go ahead, mac my day

a Macintosh girl in a Microsoft world

  • go ahead, mac my day

    moving to new digs, and open Q&A thread

    I've been meaning to do this for ages, but I've finally moved my blogging home from here on the MSDN blogs to my own domain.  This gives me greater flexibility in blogging, not to mention full control over my blogging tools (a pain that I've been feeling pretty sharply here on MSDN lately, which you can observe through the drop-off in blog posts here).  I'm using Bluehost for my provider, and I'm running WordPress.  I'm sorry to say that I still need to find a new theme, and I'm sure that I should spend some more time playing around with widgets and plug-ins, but the basic framework is there.

    Anyway: I've kept my blog name, but my new domain is the blindingly-obvious nadynerichmond.com.  For those of you who want to update your RSS reader, the feed for blog posts is here, and the feed for comments is here.

    Earlier this morning, I posted about Office:Mac 2011's official release date and linked to the earliest reviews.  Now that reviews are appearing, I can also (finally!) start answering questions about Office:Mac 2011, and you can ask them in the comments thread on my new blog.  Think of that open Q&A thread as the housewarming for my new blog.  Now I'm going to close comments on this blog, and encourage you to join me over at my new home.  

  • go ahead, mac my day

    RTM, baby!!!!!!!

    • 7 Comments

    I'm not often given over to exclamation points, but today is Really Truly Massively awesome because Office:Mac 2011 has hit RTM.  

    RTM stands for Release To Manufacturing.  Office:Mac 2011 (v14.0.0) is done, and now it's in the hands of our manufacturing partners.  They'll start cranking it out, and it'll be on store shelves at the end of October.

    I am truly proud of the work that we have done on Office:Mac, and I can't wait until it's in your hands for you to try out.  

    But now, to cap off this Really Truly Massively awesome day, I'm going to go have some celebratory margaritas with the rest of my team.  Happy RTM!

  • go ahead, mac my day

    more details about Office:Mac 2011

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    Today, my team released a video showing off more of the upcoming Office:Mac 2011.  Watch it to learn more about the Scheduling Assistant in Outlook (one of my favourite features, not only because I worked on it!), broadcast slideshow in PowerPoint (another personal fave), and integration with the Office Web applications.

    For more information about these features, check out our blog post on Mac Mojo!

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Office:Mac usability study participants needed for studies beginning in September

    • 4 Comments

    Office:Mac 2011 is hitting store shelves in October.  In conjunction with our release, my user experience team will conduct multiple research studies about the new applications to track their usage and usability over time.  Since I have several big studies coming up, I need a lot of new participants!

    For all of my upcoming studies, I need a bunch of participants who are meet all of the following criteria:

    • are located in the San Francisco Bay Area or the Puget Sound region
    • have not already used Office:Mac 2011 (sorry, beta folks!)
    • use Office:Mac 2008 at work (extra special bonus points for Exchange usage)

    If you fit all of these criteria, please email me with the following information:

    • your name
    • your phone number
    • which Office applications you use at work
    • how frequently you use those applications at work (daily, a few times a week, weekly, a few times a month, etc) 
    • whether you use Exchange

    If you don't meet all of these criteria, don't despair!  We conduct studies elsewhere.  If you don't meet these criteria, please don't mail me, so that I can focus on getting the participants right now.  Instead, you can sign up to participate in usability studies here

  • go ahead, mac my day

    another taste of Office:Mac 2011

    • 3 Comments

    Today, my team has released another video about Office:Mac 2011.  This time, it stars one of my absolute favourite people: Kurt Schmucker, our evangelist.  Kurt's one of the smartest and nicest guys you could ever hope to meet.  So watch the video:

    In the video, Kurt shows off sparklines and pivot table improvements in Excel, and our new image editing (the background removal is especially useful!).   

    There's lots more details about the suite to come in the following weeks as we lead up to our late October launch.  My favourites haven't yet been announced, so there's still a lot of awesomeness forthcoming ... 

  • go ahead, mac my day

    relaxed, funny, and quirky

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    Summer is always intern season at Microsoft.  This year, all nine women in the Brown University CS programme interned at Microsoft.  In MacBU, we get lots of interns too, and we got one of those Brown ladies this year.  Here's what our Brown intern, Nell Elliott, had to say about her experiences here:

    Elliott interviewed with Google and Apple for internships as well, but chose to intern at Microsoft for one major reason — she was able to meet the people she'd be working with in advance. Even if she had met her future coworkers at Apple and Google, she says it would be difficult to think she could enjoy them more than the team she ended up with at Microsoft, the Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU).

    "I worked on real stuff," Elliott says. "My team treated me like an adult. They took me seriously. It's more like you just started working here than being an intern." She adds her team at Microsoft is relaxed, funny, and quirky, but also clearly dedicated to their work.

    Yeah, "quirky" is probably a good word to describe us ... 

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Office:Mac 2008 (12.2.6) and Office:Mac 2004 (11.6.0) updates available now

    • 2 Comments

    Update Tuesday is here!  

    The latest and greatest version of Office:Mac 2008 is 12.2.6.  It's got security, performance, and stability enhancements across the board.  If you're using Entourage for Web Services, the updater for Office:Mac 2008 will also update you to 13.0.6.  The Knowledge Base article for the update has all of the details.  Office:Mac 2004 is now version 11.6.0, and it's got security improvements.  It's got its own Knowledge Base article, too.  Both of these updates are roll-up updates, and include all of the previous updates.  Since we had revved our update engines we also updated the Open XML File Format Converter to version 1.1.6, with security enhancements.  Its Knowledge Base article is here.

    All updates are available on the Mactopia download page.  You can also go to the Help menu of any Office application and select "Check for Updates".  

  • go ahead, mac my day

    what's on your Office:Mac to-do list?

    • 2 Comments

    For those of you who aren't following Mac Mojo, the MacBU team blog, or following us on twitter @officemac, you've been missing out on a chance to win a customised colour Macbook and a copy of Office:Mac 2011 when it's released[1].  We're asking a series of questions in our blog about your usage of Office:Mac.  Respond to us on twitter, or post a comment to one of the relevant threads in Mac Mojo, and you're entered into the contest (and make sure you read the rules for the contest while you're there, too!).  The latest question is this:

    This week we want to hear how Office for Mac helps you regularly stay on task. From the frequent requests that land in your email inbox, to the ongoing projects that you are working to wrap up – Office for Mac helps us stay productive. So for this contest question, we want to know: “What’s on your current Office for Mac to-do list?” Let us know how you are using Office for Mac to get things done!

    I'm not eligible to enter the contest, but I'll answer anyway.  For me, keeping on top of things is almost exclusively managed through Outlook:Mac.

    1. I have a big address book (currently 818 entries in it).  All 818 entries in my address book have a category assigned to them.  My categories are mostly based around the applications that are here in MacBU, so there are categories for Outlook and PowerPoint, as well as for my User Experience team.  I also have a few categories for business contacts and personal ones, plus things like travel.  In all, I've got 14 categories right now.
    2. Since all of my contacts have a category assigned to them, when I get an email from one of them, their mail is automatically assigned that category.  This allows me to glance at my inbox and see what's going on.  If I see a lot of red in there, that means that I've got a lot of PowerPoint mail.  If it's all purple, then that's my UX team.  More than 90% the mail in my inbox has a category; if it doesn't, then I look at it and decide whether I need to add it to my address book.
    3. Likewise, every event on my calendar is categorised, which means that I know at-a-glance what I'm spending most of my time on this week.  
    4. I have several recurring tasks to remind me to do things that I'd probably forget otherwise.  For example, I have a task named "install dogfood" which fires a reminder at 9am to remind me to download the latest version of Office:Mac and install it.  On Friday afternoon, I have another recurring task called "close blinds" to remind me to close the blinds on my window in my office, which helps to reduce Microsoft's use of air conditioning on the weekends.  
    5. The new conversation feature in Outlook, which we announced last week, has been a boon to my productivity.  If there's a lot of related mail in my inbox, I can see more of the mail that's in my inbox without scrolling.  An unexpected side effect is that if there's a lot of stuff in my inbox that I don't really need, deleting it is a lot faster.
    6. I'm one of those Inbox Zero people.  It's my goal at the end of every day to have nothing left in my inbox.  I manage this through a mix of rules so that only things that are addressed directly to me end up in my inbox (everything else gets routed to other folders), which means that my mail is pre-triaged for me.  Then I ruthlessly handle the contents of my inbox.  If I can respond immediately, I do.  If I can't, then I figure out what is needed before I can respond, and I do it.  If there's a task that I need to do as a result of that mail, then I move it to my task list and give it a deadline.

    Make sure that you share your answers at Mac Mojo -- sharing your answer here doesn't enter you into the contest!  I don't mind if you comment here too, but if you want the Macbook and Office:Mac 2011, you've got to post in Mac Mojo or respond to @officeformac on Twitter.  Now go forth and share your productivity secrets!

    (Speaking of twitter, you can follow me here, but be warned that I don't just talk about Office:Mac stuff!)

     


    [1] Random trivia: that picture of the Macbook was taken in the little nook that I often use as my office when I'm in Redmond.  In fact, here's a picture I took of that nook when I was using it on an earlier trip to the mothership this year.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Office:Mac 2011 will hit store shelves in October

    • 3 Comments

    It's been a hugely busy few weeks for me, but I have to pop in to share a couple of things about Office:Mac 2011.  It will be available in late October, which is right in line with our earlier statements that we'd be out in time for your holiday shopping pleasure this year.  For more details about our versions and pricing, check out our blog post on Mac Mojo.

    We've created a video to share some more details about what you'll see in Office:Mac.  Starring in the video are members of my team!  It's pretty cool to see people with whom I work every day talking about our apps.  We'll be sharing more details about Office:Mac 2011 in the upcoming weeks, but this is a nice little taste ...

  • go ahead, mac my day

    20 years of Rick!

    • 3 Comments

    Today is an auspicious day, for it is Rick Schaut's 20th anniversary with Microsoft.  He's been working on Word:Mac the whole time (well, we might occasionally let him look at some code that's shared across Office:Mac).  

    Rick, you're one of my favourite people here in MacBU, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate everything that you've done to help me out in my comparably-short time here.  Congratulations on 20 years!  

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