When they're good, they're very good

Published February 1, 2008

Ever since I saw Live Writer, I knew that Microsoft had it in them to be good. They know what they’re doing when it comes to marketing to the masses but for us geeky individuals, they leave a lot to be desired.

Live Writer has the essence of greatness, in that everything you need to blog to many different platforms is all in one place and it is unbelievably easy to use. My only problem is that Wordpress screws up the metadata for each image you upload, which means you have to go into the Admin screens anyway, so you might as well just right it in there. Ultimately, that’s a problem with Wordpress though, and not Livewriter.

I write for Sidepodcast in Wordpress. I use Live Writer for Smarter Than Your Average posts.

I absolutely adore Office 2007. Some people find it difficult to use, perhaps because they are so used to how it was before or perhaps because they genuinely have a problem with it, but I find it genius. Everything you need is so easy to access, and once you know where it is, then it makes life much smoother. Having to relearn software is not fun, but sometimes it’s worth the extra moments of confusion as you go along, when the product is so much better.

Formatting in Word is incredible. I didn’t even know you could add a Table of Contents or a border to the page, but now, even if I’m just writing a shopping list, I’m there with Cover Pages, footers and Fancy Titles. Sometimes I play around so much I don’t actually have time to do the shopping!

I’ve used Excel less, but I have just had a new PC at work with Office 2007 on, which means I will be using it a lot. Already I’ve discovered the delights of conditional formatting and how freaking easy pivot tables actually are.

Microsoft is trying to redesign their software to make things more accessible for new users, and as far as I can see they’re doing a good job. A complaint I hear over and over about Vista is that “Add/Remove Programs” in the control panel was changed to “Programs and Features”. In my opinion, it’s just different, it’s not wrong.

I like Vista, I really do. If it worked properly and did everything I needed it to, I would be as happy as a wide mouthed frog eating Maltesers. It doesn’t work properly and it doesn’t do everything I need it to, which is why I’ll be investing in an iMac as soon as my budget stretches that far.

Thankfully, the new Office software is available on the Mac as well; otherwise it might not be such an easy choice.

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