Office 2007 is driving me nuts!

I have to admit that I love Office 2007 – it has so many great new features that make it possible to make really great looking documents with minimal effort and no need to have any real design skills. However, it does drive me round the bend when I’m trying to work out how to do some very simple stuff; it is just so different from Office 2003. All these weird ribbon menus… where IS everything!? It even took me ages to work out that this:

Office Menu logo

is a menu button! I thought it was just a nice logo and was quite surprised when I clicked on it and it opened a whole new world of menus!

If, like me, you’re finding Office 2007 a tad confusing, help is at hand! Microsoft have provided a series of interactive guides here:

The guides provide an excellent way of quickly locating task buttons and menus in Office 2007, and will save many a headache for all experienced Office 2003 users who are grappling with the new Office technology! Try starting the Word interactive guide now and you’ll see what I mean. Once the Office 2003 environment starts up, click on File… Open… and then watch…

Word Interactive Guide

IE8 Beta 2 released

This is an end user beta (unlike beta 1) so have a look. The current ETA for IE8 is before the end of the year and some people have said November so not long now. Please note we are only starting to test this internally within ISS so we’re not sure what works/doesn’t yet so please try it on a test PC 🙂


New features include…

Web Slices

Web Slices This new feature takes feeds to a whole new level! Now you can subscribe to specific sections within a site and have updated content delivered directly to your Internet Explorer 8 menu bar. Whether it’s a gossip column, favorite blog, auction item, or a weather report, with Web Slices you’ll never skip a beat.


No longer do you have to open multiple browser tabs or windows to get the information you need. Accelerators are tools in Internet Explorer 8 that easily allow access to multiple points of information (maps, definitions, web searches, translations, etc.) within a single Internet Explorer 8 window. Finally, web browsing feels automatic.

Domain Highlighting

When you visit a site, its domain is highlighted in the Address Bar. This helps alert you to Web sites that are imposters of trusted sites, thus reducing the chance of compromising your personal information.

InPrivate browsing

With industry-leading security features like InPrivate, you can browse and shop confidently using Internet Explorer 8, wherever you go on the Web, knowing you have control over the protection of your personal information.

Tab Grouping

Tab Grouping makes it easier to stay organized while browsing multiple Web pages. Tabs are now visually related to one another, and you can save time by closing a set of related tabs as a group instead of one at a time. You also can right-click on a tab to close tab groups, ungroup a single tab, or clone a tab.

Please let us know your experiences.…-explorer/beta/

Pilot service: large-scale, long-term filestore

ISS will shortly start testing the feasibility of giving significantly larger filestore quotas to staff and PhD students. In the pilot scheme, qualifying users will be able to request a “Store Folder” of 20GB, in addition to their standard 2GB Drive H.

The Store Folder is intended as an “archive” for inactive files which need to be kept for a long period of time. It will have the qualities that are associated with the Drive H filestore in terms of security and accessibility from multiple locations, but backup and restore services will be less.

For more information and details on how you can join the pilot please click here.…tem/pilot-store

SQL Server 2008 arrives

At the moment WIT run a collection of SQL 2000 and 2005 servers that host around a hundred databases of varying size and importance to the institution. The lion’s share of those databases are currently on the older SQL Server 2000, so several months ago, with the end of mainstream support for that product approaching, we started making plans for migration.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the development of the latest version, SQL Server 2008, since it was announced, and trialing pre-release versions. SQL Server 2008 offers a number of advantages over previous versions and the migration path from SQL 2000 to 2005 or 2008 is much the same, so we’ve opted to take those databases that are currently on SQL 2000 straight to 2008, rather than moving them twice.

SQL Server 2008

Last week, we were fortunate to have Microsoft’s Andrew Fryer spending a day with us, discussing our migration plans. Since none of our databases do anything especially odd (not that some of them aren’t complex), SQL Server 2008’s comprehensive Upgrade Advisor was able to tell us that we didn’t need to make any changes to the databases before moving them to the new version.

There are some things that Upgrade Advisor suggests for after the migration, such as re-writing DTS packages using the SSIS technology that replaced DTS in SQL Server 2005, but existing DTS packages will work in SQL Server 2008, so our advice is that the time to migrate from DTS to SSIS is when you need to alter a package.

This week SQL Server 2008 has been released to manufacture, so we’ll be moving forward with building production and test systems with the finished code. We’ve planned a setup which provides higher availability and better disaster recovery than we’ve previously implemented, and we’re looking forward to taking advantage of some of the new features (I’m especially looking forward to working with the SQL Server PowerShell functionality!).