Friday, January 19, 2007

Office Upgrade

Working in IT, but also having computing, gadgets and most geeky things as a hobby means you are bang up to date with all the latest changes in technology and software. If I do not know something, then a friend will know or there is always the power of the web. This afternoon, I had my MD (of all people) showing me the intuitive features of Office 2007, specifically PowerPoint. Unfortunately only my manager has been truly been able to benchmark the productivity suite. I am just far too busy to be undertaking projects of such astronomical significance for the company IT policy. I am much more useful answering the telephone. Anyway, this topic got me thinking about my own personal upgrade policy, in reflection to a small/medium business considering the expense of migrating to the next version of the Microsoft package.

When I first got into computing, now some fifteen years ago, I always wanted the latest software. Even though my 386SX could only handle a certain amount of software available at the time. I would hate to try and explain to the kids of today, the numbers game back then. Hard drives were around 40MB in size, if you were lucky. Memory rarely went over double figures and if it did, anything above and beyond 640kbtyes was considered Extended Memory. Software? Well back in those a mouse was a luxury, not a bog standard requirement and you had to use the text based command line interpreter in the form of MS-DOS. Windows was around but if you saw a screen from Windows 3.0 or even 3.11, you would be shocked. Moving on, let me get to the point. The power of my machine limited my option on most software upgrades but I would try most things anyways and lost count of the number of times I had to format and reinstall Windows 3.x. When my built my second machine I became more realistic. Opting to stick with Windows 3.11 and do a manual upgrade to Windows 95 later. Yet I still would download and install absolute crap of the Internet (dial up at the time, remember those dark days people?). I even recall downloading and applying a X-Files Desktop Theme. Those were the days, even though I was not a big fan of the show and perhaps only watched a handful of episodes and never got around to watching the movie.

In recent years I have calmed down dramatically. I am much more fussy, actually that is the wrong word, much more particular when it comes to software and particularly upgrades. I only upgraded to XP in June 2003, nearly four years since it had be released to a mouthwatering public. I was so happy with Windows 98SE. It was stable, all my software worked, I could do everything I possibly wanted and even though I knew my Mesh was more than capable of running XP, I just did not want the hassle of moving across. I did eventually but it was a planned migration and not a shot in the dark.

The moral of the story is this. There will always be people that must have the latest everything, and that includes software (even more so if it comes from Redmond). I prefer to test out the software on a test machine and discover all the whether the software works for me, what features are useful, which features are down right problematic and how to disable them. The problem with Office 2007 and many other software applications, is that they have very much become the facto standard. Something tells me we will be spending the ten grand on the licensing upgrade. After all, most of our clients and partners will be doing the very soon in the coming months.

No comments: