You’ve seen my thoughts on Outlook 2013, Word 2013, and Excel 2013 previously – now, I wanted to take a step back and look at the entire suite itself. The “fat” Office application suite has been with us so long, it’s almost easy to forget that this was a very non-cohesive set of programs not so long ago. Microsoft has certainly made gains in that regard as it integrates and includes no less than 9 different tools in the full Office 2013 package. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture.
I’ll never really understand why Microsoft calls it’s hugely popular spreadsheet application Excel. Is it that the program helps you become Excellent with numbers? I’m not exactly sure, but as the de facto spreadsheet application on the desktop, Excel is in use in most businesses today. As a product, it really hasn’t changed to dramatically over the last ten years. With a new 2013 release for Windows on the horizon, I wanted to take a look at what’s coming for Excel users and administrators alike.
If you had to give business only one of the 9 or so applications in the Office Suite, there’s a goog chance most businesses would ask for Microsoft Word. So important is it to many businesses, that a typical user’s computer has Word running for the entire duration of a working day while opening and closing documents. With a recent release to manufacturing, we’ll shortly have a new version of the venerable word processing application. I wanted to take a look at what’s new, and what’s interesting in this iteration of the product.
Office on Windows is a Microsoft cash cow. When a new version is released, lots of people take notice. On October 11, 2012, Microsoft released the 2013 version of the Office group of applications on Windows. There are a number applications to look at in the package, but today, I wanted to focus on Outlook. The Outlook mail application has existed in a number of incarnations since the early 1990’s when it was included in copies of Microsoft Exchange. The application has had to contend with a number of major computing shifts while eMail has essentially stayed the same. Today, I take a look at what’s new and notable in Outlook 2013.
It was a just a matter of time before I was able to get my hands on an iPad Mini. In most cases, I will not review a device unless I’ve been able to use it for at least a little while. With the iPad mini, I had seen it maybe four or five times for brief moments in stores – but never as a daily device. I’ve had it now for more than a week now, and I can comfortably relay my thoughts on how it feels. After having the Nexus 7 for about six months earlier in 2012, it was going to be very interesting to see another 7+ inch form factor too. Is this going to be the de facto iPad of the future?
This is the big boy of smartphones right now. It’s hard to think of a more desirable or lusted after device on the market (beyond the next iPhone itself). If you were looking for reviews, the web has them everywhere. The daunting task for any reviewer is to look at a device that is under such a huge microscope and try to add something new. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel in this case; just share the experiences we’ve had while using the iPhone 5 on Fido for the last couple of weeks. We have to say, strong opinions or not, we can’t deny how amazing this phone is.
To our joy, we were recently invited to join a beta of AeroFS by Air Computing. AeroFS is a cloud file storage and syncing tool much like that of DropBox, but with some key differences. The biggest difference is it’s ability to sync files in a local peer-to-peer fashion, ruling out the need for cloud help or even an Internet connection. Secondly, file sharing is quite different from what you’d expect in an application like this. The limitations of Cloud-based storage tool have always been sizing the cloud storage, but what if the storage you provide is your own? Let’s take a closer look at AeroFS.
With Windows 8 and iPad Mini tablets taking a good part of the spotlight these days, it’s important to not that laptops do still exist. These days, businesses are often opting for a laptop instead of a desktop for the enhanced mobility options afforded. Today, I look at a lower-end PC laptop from Lenovo that should be ideally suited for business.
Opening the box, this Chromebook felt very light. So light that in some ways the screen and body felt almost too plastic. The screen itself is bright, but very thin and some may think this is too flimsy. The keyboard is nice, large and feels great when typing. I didn’t find myself accidentally hitting buttons and causing issues and the trackpad stayed out of the way (for the most part). The included USB port was useful for adding a wireless mouse to the mix and detected the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 I tested without issue.
Truly, this is a Google ecosystem device – so you’ll find better integration and power when you use a Google account (on Apps or merely just a free Gmail account). Other options for mail access are possible, however, the integration you should expect is little more than accessing web mail. In the future, I’d like to see every mail provider offer an HTML5 web mail interface – making the ChromeBook a great option for that future.
With a Chromebook Series 5 in hand, it’s time to test and review this new and intriguing option from Google’s engineers – here’s what I thought of it.
Moving up to more advanced printing capabilities can be a tough road for small businesses. When looking for something that can duplex (print on both sides of the same paper) or connect wirelessly, finding the printer that fits your exact needs may cause the price of the device to get much more expensive than once thought. Recently, I managed to take a look at Brother’s MFC-8910DW printer and can share my thoughts on this device.