Microsoft’s Free Office

wordwebappHow many times have people asked me, do you have a copy of office I can use?  Well outside of the fact that asking someone for a program that costs hundreds of dollars does take some sort of balls, or as us Jews say “Chutzpah” there is a free alternative that will work for most people.  If you were expecting me to say Google Docs or Open Office, you would be wrong.  The answer to your problems is Microsoft Office Web Apps.
Microsoft offers a limited version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the web that will handle most of your needs just fine.  The best way to use this is by going to skydrive.com and setting up a Microsoft account.  Right from there you can create and store any Office document you want.  The site also offers storage, sharing, and collaboration tools for free.  These files you create and save are fully compatible with the versions of Office you use on the desktop every day.

If you find yourself needing the full version of Office, Microsoft is using subscription pricing.  For $99 dollars a year you get the latest version of Office installed on up to five computers.  You can go to office.com to see more about this.

Windows 8 Launch Event Pictures

Better late than never, these pictures are from October 2012 when Microsoft launched Windows 8 in New York City.
[office src=”https://skydrive.live.com/embed?cid=09D7700EC058B09B&resid=9D7700EC058B09B%216273&authkey=AAHujrE0b16mwi0″ width=”165″ height=”128″]

Where to Host Your E-Mail: Google, Microsoft, or Neither?

* I wrote this post for the blog on my business’s site at www.thdnconline.com *
If you read the news, even if you are not a follower of tech, we are sure you have seen and heard a lot about “The Cloud”.  Journalists make this out to be some magic place where your company stores all your important data without the hassle of maintaining your own servers and other IT equipment.  Google is going hard after this business as they challenge Microsoft for your IT dollars.

Google has the Google Apps product which can handle all your e-mail, document storage and creation, instant messaging, and more.  All of this happens right in your web browser.  Think Gmail for work, and you have this product.  Microsoft now has Office365 which is Exchange running on their servers instead of yours.  It uses Outlook just like your employees are used to, but instead of the mail in your server room it is in a Microsoft server farm somewhere.  They also offer the instant messaging option with Lync, and document sharing with SharePoint.

Are either of these options good for your business?  Well if you have less than ten employees, then both of these options can work for you.  However, if you have a business with more than ten people we would argue against these services.  Why?  Well the first reason is security.  You have to be comfortable with all of your files and e-mail hosted outside of your office.  Depending on your type of work this might not be a deal breaker.  The bigger reason is uptime.  While it is true that both Google and Microsoft have very good uptime rates, they both still have their outages.  Of course even the servers in your office will also have outages.  If you host your own e-mail just add on a third party service, such as Symantec E-Mail Continuity, that spools all of your e-mail.  If your servers are down you can go to the website of the company holding your e-mail and see the messages that have been sent until your servers are back online.  If Google Apps are down for two hours, they will not lose your new e-mail.  You just won’t be able to access it while they are down.  Again, if your company does not rely on e-mail heavily this might not bother you.  What about no access to your companies documents on Google Drive?  That should make you think.

If you have any questions on what is right for your business, e-mail us at [email protected] or send us a question on twitter @theDNCservices.

Microsoft’s Skype Screwing Their Own

According to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNET:

Microsoft’s Skype division has rolled out a beta of its new video-messaging capability for Skype on February 15. It works on iOS, Mac and Android versions of Skype.

What about Windows, Windows 8 and Windows Phone? Video-messaging support has not been added on these platforms, and Skype officials are not providing a date as to when it will be, though it supposedly is (at least on Windows and Windows 8, based on what Skype told The Verge).

So two years ago Microsoft spends billions on Skype, and yet the Skype team is still adding features for non Windows platforms first.  I am a very happy Windows Phone 8 user, but find it inexcusable that the Skype app is still in beta. Now add this on top and you begin to wonder what is going on over in Redmond? Microsoft is known for having different teams of employees working on different projects without talking to each other, but that approach is just going to screw over their customer base.  We keep hearing that they are starting to unify everything, well my advice don’t talk about it and just do it.

My Appearance on the Surface Geeks Podcast

On Wednesday February 13, 2013 I was a guest on the Surface Geeks podcast.  This is a weekly show that is devoted to all things related to Microsoft Surface, Windows 8, and other tech.  I will be back on the show next Wednesday February 20, 2013 as well.  I will post the time and a link to where you can watch it live as we get closer.
You can download the audio of the show here

Subscribe to the Audio Podcast in iTunes

Add the Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator

Here is the video of us recording the show: