Ty Anderson

Office Newswire: Last Minute Christmas Edition – 12.22.2011

As I write this newswire, I literally have my daughter in my office wrapping the gifts I bought for my wife. I admit to you that I do not know how to properly wrap a gift and I now resort to bribing (or rewarding) my daughter for taking care of this task for me. When she’s done wrapping and I’m done with this post, I’ll be in the full swing of the holiday festivities. Christmas Gift

The fact that I am working to have my gifts wrapped points directly to the fact that I am a last minute shopper. And it isn’t just shopping that I do at the last minute. I tend to plan, plan, plan… know exactly what I will do, then wait and execute right at the deadline. I think I like the adrenaline.

And so it is with the newswire. I scan the depths of the Office community, find potentially newsworthy items, and plan the newswire. But then I wait until the deadline to write it. There is something magical about the last minute.

I think that is true of this week’s Office Newswire…

Last minute Office news

For the most part, it appears this is a light news week for Microsoft Office… especially when you look back at the last couple of weeks. Still, there are some items worth your consideration.

  • Could 2012 be Microsoft’s year? :: I really don’t understand why MSFT’s stock has remained stuck around $22-25 for the last several years. Don’t they LastMinutehave something like 3 separate $4 billion business units? That’s 1 1/2 Google and we aren’t even counting the other divisions (e.g. Online Services & Entertainment). After all, MSFT is getting their MOJO back, so maybe, just maybe, 2012 is MSFT’s year.
  • Microsoft Office for Apple iOS, Android is a must :: Does the future include Office on iOS and Android? Probably so… if you are asking me. Will you take your tablet and then hookup a 23-inch motor, wireless keyboard, mouse and docking station and then crank out the next international best selling fiction title? Will you then use that tablet to sign the contract using Adobe’s new e-signature technology? I’d say that’s all very unlikely… only because I doubt you will write the next international best selling fiction title. I have no doubt several of you… dear readers… will create a Franken-tablet setup for your mobile version of Office. All this non-sense to say the author of this article throws out some creative (aka wacky) ideas about Office’s future. Wacky is good by the way… at least in my book.
  • Microsoft Office for Android? Adobe holds the answer :: This is an insightful article/blog post. The author says MSFT should not worry about cannibalizing Office sales with mobile versions. The example he provides is Adobe and their recent smattering of software releases aimed at tablets. He could very well be correct. To me, I don’t plan to ever use a tablet the way I do a PC or laptop. I want my tablet to complement that type of work, not replace it.
  • What is a SharePoint developer? :: I have missed this discussion and I am kicking myself. I need to work on my news gathering skills. I know you expect more of me and for this I apologize and promise to do better. Moving on… this article raises some philosophical questions… “To code, or not to code… what is a (SharePoint) developer?” If only Mr. Shakespeare were here to add some levity to this serious situation. If you are a code poet or a development philosopher, consider this article my Christmas gift to you (even though I didn’t write and can’t claim ownership of it… thus negating the gift… but still… )
  • Metro doesn’t necessarily scale well to Office :: Every time I hear mention of the Metro user interface I get the 80s song, Metro (by Berlin), stuck in my head. Sometimes it’s the original version… other times, it’s the acoustic version. Judge me if you must but that’s what’s going on. Back to the article, the author states that Metro is super-awesome is the most current-looking of all table interfaces. Okay, that’s fine. He then points out that Metro’s streamlined (simple? elegant?) interface doesn’t exactly mesh with the complex set of toolbars/ribbons utilized in Office. To this I say… anyone that thinks Microsoft isn’t going to make a version of Office that doesn’t rock the Metro UI is silly… just plain silly. Office and Windows go together like peas and carrots. This is a terrible analogy to me as I hate both peas and carrots. So maybe they go together like burgers and fries? or Fish and Chips? or Peanut Butter & Jelly? Insert you own combination. The point I’m making is it will be exciting to learn what Microsoft does with bread and butter (another nice duo!) combination

Last minute Office tips & tools

The various Office teams have posted Christmas-related tips and tools. I’d like to see more of this content during the year. In my opinion, Microsoft should do more to highlight how we could use their products in everyday life.

  • Send holiday greetings this weekend using Word :: This article from the Word team blog contains tips for creating holiday cards and newsletters. They even cover how to do a mail merge. If you do that, I suggest you make a font of your handwriting as to give the appearance of the personal touch. I used appearance purposefully. If you really want to add the personal touch you will have to address the envelopes yourself.
  • Last minute gift tags :: In my family, the design of the gift tag is almost as important as the wrapping and the bow. If you need some gift tag ideas, you are in luck, because the Word team has done the hard work for you.
  • Last minute budget tips for those last minute gifts :: I will go out on a limb and state that most people don’t like dealing with the accounting aspect of holiday spending. We don’t want to look at the damage our spending is doing to our bank account. Well, this spreadsheet won’t put money in your account but it will improve your gift planning. Using this template, you track spending by recipient, etc. It also tracks other holiday gotchas like food & lodging. Best part of this tool is that it doesn’t cost you anything extra.
  • (Last Minute) Christmas freebies for your Office :: The team at Ablebits released 3 free Office add-ins. One is especially relevant given the season. The other two are relevant all year long and quite useful too. Head over there and download them. I think you will agree with my assessment. And did I mention these add-ins are free?
  • Prevent embarrassing reply-alls at the last minute :: Ever hit the reply-all button, written a witty/snarky reply, and then hit Send only to see at the-very-last-minute (and too late) that you hit the reply-all button? Who hasn’t right? We’ve all been there and learned from it. But what if you have someone in the office that has not learned from past mistakes and continues to reply-all? If this person is part of your reality, then you need to download this nice add-in from Microsoft Research and save them from themselves.

Last minute tips for Office developers

I have a coupld of tips this week. I know I am biased but the best Office developer tips are typically found right here or in our forums. But, I did run across these two items and thought they could be useful.

Cutting room floor

These came close but didn’t make it the cut for editorial commenting. Here they are nonetheless…

That’s it and that’s all for this week. I’m headed to the plains of West Texas and will report back next week.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

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