Beta Testing Office 2007

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I took a look at some fora I had not been keeping up with recently. I learned that Microsoft had released the second beta of Office 2007. I decided to give it a whirl.

I made a huge mistake; I checked the box to remove Office 2003 upon install.

In the past, I used to beta test lot of stuff. I had forgotten what buggy software was like. Outlook is a program that very much affects my happiness. I use it to organize my life. When Outlook is corrupted, I sputter. Yes, it is sad, but it is true.

After installing the beta, Outlook kept crashing. It appears that despite having Adobe Reader 7.07 installed, having Acrobat 6.0 is a problem. The only “solution” is to upgrade. That is wonderful, but that was not going to happen. Virtually everything I did crashed Outlook. Sigh . . .

I did a system restore, but because Office 2003 was removed, that was not helpful. So, I undid the restore, removed the beta, and attempted to re-install Office 2003.

It did not dawn on me until late last evening that I could read my mail via the web.

Anyhow, it was nice being sans computer for a day. If you did not hear from me and were expecting to, well, that was the reason. I may have lost a message or two in the transition as well.

FWIW, Office 2007 looked okay. I really only saw Outlook. The “look” is fresh, but I do not like how I have to click on the various tabs to get things like Send. The area to change from the forsaken HTML-formatted e-mail to straight text was non-intuitive. There appeared to be no way to place the Options button to select categories on the ribbon.

I welcome the addition of RSS to Outlook. Outlook is the ideal place to read feeds. The way Outlook sets it up, however, is like a lot of other aggregators that I find annoying. I read a lot of feeds. I organize them in folders like “Local”, “News”, “Education”, etc. Within each folder are many feeds. When there are new posts, my aggregator lets me know via the folder level. It’ll show there are 22 new posts in Education, for instance. I can read them all mixed together or expand the folder to read them individually by feed.

In Outlook, one is not provided that luxury. The “New Mail” folder will list each individual feed and will show the number of new posts. But it shows all the feeds whether there are new posts or not. And it shows the feeds outside the folder structure I created. So, I have to scroll through 300 feeds to check to see which ones have new posts. This is not helpful whatsoever.

On the plus side, I like how contacts are laid out. Each contact appears to be a Rolodex card and they finally implemented what I have sought forever; the associated photograph for the contact is displayed on the card. Bravo! In addition, the photograph accompanies any e-mail that arrives from the contact. That is very nice.

Fortunately, I was able to re-install 2003 once I arrived at work. No more crashes, it appears.

Office 2007 is not ready for work stations yet.

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