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June 2006 : bonus


  Windows Vista and Office 2007

Computer professionals all across the country are starting to prepare for the next major release of Microsoft's operating system and productivity suite, Windows and Office.

In case you haven't heard, the newest version of Windows will be called Vista (just like the current version is XP).  The next release of Office will be simply titled Office 2007.

Both are expected to hit shelves the first quarter of 2007, although some computers may begin shipping as early as December of this year.

Why an New Version?

With every new version of Windows and Office comes a batch of features that we ultimately can't believe we lived without.

Windows XP helped improve computer security by leaps and introduced the nation to stress-free wireless connectivity.

Office 2003 introduced the Task Pane, an improved Outlook interface, and a list of improvements to PowerPoint.

And both upgrades gave network administrators new tools to deploy and maintain the software with greater ease.

We can expect more of the same with the new incarnations of Windows and Office.

So What's Changing?

Windows Vista has a number of improvements spanning the entire package, but two really stick out in my mind.

An entirely new security model is being introduced which aims to eliminate pesky spyware and viruses once and for all.  Taking a hint from unix, all users will finally run with limited access -- preventing rogue programs from taking over the machine.  If you need to install software or change a system setting, you'll need to temporarily switch to administrative mode. 

And for users with higher-end graphics capabilities, be prepared for some amazing eye candy that will actually improve your efficiency.  Using improved visual feedback, including 3D processing, users will have an easier time managing multiple programs at once.  Gone will be the days of getting lost in your task bar.

Microsoft Office users will immediately notice a significant change in the interface.  New to this version is an enhanced concept of the icon toolbars we are all very familiar with: the ribbon.  The ribbon is an ever-changing set of icons that relate specifically to the task at hand.  It's a concept that talking about does no justice, so check out some of the screen captures on the right.

Another major change is the way Office will preview your changes for you.  Want to change a font or auto-format a table?  Hovering over your choices will now immediately display a preview in the body of your document.  Experimentation is yesterday's news.

Are You Compatible?

Microsoft and its partners have been testing Vista for some time now, and the computer requirements are now available to see if your PC is up for the task.  The bottom line?  You'll want a machine with 1 GB of RAM, at least 15 GB of free space on your hard drive, and a processor running at 1 Ghz or better.

The good news?  By the time Vista is released, you won't be able to buy a new machine that doesn't meet these specs.

Live Demonstration

Applied Office is beginning to plan some live demonstrations of Vista and Office 2007.  If you're interested in attending, please let me know.


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And be sure to check out
photos and information on Office 2007.