Monthly Archives: November 2012
Office2013 first impressions, iPad Mini vs. Google Nexus 7, more…
Well, as time permits, we’ve been trying out a few new things over here at RiteTech, including Office2013, an iPad Mini (at least, in the Apple store down the street from our office), and so forth.
Prior Blog readers will see my initial impressions (some may say, hesitations) about Windows8 in a prior post. Those have not changed at all. I still stand by my assertion that Windows7 is the better way to go, for a majority of corporate and business environments. And sadly, that’s mainly due to the appearance issues related to Microsoft’s insistence on removing the traditional “Start Button” or “Start Menu”, and related “Classic Mode” for the operation of the Windows desktop. I won’t rehash my extended rant on that topic, any further.
More concerning, however, is that the same “Let’s make the User Interface WORSE than it was before” philosophy, seems to carry over into Outlook 2013. This was the first of the Office2013 applications that I spent some time with, being my favorite, and most frequently used application, apart from Lync.
Outlook 2013 lasted about an hour on my PC until I had to uninstall it, in favor of Outlook 2010, in horror and disgust. As I posted on FaceBook a few days back, my reaction was much like the scene in Planet of the Apes, where Charlton Heston screamed, “You MANIACS! You Blew it Up!”. The main reason that I had to yank Outlook 2013 off of my PC – and quickly – was its absolutely ugly and difficult to read graphical interface. Gone are all of the nice colors that graced Outlook 2010. There appears to be only three “themes” of color available – ugly gray, black, and white. Some Ribbon Menu items now show in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, which is (unfortunately) a similar trait to other Office2013 applications as well. This is quite puzzling to me, because many ergonomic and other typographic research has shown time and time again, that having mixed case helps people read language much faster, and with less eye strain, than ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE DOES BETTER, THAN SAY, LATIN, WHICH HAD ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, AND OFTEN, NO PUNCTUATION AND/OR MINIMAL SPACING.
Running Outlook 2013 was just, well, SAD to me. It felt like de-evloving, going backwards, etc.. Add the ugliness to the fact that it also ran SLOWER than Outlook 2010 (notably so), and also that a critical Outlook 2010 plug-in did not work in Outlook 2013 (which I was expecting would be the case), and Outlook 2013 had to come off, quickly.
Now, that said, there are a couple of rays of sunshine peeking from behind the Office 2013 “Cloudscape”. First, Lync 2013 is a fairly good release, at least it seems to be – although it does look slightly uglier, and runs slightly slower, than Lync 2010. However, it’s usable, and I have no SERIOUS problems with it – as I do with Outlook 2013. The difference is that I can see some potential benefits to the new version of Lync. More on that in a future post. Other applications that I’m spending more time on include Word 2013 and Excel 2013. These also look promising – so far – in particular the enhanced support for Cloud services, better sharing of documents, and a better awareness of the user’s identity and security permissions. All good things – but they are tinged with some sadness, in that performance definitely seems a bit sluggish compared to Office 2010, and there again is the “only 3 themes of color and ALL CAPS MENUS” thing. However, these are not nearly as poorly implemented in the other Office applications, as they were in Outlook 2013.
I will have more to add in the coming days. In the meantime, if I had to summarize this year – 2012 – in terms of IT technology developments, the summary would definitely be “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” – in a number of product releases and categories. To recap, here’s what we’ve seen:
– iPhone 5 release: Somewhat lackluster, issues with the Maps application, still don’t understand why they put the Audio jack on the bottom of the phone, etc. I decided to get a 4S instead.
– iPad Mini Release: Again, somewhat lackluster. Why no Retina display? Yes, it is a nice size compared to a full iPad – but compare the screen’s resolution, cost, etc. to a Google Nexus 7 – and wow, the Nexus 7 blows away the iPad Mini. The Nexus 7 is a smaller unit, less expensive, and has a much better display. It’s only downside is that it can’t run iPad app’s – but hardware-wise, it’s definitely superior – at least, in my opinion.
– Windows8 – I won’t beat that horse any more dead than it already is.
– Server 2012 – This still looks to be a winner, but I do definitely have mixed feelings about its User Interface as well. Granted, not as severe as Windows8, but it definitely is requiring an adjustment.
– Azure (Microsoft’s Back-End Server Cloud Services, VM’s, Hosted databases, etc.) – Lots of good things here. Very positive release.
Stay tuned for more in the near future…