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!

    Design an Office 2007 app for your charity and we make it a reality

    • 0 Comments
    I just came across this competition which is reminiscent of the DesignIT initative we ran in the UK. You design an Office application on 2007 to meet the needs of a charity and if you win Microsoft and HP give you the kit and build it with you. Sounds...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Original xbox console launches in Seattle

    • 3 Comments
    oh..kay.. get this for over competitiveness.. A disagreement over a Microsoft Xbox game console exploded into a fight, taunts and eventually a fire that ravaged a Central District house, the Seattle police said Friday morning.None of the four occupants...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Why charge for beta 2?

    • 0 Comments
    Great post by James O'Neil on this subject which I also commented on earlier .
  • OfficeRocker!

    Why computers are like dogs

    • 4 Comments
    (Our dog, Sprocket) This happens most days. Somebody will have some sort of issue with their computer and will come bleating to me that it doesn't work. I've learnt now that the first step is adopt an attitude of healthy scepticism and to require...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Records management - barcoding documents as policy

    • 3 Comments
    in 2007 we are adding records management to SharePoint. I came across this great post on barcoding documents on the recman blog which would be a good one for all those records management fans.
  • OfficeRocker!

    Technology catch 22's

    • 1 Comments
    09 August 2006 11:49 Continuing my period of angst with technology, and inspired somewhat by Charles Arthur's chocolate teapots ..can you relate to any of these classic tech gotchas? Some, thankfully, hark back to a bygone age of computing and...
  • OfficeRocker!

    bad technology hair day

    • 4 Comments
    Today's presentation (number 89) to the assembled PR agencies of Microsoft nearly didn't happen. I've already presented to this group before, several months ago, and had done the standard user interface pitch and possibly even the outlook one as well...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Analyst support for 2007 release in Computer weekly

    • 1 Comments
    Good article in computer weekly on 2007. Some interesting analyst quotes in there such as: Clive Longbottom , service director at analyst firm Quocirca, said many organisations would find it worthwhile to upgrade their Micro­soft software across...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Paying for beta 2

    • 4 Comments
    Today the free download period for beta 2 came to an end. From now on you will have to pay $1.50 (about £1) per download if you want to from our site . To refute a few myths about this, we are doing this because we already have over 3 million completed...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Power Pointer

    • 3 Comments
    Following on from my recent Death by PowerPoint post which was all about making presentations better for the audience - here's one for the nerdy presenter. I'm loving my new toy, the Microsoft Presenter 3000 device. I can't find it anywhere online...
  • OfficeRocker!

    File compatibility - the office babelfish

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    As more people install the beta of Office, there are more documents out there in the new file format . Hang on.. Changing the file formats???!!? Are you mad?? But before I start on that, lets revise what have we done and what were the reasons why we...
  • OfficeRocker!

    OneNote the new blog tool

    • 7 Comments
    I just love OneNote. I did hint at this a while back but in my current Office build , 4228, this is all working really well so I thought I'd walk you through it. As James Governor said when I showed him, " It struck me, when he showed me blog publishing...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Go SharePoint and good things happen

    • 8 Comments
    Yesterday's presentations were to two groups of sales managers from Computacenter to whom I attempted to convey something of the Office System in 40 minutes. I'm not sure I got it across all that effectively. It is pretty hard to get through the 15 desktop...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Death by PowerPoint - Giving better presentations

    • 22 Comments
    Take yourself back to that day in the mid eighties, in some smokey, Silicon Valley room where some developers were coming up with the ideas for a new application to help people do presentations. I don't think on the blackboard of brainstormed thoughts...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Thoughts on the beta life of Vista and 2007 release

    • 4 Comments
    Perhaps a bit of a random post today but I am thick into the beta lifestyle now. I'm currently running Windows Vista build 5472 (the latest public refresh) and Office build 4228 which is a post beta 2 interim build (beta 2 was 4017) . So time for an update...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Office opens up to ODF

    • 5 Comments
    Big news today was that we've decided to fund an open source project to build translation tools between the new 2007 file format, OpenXML and the OpenOffice standard Open Document Format. This will enable customers to read and write to ODF from Word,...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Beta 2 - so what have we learnt?

    • 2 Comments
    It's been just over 5 weeks since the beta 2 went public and I thought you might be interested in how that has been going. We had a target of a million users worldwide by RTM and we surpassed that easily in the first month. In fact this was about three...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Test Drive the 2007 release

    • 1 Comments
    We’ve announced today the availability of the online test drive for the 2007 Microsoft Office system.  This is a ‘try-it-before-you-buy-it’ program that allows people to explore the benefits and enhancements of the 2007 release through their Web browser...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Never forget your roots

    • 2 Comments
    I had the privilege of presenting to some sixth formers at Eton college today about a career in IT. Of course the erstwhile head of Office development, Steven Sinofsky writes a blog , bizarrely in my opinion, about careers in IT aimed at college grads...
  • OfficeRocker!

    UK Office Developer Conference 2006 - it's more than you think..

    • 6 Comments
    Weds and Thurs this week we held the second ever UK Office Developer Conference following on from the success of last years one. This time we were in the Hammersmith Novotel and had about 400 or so developers, 26 sessions over the two days, hands on labs...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Calling all Office Pioneers

    • 3 Comments
    I want to introduce another UK Office blog from our team produced by Gill and Charlene. The OfficePioneer is designed to give an honest view of the joy and pain of working with our beta versions of the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Full of tips and information...
  • OfficeRocker!

    New copyright licensing tool for Office

    • 3 Comments
    Today we are announcing the availability of an Office add-on tool which helps businesses and individuals to protect their IP in documents. The tool will be a "copyright licensing tool" to make it easy for authors using Office to select a Creative Commons...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Send a smile or a frown

    • 0 Comments
    Also, to follow on from my last post about feedback, there’s also a tool available for anyone called the “Send a Smile” feedback tool – this provides an easy route to have your say to the Office product team over any elements of the software that you...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Living the beta life - joy and pain

    • 8 Comments
    This week we began our internal readiness work at Microsoft to educate internal employees about the new betas. We think now that the beta 2 is stable enough for us to start deploying it internally. It is a fundamental principle at Microsoft that we use...
  • OfficeRocker!

    World cup scores

    • 4 Comments
    Not Office related but cool nonetheless:     This little tool from msn gives you live feed info and adds up all the group tables for you.
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