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My 2 Failed Microsoft for Mac Experiments
November 29, 2011 - 9:00pm

2011 was the year that I tried some Apple and Microsoft mashups. They failed.

Am I a non-Microsoft purist? Nothing could be further from my reality. Office for Mac 2011, (specifically Powerpoint, Excel and Word) are essential in my work. I'm excited for Office Web Apps, as I think the combination of a full client app and web collaboration features will be great. I also think that Microsoft has made some very smart moves with the Skype purchase and the push into the collaboration space, and I see great potential for innovation in education. It is for these reasons that I find my two Microsoft / Apple failures so depressing.

Outlook for Mac 2011:   

My campus is on Microsoft Exchange. Most of my colleagues, particularly those in the Business School, use Outlook for e-mail and calendaring. I actually like Outlook, as the combined e-mail and calendar system works really well. Lync for Mac, the Outlook integrated presence and video conferencing tool, looks very promising. With Outlook for Mac 2011 it was finally possible to get off Entourage, and have a true Microsoft e-mail and calendaring tool with parity to the Windows variant.   

But it all went horribly wrong. Maybe it is my computer (a 2 year old MacBook Pro with 4 gigs of RAM running 10.6.8), or maybe just me, but running Outlook for Mac 2011 was not insanely great. The application was prone to crashes, slow-downs, and freezes. It would seemingly randomly consume large chunks of the %CPU and system memory. (The Activity Monitor is a great OS X tool). Sometimes Outlook for Mac 2011 worked just fine, other times it would turn sluggish and not be able to keep up with my typing.   

I did all the fixes, all the way down to a clean install. Nothing really helped. Or it would work fine for a while, and then start to slow down. In an informal poll of other Outlook for Mac 2011 users on campus they experienced similar difficulties. Today, I'm back on Apple Mail and iCal. These programs work well enough, but don't feel as developed or sophisticated as Outlook. I have no doubt that the Mac Outlook products will improve, and I'm sure at some point I'll be trying Outlook for Mac 2014.  

Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000:

I had this vision of a desk free of cables and wires. Today a Bluetooth keyboard (and mouse), tomorrow a cord free monitor.  Eventually I'd be on wireless power. I never even really got started.  My keyboard problem maybe wasn't a Microsoft problem.  Perhaps Bluetooth keyboards in general are not so hot (you tell me). My Microsoft keyboard had good tactile feel and a nice shape, but it was slow to wake up and slow to connect with my computer. It was set to automatically go to sleep to preserve battery life, but this cause an intolerable delay in waking up for typing.   

Microsoft actually makes great keyboards. I'm typing now on a wired Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 for Business. I've tried the Apple keyboards, and I keep coming back to the Microsoft versions. Has anyone had a better experience with wireless keyboards? Any suggestions?

How have your Apple / Microsoft mashups gone?

 

 

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