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Reveling in Nerddom

Yesterday, I got to take my mind off of Little League and focus on my true nature. I’m a nerd. Not only that, I’m a professional nerd. I’ve been in the computer industry for over 25 years. So, when I get a chance to play with new technology, it’s like I’m 10 years old again shopping in Victor’s Toys in Reseda.

So, how have I been indulging my geekiness lately?

Microsoft Office 2010 Beta

I’ve been using Office XP for years. I tried OpenOffice 3.1, but there are incompatibilities with Office XP/2003 files. If I customize heading numbers in Office 2003, those formats do not come across in OpenOffice. Since I have to share documents with Office users, these incompatibilities pose a problem for me. I didn’t want to run out and get Office 2007 when I knew that Office 2010 was coming soon. So, I decided to give the Office 2010 Beta a try.

I’ve been very impressed with it so far. For a beta, it seems very stable. The new features I’m enjoying the most are:

  • In Outlook, I can click on an icon for a recipient or sender of my e-mail and view previous e-mails to and from that person at a glance. I find this feature very useful in looking up what we discussed previously. I can also use the link to connect to that person through social networking sites, but this feature hasn’t been fully implemented yet.
  • In Word, there is a template where I can write blog posts. I can publish complete posts or save them as drafts, and they are automatically uploaded to my blog. I can even select a category for my post. Unfortunately, I’m not able to assign tags. I also can’t insert a “More” break that is supported by WordPress. Still, using Word to write blog posts is a great help because I have Word’s spell checking and formatting tools available to me.

I also like the improvements in the user interface. There’s no big button in the upper left to take up space. I can easily show and hide the ribbon so I have more working space.

I appreciate catching up with features that were introduced to Office since XP, especially organizing e-mails as discussion threads in Outlook. I can also edit work documents from home. We use Office 2007 at work, and I have to remember to save documents in XP/2003 format. Now, I don’t have to worry about whether I save documents in docx or doc format.

Office 2010 is definitely on my shopping list. And I found a cool place to buy it.

Microsoft Store

One of the first Microsoft Stores opened in the Shops of Mission Viejo. My kids and I went there yesterday while my wife shopped. It is a lot like the Apple Store, but bigger. There is also a little theater behind their equivalent of the “Genius Bar” where they give free classes and demonstrations. They not only had computers and software, they also carried their Zune media player and Xbox 360 game consoles and games.

My kids and I had the most fun with a demo of their new Surface interface. A table had a touch screen on it, and you use objects on the screen by moving them around with our fingers. My son and I played checkers. We could move the checkerboard around and make the board bigger or smaller.

The Microsoft Store must have a great following. When we passed by it today, there were about 15–20 kids from a Boys and Girls Club who had finished a tour. They even had goodie bags.

Don’t Feel Bad, Apple Fanboys…

Yes, I am PC, as the ad says, but I still enjoy my iPod Nano. At my first full-time technical writing job after graduating college, I used a Mac 512.

Although I use Windows and Apple products, I’m still a Commodore person at heart. Amiga, I miss you. (And if that doesn’t show what a nerd I am, nothing else will.)

1 Comment

  1. Hmmm…I wished I had those enhancements on my latest version of MS Office for Mac. (Office 2008). The blog template would come in handy, but if it could not enable the “more” code for WordPress, I’m better off entering it manually in the online dashboard. <br>
    Another complaint about Word: Lack of a ready template for outline formatting. If you’re doing a formal outline, even in APA style, one has to be extremely careful inserting a new line item in the hierarchy without disturbing the formatting. I asked a web design client of my friend Scott’s – an on-call PC troubleshooter in town – about it. She did not know of any fixes for this. Pretty baffling, if you ask me!