This will be a very nice weekend : New Tablet, Windows Vista, Office 2007 …

The IT dept emailed me this morning that my new Toshiba Portege M400 Tablet PC has arrived and if I would like to pick it up …"hmmm let me think about it" … "YES !"

I’ve been waiting for the new machine to start working with a totally new configuartion :

The new Tablet + Windows Vista Beta2 + Office 2007 Professional Beta2.

We call this process dogfooding (which we get to do all the time 🙂 ) and although there may be bumps in the road I am very confident the new setup will bring far more benefits than downside.

After working with Office 2007 Beta’s for quite some time I am very impressed by the Beta2 version which I use in production now since the internal release ..owsome …

Windows Vista will be new to be honoust so much of the weekend will be spend on that learningcurve (if the family will allow me …

No matter how sceptical you might be about Microsoft software (part of my blogvisitors are 😉 ) if you have some IT spirit in you, you may be able to understand the excitement.

From now on you can expect a "field trip" report frequently …

Peter de Haas
Peter de Haas

Peter is gedreven door de eindeloze mogelijkheden die technologische vooruitgang biedt. Met een scherp oog voor het herkennen van oplossingen waar anderen slechts problemen zien, is hij een expert in digitale transformaties. Peter zet zich met volle overgave in om individuen, teams en organisaties te begeleiden bij het ontwikkelen van nieuwe vaardigheden en het implementeren van innovatieve oplossingen.

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11 reacties

  1. Peter. We “dogfood” MS software *all the time*.
    The “released” software.
    Its unreliable, buggy and badly supported. What makes you think it gets any better from “beta” to “release” ? Why do you think that folks wait until at least service pack 2 (or for the real adrenaline junkies, SP1) till it goes to all users ?
    I wish this was just my opinion: Hell, I know of a 90,000 user Bank in the UK that are JUST rolling out XP, replacing windows NT. As thats the only way that they feel they can get stability.
    And now to add insult to injury – MS are now going to charge 50 bucks a year for a virus/spam scanning service to close the security loopholes that they didnt fix in the first place ?
    Will it get better ? Bear in mind I’ve been in IT for over 20 years now (when I started, Balmer had hair!) and now look towards Linux, etc for stability and innovation…
    I sincerely hope that the layers upon layers of Beta software on the beta Tablet PC works out for you. I would suggest that should you have any important documents, you back up frequently ?
    —* Bill

  2. Peter, I look forward to hearing about your experiences with Vista and Office Beta 2s on your M400 Tablet PC. I haven’t had a chance to install Vista Beta 2 on my M400 and I look forward to hearing how the install goes.
    Bill, I thought you were going to replace your Dell with a MacBook? On my iMac I’ve been dual booting Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and OS X using BootCamp and an external digitizer. It’s a great combination.
    I read that at least one person has been able to triple boot with Linux, but I’m not sure how difficult that would be to manage. I use Windows most of the time (probably high 90%) and OS X the rest. Since you work with Lotus Notes and sell a Notes product that runs on Windows, you might find a similar usage pattern. There are some great features on the Apple side though: iSight and iMovie are two of them (which might come in handy if you decide to record, edit and post your presentations).
    Of course, BootCamp is in beta and that means if you go this route you’ll want to be sure to frequently back up all your documents like your post recommends. In addition, I imagine it’s unlikely that your enterprise customers will be too enthusiastic about the set up either. But even with these concerns, I think you might like the OS X/XP combo.

  3. I understand your excitement, but I don’t understand your adoration. I set up a demo PC for my users to play with and most of them hated it. The President of the company also looked at it, and he send down the edict that we will NOT be using Vista or Office 2k7. It’s just too different, they can’t find anything, and they think the Ribbon is annoying and intrusive. I let them work with it last week, and I took a look at it over the weekend. I have to agree with them.
    Good luck, it will be interesting to see what your thoughts are as you continue to use Vista and Office 2k7.
    Have you ever used Gnome and OpenOffice or StarOffice?

  4. @ Bill
    On the dogfooding no comments 😉
    A bank with 90K users still on Windows NT/2000 must have had other challenges than their trust in Microsoft technology to be honoust. I think they tremendously lost out on an opportunity by waiting so long.
    Don’t worry by the way I make regular backups and so far it has always been the hardware that caused me issues …
    @ Loren,
    I’ll keep you pasted and will try and create some kind of log with regards to drivers / bios, etc.
    Some of my collegues already installed their machines and said that the first job was a BIOS upgrade me whenever you’ve got questions my IM = my email
    @ Charles
    I case you didn’t know / noticed I work for Microsoft which in itsself is nog equal to adoring the software, but I am overly biased.
    I am very curious what has cuased the people using the Office 2007 software and Vista to hate it as you say.
    Sure the two combined can be a lot to learn just by playing with a demo PC.
    As for Office 2007, the ribbon is very intuitive. I work with Office 2007 for quite some time now and it is a huge improvement. I don’t consider myself a “technie” anymore and realy use the software in production so to say and my time is also scarce, so the software needs to work for me and it does.
    I hear a lot of people talk about Vista / Office 2007 and it user interface, but how many people have actuially given it a shot and how many just read a bad review and formed their opion …
    I have never used Gnome / Open Office or Star Office outside a quick install and playing around .. and now looking a the improvement Office 2007 brings its not relevant I would say.
    Have you worked with Office 2007 already seriously (meaning longer than a weekend ?)
    As promised I will keep you guys posted and will not hesitate to blog about the “hard times”

  5. Peter, I’ve been using Office 2007 beta for several weeks now, and I will admit I have mixed opinions. Some of the new UI features are really nice, like live preview, but I still am not a Ribbon fan. I am trying to keep an open mind I swear. Usually I just find myself trying to figure out how to do the things I already know how to do using the 2003 versions of the products. The Ribbon seems more focused on introducing me to features that I did not even know about (which I guess could be a good thing) vs. helping me do the things I am trying to do in the first place. BTW, I attended a MS Business Partner event in Boston recently, and the presenter got lost in the Ribbon twice during his demo! The first question from one of the MS Partners was how can the Ribbon be turned off in 2007, and the presenter said you can’t, this is the new MS UI, no options. The crowd was not happy. Again, this was at an MS event, not a Lotus one! Anyway, I was wondering if you could get me some inside information on the issue of Macro recorder being removed from PowerPoint which I blogged about here:

  6. @ Alan,
    I agree with you that the ribbon needs getting used to and does introduce stuff you didn’t know existed and also some stuff you don’t need or wil never use perhaps.
    However … the apps today hide all of this behind a menu structure or shortcut keys. Years ago it took me quite some time to shake out my WordPerfect 5.1 habits (Or DW 4 in your case ?) Shift F7, Ctrl F3 …
    As for the demo. Every good demo needs proper preparation. Also MS people have a laerningcurve, but that shouldn’t happen at an event
    I look at this as an incident , so I don’t necessarily think the UI is to blame. I do agree it is a missed opportunity.
    As for the PowerPoint Macro, I’ve read your blogpost and also know what the alternative from MS is (VBA). I do not know the why and the how for that at this moment …

  7. Peter, I know you’re a Microsoft employee. That doesn’t mean you can’t be critical of your employer’s products. I worked for Coca-Cola for a while and I still brought in Diet Pepsi to drink. 😉
    I’m a developer and a systems administrator and I honestly do less than 1% of my work in any Office productivity suite. Anything time I spend with Office 2007 will just be playing around, which is why I made it available to my users. They use it, I figure they should tell us if they want it.
    The biggest complaint my users had is in O2K and O2K3 the features they don’t use get hidden. That makes it so much easier and hides the complexity. This does not happen with the Ribbon in O2K7, so they’re stuck looking at things that are totally irrelevant and that they never will use. There is no way to customize the Ribbon to hide or remove anything, which is also maddening. My users also do a lot of File > Save As, and it quickly became annoying and tedious for them to have to click the weird little knot then go through the menus. I know there is a keyboard shortcut, but that’s not how they work, and I haven’t found a way to get the menus to be visible all the time.
    It just seems that the vast majority of these changes were done just for the sake of change. It slows down my users, and even when they learn it, it’s not customizable to the way they work. Every previous release of Office has been, so that is a tremendous step backwards.
    By the way, you can turn off the Ribbon by double-clicking the active tab. If you click another tab the Ribbon will reappear, and it will not automatically hide, you have to double-click it again.
    As far as Vista goes, NONE of the PC’s in my company have 128MB video memory and therefore we cannot use Aero Glass (the one thing my users did like). Also very few meet the 512MB RAM requirement. We did a quick tally and it would cost us in excess $120,000 to get our computers up to spec, and then there are still the licensing and training costs, as well as the hard to determine lost productivity while people get up to speed.

  8. One more thing… I deployed about half a dozen Fedora Core desktops with Gnome and OpenOffice as public PC’s for people to use. They absolutely love them and ask when they will be getting this “upgrade”. These are 600Mhz computers with 128MB RAM and 16MB video memory which will not run Windows XP SP2 acceptably.
    My users are thrilled with this, figured their way around it with absolutely NO training and asking NO questions, and it meets their needs. We’re testing a few as real production desktops.

  9. @ Charles
    “I’m a developer and a systems administrator and I honestly do less than 1% of my work in any Office productivity suite.”
    Does this mean you don’t do email, write reports, collaborate with collegues ? I would argue that you do more with Office productivity tools than you think …
    “This does not happen with the Ribbon in O2K7, so they’re stuck looking at things that are totally irrelevant and that they never will use.”
    Hiding complexity and only provide functions / features relevant for the activity at hand (“in context”) is exactly what the ribbon is designed to do. I wonder how much guidance the users have been given on the improvements Office 2007 brings. Are you aware of the free training that is available to your users ? If not I will do a post on it anyway 🙂
    ” As far as Vista goes, NONE of the PC’s in my company have 128MB video memory and therefore we cannot use Aero Glass (the one thing my users did like). Also very few meet the 512MB RAM requirement.”
    Getting your hardwarepark up to a minimum spec can be hard, but I bet that every PC that is replaced as of now will have the “Windows Vista Capable” logo, so gradually your hardware will meet at least the minimum spec and beyond.
    I do agree with you that replacing all hardware overnight is not the option ..
    “One more thing… I deployed about half a dozen Fedora Core desktops with Gnome and OpenOffice as public PC’s for people to use. They absolutely love them and ask when they will be getting this “upgrade”. ”
    How much of the capabilities beyond “just” the Office productivity suite is your organisation utilising today. As you must be aware the real evolution around Microsoft Office is something called Office System i.e. the context in which you should see productivity is beyond personal productivity. It’s how people find / use / create information; collaborate to get better results faster, etc …

  10. @ Charles,
    I understand where you’re coming from.
    I will look into the training requiring IE, thanks for pointing that out.
    It’s a pitty you have not / are not able to give Microsoft’s collaboration platform a serious look. The “rollercoaster” as you call it has had significant coverage of analists and proven succesful deployments in the recent years.
    But hey if you and your organisation are satisfied with the current setup, who am I to try and convince you.
    Have a look at the eWeek Labtest I just posted ( ), it gives a good indication of the current status, quite in line with my motivation (fortunatly 🙂 )

  11. By “Office productivity suite” I mean word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. I simply don’t use those very often. I’m not typical in that regard, I’ll admit that. I do use e-mail, calendaring and groupware applications via Notes and Domino.
    My users were given no guidance on Vista or Office 2007. I wanted their initial response, to see how readily they could figure things out and so I could gauge how significant the training effort would be. I looked at the free training, but it requires IE. We standardized on FireFox and have blocked access to IE. Microsoft needs to be more accomodating of other browsers.
    We use an iSeries-based ERP system for our core business operations. Notes provides our e-mail and collaboration platform. We use Microsoft Office for document editing. For the Fedora Core deployment I chose people who only use our ERP system and who are okay using Domino Web Access. This suits their needs just fine.
    I understand Microsoft’s long-term vision of Office as a collaboration platform, but it’s been a crazy rollercoaster with a bewildering array of products, both on the desktop and the server. I just don’t have the time to try to make sense of it, especially since I don’t have any interest in using it. If it weren’t so confusing I’d be more willing to do testing, but as it sits now I’m totally lost on where to even start.

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