Monday, June 17, 2013

Outlook 2013 "The Missing Features"

I have been using the latest version of Microsoft's Outlook product and haven't decided 100% how I feel about it just yet. It certainly looks nicer and modernized, but like any upgrade several features I am used to getting to quickly are now hard to find or actually missing. I came across this blog from TechRepublic that outlines several of the missing features.

Some of the features that are now "missing":

1. You can no longer right click on content to access the dictionary or thesaurus or access AutoCorrect. I prefer the keyboard shortcuts for these anyway.

2. Search has changed, now you have to use Windows 8 search, which would be a challenge if you are not on Windows 7 and trying to use Outlook. Not sure if that one makes sense.

3. I liked that I could drag-and-drop email to the calendar, now I have to drag it to the shortcut? Seems strange and an extra step.

There are many other features that you have grown used to and can now be officially declared as missing. It is good to know that they are missing so I stop looking for them, but it also makes me think whether I really need those features or not. I think the one that was most useful was publishing my calendar... but evidently everyone is expected to move to an account to solve that problem.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Is Here!

I downloaded and installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my laptop today without issue. It actually did a better job finding the right drivers for my three year older Sager brand laptop than Windows 7 did. Everytime I installed Windows 7 on it, I knew I was going to spend another 30 minutes installing drivers. Windows 8 did a great job, no finding drivers after the install.

My laptop is 64bit Intel processor Core 2 Duo P8600 2.4Ghz, 8GB or RAM and 360 Gig HDD. My machine can certainly handle the minimum specs that Windows 8 requires. I was going to install it on my brand new desktop but I thought it would be more interesting to see how it handle an older machine first.

NOTE: I also installed Windows 8 as a VHD instead of the normal direct to hard drive install. I still need to be able to use my computer for work and wanted to dual boot, or triple boot or whatever it is called. I have a number of VHDs installed on this machine. The boot screen is much nicer than in the past with your plain white text on a black background with some numbered choices.

Setting up Windows is very similar to the last few versions, the only real change is the fish image that appears while things are loading. All the other windows are basically the same.

After the standard install I am prompted as with past versions to configure Windows. The most notable change is integrating with your Windows Live account, I like this feature. This is a long overdue feature in my opinion, getting us closer to a seamless Windows experience across all devices and being able to easily access the same content from every device.

Once I made it through the configuration steps and I logged in I was taken right to the Metro style desktop. It looks nice and is a refreshing change to the desktop. The first thing I clicked on was my SkyDrive and got right in without having to login again. I have been frustrated with Sky Drive for years and am a big fan of Microsoft's Mesh product instead. Sky Drive has been clunky and hard to access way to often. This integration with Windows is very nice and appreciated. It was also kind of fun to rediscover some old photos I had loaded up there in 2005.
The App Store works, yeah. I was hoping that was going to be up running and it is. Can't wait to start taking advantage of that. So far, top notch, seamless integration with the desktop.

I can see how this a much needed move in the right direction and can see how it makes sense acroess multiple devices. It is pretty. But, that being said I am lost :) Where is my Run cmd and how do I get to control panel and how do I change my screen settings? I have some exploring to do and so far I am not sure it is intuitive at this point.

Want to get to your hands on Windows 8 Customer Preview? Just follow this link to the Microsoft Windows site -

There are two options, the primary option lets you download an installer, the secondary option listed in small print below the first option is to download a .iso image of Windows 8. I chose the .iso method so I could burn it to disc and move it around easily.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RBA Consulting Launches New Brand

Today the company I am deeply proud to work for has launched our new brand and along with that a new website. Please check it out.

RBA Consulting, the Wayzata-based technology consulting firm, announced that the Minneapolis-based digital marketing firm, Ratchet, has been completely integrated into RBA. At the same time, the combined company will now do business under the “RBA” brand name and has launched a new brand identity for the organization.

By combining forces, RBA now offers end-to-end business technology solutions, including custom application development, portals and collaboration solutions, cloud computing, infrastructure and data management, along with seamless digital marketing offerings of user experience design and development for web, social and mobile applications.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Windows 8 Consumer Preview (BETA) On Schedule

According to an article over at TechSpot Microsoft is set to reveal the consumer preview version of Windows 8 early next Wednesday in Spain. This means we should all be able to get our hands on the latest build (8250) in the next few days. Hopefully, Microsoft will have the new Windows App Store functioning too and not make us wait until the official release of the new OS in October/November.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Amazing Folding Laptop

Sometimes the best design is not the most creative design. In fact it usually isn't. The best design is usually the simplest design. Also, you can patent just about anything whether it is a good idea or a bad idea. Laptop designs have been changing a lot lately but they all tend to follow slim and sleek like the Mac AirBook or they are some sort of tablet high-bred, I think I am already bored with these designs.

But, when I came across the article about accordion designed laptops, it made me appreciate the latest trends a little more. Check it out here -

Monday, January 23, 2012

Windows 8 "Don't Call It a Beta"

Word on the street is that the Windows team at Microsoft is going to call the beta version of Windows 8 targeted for late February the “consumer preview”. So, if you keep looking and searching for Windows 8 Beta you may want to keep up to date on what it is called, because it looks like Beta is out the window so to speak.

Why the change? We can only guess. First the current pre-beta version of Windows 8 that is available to the public is called the Developer Preview. You can find it here. Also, during CES, one of the PR reps for Microsoft refered to it as the Consumer Preview.

A number of people are talking about wether it is going to be called beta or not, because we are all excited about getting are hands on it and have nothing else to talk about at this point. That is a good sign for Microsoft.

None the less, I will still throw in my guess for the possible name change. Windows 7 beta was not a beta. As we saw with the "beta" version of Windows 7, it was 99.9% finished and I am pretty sure Microsoft isn't using any feedback from us during that brief time before the official production release. Another reason to not call it beta is to signify that this version of Windows is different from its predecessors in a big way.

It doesn't matter what they call it, as long as I get it sooner than later. The previews and pre-beta version are rock solid and impressive in so many ways. I am most excited about getting a version of Windows that not only looks significantly different than the last version but has features that make it fresh and exciting again. Windows 7 was a huge leap forward, now we wait for eight.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ink Costs More Than Human Blood

I have been working on a print management project for a large company in Dallas the last few months and am constantly amazed at the cost of printing and that print is not dead. I spent many years at Kinko's and FedEx Office and know way to much about printing and the printer industry.

As I was cruising the Internet (I cruise, I don't surf) I came a cross this poignant infographic that sums up the rediculous costs of the ink we use in our desktop printers. I saw some numbers on one site that suggested we Americans spend more annually on printers and ink than we do cars and healthcare, but, I cannot locate data to back that up.

This poster does sum up the cost at the smallest level well though.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

CES - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Ultrabook

This is the notebook/laptop/ultrabook/tablet I have been waiting for. As expected sleek laptops and tablets are merging and it is happenning in 2012. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga features a patented 360 hinge so you can fold the monitor all the way back and pose the machine in a number of different positions not available before.

The form is sleek and sports a soft to the touch paint covering the entire thing, and even has a leather rest pad for your hands as well as a leather trim. Niiiiiice.

This beauty will be out in June 2012 and will be running the new Microsoft Windows 8 and will sport a nice 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. All of that and a battery life that will last you all day, well atleast 8 hours of work anyway.

Get more details here at The Verge.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Microsoft Smart Watch - Time Runs Out

Remember those unattractive smart watches that Bill Gates was touting about a decade when he thought they would be the ubiquitous smart devices that be a part of our every day life? Well maybe you don't like most people out there, because they never took the world by storm like smart phones eventually did to become the dominant smart devices in our lives.

These watches never sold well and actually where discontinued years ago, but now the stream of data that was powering these watches is finally getting turned off.

Read more - Time runs out on Microsoft smart watches -