Office 2004 some initial thoughts -
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Old May 20th, 2004, 10:03 AM   #1
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I noticed the other day that Microsoft has made available Office 2004 as a free 30-day test-drive, so I downloaded it to see what the fuss was all about. Just a few points to get started...

- Compared to Office v.X, this thing is noticeably slower running everyday tasks and sluggish in launching...and that's on a 1ghz iMac with half a gig of RAM. I see that David Pogue in the NYT has made a similar observation page 2

- In Word, they have added a scrapbook where you can add all kinds of odds and ends. They've even made it slide out onto the screen just like the formatting tool. And it's twice as slow as the formatting tool. I'll stick with keeping a special folder for these kinds of things in the Finder.

- Entourage now has a three-paned preview. I tried it and dumped it within an hour.

- Still no integration of their address book with its Apple counterpart.

- You can (finally) save using long filenames. About time, but this should have been addressed in the service release for v.X

- The audio notes feature in Word is slow and I'm unconvinced it's as helpful as the designers thing it should be. Looks like I'll have to stick with my mini MP3 voice recorder for my notes.

- As you may have guessed, I'm rather underwhelmed given the steep pricetag on this product. I would much rather have seen a faster, zippier suite rather than bloatware.
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Old May 20th, 2004, 11:13 PM   #2
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I was helping a switcher friend setup his new eMac today. Along with the eMac he also purchased Office 2004 Student and Teacher edition. My first impressions were not very positive, not much if any noticeable improvements over Office v.X yet much much slower on his eMac 1.25 than Office v.x is on my 1Ghz MDD.

I thought maybe the poor performance we were experiencing was because he had only 256 mb we decided to install it on my MDD and see how it performs with 2GB ram. Unfortunately there is nothing positive to report here either, the loading times for word were simply unacceptable, the beach ball spinning constantly then slowly loading the windows, the font menu, everything seemed like it was in some kind of parallel universe where a minute has 120 seconds. I probably set a new record for the fastest deletion of a MS Office suite.

He is going to return his Office 2004 to the store tomorrow, as he is one unsatisfied customer.....good thing the store is selling Office v.X for less than half price!
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Old May 21st, 2004, 08:30 AM   #3
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Rob Art at found it to be significantly slower:

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Old May 21st, 2004, 12:22 PM   #4
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I've tested as well and haven't noticed any significance differences. For some reason checking e-mails takes longer, Word and Excel open slightly faster... the main thing is no major revisions. Save your money and stick with the previous version.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 09:19 PM   #5
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Personally I downloaded the Test Drive, and was suffeciently underwhelmed. Not only does it include uglier icons, it IS slower.

For some reason it feels like you're using an inelegant water buffalo to thread a needle. Especially Entourage.

Very underwhelmed, kind of similar to the MSN Messenger 4.0 update. However, it's nice to have an update and see Microsoft is at least attempting to do something.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 10:17 PM   #6
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I am an Entourage user.

After 1 day with Test Drive and 1 Day with the full version.

And I like the changes in Entourage, the triple pane is a nice addition, I seemed to slip right into using it.

Have not really felt a slowdown in overall use. Initial load time is longer.

DataBase Utility, adds some new functions to keeping your email database fit, trim and optimized. (Start up Entourage holding down the 'Option' key)

Overall rating for the Entourage update 8 out of 10.

The rest, I don't use Word or Excel to appreciate the updates, and PowerPoint suck compared to Keynote. I love Keynote.
Powerpoint added some kind of cheesy sounds and is slow slow slow. (G3 500/1GB Pismo )

That said and done. Why bother updating. The David Pogue review is right on the money, and worth a read.

Save your money on this update. These features could have been rolled into a free download update or a $49.99 CD upgrade.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 10:20 PM   #7
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Just thought of something else.

The Word Compatibility check.

People that use Macs and are switching to Mac are always concerned about compatibility with the PC's. But Microsoft has problems with files being compatible with the same program. This is nice feature, but there is something fundamentally wrong with HAVING to use this feature.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 07:36 PM   #8
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it is slow, but i find the notebook feature in word to be cool. I love the fact that i can have a whole semester of lectures in one tabbed file. [img]smile.gif[/img]

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Old May 25th, 2004, 12:01 PM   #9
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I just finished installing the full-verison of Office 2004 on my Mac, and I honestly can't say it's much slower, if slower at all. Seems to run exactly like the old version. I'm running it on a iMac G3 400 MHz w/768 MB RAM with OS X 10.3.3.
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Old May 25th, 2004, 12:08 PM   #10
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I agree, it seems fine to me. Not any slower on my powerbook 12"

I made the switch back to Entourage from Mail.

I really like the preview features in Entourage 2004
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