go ahead, mac my day

a Macintosh girl in a Microsoft world

June, 2008

  • go ahead, mac my day

    reflections on one year of iPhone

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    After being goaded by my big boss, I bought my iPhone on launch day (and without queuing up for it, thankyouverymuch). Before that, I'd had some annoying flip phone and, separately, a Palm of some flavour that I've now forgotten. Although my phone had various features, it served exactly one function: it made and received calls. Any entries in its address book were ones that I manually entered because they were ones that I called frequently from my cell -- maybe a total of 20 entries in there. If I needed another phone number, I had to look it up in my Palm or my computer. I never took pictures on my phone because I couldn't figure out how to get them off of the phone, and I never synced my phone with anything for the same reason.

    My iPhone has completely changed what I expect out of a phone. I'm back to texting (I had been a heavy texter while living overseas, but that stopped when I returned to the States both because it was difficult and not a lot of other people could send/receive texts). Browsing websites on my phone has become a part of my daily life (and makes hanging out in airports that much better), whereas I only tried to use the browser on my old flip phone once or twice before giving up on the agony. My iPhone has my whole Exchange address book in it, which means that there's currently ~1000 entries in there. It also has my Exchange calendar, which means that I always know where I'm going (for once in my life!). Looking over my wireless statements, even my voice use has roughly doubled (which I'm sure makes AT&T rather happy).

    I've got iPhone complaints, don't get me wrong. But overall, I'm immensely pleased with what I got for my original $600. It was worth every penny.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Messenger 7.0.1 available now

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    Lots of new stuff headed your way. The latest release is Messenger 7.0.1, with improvements to VoiceOver support and fixing some language support issues. Go forth and download.

    Hmmmm, with all of these releases, I wonder if there's something more to come, just to make sure that everything's updated ...

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Office 2008 12.1.1 and Office 2004 11.5 available today

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    Today, we released the latest and greatest: Office 2008 12.1.1 and Office 2004 11.5.

    'What's in Office 2004?' I hear you ask. First and foremost, 11.5 delivers built-in support for Open XML file formats (that's the .docx, .pptx, or .xlsx files that were first introduced in Office 2007 and that are also natively supported in Office 2008). 11.5 has a pile of reliability and stability fixes; for more details, check out our Microsoft Knowledge Base article. And yes, 11.5 is a combo updater, so you can start with any version of Office 2004, download this update, and be completely up-to-date. Yay!

    Office 2008 12.1.1 has a lot of nifty stuff in it, mostly concentrated on improving performance and stability. There's a few other goodies in there; Excel got quite a lot of fixes into this release. As always, the Microsoft Knowledge Base article has plenty of details.

    Go forth and download!

  • go ahead, mac my day

    we're hiring

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    The big boss posted over at Mac Mojo that we're hiring. The boss lists some great reasons to work for MacBU (leave it to a Redmonder to talk up the caffination options), and you can go over there to read it.

    We're launching our biggest hiring initiative since the initial formation of MacBU, eleven years ago. This means that we're hiring across all roles (including that user experience designer position that I mentioned a few weeks ago), in our Redmond, WA, and Mountain View, CA, locations. We've got some job reqs available at Microsoft Careers to give you an idea about what we're looking for.

    What those sterile job reqs never capture, though, is that we really want passion. We want people who care deeply about making great apps. We want people who are Mac users and Mac advocates. We want people who know that a single person can make a big impact. We want people who won't shy away from big challenges. We want people who have a vision, and who have the drive to see that vision turned into reality.

    If you're serious about making Mac software that's used by millions of people the world over, send your resumé (and link to a portfolio, if you're looking for a UX role) to macjobs@microsoft.com. If you have questions or if you aren't sure if MacBU is quite right for you, feel free to post questions here in the comments, or you can use that great little email link to drop me a line.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    wherein our heroine admits to not being a good Apple fangirl

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    The talk all last week was about the new iPhone. Honestly, though, my reaction was: meh. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that the iPhone has finally gone 3G. GPS is a natural addition. But on the hardware side of things, there's nothing that makes me think that I should run out and get a new iPhone. Pretty much everything that I want in the device is in v2 of the software, which I'll get for free on my existing launch-day iPhone. Hardware-wise, I think that the only way that Apple would convince me to upgrade is if it came in a 32-GB or larger configuration.

    So, yes, I'm a bad Apple fangirl. Right now, I have every intent of keeping my launch-day iPhone. (And I'm secretly hoping that referring to it as my 'launch-day iPhone' will make it seem cooler than these new upstart iPhones.)

  • go ahead, mac my day

    competition doesn't mean that there are winners and losers

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    In light of a recent announcement by Apple regarding Snow Leopard (10.6, neé Tipsy), I've been asked what increased competition means for Entourage. 

    I liken this to the Olympics; the summer Olympics are right around the corner, so I've been thinking about them lately. Think about many of the events, like swimming or the various foot races. The events don't consist of one guy swimming his 100-metre butterfly, then the next guy, and then the next guy, until everyone's done and we just compare their times at the end. Instead, it's a competition: all of the guys are in the pool at once, swimming the 100-metre butterfly together. Why? Because they perform better when they're competing.

    Developing software is like that. When everyone's in the pool with you, you find yourself wanting to do better. As Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater points out, the difference between this and the 100-metre butterfly is that ours is a race with no finish line. Here's a great quote from his blog:

    On the Mac, we're all racing towards the same goal: mindblowing experiences for users. Even in a niche such as pixel editing, where lots of players compete, we'll never have a declared winner. To have a winner, you need a finish line. And when it comes to maximizing user happiness and productivity, there isn't one. Furthermore, the map to that pot of gold has been drawn differently by every user and by every developer.
    He sums it up succinctly later in the same post: "In this competition, you win just by being in the race."

    So what's my response to Apple's announcement? Welcome to the pool. I can't wait to see what you guys have to offer. And I hope that you're looking forward to what we've got to offer in the near future, too.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    SVMUG reminder: tonight!

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    Completing my round of local Mac User Group demos, I'm going to be in Cupertino giving a demo of Office 2008 at the Silicon Valley MUG. This MUG is open to the public, so if you want to come chat with me in person, I'm taking the stage at 8pm.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    the geek shirts of WWDC

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    WWDC is 5200 geeks all crammed into Moscone West in downtown San Francisco. It's a bit tight at times with so many people, and it makes finding people harder than you might otherwise think, but it all manages.

    WWDC is one of the times of the year when the geeks all pull out their best geek shirts to show off to each other. The shirts range from the historical (I've seen several Copland and Dylan shirts) to the esoteric (all sorts of short-lived start-ups) to the amusing (shirts from xkcd and ThinkGeek seem to be the most popular).

    As always, Apple made up cool t-shirts for their engineering team. They're bright blue, with a picture of a map with a red pin stuck into it, saying "Apple Engineer". As with their previous shirts, I find myself coveting them even though I only rarely wear geek shirts myself.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Stanford MUG reminder: tonight!

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    Don't forget: I'm showing off my mad demo skillz (heh) at the Stanford MUG tonight! Meeting starts at 6:30, I take the stage at 8.  I'll be talking about Office 2008 and taking questions about anything from the crowd.

    It occurs to me that I have to figure out if I'm going to forgive them for spelling Nadyne wrong on their website. Le sigh.

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