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.

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    Blogcast: OneNote 2007

    • 51 Comments
    I've been meaning to record a OneNote 2007 demo for a while so here it is. OneNote 2007 is a very important application now in Office. You will see it is included in both the Home and Student Edition and in the Enterprise Edition . It really is a very...
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    How the war was won: intro

    • 30 Comments
    You might think it a bit cocky to start writing my memoirs of launch before the event but with my memory, I'll probably struggle to remember my name in 6 months (and so will everyone else) so I thought it best to make a start now and claim my 15 minutes...
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    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...
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    Blogcast: Outlook 2007 (14mins)

    • 24 Comments
    In this blogcast I demo some of the new features of Outlook 2007. In particular I look at how it can consume RSS feeds and show off some of the great integration with SharePoint Server 2007 as well. Also have a look at the OneNote 2007 blogcast which...
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    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...
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    When presentations go wrong and how to recover afterwards

    • 20 Comments
    If any of you were at the Nottingham Technet event last week, you were a witness to probably the worst crash and burn I have ever suffered during a live presentation. I had put quite a lot of work into the presentation, believe it or not, and I had planned...
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    Ribbon myths and rumours dispelled

    • 16 Comments
    There has been a little flurry of rumours on the blogsphere including the ever excitable slashdot that we have radically changed the ribbon, making it much smaller. Some are saying that we are even backing away from the ribbon or that we received "complaints...
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    Thao dibbly todge-bellied yawnups was tiggling down Widgington passage chasing goolybugs

    • 16 Comments
    No its not some new geekspeak you'll end up having to buy the "dummies" guide for but some of the local dialect vocabulary we want to celebrate as part of our quest to localise Microsoft Office. Kudos to the first person that can translate the title of...
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    Beer and pizza evening follow up

    • 14 Comments
    We had a good turn out at the Technet beer and pizza event in Reading this week. Thanks for all your kind comments. I said that I would post the slides so here they are . I'm having a few issues with anonymous access on my support site so if it asks for...
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    Why is OCS and Communicator 2007 better than Windows Live Messenger?

    • 13 Comments
    Mark Deakin and I had a think about this question, posted on a comment by Michael (thanks for the idea Michael). So we spun up a video call together - I was at home and Mark in the office and a live sharing One Note 2007 page. Here's what we came up...
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    Why do I blog?

    • 12 Comments
    I'm presenting at a blogging conference in a few weeks and as I thought about what I will say I started to ask myself why I bother? Why blog? What is it that makes me think this is a good idea? If you are thinking of starting a blog, maybe this will help...
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    Random roundup..23rd May 2007

    • 12 Comments
    I feel I should wait until the weekend to do random roundups but just back from holiday and there is too much stacked up so here it is early for once :-) Study shows open source devs don't want GPL 3.0 to enforce patents The ongoing debate over patent...
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    Dump your stress this Easter

    • 12 Comments
    I just can't stop telling you about OneNote. It's like we've found our first love again since 2007 beta 1. It's a public holiday here in the UK today and Monday so here's my Easter stress remedy for time-compressed hours in 4-day weeks.. At the beginning...
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    Blogging with Live Writer versus OneNote 2007

    • 12 Comments
    Ok so I've had a chance to use the live writer tool now on several blogs. I have used it here on OfficeRocker which is hosted on community server and on fullyvetted.com which is a WordPress blog. So how does it compare with using OneNote 2007 as your...
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    2007 release on the Nov price list, release dates confirmed

    • 12 Comments
    An internal email from Chris Capposela (head of IW) to field sales confirms that 2007 will get added to the price list in November. This is excellent news and a strong indicator of our confidence. That said, usual caveats apply about how product performance...
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    First Look: 2007 Microsoft Office system

    • 11 Comments
    I've decided to create a new book review category and tell you what I think of the new books. As I'm given books to review by publishers, I'll write a review. Title: First Look at 2007 Microsoft Office system. Author: Katherine Murray Publisher...
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    Ye Olde Office - new for old!

    • 11 Comments
    I'm trying to complete my set of old versions of Office and I'm prepared to blatantly bribe you if you have one for my collection. If anyone fancies donating me an old copy (must include the CD box and preferably the cardboard box) I'll replace yours...
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    2007 Office beta 2 available for public download today!

    • 10 Comments
    Finally I am super super excited (as it were) to announce that beta 2 is now public - hurray! You can download it free from here .
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    Coping with change

    • 9 Comments
    Some things change I have a lot of debates at the moment about how hard it will be for people and companies to adjust to the new release of Office. The first discussion usually surrounds the new user interface and how different it is. I'm not going to...
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    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...
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    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...
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    Bill Gates runs like a girl

    • 8 Comments
    I bust my knee this week and can hardly walk so I'd probably settle for being able to run like a girl at the moment. He has a brain the size of a planet, some say he can hold his breath for 15 minutes, he is Time magazine's person of the year .. Yes...
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    Blogcast: Intro to the Office 12 user interface

    • 8 Comments
    Sometimes its better to show than to tell so I thought I'd have a go at recording one of my demos of the new user interface in Office 12. It is recorded with only 16 colours so it will look a lot nicer in real life. I'm attaching the spreadsheet that...
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    Come and meet me

    • 8 Comments
    I'll be speaking at the technet event here in Reading on 25th April so come and say hi. I'll be showing off the latest 2007 Office release of course but not yet decided what to demo. If you have anything you'd really like to see let me know. If you can...
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    Word counter in Word 2007

    • 8 Comments
    A lot of people, particularly journalists who write articles for a living, ask me whether we can put a word counter into the mini-bar for them. Better than that, we have put a word counter into the Word status bar. This displays the number of words in...
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