24 September 2007

Office 2007 Ultimate for £12.95

Now, as regular readers will know, I've been more than content with Office 97 for getting on for ten years. You get pretty familiar with software, for better or worse, when you've been wed to it for that long and I'm still finding things I didn't realise Word97 or Excel97 could do. It was such a huge relief too, after the hassles of teaching in a combination of Word6, 7 and 95. A mere £12.95, however, could get someone on a course with a .ac.uk e-mail address the full 2007 pack for a year or, probably the better deal, £39 for a full licence.

That's a remarkable figure. £39 vs £600 retail!

The offer's intended for students. The .ac.uk restriction will, unfortunately, exclude many and strikes me as a mistake as I know of many genuine students who are not provided with college e-mail accounts in these days of everyone having a perfectly adequate account of their own or using communication facilities within VLEs like moodle. Microsoft also state that the course should be at least 0.5 which I believe means requiring attendance, or study, for at least two and a half days a week during semesters or terms.

It's worth enrolling on something for that deal. Big Blue Brother reserves the right to check your entitlement and, for that sort of discount, I'm inclined the say that's reasonable enough.

Even if you can't figure a way to get eligible, do tell your students.

Here's the link to full details.

21 September 2007

Vista photo gallery for XP users

Microsoft included a nice photo gallery in Vista but that hasn't been enough to persuade me to leave the familiar and now pretty reliable XP environment. In fact Google's Picasa has been my application of choice for locating, previewing, simple editing and sharing the thousands of photos I've accumulated for several years now. The excellent team at Media Player development, though, seem to have had some input and helped create a pretty good gallery application for Microsoft and it may not be generally appreciated that you can have the Vista-style gallery on your XP operating system.

Access the beta version here. Beware of the other bits and pieces that they try and get you to install at the same time. Their blog writer may be worth playing with (I'll give that a try and report separately) but you're unlikely to want Windows Live as your default search engine and certainly won't want your default home page changed to whatever they offer.

Thanks to Dr Steve North, of Windows Adviser fame, for this tip.

13 September 2007

Excel hyperlink color colours

There I was, actually doing something to get a bit more organised at the start of term in the shape of a timetable for my teaching when I hit a problem that had me scratching my head. Finished up having to look on various forums to get the answer so here's the problem and the solution which may save you a few hours one day!

For some reason best known to me I had used blue blocks for various lessons with white text. To make life simple I put hyperlinks on the text so that clicking a lesson would take me to the appropriate register. Of course, the text turns blue and gets underlined and is virtually invisible. Or it goes purple as a 'visited' link.

Ok, that'll be easy to fix, I say to myself. Uh-uh. Tried almost every menu. Tried the Microsoft help files but I seldom get much joy there anyway. Thought about the PCAdvisor forums but they don't have an obvious Excel place. Normally I would have popped into Woody's Lounge but that's under some redevelopment and temporarily off-line. Eventually I find Vastly Important Notes blog by Phil Libin and get the answer. Another addition to my favourites list.

You need Format | Styles and there you can change Hyperlink and Followed Hyperlink colours (or colors in MS speak).

That's better!