go ahead, mac my day

a Macintosh girl in a Microsoft world

June, 2010

  • go ahead, mac my day

    20 years of Rick!


    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!  

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Office:Mac 2011 preview on CNet


    The folks over at CNet have a video giving you a quick preview of Office:Mac 2011.  Check it out!

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Q&A: What do you think about Office:Mac 2011 being 32-bit?


    Via email, I was asked:

    What are your thoughts about Office 2011 being 32 bit instead of 64 bit?

    As we announced last week during WWDC, we're drinking the Cocoa and moving our world in that direction.  Moving to Cocoa is a huge undertaking.  Outlook:Mac is Cocoa, and new features in the rest of the applications are also being built in Cocoa.  Since we're not going to be all-Cocoa in Office:Mac 2011, that means that we're going to be in a 32-bit world. 

    From a user experience perspective, the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit isn't terribly meaningful.  I can't imagine what one could do to a Word document that would benefit from running in 64-bit mode instead of 32-bit mode.  That said, there are cases where 64-bit is meaningful.  For example, if you had an extremely large Excel spreadsheet with millions of cells and lots of complex calculations, there can be a benefit to 64-bit.  You could also get there with a massive PowerPoint presentation that mostly consists of high-resolution images, but it would have to be on the order of thousands of those images.  Moving to 64-bit is part of our future plans, and it's why we're beginning the long transition from Carbon to Cocoa.  We've got around 30 million lines of code across the suite, so that transition is anything but trivial.

    From a performance perspective, while there are performance improvements that come with 64-bit, there's still improvements to be wrung out of our 32-bit suite.  With each update to Office 2008, I've seen reports from users that it launches and runs faster.  In Office 2011, we've continued that performance work.  I can't talk a lot about it just yet, so for now I'll just say that there are some absolutely awesome improvements that we're putting in our users' hands for Office 2011.  

    In my opinion, and I say this as someone who has a technical background but hasn't gotten down into the deepest innards of our code, one of the main benefits of moving to 64-bit is about future-proofing. 32-bit is going the way of the dodo, the Newton, and Carbon itself.  The future is 64-bit.  Getting there is a big technical undertaking, and it's something that we've started working on already.  For most people, they'll never notice the difference between 64-bit and 32-bit.


  • go ahead, mac my day

    Outlook:Mac usability study in Mountain View, California


    Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area, available during the week of June 21, and want to help us determine the future of Outlook:Mac?  My team is conducting a usability study for Outlook:Mac.  I need people who meet the following criteria:

    1. You use a Mac at work, and your Mac is your primary work computer.
    2. You use Tiger (10.4.x) or later.
    3. At work, you connect to an Exchange Server with your Mac.
    4. You use mail and the calendar several times per week on Exchange.
    5. You are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are willing to come to my lab in Mountain View.
    6. You are available for ~2 hours during the week of June 21.

    If you meet all of these criteria, please email uccoord@microsoft.com with "Mac Office" in the subject line.  

    In a usability study, you will come to my office in Mountain View, California.  My team will show you some ideas for what we might do in a future version of Outlook, and we'll ask you to do some specific tasks.  You don't need to bring your Mac; we'll provide everything you need for our study.  Just bring yourself, and be prepared to tell us what you think about what we're showing you.

    If you don't meet all of these criteria, then watch here for future announcements of usability studies.  

    If you want to see a cross-section of usability studies that are conducted by Microsoft, you can follow Microsoft User Research on Facebook.  They posted this study on Facebook earlier this week: Do you use a Mac at work? Help improve Office for Mac in a research study.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Q&A: Should I get Office:Mac now or later?


    I noticed this question on the Office:Mac forum:

    My daughter is headed to college this fall. I just got her a Mac because the college she is going to is a Mac campus...that is all they use. I would like to get her the Office 2011 for the Mac. I understand that the release date might be in 12/10 but it also might be later. Are we at a place where MS is on schedule with that or is it later? I would hate to get Office 08 if in 6 months, Office 11 comes out. Is their an upgrade policy regarding that or am I just buying two versions? I am sure others has this question as I had read that on here but didn't see any specific responses from the Mac Microsoft team. Thanks for your time.

    We're still on track to release Office:Mac 2011 later this year.  I don't have a specific date to share yet, but I will the second I can.  We don't yet have an upgrade policy.  I'll share that when I can as well.  

    Before buying Office:Mac at a retail store like the Apple Store, Best Buy, or Amazon.com, any college student should check with their institution.  Many colleges and universities offer Microsoft products, including Office:Mac, at a deeply discounted price.  (Likewise, if you're an employee of a large company, check around: you might find that your company takes part in Microsoft's Home Use Program, which also gives you a deeply discounted price for Microsoft applications.)  The student bookstore should know, and a departmental secretary will know too.  (In fact, make good friends with your departmental secretary: they know everything.)  

    If your college doesn't offer such a deeply discounted rate, and if you don't have a need to buy Office at this split instant, you might want to wait to see if any good back-to-school deals come about.  I don't know what kinds of plans the various retail outlets have, but I've often seen good back-to-school deals in previous years.  Watch the ads in your Sunday newspaper.  I'm sure that good deals will also be noted by the various Mac news websites, too.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Office:Mac updates today: Office 2008 12.2.5, Office 2004 11.5.9


    Update Tuesday is here!

    Office:Mac 2008 12.2.5 has some security updates, as well as an improvement to the custom dictionary.  Full details are in the 12.2.5 knowledge base article.  This is a roll-up update: if you're currently on 12.1.0 or later, you can just install this update and not go through all of the previous updates, if you haven't been keeping up with our updates.

    Office:Mac 2004 11.5.9 has security updates as well; more details are in the 11.5.9 knowledge base article.  Make sure that you've installed 11.5.8 before installing 11.5.9.

    While we were on an update frenzy, we also updated the standalone Open XML File Format Converter with the same security updates; details are in its knowledge base article.   

    To update our applications, you can simply go to Help -> Check for Updates from any of the Office applications.  You can also download directly from our downloads page if you prefer.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    looking for blog feedback


    Hmmm, the move to the new blog has thrown me off more than I thought. I'm working through issues with the new platform to make things here better.  As I'm working through things, what have you noticed about this new blog that you'd like me to fix? Top of my list is getting back to full posts on the main page instead of excerpts, and also getting a post's tags visible on the main page too. What else?

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