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.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's only actually a good deal if it's really *worth* £600. If it's only worth a tenner but costs £600, then it's not actually a good deal - you're just getting ripped off less.

Economically speaking, if all you'll use are the things that also come with OpenOffice, and the MS Office versions are no better than the OpenOffice versions, then the monetary value of MS Office (to you, at least) is £0.

1:08 pm

Blogger The MooseBlaster said...

I personally feel that Office Ultimate is worth more than £30. Heck, I'd probably say that Office Ultimate is worth the ridiculous price students have to usually pay for the standard edition (around £100-150)

The main reason I run OpenOffice on my computer is not that I prefer it - it's slow, clunky and not feature-complete - but because I couldn't justify spending a shed of money on Office. When I was beta testing it, I found I was specifically loading Office instead of OpenOffice - which answers my question regarding allegiances.

I still query though the huge number of bugs in something so expensive. Adobe products, whilst costly, are some of the best products available, well designed and powerful - Microsoft products are only costly because that way they make more money.

1:26 pm


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