go ahead, mac my day

a Macintosh girl in a Microsoft world

June, 2009

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Paul Robichaux: "The iPhone as a mail device, 3.0 edition"


    Paul Robichaux, one of the Exchange MVPs (who happens to know his way around Entourage very well), posted a great blog post considering the iPhone as a mail device, 3.0 edition. The gist of his post is in his executive summary:

    Apple invested a ton of time in the 3.0 release, but most of it went to other aspects of the OS, not into the messaging and calendaring experience.

    Paul knows Exchange better than most people, and he's well familiar with Windows Mobile 6.5, so his post has plenty of great details about places where the iPhone shines and where it doesn't.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    design research as the fourth estate


    The Adaptive Path blog recently had a fantastic post about design research as the fourth estate. They've taken the nine elements of journalism from The Elements of Journalism and applied them to design research, and came up with the following:

    1. Design research's first obligation is to the truth.
    2. Its first loyalty is to the citizens.
    3. Its essence is discipline of verification.
    4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
    5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
    6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
    7. It must strive to make the significant interesting, and relevant.
    8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
    9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

    We're in high research season here in MacBU, so this is particularly relevant for me right now. I'm doing lots of research right now. Reading over their article, it's ringing quite true for me. I'd like to think on it and figure out if there are better ways to ensure that I'm meeting these tenets in my research.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Using Entourage to manage your mail


    I just noticed that the folks over at the Unclutterer blog have posted a great post about how to use Entourage to manage email.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Q&A: Do participants in your usability studies have to be in the San Francisco or Puget Sound areas?


    In my overzealousness in killing off trackback spam (grrr), I accidentally deleted a comment asking about participating in usability studies. I was asked:

    Do they absolutely HAVE to be in the Bay area? I'd be glad to help, and have signed up for usability studies, but I'm not in the Bay area.

    For the Entourage study that my team is running next week, yes, users absolutely must be in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    The majority of the research that my team does is conducted in-house in either Redmond, Washington, or Mountain View, California. While we do complete studies occasionally outside of our home base, it's much less frequent, for many reasons.

    I'm located here. Yes, I can (and do) travel, but it's a big hit to my schedule and my productivity. I'd need to travel to another location for a week, plus set-up time. I'm completely inaccessible to the rest of my team for all of that time.

    The team is located here. Usability studies are much more powerful when the application team has the opportunity to observe it and see the participants themselves. The report that I bring back to the team is useful, but actually seeing a user struggle with something is more compelling than simply hearing me describe it. While the team can travel, it's much less of time hit for them to walk over to the usability lab across campus, as opposed to getting on a plane and flying to Columbus, Ohio.

    I can do more studies when I'm here, because the turn-around time is much faster. If I conduct studies elsewhere, recruiting participants takes longer because I don't have easy access to the same kind of infrastructure that I do here. If I decide today that I want to do a study here in Mountain View, I can have 10 participants in my lab here in two weeks or less. If I decide today that I want to do a study in, say, New York, it will take me at least a month to get those participants because I'll either have to rely on my internal infrastructure to find them (and they're not optimised to find participants that far away) or because I'll have to contract to an outside agency to find them (which has its own time requirements to get up and running).

    I can conduct some studies remotely, but not every study lends itself to this format. For my next study, I'm working with low-fidelity prototypes, which require a fair amount of in-person manipulation by the researcher to work. For that kind of study, remote participants simply can't provide the kind of interaction and feedback that I need. Further, using remote participants is both more difficult for me to recruit for, and ensuring that they have everything set up on their computer for me to be able to conduct the study and get the data that I need is time-consuming.

    This isn't to say that we don't do studies outside of our home base, just that the majority of them are conducted where I have easy access to facilities, participants, and my team.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Mac users still needed!


    My team here in MacBU is still in need of Mac mail/calendar/contacts users. For full details of what I need, read this post and email the address contained in there.

    Edited on 6/17/2009 at 6pm: I now have all of the participants that I need for this study.  You can still sign up to be notified about future Mac studies in your area!

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Mac email, calendar, and address book users needed for usability study in San Francisco Bay Area


    My team is in need of Mac users who meet all of the following criteria:

    • use their Mac at work for at least 20 hours per week
    • use an email application on their Mac (such as Entourage, Mail, webmail, ... )
    • use a calendar application on their Mac (such as Entourage, iCal, or a web-based calendar)
    • use an address book application on their Mac (such as Entourage, Address Book, or a web-based contact manager)
    • live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are available the week of 22 June 2009 for a 2-hour usability study in Mountain View

    If this describes you, please email uccoord (at) microsoft (dot) com with "Mac" in the subject line.

    If you're a Mac user but don't meet all of these criteria, my team is conducting lots of research in the upcoming months. The majority of our research is conducted in either the Puget Sound or San Francisco Bay areas, although we do travel around the US and around the world to meet users in other locations. You can sign up to be notified about future Mac studies in your area here.

    Edited on 6/17/2009 at 6pm: I now have all of the participants that I need for this study.  You can still sign up to be notified about future Mac studies in your area at the link above!

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Office:Mac 2008 12.1.9 and Office:Mac 2004 11.5.5 now available


    Today, we have released updates for Office:Mac 2008 and Office:Mac 2004.

    Office:Mac 2008 update 12.1.9 contains fixes for security vulnerabilities. Additionally, it readies the Office 2008 suite for the upcoming official release of the Entourage Web Services addition, and must be installed before the final release of that application. 12.1.9 is a combo updater; you only need to have Office 12.1 installed first.  For those users who are using the public beta of Entourage Web Services, you should continue to use 12.1.5 and not install this update. Full details about this update are available in our Knowledge Base article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971822Description of the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.9 Update.

    Office:Mac 2004 update 11.5.5 also contains fixes for security vulnerabilities. Full details about this update are available in our Knowledge Base article Description of the Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.5 Update.

    To download the latest and greatest, you can either fire up Microsoft AutoUpdate (in any Office app, go to the Help menu and select "Check for Updates") or download it manually from Mactopia.

    Edited on 12 June 2009 at 12:30pm to add in links to KB articles and to specify that 12.1.9 is a combo updater.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Q&A: Why doesn't Hotmail work with Entourage:Mac now?


    I got the following question about Hotmail and Entourage:

    Using Entourage on an iMac. Suddenly Hotmail account doesn't want to work anymore. Saw your post regarding POP3 coming soon. Will that fix this problem?

    Earlier this year, Hotmail made free POP access available for all users. This is part of their effort to remove WebDAV support in Hotmail. WebDAV is how Entourage currently gets mail from Hotmail.

    If you see that Entourage suddenly isn't getting your Hotmail anymore, the fix is pretty easy. You just need to create a new account in Entourage for your Hotmail that uses POP. The Entourage MVPs have directions to set up Hotmail in Entourage as a POP account, and we've got an Entourage help topic that describes how to set up a Hotmail account too.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Q&A: why don't new events created on my iPhone show up in Entourage?


    I got a question about using Sync Services on Entourage 2008 with an iPhone:

    I have trouble synching my iPhone and the calendar feature. For some reason it does not always work very well. Things I write on the phone never make it to my calendar on my Mac. Any thoughts?

    Make sure that your iPhone is writing to the correct calendar. For the items to show up in Entourage, the new events that you add to your iPhone must be written to the calendar named "Entourage". To check this, open up iTunes when you have your iPhone connected to it. Then select the your iPhone, and select the "Info" tab. Under "Calendar", select the calendar named "Entourage", and then select to put new events in the "Entourage" calendar.

    If you never use iCal, you can take this one step further. Open up iCal. You'll see an Entourage calendar in there, and it has all of your Entourage calendar events in there. iCal also has a couple of default calendars. You can delete those calendars by clicking on them in the "Calendars" list on the left side and hitting delete. Then there won't be any other place for your new events created on your iPhone to go.

    If you're interested in the gory technical details of how Entourage syncs with your mobile devices, one of my colleagues wrote an essay about it, which the Entourage MVPs kindly have posted on their site: basics of how Sync Services works.

    You can sync your supported mobile device with Entourage 2004 (11.2.3 or later), Entourage 2008, or Entourage for Exchange Web Services. I covered the basics of syncing your device with Entourage in an earlier blog post: Q&A: How do I sync from Entourage to my iPhone?

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