27 March 2009

Office 2007 menus!

There are lots of things I like about Office 2007 but even after all this time I often struggle to find things that I could do in a flash in Office 97 (which I still use quite happily on a couple of machines!) I've searched and searched through the new ribbons and actually thought that it would have been quicker to search Google first but, of course, by the time you realise that you think that surely it won't be much longer before you find what you want!

Classic things that left me stranded for a while were form things and discovering how to switch off Protection took ages! Even headers took a while at first and I missed the nice tables and borders menu. There is a solution, though: get a 'classic' menu like the one above that should be a much more familiar environment for anyone else like me. It's free, too. Courtesy of UbitMenu as featured by the splendid OfficeWatch people.

Cloudy days coming

Cloud computing is the latest industry buzzword. There is a lot of debate within the industry as to exactly how Cloud Computing is defined but, basically, what it refers to is the concept of providing applications as services over the Internet, supported by a remote pool of servers doing all the computing hard work. Examples include services such as Hotmail and Google Docs. The user of the application doesn’t need to install any software on their PC except for a web browser to access the application, and has no idea where the application is running, or on what sort of computer.

While Hotmail is one of Microsoft’s most popular current cloud offerings, they are planning a massive expansion of applications they make available ‘in the cloud’, which could eventually lead to versions of Microsoft Office, paid for via a subscription model, accessed via your web browser. Microsoft’s cloud system is based on a new technology they have developed called Azure Services Platform. The interesting thing is that this allows other developers to write software that runs in the cloud, on Microsoft’s servers, potentially rendering Windows, and the desktop PC as we know it, redundant.

Acknowledgements to Stefan Johnson of Windows Adviser who writes cool news in Plain English and gets to know stuff like this earlier than many.