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Monday, October 02, 2006

Good times, for a techie

These are the days a techie loves - lots of new software coming out from everyone's favorite (?) company, Microsoft. In no particular order:

Exchange 2007 - This is going to rock. I've been doing a little bit of playing with it, and so far it looks fantastic. The 64-bit requirement is a welcome change, although I was hesitant about it initially. However, I still believe this change is going to make many companies wait to upgrade, which is a shame. I like how using the GUI to perform tasks will help you script those same things in the future - each task performed in the GUI will have it's equivalent PowerShell (or EMS, more on that in a minute) code shown so that you can copy, paste, and edit for future use. In fact, the GUI simply is a front-end for the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) - everything it does is done in the EMS behind the scenes. I'm currently doing some reading on LCR (Local Continuous Replication) and CCR (Cluster Continuous Replication), and like what I see in terms of having a more bullet-proof Exchange implementation that can handle single failures or outages and still keep running.

Windows Vista - My jury is still out on this. While it looks nice, and has a lot of new and enhanced features (security and IE7, for starters), the steep hardware requirements and continued legacy compatibility force my thumb to be in the middle, leaning towards thumbs down on this. I like some of the features like the file-based imaging with ImageX and the Parental Controls, but needing a beefy graphics card just to play Solitaire is just crossing the line, in my mind.

Office 2007 - I'm currently using the Beta 2 Technical Refresh, and after learning the basics of the interface, I like it. After attending a recent Microsoft event, I understand the reasons behind the change in UI - the UI that we've all known and loved was designed in the 1980's. Time for something new, and we have it. I feel it's somewhat intuitive, and I agree that it's more focused on the things that users do most often, and brings things "to the front" instead of having them buried in some obscure menu item. Among the multitude of products now branded under the Office umbrella is the new "Most Ridiculous Acronym" winner - MOSS 2007 (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007). Does it only work on the north side of buildings? Is it fuzzy to work with?

All of these things are more than enough to keep one busy learning the next wave of software, especially when you consider things like PowerShell and Longhorn Server are coming, too. There's learnin' to be done, folks. It never ends, does it? :)