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November 19, 2002—In this issue:
- The Next Office: What's It Going to Take?
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
- COMDEX: Microsoft Announces New Media Center PC Partners
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- Microsoft Releases Office 2000 SP3
- The Microsoft Mobility Tour Is Coming Soon to a City Near You!
- Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick Up Our New eBook!
5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)
- Application Network Analysis
- A Full-Featured and Affordable Telnet/SSH Server
6. INSIDE WINDOWS SCRIPTING SOLUTIONS
- December 2002 Issue
- Testing Replication with a Simple Script
7. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Tablet PC
- New Instant Poll: Office Suite
- Tip: The Set Program Access and Defaults Tool
9. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Back Up Information in Realtime
- Scan Email for Spam
- Submit Top Product Ideas
10. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected])
Jeff Raikes has a dilemma. As the man in charge of Microsoft Office (his official title is group vice president of productivity and business services), Raikes has publicly announced his intention to double revenues from the office productivity suite. And Office is a cash cow, generating $1.88 billion in Microsoft's last fiscal year, which is more than 40 percent of the company's income. The problem, however, is that by mid-2002, Office sales slowed dramatically, to about 1 percent of the company's income.
The problems are obvious. Office releases are lackluster, with few important new features or improvements that warrant the upgrade. Office is also expensive—often two to four times the cost of Windows, causing corporations to postpone upgrades. And Office is entrenched. With few viable competitors in the office suite space, Microsoft has little incentive to offer bold new ways of working with data. From Raikes's perspective, that last point means that the biggest Office competitors are earlier versions of the suite already installed on millions of PCs worldwide.
Raikes's solution to this problem is Office 11, a new version of Office that will ship in mid-2003. Office 11 offers several improvements—some dramatic, most not. The suite will offer at least two new applications, including the XDocs application I discussed in my October 15 commentary "More from MEC: Titanium, Greenwich, Jupiter, and XDocs", and OneNote, which Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced during the keynote address Sunday night at COMDEX Fall 2002.
OneNote is an interesting solution for creating, storing, and managing notes, whether the notes are created with a standard keyboard, such as on a desktop or notebook machine; whether the notes are handwritten notes, pictures, or diagrams created on a Tablet PC; or whether the notes are voice recordings. Information workers take notes constantly, but they don't have a central location for note creation, storage, and management. Previous Office versions offer the weak Notes component in Outlook, but few people use the feature. With OneNote, users will have access to standard Office tools to take notes and meld them into the beginnings of a formal document, which is often why people take notes in the first place. I'll have more to say about OneNote after I spend some time with the software, but the tool looks interesting and innovative, and for Tablet PC users especially it's shaping up to be a must-have tool.
Office 11 is also taking an interesting approach to interoperability by offering well-formed XML as an alternative to the native Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats. I need to examine this feature more closely, but according to Microsoft, XML will open new possibilities for security and interactivity. The XML compatibility is interesting because it represents Microsoft's admission that not all data is stored in the company's proprietary formats. Because the key Office 11 applications will be able to "speak" XML, they'll be able to work more seamlessly with outside data, forgoing expensive and timely conversion processes.
Some of Office 11's biggest improvements, however, involve collaboration and messaging, and, to that end, Microsoft has upgraded Outlook more substantially than any of its other applications. Outlook 11 now sports a three-column view by default, which displays the content of email messages in a wide right pane that can often display an entire email message, eliminating the need to scroll. Office 11 provides a quick-access Button Bar for tasks such as Contacts and Calendar and new email folder arrangements that let you bring your most important messages to the top. If you spend a lot of time with email and personal information management, Outlook 11 will be worth examining.
In a somewhat controversial move, Microsoft developed Office 11 to run only on Windows 2000, and later OS versions. Microsoft says that this action is to increase security and decrease development time, and logically, it's hard to understand why anyone running an OS such as Windows 98 would need to have the latest and greatest Office suite. But the growing complaints from the user community about forced upgrades might make Microsoft reverse course. But for now, you need to factor in this situation if you're considering the next Office upgrade.
So what will it take for you to roll out the next Office version, and do any of the enhancements listed here qualify as must-have features? I'm interested in knowing whether you use Office and how you use it. If you don't, then what do you use and why? Is Office doomed to future irrelevancy, or will Raikes's cash cow keep producing?
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2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Microsoft announced today that four new PC-maker partners will sell Media Center PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE). ABS Computer Technologies, Alienware, Cyberpower, and Gateway will unveil new Media Center PC designs this week at COMDEX Fall 2002; the new PCs will be available immediately or within days. Coming just weeks after the XP MCE launch, this announcement is somewhat of a surprise. Microsoft previously said that it was working with other partners on Media Center PCs, but I hadn't expected this many new partners so quickly. And perhaps even more exciting is the news that many of the new Media Center PCs will ship in innovative form factors and a wide range of price points, making the products accessible to more users. For the complete story, visit the following URL:
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
(contributed by Paula Sharick, [email protected])
If you haven't updated Microsoft Office applications recently or installed recent security hotfixes, you need to upgrade your systems. On October 21, Microsoft released Office 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) in two forms: an online update and an administrative download. The SP3 rollup installs 14 security hotfixes, including the important Microsoft Outlook extended email security update, two previously released updates for Microsoft Word (including the October 16 patch), Office 2000 SP2, and more reliable automatic error reporting. Visit the following URL to read a few hints that will ensure your upgrade goes smoothly.
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
Brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, this outstanding seven-city event will help support your growing mobile workforce! Industry guru Paul Thurrott discusses the coolest mobility hardware solutions around, demonstrates how to increase the productivity of your "road warriors" with the unique features of Windows XP and Office XP, and much more. There is no charge for these live events, but space is limited, so register today!
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6. INSIDE WINDOWS SCRIPTING SOLUTIONSWindows Scripting Solutions is a monthly paid print newsletter loaded with news and tips to help you manage, optimize, and secure your Web-enabled enterprise. NONSUBSCRIBERS can access all the newsletter content in the online article archive from the premiere issue of Windows Scripting Solutions (December 1998) through the print issue released 1 year ago.
In addition to receiving the monthly print newsletter, SUBSCRIBERS can access all the newsletter content, including the most recent issue, at the Windows Scripting Solutions Web site
(http://www.winscriptingsolutions.com). Subscribe today and access all the 2002 issues online!
To access this issue of Windows Scripting Solutions, go to the following URL:
Get a command-line utility that uses conditional expressions to search directories; use a simple script to verify replication across domains; automate file installation on client systems; and programmatically create template-based Word documents.
The following article is available for free to nonsubscribers for a limited time.
Use this simple Perl script to test replication and verify data flow among domains.
— Dick Lewis
7. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Will the new Tablet PC device be a boon or bust?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 230 votes:
- 43% Boon
- 42% Bust
- 16% I don't know
The next Instant Poll question is, "Which office suite does your organization use?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Microsoft Office, b) Lotus SmartSuite, c) Corel WordPerfect Office, d) Sun StarOffice, or e) Other.
contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com
9. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
Techsoft released MirrorFolder 2.0, realtime backup software for Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x systems. The software supports realtime mirroring and automatic synchronization of folders and drives on local hard disks to other local, network, and removable disks. After you set up a mirror folder or drive, the software will mirror in the background. The software lets you automatically archive mirror files to a .zip file. MirrorFolder 2.0 costs $34 for one license. Contact Techsoft at [email protected].
American Systems released Spam Crusher, a program that scans your email accounts and removes spam. Spam Crusher lets you specify the email addresses that you want to receive email from. The software also filters out offensive email messages by using a filter list that includes domain names, offensive words and phrases, and the email addresses of known spam senders. You can add new items to the filter list in realtime. Spam Crusher runs on Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x systems. The software costs $19.95. Contact American Systems at 817-485-6547, 888-892-4310, or [email protected].
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected].
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