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Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, the version of the Office suite meant for noncommercial use, is currently retailing in Malaysia for RM199 (about USD55). For that remarkably low price, you get three licenses for the 2007 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. That’s quite a bargain because the suite has a suggested retail price of USD149 in the US and is currently going for USD98 on Amazon. The catch is that remarkably low price is only for the Malaysian market and this local distribution of the suite can only be activated in Malaysia. Microsoft is clearly still trying valiantly to encourage local users to go original.

(If only Microsoft would do something similar with Xbox 360. The console is still not officially released locally so anyone importing it will have to claim they’re living in Poughkeepsie or Geylang in order to get the full Xbox Live experience.)

Now, I’d rather punch myself repeatedly in the face than even install Excel and PowerPoint. If I ever get to the point where spreadsheets and presentation software become essential, just kill me because it’s only two steps from that to wearing neckties and having earnest conversations about Getting Things Done.

(How do you GTD? Here’s the key—are you sitting down?—JUST DO IT. But what do I know? I don’t attend expensive seminars showcasing slick hucksters with lavish PowerPoint presentations about planning, prioritising, flagging, tagging, diagramming and reviewing instead of quaint ol’ timey approaches like actually doing.)

Word 2007 is overkill for my needs. My words just don’t need that much processing and Word has a nasty habit of over-processing them. Why the hell does Word 2007 insist on reverting to the U.S. English dictionary? I meant “colour,” jackass. Stop putting squiggly red lines under words that are absolutely correct, Word 2007. You’re making me feel very insecure.

My attempts to set the default language settings for Word documents to English (U.K.) have thus far been futile. Clearly, I need to flag, tag, diagram, prioritise and review the problem before finally creating a PowerPoint presentation about it. This won’t actually solve the problem but it will impress everyone and that really is the most important thing.

All for OneNote, OneNote for all

The main reason I found the package appealing was OneNote, one of the most intriguing products Microsoft has released in recent years. The fact even self-described Microsoft haters sing OneNote’s praises made me raise an eyebrow and intrigue turned to desire the more I read about the product.

OneNote is described variously as a digital notebook or organiser and I have a pressing need for something that does both well. I make use of a lot of notes whenever I’m writing something and I regularly collect, collate and refer to a few hundred new links every week so anything that promised to make those tasks easier was something I needed to investigate.

Aside from being part of the Office Home and Student 2007 suite, OneNote is sold on its own. Locally, the standalone version of OneNote is selling for a whopping RM312 (USD87) which makes the suite the most attractive option given the current promotion. At least I think it’s the best option. I haven’t created an Excel spreadsheet to make a cost/benefit analysis; I’m going by the gut here, people.


I’ve made use of Marek Jedlinski’s free note-taking software, KeyNote, for the past six years, and though I’ve been happy with it, I thought I could perhaps kick things up a notch. I intend to copy ‘n’ paste with devil-may-care abandon and copy to clipboard with no compromises. Because that’s how I roll.

My digital note-taking with OneNote hasn’t been as extreme as I would like, however. One of OneNote’s neatest features is its ability to automatically include a hyperlink to the source whenever you paste something from a browser window. This works with Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 3.0.10 but not with the browser I favour, Opera 9.64. I’m not sure if this is an issue on Opera’s end or OneNote’s. It may seem like a trivial feature but anything that speeds up the digital note-taking process is welcome so here’s hoping there’s a fix for this.

Overall, I’m a little underwhelmed by OneNote at the moment. That’s mostly because I’m mainly using the program as a glorified clipboard to store my copy-’n’-paste excerpts as I surf the web. I doubt I’m using more than a tiny fraction of OneNote’s capabilities at the moment and I expect I’ll have a better sense of OneNote’s worth as I learn how to get the most out of it.

That said, I very much doubt I’m going to make use of OneNote’s advanced features for planning, prioritising, flagging, tagging and diagramming. GTD? GTFO.

More on OneNote later.

Posted in Software.

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