the record, I've been using Vista betas since the early builds of Beta 1, and I will say that it has improved immensely as it has progressed. I only expect it to get better as it transitions to Beta 2.

If the link to the article doesn't show up in the title for you, you can get to it here:
Thursday, May 11, 2006
On a personal note
I've been working on losing weight as of late. It wasn't like I really needed to lose ton - I was right around 200-205lbs, which isn't heavy by any means, but I wasn't exactly happy with the way I looked, and playing sports (which I love, especially Basketball) often resulted in soreness in my knees. This told me that I was just putting too much stress on my knee joints. In other words, I needed to lose some weight.

In the past, I have followed the Atkins diet with quite a bit of success, so I decided to give it a go again. I started my "diet" about 3 months ago. As of this morning, I have dropped down to 169, and have lost at least 4 pants sizes (down to waist 34), though even then, some of my size 34 shorts are too big!

As with any "diet" program, there are a few things one must consider.

1. Willpower. You need to stick to the program. The Atkins diet is a low-carb diet. In my case, I had to be willing to temporarily give up a lot of things such as pasta, breads (there are low-carb breads available now), sugars, most fruits (at least to start) and the like. Thankfully, I didn't have to give up meat! Dieting with friends can be helpful and may mean success when going it alone would result in failure. My wife has been incredibly supportive in helping prepare alternative dishes, while also preparing regular dishes for the rest of the family. I've begun the gradual transition to eating more regularly, but I likely still won't eat regular bread or pasta very often.

2. Exercise. Almost any diet that doesn't include exercise is doomed to fail. If you've ever watched the show "The Biggest Loser", you'd know that a large part of the weight-loss program for those folks included exercise. When you are regularly exercising, your body burns more calories. In my case, I got a Nordic Track (cross country ski machine) which I try and use at least once a week, I started running at least once a week, and I play basketball once a week for around 2-2.5 hours.

I post this information not in order to laud my accomplishments, rather to share the information that I have used in order to achieve this. It's also worth noting that I have also decreased my portion sizes, and no longer drink any non-diet sodas. Have you ever looked at how much sugar is in a regular soda anyways? Many of them have more than 50 grams of sugar, which is a LOT. While the jury is still out on the long-term effects of sugar substitutes such as aspartame or saccharine (or splenda for that matter too), drinking diet sodas (and LOTS of water) has helped me achieve this goal.

Finally, different diets work for different people. I've found something that works well for me, but that doesn't mean it will work for everyone. If you are trying to lose weight, you need to find the program that works best for your body.

Now back to regularly scheduled programs...
Reminder to install MS06-019 on your Exchange Boxen
Please remember to install this patch on your Exchange servers. It applies to pretty much ALL versions of Exchange. Microsoft has rated this security patch as *critical*. Most other security firms have given it a similar rating, with Symantec rating it a 10 on their scale of 1 to 10 in terms of severity.

To make matters worse, Information Week is reporting that it expects hackers to actively target this vulnerability in Exchange. The full article can be found here. Folks - don't wait on this one. Yes, test it in your lab, but don't put off testing. This vulnerability is one that can result in hackers gaining complete control of your Exchange Server. Complete control by a hacker = a server that must be flattened and rebuilt :-(
Monday, May 01, 2006
Austin Exchange User Group Official Meeting Information!
It's official! The Austin Exchange User Group meeting has been scheduled for the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7pm. The first meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 23rd at 7pm.

The location of the meetings will be the local Austin Microsoft Office/Technology Center.

Directions to the Microsoft Office can be found at the following link:

Refreshments will be provided, so come and enjoy meeting others that work with Exchange Server. Information on Exchange Server 2007 (formerly known as Exchange "12", or E12) will be presented at either the May user group meeting, or the June user group meeting.

If there are topics that you'd like discussed in the May meeting, please send me an e-mail with that information. I look forward to meeting those who will be attending!

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