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!

    Why does Home and Student edition not include Outlook?

    • 5 Comments
    Good question in today from Andrew Balgarnie - if you have a question or something you'd like me to comment on or look into just use the email link on the header. He says " Given how much you sing the praises of oneNote / outlook integration why doesn...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Calculated fields and formulas in pivot tables

    • 6 Comments
    You've been meaning to get round to it for years haven't you? Did you realise that there are some brilliant training courses online that can help. A much underadvertised resource IMHO is the office online training. It takes you through the lesson with...
  • OfficeRocker!

    How to run Office 2007 on Windows XP

    • 4 Comments
    It is still worth pointing out to everyone that Office 2007 is designed to run on Windows XP sp2 and above.  So if you just live.com/yahoo/googled this, welcome and let me assure you.. You don't need to have Windows Vista to run it.  From a...
  • OfficeRocker!

    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...
  • OfficeRocker!

    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...
  • 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!

    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...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Dallas Cowboy letter proved fake by calibri

    • 2 Comments
    Check out the story here about a Lucille Hester who was accused of fraud after reading out her half brother’s supposed posthumous letter.  The letter said to be written by football star and former olympic sprinter, Bob Hayes, was read out on national...
  • OfficeRocker!

    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...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Excel 2007 multi-threaded calculation boosts performance

    • 4 Comments
    Some mention of this was made on the Excel blog about the performance improvements that can be derived from Excel 2007 due to the new multi-threading capability but I don't think people are aware of what a huge difference this can make. A quick overview...
  • OfficeRocker!

    The difference between Vista and Office

    • 7 Comments
    One of the challenges in retail is when customers buy a PC with Windows on it and think they also have Microsoft Office.  They get home all excited to write their first letter on Word and find to their dismay that it isn't installed.  From their...
  • 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!

    last few days for university students and staff to get Office Ultimate 2007 for £38.95

    • 2 Comments
    In case you missed the nearly unbelievable promotion we have running for uni students and teachers at www.theultimatesteal.co.uk you only have till Weds night this week to take advantage of it before it closes.  If you are a student, tell your friends...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Snow can’t stop Unified Comms

    • 1 Comments
    OMG apparently there are reports of frozen water falling FROM THE SKY!! and landing ON THE GROUND!! London and Reading declare state of emergency, cancel all buses and trains. Nobody can get into work today so meetings start to get cancelled due to the...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Office Live Small Business has >1M subscribers

    • 1 Comments
    Following on from my Office Live demo at the NCVO event, Tim Kimber sent me this today which is worth sharing I thought:   Microsoft Office Live Small Business has reached a pivotal milestone: In less than two years since its November 2006 commercial...
  • OfficeRocker!

    How to stop blogging and how to start again

    • 1 Comments
    I started the OfficeRocker blog to share our news as we built up to the launch of Office 2007.  I’ve tried to add perspective to any news I relay and stay true to this theme on the whole.  It has been amazing how well it took off too. ...
  • 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!

    Microsoft Store launches in the UK

    • 4 Comments
      The Microsoft Store launches today.  This is limited to the UK and Germany - not even the US have this yet. Have a look at http://www.microsoftstore.co.uk This is the first time Microsoft has made our products available to the customer to...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Officelive for charities

    • 4 Comments
    Last Tuesday I was running a workshop at the joint Microsoft and NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) on "getting the most from online communities". Mainly I wanted to show people what can be done either free of charge or for...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Officelabs and the search tab for Office 2007

    • 4 Comments
    Every day on the blogsphere (I hate that word) I see one topic of discussion come up a lot.  I have talked about it often too - how to make the transition to the new UI.  There is good debate to be had about why we needed to make this switch...
  • OfficeRocker!

    3 new Office Live customer stories - training, the Algarve and premium fresh cocktails..

    • 1 Comments
    Three stories about small businesses using Office Live to get their businesses up and running.  Algarvesol - how a couple made renting out their apartment in Algarve a lot more professional with an online site with Office Live . Sublime - an enterprising...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Microsoft support for ISO Open XML

    • 1 Comments
    seems to be a good deal of chatter recently about our support for the modified version of Open XML that resulted from the rigorous ratification process.  The best summary of the story I found is over on Oliver Bell's blog here so I won't retype it...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Random catch up 22nd Feb

    • 1 Comments
    Skydrive comes out of beta Beta is over for http://skydrive.live.com and the new version increases the storage by 4Gb to 5Gb! I use this to put my presentations in on the right column on the blog - easy to imbed the link with the icon Interoperability...
  • OfficeRocker!

    The crazy world of Open XML

    • 1 Comments
    With the ballot resolution later this month, the temperature is high around the issues on Open XML.  On our side we believe that Open XML is solving a different problem to ODF and so we supported it through fast track.  IBM and others have decided...
  • OfficeRocker!

    making capitalism work for the poor

    • 1 Comments
    Good interview on cnn with Bill Gates about how he says we need to "tweak" capitalism to work better for the poorest 2bn people in the world. another vid of him, bono and michael dell talk about the (RED) campaign .  A bit of an annoying...
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