Archive for July, 2008

Office 2007 sales

Thursday, 31st July, 2008

Found some possibly interesting stuff here on how Office 2007 has been selling.

I’m in red in this post.

“the deployment of Office 2007 is slightly ahead of Office 2003, in the same time frame, which is a remarkable success, given that each customer this time has to think a bit harder about deployment because of the user experience improvements that we’ve introduced”

“amongst our larger customers as well, that 90 percent of businesses will have deployed Office 2007 by the summer of 2009” 90% of larger customers?? I find that staggering, don’t you? even if they really mean in compatibility testing I would love to know how they got that number.

“We made some very bold moves to improve the user experience with Office 2007. And as you can see in this graph, we’re getting some really good pickup on that. There have been 120 million Office licenses sold since the launch of Office 2007”

Important note for commentators – 120 Million Office licenses does not equal 120 Million Office 2007 licenses. The included graphs (in the ppt) clearly show plenty of Office 2003 sales in there. Looks like about half and half to me overall so 60M Office 2007 licenses then?

“For example, we have to hold true to what the Office brand stands for. For example, Office stands for a familiar experience” ?

“Due to the varying sound quality and subject matter of tapes, the information in this transcript may contain inaccuracies.” I suspect this explains that last comment? eternal glory for the best suggestion as to what he might have said – swearing is fine but only gets extra marks if funny or original.



[Normal colour resumes next post!]

Book brands

Thursday, 31st July, 2008

Do you buy computer books? why?

Do you care about the brand/publisher?

I’ve just ordered 5 books, each from a different publisher, but I do have some preconceived ideas.

  • Wrox (red books) for example are usually mainly a help file reprint I find
  • Apress are good, and seem to publish plenty of peripheral stuff.
  • Dummies usually have some instantly useful snippets, but don’t always provide a decent foundation to fill in the gaps.
  • O’Reilly are a bit too formula based layout-wise, but often have good content.

Most of the others seem to be pretty mixed and I wouldn’t know what to expect in the book just by knowing the publisher.

What do you think of the stylised books like Dummies and O’Reilly? Personally I wouldn’t say that a familiar layout particularly helps my comprehension or recall. Does it work for you?

[btw I used as they are faster (and currently (just) cheaper) than Amazon]



Target non Excel users

Wednesday, 30th July, 2008

I got an email recently about some control that would allow me to target clients that do not have Excel installed.

That got me thinking…

WHY would I target non Excel clients?

Quite frankly I wouldn’t!

For work that I do targeting Windows, generally MS Office is a pre-requisite. Sure I’ve done a few standalone apps in C/C++, VB and .net, but my core work is Office extensibility. Rather unsurprisingly there is an assumption the client will have something to extend.

One possible reason I would not target Excel is if I were not targeting Windows. In that case an Active-x control isn’t going to get me very far is it? I am keen to do more Linux/Open Source dev work, but that will likely be web/server stuff.

Its my feeling that those devs that target Excel don’t often write apps with no spreadsheet component. And there is a whole other world of devs who wouldn’t touch office automation with a barge pole. This component might be useful to them, but to the rest of us, I’m not so sure. What do you think?

Also do you think Excel development is completely polarised? Either you do it most of the time (probably with other apps too), Or you never touch it. I don’t hear of that many folks who do 20/30/40% Excel and 50/60% .net or Java or something, do you?

Seems either 0-10% Excel Dev or 80-100% Excel Dev. Do you see that? why is that? is it good or bad?

(I wonder if its the Excel OM complexity(/power)? and I think its probably bad there is a gaping hole in the middle – the 0-10 is probably IS/IT, and the 80-100 are probably business devs, the gap may represent missed opportunity to use or to avoid Excel as appropriate). What do you think?

When I say Excel dev I am thinking Excel with other tech as required so it includes VBA, ADO, COM, .net etc. I reckon I’m in the 80-100 camp (prob about 90%), where are you?

Funniest accountant clip?

Friday, 25th July, 2008

Anyone got a funnier clip involving accountants than this?

Where’s the rest of your hat? – class!

I really hope that gets released on dvd in our region, its one of my all time favourite films (Evil Roy Slade in case you never saw it), and that is my fave line.

Have a good weekend



Online spreadsheets

Thursday, 24th July, 2008

Here is a good list that some nice person collated for us.

I was actually googling for info on Excel 14 to see if anything had leaked out.

Sadly there is also a kids trampoline called Excel 14, so its a bit of a needle in a haystack (even with -trampoline)

Got any juicy links to share?



Faith restored

Tuesday, 22nd July, 2008

I was beginning to think Mrs S was right and I am a cantankerous old git, what with moaning about the ribbon, the crapness of the 2008 Impreza, and truth be told, the total ugality (a bit like ugliness) of the Ducati 999.

But faith restored, its not me, those things genuinely are crap. I now know that as I have found lots to be chipper about:

The 999 replacement the 1098 is simply stunning in every aspect. (tried to broach the subject of the new 848 – got totally blanked!)

The recent scooby STI. still looks like something my 4 year old might draw (and/or something my grandad might drive), but apparently they go well.

The real killer though is my fave mountain bike of all time. The Orange Vitamin T2. They stopped production years ago.

Orange vitamin T

Orange vitamin T

This piece of pure class has been lost in a haze of marketing bullshit and fashion. But now its back and they have updated everything I would expect, and changed nothing that didn’t need changing.

My list of things to fix

  • Better cable routing – Done
  • Disc lugs – Done

My list of things to leave

  • Lively geometry – left
  • Hand made by craftsmen in Halifax – left
  • natural colour – left

Of course you can’t buy one cos they were instantly snapped up by those in the know.

If we ever get a summer I might even go out on mine (an original one)!



Poetic justice

Monday, 21st July, 2008

Eusprig, the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group has done a great job of raising the profile of the risk inherent in spreadsheet use.

Many of us have pushed the view that whilst the spreadsheet is implicated the real villain is the end user, or more realistically the organisation. And the problem is really the mismanagement of End User Computing (EUC), or some organisational issue.

Eusprig have kept their focus on spreadsheets without discounting those other applications/issues. The view seems to be another risk interest group should be invented to cover those non spreadsheet apps. That seems fair enough to me.

One of the great saviours of EUC, at least the versioning and management side was meant to be Sharepoint. I like Sharepoint I often recommend it to clients. The way it overshadows Excel/Access at some of the Microsoft events I have been to annoys me big time. But the actual product has some useful features (possibly at the cost of a certain amount of lock-in).

Anyway it is amusing on several levels to read here that Sharepoint is the new villain of End User computing. (I didn’t link to the Forrester report as its 775 USD, if anyone wants to buy it and send me a copy I’d be happy to review it here directly.)

Amusing because its a kick for SP, and also because it confirms that whatever tools you give users they will abuse to the max. And rightly so, we all do it right?

What uncontrolled user apps have you mashed up in Sharepoint this week?



The beginning of the end?

Sunday, 20th July, 2008

Or just the end of the beginning? (or less than that?)

Daily Telegraph migrates 1,400 users from MS Office to Google docs.

I can understand journos moving, they only scratch the surface of functionality available in MS Office. They must do, considering all the pathetic reviews of Office 2007, none of which took Excel, Access or any non-Word app for a decent run out.

I struggle to believe they got the finance department to give up Excel so I would be interested to know what proportion the 1,400 represents. Even more interesting would be any plans they might have for a desktop operating system for those 1400? I wonder if they are using gears? And what other apps/options (collaboration and office suite) they considered.

Some of the justifications seems to stem from classic sys admin obstructiveness, ‘We love the unlimited inbox size’ hello? your sys admins chose to make your life hell by limiting your space to 1990 proportions because they want you to go home so they can surf for pr0n. Perhaps Microsoft could fight back by training MCSE’s on the concept of ‘the customer’?

Anyone else seeing these migrations? Or got any more info?



New word – sheeple

Friday, 18th July, 2008

combine sheep and people to get this wonderful name for those that follow their herding instinct.

Sadly there appears to be more and more sheeple as we gradually descend into mob rule.

The context I saw it in was people who buy Apple pcs.

However being on the tube in rush hour last week was a bit of a sheeple experience, although to be fair some of my mates are livestock hauliers and they wouldn’t treat their cargo so badly.

Got any good new words and/or insults?



Code commenting

Thursday, 17th July, 2008

Bob Phillips sent me this magnificent example of quality code commenting (from MS somewhere, apparently)

Sub SelectEveryNthRow()
    ' Initialize ColsSelection equal to the number of columns in the
    ' selection.
    ColsSelection = Selection.Columns.Count

    ' Initialize RowsSelection equal to the number of rows in your
    ' selection.
    RowsSelection = Selection.Rows.Count

    ' Initialize RowsBetween equal to three.
    RowsBetween = 3

    ' Initialize Diff equal to one row less than the first row number of
    ' the selection.
    Diff = Selection.Row - 1

    ' Resize the selection to be 1 column wide and the same number of
    ' rows long as the initial selection.
    Selection.Resize(RowsSelection, 1).Select

    ' Resize the selection to be every third row and the same number of
    ' columns wide as the original selection.
    Set FinalRange = Selection. _
    Offset(RowsBetween - 1, 0).Resize(1, ColsSelection)

    ' Loop through each cell in the selection.
    For Each xCell In Selection
        ' If the row number is a multiple of 3, then . . .
        If xCell.Row Mod RowsBetween = Diff Then
            ' ...reset FinalRange to include the union of the current
            ' FinalRange and the same number of columns.
            Set FinalRange = Application.Union _
            (FinalRange, xCell.Resize(1, ColsSelection))
        ' End check.
        End If
    ' Iterate loop.
    Next xCell
    ' Select the requested cells in the range.
End Sub


Thanks Bob !

As Bob says, if ever there was an argument against commenting, this is it (Bob inserted the blank lines to make it readable)

It might be a bit arrogant, but I think you need to write your code on the understanding whoever comes later will have a reasonable level of competence. If they can’t work out what


means then I’m not sure they should be poking around VBA. (or anything important really).

What do you think?