go ahead, mac my day

a Macintosh girl in a Microsoft world

January, 2008

  • go ahead, mac my day

    you never know what you'll find in legacy code

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    Yesterday, I had a conversation with some of our developers about legacy code and how you never know what you'll find in there. Today, I see that someone else in MacBU has talked about some of the horrors of old old code. Crazy Apple Rumors didn't name their source, but they're reporting that a child was discovered in the Word code.  Our new GM Craig was the one who got the poor kid out of there.

    Look, I can't really talk about this very much, but I've gotta point out: Word's code is relatively young. Both PowerPoint and Excel have been around for longer. If there was a kid (terrorised by Clippy) living in the Word code, just think about what's happening in the PowerPoint code. We celebrated PowerPoint's 20th anniversary last year, but there was some sombre reflection during that party ...

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    my favourite Apple announcement last week: new HIG!

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    For all that I'm excited about the new MacBook Air, it wasn't my favourite announcement to come out of Apple last week. As a user experience researcher, my absolute favourite announcement from Apple was that they have updated the Human Interface Guide. YAY!!! Now that I'm home from Macworld and caught up on my sleep, reading the latest HIG is now a top priority. Thankfully, I'm flying up to Redmond tonight, so I've now got something to do on the plane.

    Anyone had time enough to read it and see what the differences are between this version and the old one?

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    my super-duper PowerPoint 2008 demo

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    I spent this morning in the Office 2008 booth again, this time giving one-on-one demos of the new features. It was pretty fun. My demo station was right next to the Apple booth, right below one of their big MacBook Air banners, which inspired me as I was demoing Office 2008. In PowerPoint, as I demoed our new SmartArt graphics, here's the cycle diagram that I designed on the fly:

    a gorgeous diagram

    (I suppose that I should note that this diagram is not really true to life. I haven't actually asked my manager for new hardware (yet), so he hasn't had the chance to turn me down (yet).)

    I'm back in the booth tomorrow morning, so don't forget to say hi before you leave town!

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    today's top five questions in the Office 2008 booth

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    This afternoon, I worked in the main Office 2008 booth, answering questions. Based on my own (exceptionally faulty) memory, here are the top five questions and their attendant answers.

    1. When is Office 2008 coming out?
      It hit the streets in North America on Tuesday, 15 January 2008.
    2. Where can I get Office 2008 on the show floor?
      There's a few vendors here who have copies, although they've been selling out. Unitech (which is near our blogger lounge) and Best Buy. If they've sold out, they've been getting in more copies frequently; otherwise, you can walk a few blocks up to the Apple Store.
    3. What is the difference between the various editions of Office 2008?
      There are three editions: Home and Student, Standard, and Special Media. All three editions have Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Entourage. The Home and Student Edition is intended for home users. You can install it on up to three computers. It doesn't include support for Exchange and Automator. The Standard Edition has one license for the suite, and includes support for Exchange and Automator. The Special Media Edition has everything in the Standard Edition, and adds in Expression Media.
    4. Is there a trial available?
      Not yet. We're working on it.
    5. What is your favourite feature in Office 2008?
      Hands down, it's My Day. It really does make managing my time earlier. It's so fantastically useful. I didn't think that I'd use it very much, but now I can't live without it on my desktop.

    I answered lots of other questions, too (although none were quite as ... personal, I guess? ... as yesterday's question). Great day, although my feet are threatening to fall off. Tomorrow's another day in the booth: 10am to 2pm. See you there!

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    launch!

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    Today is launch day. Office 2008 is now available for you for purchase. I've already seen lots of people wandering around today with their brand-new copies, which is a great feeling.

    This morning, I got to sit in the Stevenote and find Office 2008 getting its shout-out within the first five minutes. How cool is that? As Steve introduced the MacBook Air, Office 2008 played a role there as well. It was the app used as the example for installation, which I certainly liked seeing. Plus I got several items from my MWSF wishlist, and got to see Randy Newman play a couple of songs live, so I really can't complain. Now I've got to see about convincing my manager that, with all of the travelling I do, a MacBook Air sure would be nice ...

    After lunch with some of my MacBU colleagues, I stopped into a drug store to pick up some cough drops. (Talking all day means that cough drops are essential!) As I left there, someone came up to me and said that they see from my badge that I'm from Microsoft. He asked if I know anything about Entourage. I smiled and said that I did. He asked if Entourage 2008 will sync with his iPhone. Yes, it will [1], I told him. He asked me to marry him. I'm not sure if this is a good sign or a bad sign for the rest of the week ...

    Back on the show floor, I spent some time observing the Microsoft booth in action. It was full of people, and they all seemed genuinely excited about Office 2008. It was really cool to see. Then I headed over to the blogger lounge to post my very first post to the brand-spankin'-new Mac Mojo and spend some time in there chatting with other bloggers.

    I'm taking a quick break right now to check my email and type this up (and sit down for a couple of minutes), and now I'm going to start up Software Update and head over to the Warfield to go to the MacBlast party and see Devo. If you're at MWSF the rest of this week, swing by the main Microsoft booth and say hi!


    [1] So will Entourage 2004, if you're running 11.2 or later. To enable it in both Entourage 2004 and Entourage 2008, go into the Entourage preferences, select Sync Services, then select what you want to sync. If you've got a lot of stuff to sync, give it a few minutes to get into the Truth, and then sync your iPhone (or any other device supported by Sync Services). Voila: everything's on your phone.

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    Nadyne @ MWSF 2008

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    I forgot to post my MWSF schedule! Oops. Feel free to swing by the booth and say hi!

    Monday: User Group wine and cheese reception; MacManagers at the Beale Street Bar and Grill; Ars Technica MWSF party.

    Tuesday: Stevenote; hanging out in the blogger lounge; MacBlast

    Wednesday: in the MacBU booth from 2pm-6pm

    Thursday: in the MacBU booth from 10am-2pm; hanging out in the blogger lounge in the afternoon; MacBowl

    Friday: in the MacBU booth from 10am-2pm

  • go ahead, mac my day

    we're #2! we're #2!

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    Right now, Office 2008 is #2 on the Amazon list of bestselling software. (Office 2004 is a respectable #5). The number one spot is currently held by TurboTax, which I assume always has the top spot at this time of year. I wonder if it would be possible to unseat them ...

    While I was in Redmond earlier this week, I got my swanky Super Sekrit Limited Edition boxed copy of Office 2008. It's a pretty nifty feeling to have something that I sweated bullets over in my hands. It's been pretty nifty to read all of the reviews, too -- even the ones that aren't positive. My job is all about listening to user feedback, and press reviews fall into that area too.

    For those of you who want your very own copy of Office 2008, they'll be available in the US and Canada at your favourite Apple reseller beginning on Tuesday the 15th. (And don't forget: the Super Suite Deal is good for purchases of Office 2004 through January 14, so you can get the instant gratification of Office 2004 now and then get a free upgrade to Office 2008 (well, you do have to pay for shipping) mailed to you later.)

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Nadyne's unofficial guide to working in a booth at Macworld Expo (part two)

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    Each day of MWSF has its own special flavour. If I were in a coma for three weeks, and then woke up and found myself in the Moscone Centre working at our booth, I'm pretty sure that I could tell you which day it was within twenty minutes. They're all easily identifiable.

    Monday

    Okay, Monday actually isn't a day of MWSF, at least not for most of us. Monday is set-up day for the show floor. It's pretty cool to watch all of the booths coming together on the show floor. If you go onto the show floor that day (to help set up or to pick up your spiffy new MWSF gear for when you are working the booth), you get to experience first-hand the Apple booth before the show. It is always completely shrouded in black curtains, and there are big burly guards ready to bounce your head off the floor if you come too close. Don't hope that you can get a sneak preview of what's coming in the next day's Stevenote by walking by the booth — you won't.

    Tuesday

    Tuesday is simultaneously the best and worst day to be an exhibitor at MWSF. You're an Apple fanboy, too, so you were up at oh-god-o'clock to queue up to try to get a seat in the Stevenote. By the time that the show floor opens after the Stevenote, you've been awake for at least eight hours. You won't notice this immediately, because you're euphoric after the Stevenote. Everyone else is euphoric after the Stevenote, too. The attendees are walking around in a bit of a haze. The questions that they ask you in your booth are either immensely easy ('do you support Tiger?') or directly related to the Stevenote ('so do you guys support [whatever it was that Steve just announced, and you didn't know in advance because you're not Steve] yet?'). Even if your answer isn't a positive one, no-one gets upset because you're in a great mood and everyone else is in a great mood.

    Around 3pm, you suddenly realise that you've been up for more than twelve hours, and the only food you've had was half a doughnut because someone was passing around a box while you were queuing up for the Stevenote. But you can't just go back to your hotel, order room service, and sleep — you've got to figure out how to get into one of the MWSF parties that night.  I believe I'll be dancing to Devo that night.

    Wednesday

    Wednesday is probably my favourite day to work at MWSF. Everyone still a little bit euphoric from the Stevenote, but they've settled down. Everyone's had 24 hours to think about the implications of the Stevenote, and possibly even run over to the Apple Store on Union Square to buy the latest and greatest. Wednesday's questions still tend to be centred around whatever was announced during the Stevenote, but they're more in-depth now.

    If you're giving demos, Wednesday is a great day. The people watching are all paying close attention, and they're going to ask great questions afterwards.

    Today is the day where you realise exactly how slammed the Starbucks nearest the Moscone Centre is. Thankfully, there's one just a couple of blocks away, across the street from the W (which is my MWSF hotel of choice). You'll find me there getting a coffee on Wednesday morning.

    Thursday

    Thursday is the most challenging day to work MWSF. Thursday is the day where you get all of the hard technical questions, not to mention all of the off-the-wall questions. For staffing the booth, you need a solid mix of newbies (so that they have the chance to hear the hard questions) and experienced people (for being able to provide the long in-depth technical and historical answer to the question).

    You'll also get all of the old-skool Mac people on Thursday. Some of these people are trying to test your Mac cred. If you haven't been on the platform since the Apple ][, you're a hopeless n00b. If you're in the MacBU booth, Thursday is the day when you get all of the Word 5.1 Plus Ten requests from the old-skool guys.

    Thursday is also feature request day. Be prepared for it. Take a look at your feature request list and get your answers ready if someone asks you about it. You won't be able to predict all of the feature requests you get that day, but you can probably predict the top ten. For the requests that you weren't able to predict, ask lots of detailed questions about why your user wants that feature. You'll learn a lot about the unexpected ways that people use your app by paying close attention to their answers, which in turn will help you make a better product for them in the future.

    Thursday is the day when you realise that Macworld is almost over. There are many parties that night, starting with MacBowl. If you can't bowl (I can't), go to cheer. It's hugely fun. From there, head out to one of the big parties. Trust me, it's worth it. You want to be able to say goodbye to all of the people that you won't see until either WWDC or MWSF next year, since you won't be guaranteed that you'll run into them on Friday. 

    Friday

    Friday is kind of relaxed, but not quite. You have some leftover hard technical questions from the previous day. You also get some people who are scavenging for extra goodies. If you've got extra swag, you've got a good chance to get rid of it instead of having to take it home, but be prepared for the pushy ones.

    For the record, my favourite MWSF Friday deal is the Aspyr booth. They usually offer their games for half-off on Friday. It's when I pick up Sims expansion packs.

    If you're an exhibitor, walk the floor on Friday afternoon. Swing by all of those booths that you wanted to check out earlier in the week but never found the time. Exhibitors experience a comraderie of sorts on Friday afternoon — it's a 'we made it!' feeling. Compare notes about your most outrageous booth visitors. It's the most relaxed day of MWSF.

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