May 29, 2006
Microsoft Office 2007: See What It's All About
There's no denying it: Microsoft is releasing a wave of new software relatively soon. It's worth checking out so you can determine the impact on your existing systems and integrations, and whether/when it makes sense to implement the new versions.
Microsoft has published the Microsoft 2007 Office system preview site, which is chock full of information on the new office suite. Particularly engaging is the Microsoft Office UI video tour. As Office 2007 represents a radical User Interface (UI) shift, it's definitely worth viewing. Gone are the rampant menu pull-downs found in Office 97 through 2003. The context-sensitive "Ribbon" is the new UI. As I haven't tried the Office 2007 betas, I can't comment on it first-hand. However, I have to hand it to Microsoft for producing a marketing video that made me feel like this guy. Very impressive.
Although Microsoft says you should not have to upgrade your hardware from running Office 2003, you may have to upgrade your operating system. For instance, the Office 2007 beta requirements page lists "Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 2 or later or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (or higher)" as "required". While older hardware may indeed run it, with the emphasis on graphics-intensive features such as the new Live Preview and improved graphics overall, you'd probably want to test it on your older PCs to see how well it performs.
May 22, 2006
Microsoft Releases New Vista Hardware Guidance
Looking to buy a new PC, but not sure what you'll need for running Windows Vista? Microsoft just released the minimum requirements for "Windows Vista Capable" PCs (that will only run the basics) and "Windows Vista Premium Ready" PCs (capable of running the advanced Aero 3D graphics).
The details are at Microsoft's Windows Vista Enterprise Hardware Planning Guidance.
If you use a larger resolution monitor (e.g., LCD panel) or dual monitors, pay special attention to the amount of graphics memory. The more overall screen resolution, the more graphics memory required. I think it's fair to say from this early information that Vista's Aero graphical interface is a video memory hog, but, as I'll show you in a minute, there's a good reason for this. This will likely drive sales of higher-end PCs with enhanced video cards. Most gamer-level PCs should do nicely, but it's also a bit more than most people would have needed when running Windows XP for business apps.
For Microsoft products video demos, check out "Bill Gates Webcasts". This one has a nice demo of Vista's 3D capabilities for displaying and switching between open Windows. Now you know why you'll need a darn good 3D video card with plenty of graphics memory, if you want the full Vista experience.