I’ve now used Outlook instead of Thunderbird for a month and have gotten used to it. I like the Office integration with Outlook, and how easy it is to use One Note with Outlook. The calendar function is actually more appealing than Lightening, although I still wish I didn’t have to pay to be able have bidirectional support for Google Calendar. And no, I still have not broken down and paid for that function. I do have to say that I might actually find a way to get the Outlook calendar to synch with my phone (HTC Incredible 2). Adding an event from an e-mail in Outlook is much better in Outlook. You have more options and can easily edit the content before it goes to your calendar. You can also make a note using One Note if you feel the need.
Not being a huge note taking person, I can’t compare One Note to anything. I have started a project that One Note has been helpful with. It’s also good for adding an e-mail to a note. Screen clips have also been great, as have adding images with notes about the images. Being able to access them via my phone via the One Note app for Android has been nice, although they don’t render the same as on the computer. One Note is something I can see myself using more often, especially once I start using Outlook calendar functions more often.
Word is probably the part of the new Office suite that blows me away the most. I love it! It’s clean, unobtrusive and keeps your focus on your work and not the program. It handles adding notes for collaboration easily, even if it does take a little figuring out to get them to come up the way you want. I like my notes in a side panel, not a balloon or a separate window. highlight text and all the common functions you might want pop up in the ready.
As for Excel and Access, I don’t use them on a daily basis the way I do Word, Outlook and now One Note. I only call Access and Excel up once a month for sales figures, royalty reports and invoices. They have the same unobtrusive look and feel that excites me about the entire Office suite, and they’re easy to use.
It’s time for a new phone, which means I’ve been looking at phones for about a month (I know, I never really stop looking). I’ve been looking for the closest thing to a Nexus experience on Verizon, which got me looking at the Motorola Razr HD.
Ever since my awful experience with the Motorola Pebl years ago, I haven’t wanted to look at a Motorola phone. The Pebl was the worse phone I have ever owned and still gives me shivers when I think about it. The pebl would turn off in the middle of a phone call and ring at 14:00 every day despite no alarm being set. I exchanged it four times and it was never right. I was never so happy to get rid of a phone in my life and vowed never to won another Motorola phone again, then Google bought Motorola and I thought it might be time to look at at them again.
The Razr HD has everything I’m looking for in a phone: 4.7” HD screen, dual core processor, expandable memory and a non-plastic feel. I went to the Verizon store and put one in my hand and liked the feel and pep. Sure enough, this was the phone for me. Then I did a Google search and found out that it also has a random re-boot problem. Thoughts of the Pebl rushed back and I nearly puked. I read the XDA forums along with a few others and found that nobody really knows what’s causing the problem. Some think it’s hardware, others think it’s software and some have found that it’s from an app, while others think it could be from running too many apps. Well, that was enough to make me run from the Razr HD. Google motorola razr reboot issue and see what you get.
The phone I got after the dreadful Pebl was the LG Chocolate, which was a great phone. It was one of the original sliders and the first to offer soft keys. So I started looking at LG phones, not that you have many options to choose from when going with Verizon and you do not want the Samsung GS III. The closest to the specs I want is the Spectrum 2, which has a 1.5 dual core processor, expandable memory and a 4.7” HD screen. And like the Razr, it’s said to have a decent battery life.
I went to the Verizon store and held it, played with it and liked what I saw. It felt good in the hand and had pep. The reviews say the camera is lacking, but I’m not a huge camera person and the photos I’ve seen it take look good enough for me. And heck, there’s always Photoshop. The reviews also said the speakers aren’t up to pare, but I’ll stream via Bluetooth in my car and use the speakers at home, so this is a non-issue. Also, the UI skin is supposed to be ugly. Heck, I’ll use a launcher if I don’t the skin. As it is, you know I’ll make my own widgets.
My only concern with the LG is updates to the OS, but I can always flash a custom ROM if that becomes a problem. The Spectrum 2 did get the Jellybean update, so perhaps that won’t be an issue.
So far I’m going with the Spectrum 2, but we’ll see what I end up getting once June 14th rolls around.
I started to use Excel to do a spreadsheet for monthly sales. Before I picked up Office 365, I used Open Office Calc, which worked very well. Excel isn’t too different from Calc, but I’m only using very basic functions. I do have to say the only thing that was a bit annoying about Excel was not being able to insert spreadsheet files into the one I’m working on. In Calc, this is just a right click away. in Excel, you have to do a copy and paste. I know, it’s not a big deal, but I did find it annoying. I did find a an add-on that will merge Excel files, but you have to pay for it. Yeah, I can live with copy and paste.
As for having a bi-directional Google calendar in Outlook, it seems as if my only choice is to not have one or to pay for the privilege. Well, I’m not going to pay to do this when Thunderbird with Lightening will do it for me for free. That is if I decide to switch back after a month of using outlook.
So far I haven’t used anything in Office that will link one program to another. I know I can import information from my Access database into Excel, but I haven’t tried to do that yet. Also, the ability to do something like that is one of the things that made e want to use Excel. It might be nice to be able to have a spreadsheet that takes sales data from Access give me a monthly sales spreadsheet.
I also haven’t used One Note yet. Keep in mind that I’m not a big note taker. Perhaps that will change in time. Who knows?
After using Word and Access 2003 since they came out, I decided it was high time I upgraded to Office 365. Doing so was a lot cheaper than buying the discs ($100.00/year) and will ensure that I always have the latest version. Also, I get all of Office (Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, One Note, Powerpoint and Publisher).
I love the sparseness of the programs once you hide the ribbon and how easy Word is to use. In fact, Word was the first program I used and was in instant love. Highlight text and a menu comes up with the items you’re most likely to need. The note function is a right click away and if I need anything else I can easily call up the appropriate ribbon. I loved it.
The second program I called up was Access, which I’ll be needing soon to update my sales information in the database. Access was also easy to use, but I haven’t had to design a report or query in a very long time.
I was using open Office Calc, but will switch to Excel, which looks easy to use. in fact, there doesn’t seem to be much difference. And again, it has that cool ribbon that i can hide and call up when I need it. It’s a spreadsheet program and works very much like Open Office Calc. I use a spreadsheet to gather sales information to enter into the database, so I should have more on this later.
Then there’s Outlook. I hadn’t intended to use Outlook since I already use Thunderbird and love it. Then I thought, why not give Outlook a shot. So I decided to do just that. I set up my IMAP e-mail account, which was easy. As you know I’m a big Android fan, so I wanted to synch my Google calendar with Outlook the way I do Lightning in Thunderbird. It was easy to set up to display my Google Calendar (more on this later), but I forgot about bi-directional access.
Setting up my Google contacts to sync with Outlook was a bit more tricky. I had to Google a workaround to do this one simple task. I found a free program called Go Contact Sync Mod that does an excellent job synching my Google contacts with Outlook. It was easy to use and worked as promised.
So I thought all was well. I started using Outlook as my primary e-mail client. Now my only problem was filtering out junk mail. As we know Thunderbird learns what is junk mail as long as you tell it which messages need to be designated as junk by clicking on the flame next to the e-mail subject line. In Outlook, that option was a right click away (Junk>Block Sender). And yes, it works fine.
At this point it was day three of using Outlook and I felt as if I just might stick with it. Then I had to add something to my calendar and found out that the Outlook Calendar only synched one way (Google to Outlook). I could not add an event to any of my Google Calendars via Outlook! There had to be a workaround, so I turned to Google to find one. So far I have not found a free workaround. i did fine three workarounds that I would have to pay for, but the add-on for Thunderbird to give Lightening the bi-directional ability is free, so I really do not feel as if i should have to pay to get Outlook to do the same.
Well, I said I would try Outlook for a month, so here we go.
I feel as if Play Books is finally getting it right…to some extent. you can now upload your ePub files to play Books for reading on all your devices, or read your eBooks directly from your eReadering device (phone or tablet) via Play Books.
To upload an eBook to play, you have to log into play from a web browser and do it physically. While this really isn’t an inconvenience, it would be nice if Google had the upload program they use for Play Music to also handle a specific folder for eBooks. One of the things I love about Play Music is that I never have to think about uploading music purchased outside of the Play store because it automatically gets uploaded to my Play account. how difficult could it be to have have the same program work for eBooks?