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Hands-On Preview of Microsoft Office 2010

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the fighting-for-relevance dept.

Microsoft 291

Barence writes "Microsoft has announced full details of Office 2010 and its plans for an accompanying suite of online applications, and PC Pro has been given special access to a technical preview. Contributing Editor Simon Jones gives his initial verdict on the new suite, concluding that there's 'still a long way to go in terms of fit and finish ... but overall Microsoft has made good strides in increasing usability, cohesiveness and collaboration.' This is followed by detailed first looks at Word 2010, Excel 2010, Outlook 2010 and PowerPoint 2010, with Outlook certainly looking to be the greatest beneficiary. And finally, a gallery of screenshots shows off all the new interface touches in Office 2010, including Outlook's conversation view, Word's picture-editing function and the new cut-and-paste preview option."

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who uses it anyway? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678497)

not me

Re:who uses it anyway? (5, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | about 5 years ago | (#28678589)

me neither.
office 97 had enough features already. the bloat continues ever forward.

Re:who uses it anyway? (1)

mathx314 (1365325) | about 5 years ago | (#28680075)

I have long argued that Office '97 was the best version they ever put out. All the features you need, very few you don't, and a decent enough UI and the ability to turn off AutoCorrect. I discovered OpenOffice a few years back, realized how similar it was to '97, and haven't looked back.

Re:who uses it anyway? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678845)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average administrative assistant isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to use a word processor and spreadsheet, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:who uses it anyway? (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#28678939)

1998 called. It wants it's FUD back.

Re:who uses it anyway? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28679001)

The contraction of "it is" called. It wants its apostrophe back.

Re:who uses it anyway? (0, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#28679729)

FUD? your spell checker in your word 2010 is broken.

98% of what is done in an office can be done in a really old version of Office. I disagree about office 97 though, Office 2000 actually fixed all the bugs and was fast.

Office 2007 offers nothing other than confusion. office 2003 added slowness.

ODF (5, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 years ago | (#28678571)

Any traction on solving or at least improving Microsoft's ODF implementation? The last time I checked, there were serious issues [] with the implementation.

By the way, how does Office 2007's "Save-As-PDF" feature compare to the real thing?

Re:ODF (2, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | about 5 years ago | (#28678703)

It works almost as well as saving a file, any file, under OS X... but uses much more overhead. I have found Office 2007 cumbersome, bloated, breaks standards... I would expect the same best practices in play with this product...

Re:ODF (3, Informative)

nametaken (610866) | about 5 years ago | (#28678891)

The Save-As-PDF works quite well for us, particularly since it's a compromise somewhere between the crappy third-party app option and the thousands of dollars that Adobe's products cost us in years past.

Outlook 2007's rendering, OTOH, makes me want to kill people and break things.

Re:ODF-Which 3rd Party App? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 5 years ago | (#28680017)

the crappy third-party app option

Just which 3rd party app are you referring to, and what in particular makes it crappy to you?

Re:ODF (2, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 5 years ago | (#28679169)

I'm kind of curious. What makes Microsoft's version of ODF any worse than anyone elses? Or for that matter, what makes OOo's any better? Just because OOo's non-standard spreadsheet formula is used more commonly doesn't make it better.

Until ODF 1.2 is out, it's just a bunch of he-said-she-said.

Re:ODF (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#28679785)

not as good or as fast as cutePDF works.

Plus I can print to pdf from any program.. Extra BONUS!

Re:ODF (1)

zorro-z (1423959) | about 5 years ago | (#28679789)

MS has reason to *not* support ODF, given its past pushing of OOXML, etc. At the very least, if MS *does* support ODF, one should expect it to do so in a very unenthusiastic mannter.

Office on Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678591)

I wonder if the online version will support firefox (specifically on non-windows OS's)?

Re:Office on Linux? (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 5 years ago | (#28678661)

wine already supports office. Winedoors is free and makes installing office dead easy.

Crossover office costs money but makes it even more brain-dead easy.

Re:Office on Linux? (3, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#28679751)

Between Windows, Doors, and Offices, it's pretty clear that programmers need to get outside more.

Re:Office on Linux? (1)

therealmorris (1366945) | about 5 years ago | (#28679945)

Microsoft have said (in the video here [] and on here [] ) it supports Firefox and Safari (so presumably Chrome) just as well as IE. No mention of Opera but I see no reason as to why it wouldn't work. I think the video mentions that it works on Macs too.

ribbons (4, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 5 years ago | (#28678681)

From TFA:

Forrester Research surveys have shown that the percentage of people who liked the Ribbon interface in Office 2007 was in the mid to high 80s while the percentage who found it "significantly more difficult" to use was 2.4%.

I find that hard to believe. How many of those people they asked actually used office as a mission critical application in their day to day use? In my admittedly small sample, nobody that I work with at all enjoys using the ribbons, which is about 5 that I have spoken to about it. The majority of people have Office 2003 put on instead, only those who are reluctant to change software on their computers leave it on.

Re:ribbons (4, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28678865)

I find that hard to believe.

Well it's a good thing that your incredulity doesn't override statistical evidence.

How many of those people they asked actually used office as a mission critical application in their day to day use? In my admittedly small sample, nobody that I work with at all enjoys using the ribbons, which is about 5 that I have spoken to about it.

In my larger sample of about 30-50 people almost all of them enjoy the new GUI and once they start using Office 2007 for a few weeks they never want to go back to 2003. I guess this is why anecdotes aren't good evidence of something.

Re:ribbons (1)

Maniacal (12626) | about 5 years ago | (#28679029)

I resisted. 100% of the reason I didn't change to the new office was because of the ribbon. Spent a weekend helping my dad with 3 docs (powerpoint, word and excel) on his 2007 install and I was converted. Originally when I tried it I would get frustrated because I couldn't find anything and would give up grumbling about not having time for this crap. Since I didn't have an option when working on his stuff I was forced to learn it. Glad I did.

Re:ribbons (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 years ago | (#28679723)

I agree. I don't know anyone that anyone that likes the new ribbon interface.

It take me forever to find anything I used to find simply in the past.

I'm guessing if you're kind of 'grown up' with the ribbon, it is easy, but, for someone like me, that is used to simple menus, it sure seems a PITA.

Re:ribbons (5, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 5 years ago | (#28679035)

Well it's a good thing that your incredulity doesn't override statistical evidence.

You want statistical evidence? Look here [] , from a survey of Excel users from May, 2009:

Month in and month out, the respondents have said that Excel's Ribbon has reduced their productivity by an average of about 20%. And users with a negative opinion of the Ribbon estimate that it's reduced their productivity by about 35%.

They found that 36% of advanced and 29% of intermediate users "hate or dislike" the ribbons, which vastly outweighs the people who "love or like" the ribbons at 20 and 24%, respectively.

How 'about them apples?

Re:ribbons (5, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | about 5 years ago | (#28679287)

In my very humble opinion, and as an additional (possibly worthless) data point, people that dislike the ribbon interface are more likely to be "power users" that tinker and customize everything (like me).

The rest of the demographic that tends to use Office software - you know, the millions of corporate users that still have the default background, theme, sounds and everything else that originally came with their laptop or desktop - the ribbon tends to be a little baffling at first and eventually extremely useful to them, because it mirrors the way they work. That's the reason it was designed and why it was introduced with 2007.

Microsoft places much more importance on the latter group and tends to make design decisions based on their working habits and patterns. If you are part of the first group, it's best to get used to that fact.

And of course, there are millions of people still using Office 2003 and even 2000.

Re:ribbons (3, Interesting)

GeckoAddict (1154537) | about 5 years ago | (#28679703)

Microsoft themselves actually have a presentation [] describing their process of designing and refining the Ribbon, by Jenson Harris ('Group Porgam Manager of the Office UX Team'). They talk a little bit about the user feedback stats and how they made some decisions regarding the ribbon... it's an interesting video if you have some time and are interested in that sort of thing.

Re:ribbons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28679337)

Please do not feed facts to astroturfers - makes 'em gassy.

Re:ribbons (2, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 5 years ago | (#28679383)

Wait, a survey that uses percentages estimated by the surveyed? Wow, that's not only inaccurate, it's inaccurately inaccurate. Everyone with a bone to pick will more than likely grossly over-estimate their inconvenience.

Still, the numbers say that 64% of advanced and 71% of intermediate users either have no opinion or like the ribbon. That seems like an overall win to me. I note you don't include novices, which given the trend sould be as high as 85 or 90% who like or have no opinion of it.

Since you can't please all of the people, an average of 75% seems like a homerun to me.

Re:ribbons (2, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 5 years ago | (#28679671)

I should have read your link first, so my figures are wrong.

However, having read the link, I'm baffled by such claims as "On average, all users who responded estimated that the Ribbon has reduced their productivity."

"on average" and "all users" do not belong in the same sentence. WTF?

That sounds like someone trying to use statistics and weasel words to say something the statistics don't actually say.

Still the survey's numbers look good, but don't really make a lot of sense because of the way they're presented. What's more, users with negative opinions are far more likely to take such a survey than those who simply have no strong opinion one way or the other. So that market is largely unknown.

Re:ribbons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28679647)

You want statistical evidence? Look here, from a survey of Excel users from May, 2009

That is not statistical evidence comparable to a Forrester survey. The survey itself states:

The statistical accuracy of this survey could be challenged because online surveys don't produce a random sample of responses.

Self-selecting participants are not statistically random. Self-selecting participants on "ExcelUser" even moreso. Proper surveys reach out to random participants, ask for participation and any minimum qualifications first, and then reveal the particular topic to obtain truly random samples. Proper surveys report n values rather than mere percentages, particularly over the course of a year and a half. Proper surveys do not purport to show sustained dislike for a product by individual users with no evidence of follow-up sampling.

Re:ribbons (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#28679815)

almost all of them enjoy the new GUI and once they start using Office 2007 for a few weeks they never want to go back to 2003.

That's probably because, after a few weeks of a replacement, it's hard to remember the original, much less the REAL original (the one with simple menus rather than personalised menus).

Personally, I can never find things in the ribbon. Menus are much simpler and more intuitive, EVEN when organised incorrectly.

Re:ribbons (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | about 5 years ago | (#28678943)

If I have to use Office, I prefer to use 2007, as it makes the options much more accessible than the default menus and toolbars in previous versions.

That being said, it's pretty rare that I have to use Office, which may have a lot to do with my preference, since I don't spend time customizing my menus and have to spend a lot of time looking for the options I want on older versions. My wife's actually much more familiar with the Office apps (especially Excel), and it took her a couple of months to get accustomed to the 2007 interface, but eventually it grew on her.

Re:ribbons (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | about 5 years ago | (#28678999)

Get 33 people and I'll believe you. Even then, at a 99% confidence interval your anecdotal evidence may not be statistically significant. I'm more inclined to believe that that 2.4% dislike it because they expected to find it harder to use, and, not being disappointed, continued to not use it.

Re:ribbons (3, Informative)

Shados (741919) | about 5 years ago | (#28679009)

here (douzens of thousands of heavy Office users), we're not quite done testing all our stuff with 2007 (our documents are fine, but some plugins have to be upgraded, and integration with in house apps have to be tested, etc), but we have to hold users back with chains from upgrading to 2007 (well, its a metaphore obviously, they can't upgrade on their own). -EVERYONE- wants it. Bad. The UI is a lot better for people who don't know Office by heart, and there's a lot of new features, mainly in the business intelligence integration and collaboration that make people drool over it.

Not again! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678685)

Good Lord, the business hardly deployed Office 2007 with big troubles, we just got used to the new interface absolute madness and yet again more changes :(

Will this crazy running for "the new" ever end?

Re:Not again! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678739)


Re:Not again! (4, Insightful)

DeadChobi (740395) | about 5 years ago | (#28679147)

So what you're saying is that when a company makes changes to something it is bad, but when it refuses to change things it is bad. I thought that Microsoft wasn't making enough changes to its software to keep up with other innovations. Correct me if I'm wrong, but nobody has ever attempted to create an interface like the Ribbon before in an office suite. So when Microsoft comes up with something new, suddenly it's not okay to be running for the new.

This community constantly rails against how Microsoft has aped other OS vendors to try to make their products better, and then rails against Microsoft trying to innovate in their own software. It's like every post is a new punch bowl filled with red kool-aid stupid. Could we please get past the 1990's Microsoft vs. Linux attitude and admit that it's possible for one arm of a company to do bad things while another arm of the company does good things? Not everything boils down to a "good vs. evil" essential conflict.

Re:Not again! (1)

furby076 (1461805) | about 5 years ago | (#28679989)

They are not ending support for a new one.

What's with people getting angst about a new product every 3-5 years? Adobe comes out with a new photoshop every 1-2 yeasr. Same with Intuit products. Not a big deal...keep using what you like. I still know many people who use office 2003. It works great.

The biggest group of users to use 2010 will be those who got brand new computers and don't have an older version.

Techies all of a sudden wanting to slow down progres...all in the hate of MS.

Good Enough (4, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 years ago | (#28678687)

Microsoft has long been promoting "good enough" approach to things. It isn't the most secure ... it is good enough. It isn't the most robust ... it is good enough. It isn't the most productive ... it is good enough.

This is the Achilles heal of Microsoft. With Windows XP and Office since 2000 or even 2003, has been "good enough". I can't think of ANYTHING Microsoft can offer in Win 7 or Office 2010 that I would actually use. And changing how things work, just for the sake of changing how they work, is counter productive.

In early 2003 I made the statement that 2008 was going to be the first sign of Microsoft's demise as tech leader. The Storm has hit, and is now ravaging Microsoft. Google is building Chrome OS (which I would assume is tied to Android ... somewhere), Open Office is very usable, Wine is getting to the point of being solid, Linux is appearing on desktops, Webservices, mobile devices (iPhone, Blackberry, Android) etc.

You can see the panic at Microsoft in their web services division, from the search engines changes to Live and now to Bing. You can see the panic in the OS and Office with the huge changes in the UI to cover up that really nothing has changed since 2000.

Microsoft is suffering from the "good enough" syndrome. Everything they have made for the last 6 or 8 years is "good enough" and when Vista comes along and changes things just to change things, people buck against it. You'll see more of the same with Office.

I honestly think one of the reasons Gates left, was because he saw the writing on the wall, and got out while the getting was good.

Re:Good Enough (1)

greenguy (162630) | about 5 years ago | (#28679365)

Problem is, you're arguing against yourself. I quite agree that Microsoft products are good enough -- and by "good," I mean "familiar" -- but this undermines your point about OpenOffice and Linux gaining traction. These are still unfamiliar to most people, and they are unwilling to start over on the learning curve just because of some ethereal philosophical viewpoint. They're going to stick with what they know, which is Word on XP, over either Windows 7 or Linux. The only time Linux has a fighting chance is when people simply can't cling to XP any longer, and they must change. Then there will be a brief window where they will weigh their options on their merits.

Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 5 years ago | (#28678699)

Word's been around, what, 20 years? Guys, if you want to provide maximum usability to use users, leave it alone. We've all figured out how the app works, what the keyboard shortcuts are, where in each menu our most-used commands are, and how to use mail merge. STOP CHANGING IT. Every time you change how Word works, all you're doing is decreasing my usability and needlessly taking away time I could otherwise spend doing actual productive work.

Full disclosure: I've been trying to avoid Office for the past year or so, relying on Apple's Pages instead - in part simply because Word is a bloated beast, and in part because Microsoft just keeps pointlessly adding useless crap and changing things to give the illusion of "innovation".

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 5 years ago | (#28678821)

But you are getting old and are going to die and you probably have no intention of buying a new version of Word since you are happy with the current one.

New users will see a wierdly arcane program or an easy to use (for a novice) program.

Think of these versions of word as targeted to naive users.


What I can't see is how they intend to compete with free (Openoffice) when we have 25% real unemployment and no growth in sales for the rest- with the corrupted financial industry pillaging and looting heavily from the 75% that are still producing.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (3, Interesting)

bheer (633842) | about 5 years ago | (#28678949)

> What I can't see is how they intend to compete with free (Openoffice)

Simple. By giving away Office Web Edition for free on the web, via (This was mentioned quite widely in the tech press but the /. summary doesn't mention in specifically.) Frankly, given that I prefer Google Docs over OpenOffice, if Office Web is any good it'll be the 800lb gorilla in the market.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (1)

nizo (81281) | about 5 years ago | (#28679195)

Or, keep just enough people on the upgrade treadmill that other people who absolutely have to be able to read the documents of these people are forced to buy the latest version of Microsoft Office. If your client, who pays your bills, insists on using the latest Microsoft Office, then most places will see it as simply easier to upgrade. Especially if your client is a government agency.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (1)

ashtophoenix (929197) | about 5 years ago | (#28679333)

I prefer Google Docs to OpenOffice too. I find OpenOffice quirky and unreliable. It often crashes for me. In fact I think even Word (2003) is more usable than OpenOffice. Word 2007 on the other hand (and the whole of Office 2007) is a bloody mess where its even hard to figure the Menu Options - maybe I just need to sit down for a few mins and figure it out once and for all...but why??? I already did that a few years before and it was working quite well for me. I don't see the benefit of this UI Change. As for Google Docs - it has limited functionality - but its easy to use and it promises on what it delivers. So for simple documents I end up using it. One thing I would say is that MS Excel is a wonderful tool.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 5 years ago | (#28679277)

But you are getting old and are going to die and you probably have no intention of buying a new version of Word since you are happy with the current one.

Besides linux people, the people that I personally see using openoffice most often are young, hip college students. The reason? They have no money to spend on things like software. You forget that young people also grew up with the internet and are accustomed lots of free software and see no reason to pay to use something that some other software does just as well but is free.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#28678833)

So just stop upgrading. Files from recent versions go back and forth about as well as files from the same version, so compatibility isn't a huge problem.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (0, Troll)

avandesande (143899) | about 5 years ago | (#28679059)

Documentation and training are a huge part of M$ business.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (2, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | about 5 years ago | (#28679097)

Just because "View / Header and Footer" is the way you're used to doing it, doesn't mean it's the best way. Word has been evolving and expanding all this time. You can only shoehorn new features into the old UI for so long before it becomes convoluted.

To learn the new ribbon all you have to do is think about what you are trying to accomplish and then navigate where you think it ought to belong. The new layout means you will find related functions that will improve your productivity and quality of communication. It's nothing but a good thing.

FYI, old hotkeys from previous versions of Office still work (e.g., Alt-F, S, will still save your document even though there's no "File" pulldown with a "Save" command.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (1)

fred80 (1596701) | about 5 years ago | (#28679177)

I agree. It's aggravating in the extreme to have to learn a new interface for an app that I've been using everyday for 5 years and know inside and out. I actually stopped upgrading MS Office and have been using Open Office ever since MS gave the big O its last interfacelift. On a weekly basis, I use my Mac desktop at the office and my Linux and Windows laptops on the go for meetings and presentations. It's nice to have an app that works and looks the same across all 3 platforms. Also, it's great for VM's too.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (4, Insightful)

TheTrollToll (1545539) | about 5 years ago | (#28679253)

Its aggravating that IT people who go to Slashdot are so afraid of learning new (possibly more intuitive and simple) ways of using software.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | about 5 years ago | (#28679233)

The fact is that Microsoft was right to ditch the traditional menus in most of the Office programs, because they were heavily bloated and every user needed to customize their toolbar to have a clean interface that they could actually use (or memorize the keyboard shortcuts, which for the most part haven't changed from 95 to 2007). Whether or not their 2007 (or 2010) implementation is any better depends somewhat on the user (and in part their willingness to adapt), but at least they're trying to do something about it, instead of just leaving everyone with 3 lines of toolbars and having 75% or more of the buttons on their screen go unused 99.9% of the time.

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 5 years ago | (#28679257)

My apologies. I didn't realize I strayed onto your lawn. I will promptly remove myself forthwith. Good day, sir!

Re:Memo to Microsoft: Leave it alone (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 5 years ago | (#28679413)

We've all figured out how the app works, what the keyboard shortcuts are, where in each menu our most-used commands are, and how to use mail merge. STOP CHANGING IT.

This is not only true for Office products, but operating systems as well. Seriously, Windows 7? Why did they rename/move around everything I need to know. Why can't it START in classic mode and I can make it flashy if I want it to be...

These kinds of things should be intuitive, familiar, and easy. Its like they're trying to make me play Halo on Southpaw Legacy.

But...still not fixed (4, Insightful)

tomax7 (1261742) | about 5 years ago | (#28678711)

â¦but can PowerPoint incorporate BOTH a landscape and portrait setting in the same slideshow yet? Or can users rearrange the Quick Access Toolbar by dragging the icons around instead of the retarded way of going into the Options/Customize area? Or Excel open with the page break showing, as in dotted lines showing the margins?

Re:But...still not fixed (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | about 5 years ago | (#28679043)

I know what you did, unlike others I read TFA :D

Re:But...still not fixed (3, Interesting)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | about 5 years ago | (#28679245)

or how about Excel's cut & paste functionality working in even remotely the same fashion as everywhere else in Windows (or Office)?

Eric Raymond (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678725)

Eric felt his scrotum contract in its latest desperate attempt to keep his testicles warm. This hospital, wherever it was, was damned drafty.

It didn't help that the nurses on his floor, who had been treating Eric like a complete bitch, liked to keep the air conditioning cranked up. Or was it just his room? He noticed they pulled their cardigans and sweaters around them only when they came to see him.

"Nurse! Nurse!" Eric shouted. "Excuse me, nurse?!"

Eric heard a chair creak, followed by footsteps coming down the hall. They were quick around here, one of the only good things Eric had yet noticed. Perhaps it was because of his celebrity status.

"Yes?" the nurse said, crossing her goose-pimpled arms.

"Nurse, it's damn cold in here," Eric said. "And I think my pain medication is wearing off. Can I have some more pills?"

Her beady eyes, set atop wrinkled, puffy cheeks, lasered him in his bed. This was the sixth time Eric had shouted for her since her shift began. She didn't know him well but she was definitely starting to hate him.

"Oh! And my urinal needs emptied!" Eric added.

The nurse pursed her lips and folded her arms without breaking eye contact, "get fucked" in body language.

Eric smiled a crooked, leering grin at her and winked in a bid to charm her into emptying his piss. The nurse wondered if he was about to have another seizure.

She picked up Eric's chart, flipped through it, and replaced it.

"Mr. Raymond," the nurse said, "you're not due for more pain medication for two more hours."

Eric's mustache, orange and drooping, twitched.

"Do you need your bandages looked at?"

Eric shifted in his bed, stiff and uncomfortable. He slowly, awkwardly, stretched his hospital gown down over his knees.

"Nooo, no, no I don't," Eric said. "My bandages are just fine."

"Fine then," the nurse said. "I'll get your urinal. Do you need anything else?"

Eric watched as the nurse lifted his urinal carefully off of his lunch tray. It was completely full1,000 cubic centimeters, one full quart of piss and mounding at the top.

The nurse stifled a gag as she slowly made her way into the restroom.

"This damn IV has me swimming!" Eric called after her with a quick laugh.

He heard her pouring his urine into the toilet and felt the urge to go again. It had been dark brown, viscous, and smelled to high heaven like sick wet meat. He really hoped whatever they had him on was working.

She returned from the restroom and replaced Eric's urinal.

"I'll be back when it's time for your medication," she said. "Dinner is in an hour."

With that she left until, she knew too well, the next time Eric grew bored or irritated.

Feeling as anxious as ever, Eric reached for billywig [] , his blueberry iBook [] , which had finally charged. He hit the start button and watched Yellow Dog Linux [] slowly crawl off of the hard drive into RAM.

Thank god this hospital had wifi. Thank god he had an Airport card in his iBook. []

"Nope." []

"Hmm Nope." []

"Nope." []

Eric was having no luck. The more he optimized his Google searches, he noted with alarm, the less relevant his search hits became.

foul smelling like decay meat and at times like grated yam. this odor ... and fifth day i see dirth brown dischargeAbnormal discharge from the nipple .... the air asking what that rotten meat smell was...and the consequent search ... So, my UA (urine analysis) came back abnormal

"Jesus Christ!" Eric muttered to himself as he squinted at his iBook's twelve inch screen. "I don't think I have anything coming out of my nipples!"

Making sure his iBook was steady, he gingerly squeezed his left pectoral.


Eric command-tabbed back to vi, where he was typing "RFI on brown piss that smells like rotting meat" to post to his blog [] , when there was a knock at the door.

"Mr. Raymond?"

It was the nurse.

"There's someone here to see you."

Finally, company! A hacker mind like Eric's was not used to boredom. He needed plenty of Iranian hackers [] to chat with, a cave full of LARP buddies, or, optimally, a Linux party [] . Not the sanitation of lonely, well-lit hospital.

A second later the door opened again and in walked not Eric's LARP troop or Linux party, but something far less arousing: a New Jersey state police officer.

"Eric Raymond?" the officer asked. He was 6'2" and built like the Mack trucks he probably ticketed on a daily basis.

"Yes, sir, that's me, officer," Eric stammered. He hated being dominated.

"You're under arrest for lewd conduct, public indecency, and conspiracy to solicit," the officer said. The tone in his voice told Eric not to interrupt. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say"

Eric's mind wandered. He had to call his wife. She was his attorney and had dealt with this sort of thing before. He had to keep this quiet.

Eric decided then and there to be as cooperative as possible.

"Do you understand these rights, Mr. Raymond?"

"Yeah, sure," Eric said. "But I'd like to share info about the other party involved in this incident."

"Go ahead?" the officer said, not expecting Eric's offer.

"The other party," Eric said, "is a man named Emad, an Iranian hacker, quite possible in this country illegally. His email address is [mailto] and his AIM handle is iran2hax0rc0ck [aim] ."

"Any idea who the other parties involved were?" the trooper asked, taking his notepad out.

"Other parties? There were no other parties. Just Emad and I."

"Mr Raymond," the trooper said, "you were the victim of sexual assault last night."

Eric's left eye twitched. It was usually him, with his Glock and Jägermeister, in charge of the proceedings. Not the other way around. He felt so powerless.

"You'll be arraigned upon your release from the hospital. Do you understand that?"

"Sure," Eric said, "but why do you think there were other parties? It was just Emad and I the entire time."

"Mr. Raymond," the trooper said while replacing his notebook, "our crime lab extracted the DNA of two other people from your wounds."

Eric sweated, cold and salty, and his world spun. Who else had been there?

"Also," the trooper said, producing a plastic bag, "do you know what this is?"

He handed the object to Eric, who turned it back and forth. It reflected the room's lights weakly through the baggie.

"It's Ubuntu," Eric said softly.

"Ubuntu? What's that?" the trooper said.

"It's a Linux distribution," Eric said unhelpfully. "Where did you get it?"

Eric noticed the version number on the CD face as he passed it back to the trooper. 9.10Karmic Koala.

The trooper looked away before he spoke.

"The doctors removed it from deep inside your ass."

Re:Eric Raymond (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678889)

I heard something had happened to Eric Raymond, but didn't know the details. That's fucked up that the police would charge an assault victim with a crime. Given shit like that (and NASA spending $100 billion on a space station just to destroy it, the patent office, etc) I wonder why anyone would want the government involved in healthcare or "stimulating" the economy.

But I digress. ESR, my prayers are with you. Has anyone set up a paypal fund or online e-card for him?

'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (0, Troll)

Bonker (243350) | about 5 years ago | (#28678759)

The first time I ever used a threaded message client was WinVN newsreader way back in the wilds of 1993. The first email reader I used that was threaded was Eudora... pre-2000. I'm very sure that tin supported threads before I ever saw an ethernet cable.

So here it is 2009, and Microsoft is just NOW including a threaded view in Outlook.

Yeah. Way to innovate there, Redmon. Congratulations on entering the 1990s!

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (1)

Shados (741919) | about 5 years ago | (#28678921)

Im not too sure whats the difference, but Outlook has had thread support for years too. So this is probably a fancier rehash of the same deal, or maybe natively integrated with Exchange or something.

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28679037)

How come the GP which is incorrect is marked as Informative and the P which is correct is modded as "2"?

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (1)

bheer (633842) | about 5 years ago | (#28679021)

Threaded mail has been in Outlook since at least Outlook 2000. Conversation view is more like Gmail's "threads".

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 5 years ago | (#28679085)

The ability to group messages by conversation has been in Outlook for as long as I've been using it (which is since 2003) - probably longer, though, as Outlook Express had it since the first version that came with Win98. I'm not sure how this is new by any measure...

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (1)

Sukhbir (961063) | about 5 years ago | (#28679137)

So you mean to say that in a way, innovation as a whole is just limited to one feature?

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (2, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | about 5 years ago | (#28679167)

Yeah. Way to innovate there, Redmon. Congratulations on entering the 1990s!

Outlook has supported threaded discussion views for email and post folders since the 2000 version. Here's a walk through [] for 2003. First hit on Google searching for 'outlook threaded view'

While threaded mode is useful for some things, there are other nice ways to visualize your stuff on Outlook that I like.

View -> Arrange By -> Conversation on OLK2003 is essentially the same as GMail mode, for example.

A quick switch to Message Timeline view is also extremely useful in those situations where someone says "it's an email from 03/12/70" or something like that and you want to look quickly at the entire sequence sorted by message rather than simply by date.

The "Show in groups" thing is priceless as a visual aide to stuff that's happened in the last few weeks.

I think Outlook is an example of Microsoft's better software efforts. It has its quirks and limitations of course, but overall it's far better than most other mail clients I've used in the past 15 years. And I'm not even considering Exchange integration here.

Congratulations on getting modded up though. My theory that mod points are being increasingly farmed out to rhesus monkeys and squirrels on steroids continues to pan out.

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (1)

furby076 (1461805) | about 5 years ago | (#28680061)

Congratulations on getting modded up though. My theory that mod points are being increasingly farmed out to rhesus monkeys and squirrels on steroids continues to pan out.

Dude your saying good things about MS. Let me get on my other five /. accounts so i can mod you down.

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (1)

Maniacal (12626) | about 5 years ago | (#28679325)

I've tried using a threaded view with different email clients over the years and I always switch back. I don't understand why. I've spent a lot of time on Outlook so that may be why I could care less about threading. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the entire thread is appended to the end of each new mail I get in the thread. That is, unless someone in the chain deliberately doesn't include it in a reply.

What I have grown to love is the way gmail does threading. It's like a hybrid between what Outlook does (or doesn't do) and threading. I have the thread there in case I need it but the message appears at the top of my inbox all the way to the left.

Re:'Conversation View' == Threaded mail? (3, Informative)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | about 5 years ago | (#28679345)

Outlook has supported threaded mail for a long time. The feature they were trying to highlight was the ability to condense the content of the thread to a single (or small number of) message when much of the content in the replies is the same (ie the previous sender's message quoted back in a reply). Therefore you could look at the top-level of the thread and possibly read the whole thread without having to go through several messages, most of which contain the previous messages quoted over and over again.

How much value this has to most users and whether or not it actually works very well I don't know, but the idea that Outlook didn't have a threaded view before this is at best laughable, especially since a quick search would tell you how to do it in the last 4 or so versions of the program.

A lot of effort and money (1, Funny)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 5 years ago | (#28678795)

... for software that really isn't needed these days. Other than a one-off printed letter, what place does a word processing document have in today's world of Wikis and such? Same with spreadsheets. Great for high school and college labs, and quick what-if stuff, but outside of that, should they really be used (don't get me started on the number of spreadsheet 'databases' or printable tables are out there).

Re:A lot of effort and money (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | about 5 years ago | (#28678893)

Have you set foot in a typical large business lately? These people live and die by these things, on -TOP- of using wikis and such. A big part of it is that you can't really link a customer waiting to sign a 15 million dollar contract a link to a wiki, and the accounting department can't do their "one shot deal" calculations on their blog.

Re:A lot of effort and money (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28678923)

Other than a one-off printed letter, what place does a word processing document have in today's world of Wikis and such?

You mean other than for writing novels, papers and articles? Yeah, other than major stuff like that, I can see no use for a word processor at all. Last time I checked my professor or your editor isn't going to accept a wiki page as a way to turn in your writing to.

Re:A lot of effort and money (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 5 years ago | (#28678981)

... for software that really isn't needed these days. Other than a one-off printed letter, what place does a word processing document have in today's world of Wikis and such? Same with spreadsheets. Great for high school and college labs, and quick what-if stuff, but outside of that, should they really be used (don't get me started on the number of spreadsheet 'databases' or printable tables are out there).

Wikis? Are you on crack. Wikis are not only often disorganized but they are also the epitome of poor usability. They do have their place but they are not a replacement properly rewritten and organized documentation. Wikis are a fad like twitter and will be forgotten in a few years.

Re:A lot of effort and money (1, Insightful)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | about 5 years ago | (#28679077)

Mod parent -1 incredibly naive

Re:A lot of effort and money (3, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 5 years ago | (#28679323)

Mod parent -1 incredibly naive

Try adding "in my basement" to the end of each of the GP's sentences and you can understand his perspective a bit more.

... for software that really isn't needed these days in my basement. Other than a one-off printed letter, what place does a word processing document have in today's world of Wikis and such in my basement? Same with spreadsheets in my basement. Great for high school and college labs, and quick what-if stuff, but outside of that, should they really be used in my basement (don't get me started on the number of spreadsheet 'databases' or printable tables are out there in my basement).

Re:A lot of effort and money (1)

Merdalors (677723) | about 5 years ago | (#28679485)

While I'm not a big fan of the latest versions of Office, I have yet to see a Web-based, on-line program that can handle two or three hundred-page technical documents, with automatic paragraph numbering, indices, cross-referencing, style formats, redlining, robust tables, etc. Heck even WordPerfect buggers up RTF.

Re:A lot of effort and money (1)

mkrup99 (1586809) | about 5 years ago | (#28679843)

I can see the "Funny" rating, but for the life of me I cannot understand how this can be modded anywhere above zero. Clearly you have never held a real job... or attended any classes at a legitimate school, for that matter. This comment made me feel like this: []

Re:A lot of effort and money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28679941)

Huh? Do you actually work for a living?

I use Excel constantly - because it is a great business tool. My data stays local, gets integrated on my servers with what I want, and Excel provides all the analytical tools I need.

The Ribbon... (2, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 5 years ago | (#28678869) the new Clippy. If you want people to use Office, you need to get rid of it.

Re:The Ribbon... (-1, Troll)

TheTrollToll (1545539) | about 5 years ago | (#28679093)

What you've just said, is one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard. Everyone on this thread is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points and may god have mercy on your soul.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678901)

Outlook also sees the introduction of two new email features for office workers drowning under a deluge of email. The Conversation Clean-Up tool will condense long email chains into summaries of the conversation, allowing you to catch up with all the key information without having to open dozens of different messages individually.

This made me think of this commercial:

WordPerfect 5.1 (2, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | about 5 years ago | (#28678911)

I could have been happy using WordPerfect 5.1 for the rest of my life -- it did everything I need a word processor to do.

Re:WordPerfect 5.1 (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#28679033)

I remember a WordPerfect demo for the Atari ST. Everyone in attendance agreed then that WP was gross overkill for just about everyone.

For most people that have to put up with msword for no other reason to "be compatable", that's still true.

Re:WordPerfect 5.1 (1)

adonoman (624929) | about 5 years ago | (#28680035)

So install it and quit complaining. It's easy enough to do under XP: [] I have an old 286 laptop that the kids play with that has wp51 installed and as nice as it was 20 years ago (menus! woo-hoo!), the lack of copy-and paste between apps, an OS-based printer driver system, etc... makes it just that much more of an effort to use. Stick me in front of vi for coding anyday, but when I want to quickly create a document to print out that looks nice, I'll go with a modern word processor.

Re:WordPerfect 5.1 (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | about 5 years ago | (#28680079)

I guess I don't need to ask why your sentence is in past tense. DOS and dot matrix printers used to suffice as well, but do you intend to distribute your hard work with modems and floppies?

The last good version of Microsoft Word (1, Troll)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 5 years ago | (#28678913)

The last good version of Microsoft Word was Word 5.1 for the Mac, and that was over 17 years ago! They should stop throwing all the garbage in there and just make it extensible with plug-ins like Photoshop or a web browser.

Re:The last good version of Microsoft Word (1)

Aphonia (1315785) | about 5 years ago | (#28679311)

They do allow plugins. It is extendable. People write plugins (such as the old style menu plugin, PDF plugin, etc.).

They add more features trying to get a better product, people start using them, they might not all succeed, but if they pull it, people will cry.

It seems to be one of the banes of another popular microsoft product (windows) where people use undocumented features, expect stuff to work, and cry when it doesnt. I think Raymond Chen goes over some of this in his book.

Also, remember that Microsoft wants people to move to a newer version. Maybe Ribbon was the wrong way to go, but now that you have users on it, switching back to the old style will either be forgotten, or people will have to get the option of using the new and old styles lest you have people crying (casual users).

Re:The last good version of Microsoft Word (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#28679929)

Problem is that Office 2010 now has the Xbox Achievements system...

"Achievement, you found the file menu function +10gp"

Oh using Office 2010 will require a Office Live gold account or higher.

one-upping Google (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | about 5 years ago | (#28678925)

I found it really interesting to hear that Microsoft is pushing so hard for web-based solutions, as well as incorporating network features into the local client. They seem to be adopting all the best features of Google Apps/Writely and putting extra polish on them.

For instance, anyone who's used Google Apps knows how bad the cross-compatibility is with Office documents so this alone will be the main decider for most businesses. Also, Google Apps' interface is rudamintary and the applications are utterly worthless for formatting documents for print, so these are areas MS can really excel in the cloud. It's also neat to see Microsoft incorporate collaborative edits of a single document - this was Google's main differentiator until now as it was infinitely better than Sharepoint's check-out system.

Most importantly for non-US businesses, Microsoft offers locally installed, locally hosted server solutions which means you don't have to entrust your private data to the cloud, the PATRIOT Act, or man-in-the-middle attacks. Also, your workplace doesn't stop if your WAN connection goes down.

I predict these features will be of little value to small businesses and home users who may opt for cheap or free competing products, but MS has a very good handle on how the workplace is evolving and becoming more distributed and this awareness will be very attractive for mid-to-large businesses.

Office productivity suites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28678927)

People still pay for these?

I mean, really? Just as Microsoft killed the ability for anyone to make money selling web browsers, didn't Open Office et al do the same? The last ... three companies I've worked for all use Open Office.

Re:Office productivity suites... (2, Insightful)

DanJ_UK (980165) | about 5 years ago | (#28679373)

Exchange / Outlook is a pretty substantial requirement for every company I've ever worked for.

So microsoft should...? (0)

TheTrollToll (1545539) | about 5 years ago | (#28678965)

What should they do? Stop making new versions of their software? Stop selling updated software? Why would we want them to stop making progress. You guys can all keep your office 97's,word perfect 1.0's and your open office's and that's fine. Why criticize a company for something every other software company does? They are more ripable for their strong-arm and anti-competitive practices than for improving their software. Yes yes we know you're crusty veterans of software and you think that your opinions matter the most but according to this first report, Office 2010 is indeed an improvement in many ways (despite it requiring more than 256k memory).

Not so surprising (2, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 5 years ago | (#28679087)

Is anyone else thinking that we may not have seen this early preview if it hadn't been for last week's announcement from Google of the upcoming Chrome OS, twisting Microsoft's arm into announcing something, anything at all?

Re:Not so surprising (2, Informative)

Shados (741919) | about 5 years ago | (#28679389)

Unlikely. Microsoft partners have bigger customers already have had access to the Office 2010 preview for months now. I'm amazed it took that long for it to be seen in public (though there were already some previews and screenshots, including official ones by microsoft bloggers, for a while now)

Re:Not so surprising (2, Informative)

Aphonia (1315785) | about 5 years ago | (#28679561)

Except for the fact that this preview was announced in May [] and Microsoft has had sharepoint and other things. And ChromeOS being a little netbook OS to just browse the internets when people do so much more with Windows.

Re:Not so surprising (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 5 years ago | (#28679655)

Is anyone else thinking that we may not have seen Chrome OS if it hadn't been for the upcoming release of Windows 7, twisting Googles's arm into announcing something, anything at all?

First Question (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 5 years ago | (#28679349)

First Question: Does it run on XP?

Would be the first time that MS has tried to force an OS upgrade.

Three Reasons to Hate the Ribbon (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 5 years ago | (#28679451)

1: It takes away valuable vertical screen real estate and cannot be repositioned to less valuable side areas.
2: It changes based on what it's Application Telepathy thinks you are doing.
3: You are not even offered the option of backwards compatibility to the old, customizable, fixed menuing system -- Microsoft dictates that they know what's best for you!

Can forced Dvorak keyboards with no QWERTY option be far behind?

oo, ms formats (1)

drougie (36782) | about 5 years ago | (#28679619)

I know this wouldn't be too helpful to openoffice and the FOSS world in general in terms of getting a leg up on native format overlords but it would help me not just deploy it in a large office by saving myself some clicks as I'm running around installing it but it would also enable me to hand out a CD to someone with an openoffice installation on it if I could somehow modify it to set the default save formats to Microsoft's. I also realize there's a risk such users should know, that they may lose certain formatting in doing this (and maybe I'd want to encourage them to crank out PDFs on final drafts), but most people just don't have the technical acumen to change these settings themselves and would have little interest in an editor that would only save a new document in an MS format if they went out of their way to specify it each time. Being able to double click an icon, type something, hit save and email to someone else who will then be able to open it with or without openoffice without having to do any extra steps would be a strong selling point.
So is there any way, a simple way without having to sift through all the source code, to modify some kind of openoffice installer to use ms formats by default? Maybe something like this exists already?
Ideally MS would be kind enough to support oo formats...
While I'm posting here's a link for MS fonts [] and another for Vista fonts [] for OO, works on all platforms OO works on according to what I found on google just now. Oh yeah, and back to my question, how about modifying an installer package to toss in fonts like this? Again, dealing with people who can barely click through a simple installation, not people who know where to find the basic settings of this kind of software.

Yawn... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | about 5 years ago | (#28679775)

Who cares?

There's more to Office than the Ribbon (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | about 5 years ago | (#28679935)

...but you wouldn't think so looking through some of these comments. Office works real well with MOSS (Paid version of SharePoint); which works real nice on a Active Directory and SQL Server; which is only realistic on Windows Server. When I say works well, I mean your grandmother could get it running.

Office on it's own is missing the point really; documents should never stay on just one machine.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Office.

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