go ahead, mac my day

a Macintosh girl in a Microsoft world

August, 2010

  • go ahead, mac my day

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


    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


    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

    Office:Mac 2011 will hit store shelves in October


    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

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


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


    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

    relaxed, funny, and quirky


    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 ... 

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