Friday, June 23, 2006

What has MSFT done for us lately?

As part of my recent gear swapping, I've had the chance to rebuild a few machines and test-drive some newer MS software.

IE7: If you haven't checked the Beta, I recommend it. The RSS support is pretty slick, there are Tabs (and a cool Quick Tab feature that lets you see all your tabs graphically on one scrollable page) and performance seems snappy.

SQL Server Express: It's free, and the Management Studio tool works against SQL2K databases. Another new interface which I generally like, combining Enterprise Manager w/ Query Analyzer and again, tabs. You won't find a Data Transformation Wizard or access to Profiler in this free version, but it is quite functional for ad-hoc queries, writing sprocs and doing general table maintenance. One complaint; comments are now done with the odd shortcut of Ctrl+K, Ctrl+C -- that is, you have to do both key combinations. Ctrl+Shift+C was strange enough but this is just lame.

OneNote: not new, not even recently updated -- but I *love* this tool. Not just for use on Tablet PCs. In addition to a personal notes I keep client records; one folder per client, one page per day, each issue designated with a checkbox (Ctrl+1). When an issue is solved I can check it off with another Ctrl+1. When it is time to triage I create a note summary. Open issues show up on top, then with a few other Ctrl+# combinations I can assign priorities and severities. Onenote also supports locking a page, a password is required to read / search and the file is encrypted on disk. Another cool feature is creating a shared session. This allows for real-time collaboration on one or more pages in a meeting or even remotely.

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