The rants of a constantly ticking mind, combined with a mess of reviews and obscure titling methods.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'And I just hope that you can forgive us...' - Manic Street Preachers, Everything Must Go

I feel a bit like a media whore right this second, but the following deal is, unfortunately, very very good.

Microsoft are offering all students a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate Edition for £12.95 (1 year) or £38.95 (perpetual license - i.e.: forever) - usually the software costs £599.99.

In case you're interested, that's Word, Excel, Outlook (with Business Contact Manager), Powerpoint, Groove (collaboration software), Publisher, OneNote (notetaking software), Infopath (form building software) and Access. Supposedly (although not mentioned on the promotion site) it also includes Accounting Express. The only thing missing is Communicator - which you won't need if you've got an IM client already.

Interestingly, Visio is no longer part of Office - instead it's part of Visual Studio.

Anyway, the site is here: - I'm sorely tempted.

UPDATE: I feel that an update is required to answer all of Ben's questions/statements that he posted about in response to this on his blog.

1) I don't feel that Office Ultimate is worth the regular price that of £599.99 - £150-£200 maybe, but I feel it is not well-written enough to warrant such a high price tag. As I mentioned in the comments to this post Adobe software is feature complete enough to have a price tag this big, but not Office. Microsoft are being exceptionally greedy.

2) OpenOffice, whilst excellent for it's £0 price tag, is not as good as it's Microsoft Office conterparts. It's too buggy, too incomplete and too slow to be an 100% replacement. I've even stopped using it on my laptop because it just peeved me off too much (instead I use the excellent Bean for my word processing - I am yet to find a good free spreadsheet replacement, however).

3) Writer and Calc are, sadly, not as good as Word and Excel. Whilst everyone is irritated by the paradigm shift that has occurred with 2007, I feel that OpenOffice is far too complicated underneath to find things easily (mostly because I'm so used to where I would find it in most other office applications is somewhere completely different in OO). Also Calc has no ability to draw diagrams of overlapping data (which the developers aren't bothered in fixing any time soon). Impress is OK, but doesn't offer everything I want. Draw is totally uninspiring.

4) This deserves it's own point. Base is the most hideous and incomplete database system I have ever, EVER used. To mention it in the same breath as Access is a joke. Admittedly I haven't tried it recently, but the last time I did it (3-4 months ago) I vowed never, ever again. Access is perfectly good for most locally-based jobs - although admittedly I have been consistently irritated by the copy of Access 2000 that wasn't patched up-to-date and thus did some totally stupid things. Ben, if you can recommend a better visual database system for local use, please let me know. Likewise regarding programs better than Publisher.

5) Outlook, whilst uncaring about other mail clients, is a DAMN good calendar system - I've been using it at work over the last 4 months and it's absolutely brilliant in regards of tying everybody's calendars together. Also, it means I can actually use my phone for keeping track of my appointments (trying to juggle between iCal and my phone meant I ended up missing a test - to which I vowed never again).

6) The best version of Publisher was 97, and Microsoft have yet to get it back. The one thing that truly annoys me, however, is the horrible lack of backwards-compatibility to previous versions. However, if I need to quickly knock up a poster, I have used Publisher at Uni and found it perfectly good for the job. I've tried open-source systems in the past but they suffer from the 'GIMP effect' - too many coders, not enough designers. The thing is though, it ain't no Illustrator.

7) Groove: I can understand it being useful for group-work - not useful if you're a complete loner when it comes to projects. Also, probably useless in most situations a student will find themselves in.

and 8) OneNote would only be useful if you're crap at taking notes (else I'd just recommend typing them up straight into a word processor). However, seeing as I *AM* crap at taking notes, I'd be willing to give it a shot.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm a huge advocate of open-sourceness. I have the utmost praise for OO. However, there is a very good reason why I said it was a good deal, and that's because it is. OpenOffice is a good program in a sub-£50 market - and very good if you can't afford Office. However, with Office at that low a price there is no option - I would recommend Office Ultimate at this cost for any student out there who uses Windows XP or Vista on a reasonable spec machine. For Linux users, no point - the compatibility with Wine just isn't there. Mac users, not certain but I understand that iWork & iLife are much better packages pound-for-pound versus Office:mac.

That, however, is the biggest stumbling block for me - no Mac option. If there was a Mac option on this 'giveaway' I'd be even more interested seeing as my lappy is one - and as such it'd be useful for doing uni work at uni. In the meantime, it looks like I'll just have to reinstall OpenOffice (or NeoOffice).

Sorry, Ben, but unfortunately I think you're wrong - and for someone that doesn't even use OpenOffice (or remotely equivalent software, let alone a GUI most of the time) I think you're not the greatest person to criticise.

Labels: ,

Monday, September 17, 2007

For you... an uncomfortable silence.

I've wanted to blog about this advert for months, but I've kept forgetting:

(Planet users: Click here to view)

I just can't describe it - all you need to know is it's an advert for the game Viva Piñata - and is one of the most unrelated adverts for a game I've ever come across.... really.

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

'Shut up and go to sleep!' - Ryan Adams, Nuclear

...two posts in one day? I must be going mad!

However, something caught my interest whilst wandering around the net which I must mention (seeing that no-one else in the world seems to care).

E11b, a 'numbers station' in Poland sent out a huge transmission on the 5th of September - commonly it sends out sets of 33 numbers (mostly just 'null' numerical numbers, ie: 12345 67890). On that day, it sent out 204!

I wonder what's going on that demands this much traffic?


'Disappear into mercury, there's a dark premonition that an accident will happen' - The Auteurs

Colin McRae has been killed in a helicopter accident along with his son and two other people.

One of his friends was quoted as saying: "It's so ironic that he should die in a helicopter crash when he had competed and had brushed with death so many times as a rally driver."

Rest in peace.


Friday, September 14, 2007

'Isn't it ironic... don'tyathink?'

I find a weird sense of irony to the cover art of Hard-Fi's latest single. In a bid to be 'oh, look at us, we're so anti-establishment' they've emblazoned the slogan 'Expensive Black and White Photo of Band. Not Available' on the cover art.

However, if you visit the Hard-Fi section of iTunes, you find a great big expensive 'almost' black and white photo of the band along with several others.

Maybe it isn't ironic at all, but merely depressing that somebody was paid thousands of pounds for that tosh of a cover.


All contents (C)2004-07 Rich Jeffery & Chrissey Harrison. Please ask permission before copying.