Probably the biggest complaint surrounding Microsoft's Office productivity suite (other than the ribbon) is the cost. Starting with Office 2010, Microsoft hopes to alleviate some of those complaints by charging users less if they're willing to forgo a boxed copy and make do with a card containing a product key code.
The savings are pretty significant. According to CNet, Office Professional (includes Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, Publisher 2010, Access 2010, premium tech support, and the Office Web Apps) will run $499 for the full boxed copy. But for users content with a product card only, the price drops down to $349. The Academic version, meanwhile, will sell for $99.
Microsoft will charge $149 for the boxed version of Office Home and Student, while the product card will run $119, saving buyers $30. This version will include World 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, and the Office Web Apps.
Finally, there's the new Office Home and Business, which bundles in Outloook 2010 to the above. It will sell for $279 for the boxed version, and $199 for the product key card.
Can't get enough box art? Well then you're in luck. Polish website CentrumXP has posted what appear to be leaked images of the retail boxes for Microsoft's upcoming Office 2010 productivity suite, or at least four of the versions.
The site posted shots of Office 2010 Home and Student, Home and Business, Professional, and Professional Academic. Standing out among the four versions is Office Professional Academic 2010, which is an edition no one seems to have known was in the works. In July of this year, Microsoft announced the other three versions above, plus Standard and Professional Plus (both of which will only be available via volume licensing).
So are these leaked shots the real deal? We don't know, but since Standard and Professional Plus will come via volume licensing, it would explain why those box shots weren't shown. And CentrumXP is also the same sight that leaked photos of Windows 7 retail boxes, half of which turned out to be legit.
What's the verdict, real or fake? Hit the jump and tell us!
Quite frankly, we're surprised this one even warranted a study, but in case you didn't already know, firing off emails and swapping instant messages can be a serious time killer and cut into your productivity. But is the effect on your work even greater than you thought?
"Our findings suggest that even seemingly brief and inconsequential on-screen pop-up messages might be impacting upon our efficiency, particularly given their frequency over the working day," said Dr. Helen Hodgetts, co-author of the study at Cardiff University.
Rather than rely on a survey, Hodgetts, along with colleague Professor Dylan Jones, instructed volunteers to work on a simple task of moving different sized disks between three rods. Short on-screen interruptions were given, and even when they lasted only five seconds, the researchers found that it took people longer than normal to finish the next step of the task.
"The interruption breaks our cognitive focus on the task in hand, so we have to work out where we were up to and what we were planning to do next before we can resume the task at our original speed," explained Dr. Hodgetts.
We suppose that's one spin to put on the research. The other? Perhaps doing work and filling out TPS reports are the real time killers, cutting into our Peggle time and whatever other de-stressor we might have going on.
Through the Microsoft Partner Network, the Redmond software outfit is offering its partners a deal it hopes their clients will find too good to refuse. The deal is 20 percent off Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007, which is an okay promotion by itself, but it also comes with a free upgrade to Microsoft 2010 when it launches in June of next year.
Clients who take advantage of the 'Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 No Better Time Promotion' (forget about trying to say that three times fast, and see how long it takes you just to say it three times normally), are also eligible for additional beneifts tied to the licensing program they make their purchases through, as well as the quanity of qualifying licenses they purchase. All clients will have the option to spread payments over three years, training vouchers for employees, E-Learning courses, and rights to install Microsoft Office on a home PC in addition to a work computer.
If you're not a business owner, which is who this deal is aimed at, don't fret. As Arstechnica points out, it's very likely Microsoft will offer some kind of consumer incentive to preorder Office 2010 before its launch, not to mention promotional pricing like the Ultimate Steal Microsoft has run in the past.
Are you stuck using Outlook at work? We feel your pain. Compared to the alternatives, like Mozilla's light-weight and customizable Thunderbird client, Outlook is slow, bloaty, and downright unwieldy. Add to the fact that it isn't free and Outlook doesn't appear to have much going for it.
But whether you use Outlook because you have to or have grown accustomed to its interface and are reluctant to switch (or maybe you just want to justify the cost of Microsoft Office), we have some tricks to help you manage your email and contacts like a pro. After all, if you're going to use Outlook, no matter what the reason, you might as well get the most out of it, and we're here to help you do just that.
The open source movement might just be on to something with Open Office 4 Kids (OOo4Kids), a productivity suite aimed at the much younger crowd between the ages of 7 and 12. And if DownloadSquad.com has anything to say about it, adults may prefer it to the regular version of Open Office as well.
According to the project's wiki, OOo4Kids is based on OpenOffice.org source code, but because certain aspects have been stripped out, it loads noticeably faster than the full fledged suite. There's a lot less going on in the UI, and larger buttons point out all the obvious features. But aside from the splash screen, it doesn't look overly childish, so we could also see this being installed on Aunt Angie's machine.
As expected, there are some features that are missing, such as Base, and power users won't be content with al the advanced controls, but in our limited test run, we were fairly impressed with OOo4Kids. There's still a lot you can do with it, the interface isn't condescending, and it's fast.
If you want to check it out for yourself, you can download the latest version (0.5) here.
A Texas Judge on Tuesday ordered Microsoft to stop "selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML." The injunction is the result of a complaint filed by Toronto-based i4i alleging Microsoft of violating its 1998 patent (No. 5,787,449) on a method for reading XML.
"We are disappointed by the court's ruling," Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict."
The Judge also ordered Microsoft pay i4i $240 million in damages plus court costs and interest. All tallied, the fine is estimated to be more than $290 million.
As it currently stands, the ruling, which applies to Word 2003 and Word 2007, takes effect in 60 days.
Google is launching an all-out offensive against Microsoft and its Microsoft Office software suite with a new ad campaign called "Going Google." In addition to being spattered all over the web, the new ads will also appear on billboards on four major U.S. highways that will give a new message about Google Apps everyday for a month. Said highways include the 101 in San Francisco, the West Side Hwy in New York, the Ike in Chicago, and Mass Pike in Boston.
The strategically placed ads, which will target IT managers stuck in traffic jams, will focus on how and why some 3,000 organizations are signing up to use Google Apps each day. According to Google, more than 1.75 million businesses, schools, and organizations have joined to use the various combinations of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and other Google Apps.
Google's new ad campaign represents the latest in an ongoing war between the search giant and Microsoft. Google recently announced the development of its Chrome OS, while Microsoft recently announced a deal to take over Yahoo's search business.
OpenOffice.org has made available version 3.1 of its OpenOffice software suite, marking the first major release in the 3.0 series. Several new features have been added to just about every aspect of the open-source office program, making this a must-have update if you roll free with your productivity apps.
As a whole, the 3.1 update sports an improved screen appearance, as it now uses anti-aliasing to smooth out any rough edges. Dragging is made easier by trading in the dotted outline for a shadow of the object you're trying to move. Other non program-specific enhancements include improved file locking to prevent others from overwriting a file, and support for overlining text.
Just a handful of the many program-specific changes:
Carry out a conversation through Comments by selecting 'Reply' (Writer)
Better grammar checker integration (Writer)
Rename sheets with a double-click (Calc)
Significant performance improvements (Calc)
Font size buttons (Impress)
You can view a full list of changes here and download the 3.1 update here.
You've tweaked everything else on your PC, so how about your mouse? That's right. The trusty input device that sits to the side of your keyboard needs some love too, but how many of you have thought to install applications that benefit the common features you use your mouse for? Eh? I must admit, I never considered much to tweak about the mouse's functionality. You scroll the cursor to what you want to check out and give it a click. It's a two-step process. Rinse, wash, repeat. What else could you possibly do with a mouse?
Spoiler: a lot.
I've found five amazing freeware and open-source applications that help you turbo-charge your ability to interact with your PC. Give these a whirl, and you'll increase your productivity, reduce your stress, and be just that much cooler than your peers who are stuck in the Stone Age of mouse operations. Take your final act as a generic mouse user: scroll the cursor over to "Read More," click the link, and prepare yourself for greatness.