OfficeRocker!

Strange thinking about Microsoft Office

Blog - About

About Office Rocker!

Thanks for stopping by at my blog.  I'm Darren Strange, the UK product manager for the 2007 Microsoft Office system.  We are launching the 2007 release in January 2007 together with Windows Vista and in the run up to that I'll be talking about what's new and why it is significant in the evolution of Microsoft Office.

A bit about me then. My job has two parts to it - an evangelist for the product and a project manager for the launch project.  The evangelist part means I do lots of presentations on Office and am the lead spokesperson in the UK on Information Worker matters.  I work with customers, partners, analysts and press to better understand the opportunities for Office and help people to understand and get value from it.  The project management part is running a pretty complex, multi-workstream project which covers each segment, audience and department involved in the launch.  I take a special interest in the rapid deployment customers and in the press and analyst outreach. 

Wherever possible, we are using the 2007 release to run the project using SharePoint Server, Groove, Project Server, InfoPath, Excel and PowerPoint in our project office processes.  This means I am hopefully "walking the talk" as we march towards launch.

My background is in Microsoft Consulting Services where I started as an Exchange consultant back in 1997 and later got to manage the collaboration team and then the solutions practice.  This comprised of three consulting teams; collaboration, Internet business and SQL & Business Intelligence.  Before that I worked for KPMG Management Consulting for 4 years which my first job out of university.  Last year I passed my PMI and this year my CIM professional diploma.  I won't be doing any more exams for a while now..

Anyway, do let me know what you think, add comments and let's discuss.  That's the fun of blogging afterall.

  • OfficeRocker!

    Mail merge bug with Tablet PC

    • 1 Comments
    If like me you are doing your Christmas card labels at the moment and you use a tablet PC then watch out for this bug. You run the mail merge wizard from Outlook (or Word) but when you update labels, it only puts the address block on the first two and...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Great new blog - Gray matter

    • 1 Comments
    Some blogs you wait a long time for and here is one.  Gray Knowlton , Group product manager in Office has started a blog.  Gray is a top guy, funny, very smart and with lots of good perspectives to share.  He is working on Office Open XML...
  • OfficeRocker!

    sp1 update further clarification

    • 1 Comments
    further to my original post on sp1 and the update post, here is the official word from the microsoft update team on it all.  A further complication appears to have arisen because those using Vista sp1 RC are receiving the update automatically as...
  • OfficeRocker!

    More detail about sp1

    • 4 Comments
    Responding to comments from yesterday and providing additional clarification. Windows update service schedule. Microsoft Update and ‘ Check for updates’ on the Office download tab page both use the same detection logic. This however is a PULL mechanisms...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Office 2007 sp1 ready for download today

    • 28 Comments
    Today sp1 ships. hurray. It's not up there yet but should be later today.  Also the kb articles for each patch don't seem to be live at this moment but should also appear later on today.  Looking down the list of fixes, here are some that caught...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Office Live Workspace beta out today

    • 1 Comments
    Before you get too excited, this is only launching in the US however this is still an important milestone as it means the functionality is public.  If you preregistered for Office Live Workspace in the US you will be able to start using the service...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Apparently, I'm a work of art

    • 1 Comments
    ..which is better than a piece of work so I'll go with it.  I'd like to aspire to being a SmartArt but that may take time.  Still, today I am officially on the front page of the UK Office Online site as the official UK blog and to put my picture...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Xbox 360s for Open XML solutions

    • 3 Comments
    While I'm talking about developers, it looks like the UK developer team are giving away Xbox 360s to partners that have Office Open XML solutions .  Surely every open xml developer already has an Xbox 360? Anyway if you have or are thinking about...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Office Developer Conference 2008

    • 1 Comments
    Microsoft Office system is a platform.  This is the conference (it's in California, 10th-13th Feb 2008) where we really get into the detail about how to develop solutions on it.  Really good speakers (including one of the last times to hear...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Microsoft, we like you in your Dad jumper, just get off the dance floor

    • 1 Comments
    We thought we'd reach out to students with the incredible offer that became www.theultimatesteal.co.uk . If you are not familiar with it - for anyone with a .ac.uk email address, you can get the Ultimate version of Microsoft Office (yes the one that normally...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Edit history removes deniability excuse

    • 1 Comments
    Interesting piece in the register today.  Wendy Alexander, the Scottish labour chief has to explain why she accepted an illegal donation from a tax exile.  She's relying on deniability to get her through except that the Word document shows in...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Office 2007 file formats on Windows Mobile 6

    • 1 Comments
    At last, the Office mobile 6.1 update is here that lets us use the new file formats (open and edit xlsx and docx and just view pptx) on Windows Mobile devices.  It works on windows pocket pc 5 and windows mobile 6.  Download here . Jason aka...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Microsoft Robotics Studio and PCs that get up from the desk

    • 1 Comments
    ZMP of Japan have released a robot built using Microsoft Robotics Studio .  I liked this quote about it from a print article (sorry no url) which made me think about the future: Tandy Trower, a Microsoft general manager overseeing robotics, said...
  • OfficeRocker!

    The pretty and portable HP 2710p

    • 1 Comments
    My new laptop from HP has been my live machine now for a few days and I have to say I'm liking it a lot.  The one before was the faithful tc4400 which I was also a fan of but I'm really enjoying the smaller and lighter 2710p (£1015 + vat but...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Intelligencia for Office 2007 uses Open XML

    • 1 Comments
    I've spoken about IT Workplace before .  If you are interested in seeing an Office Business Application in action, have a look at Intelligencia - they allow people to do data analysis from Word.  This relies on Open XML to store the settings...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Working on more than one PC

    • 5 Comments
    Back from holiday now - hence the lack of blogging for a few weeks. I've been fantasising about buying a new desktop PC for home along with a cool new monitor.  I have my eye on a dell vostro Intel Core 2 Duo 3Ghz, 2Gb RAM with one of the new 24"...
  • OfficeRocker!

    The Jelly effect and the top 10 most used PowerPoint commands

    • 1 Comments
    I really enjoyed having a beer with Andy Bounds last night. Andy is an inspirational communications coach and author of the best selling new business title "The Jelly Effect, How to make your communication stick". He says he became obsessed with good...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Outlook image download security - RSS and email

    • 1 Comments
    Jason Lawrence emailed me about this yesterday: In Outlook 2007, image security in emails is turned on and I have to explicitly tell outlook to download images, due to security concern. I also use Outlook for my rss feeds, but images in posts are automatically...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Making a blog better

    • 2 Comments
    A lot has happened since I wrote my first post on OfficeRocker! two years ago. I started blogging in the year preceding the launch of Office 2007 as a way to engage better with people and to explain what we are doing. (see why I blog ). I did a little...
  • OfficeRocker!

    WSS 3.0 will be a separate download

    • 1 Comments
    We announced today that we're pulling the WSS 3.0 bits out of Windows Server 2008 RC1 onward. No real change here, it will still be available free as a download and no change to the licensing but WSS won't be on the Server media any more. Not exactly...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Office tips gadget available

    • 1 Comments
    Quite a nice new gadget to help you get more from Office 2007.
  • OfficeRocker!

    Hampshire police bring out the big gun

    • 4 Comments
    Good idea to advertise on the back of buses. Shame about the position of the exhaust pipe.
  • OfficeRocker!

    Google don't use their own stuff - so why should you?

    • 6 Comments
    This amused me today from a friend of mine who noticed this. A job application on the Google website for the " Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, Google.org - San Francisco " Check out point 3 from the mandatory job qualifications: Requirements...
  • OfficeRocker!

    RSS feeds in Outlook 2007

    • 4 Comments
    Good little article on how to augment the RSS feeds capability of Outlook 2007 using search folders for greater control.
  • OfficeRocker!

    Free car with your petrol?

    • 1 Comments
    Do you want fries with that? We call it 'attach' - and there are some crazy examples out there: PC World started offering a free PC with an Orange broadband contract. This seems to have ended now but is says they are offering £300 off selected laptops...
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