Saturday, July 14, 2007

An "Out of Box" Experience

This week, I bought an Apple MacBook Pro, to replace my 3+ year old PowerBook. Anyone who has purchased a Mac recently can attest to its ability to transfer everything from your old computer to your new one via FireWire. It works as advertised: everything - from my files, to my software licenses, to my applications, even my desktop wallpaper - transferred over automagically.

But a couple of days into my new computer, I launched Entourage, the Mac equivalent to Outlook, in Microsoft Office for the Mac. Suddenly, when trying to send email, I got a "Sorry...." error message. Then, the program crashed and offered me the option to "Rebuild the Database." Ominous indeed. So I did, and it didn't solve the problem. I thought: "Oh no! It was too good to be true. That's six years of my business, all the correspondence with my clients, all my contacts... I'm (in big trouble)!"

So I got onto Microsoft's Mactopia web site, which directed me to Microsoft Office support newsgroups (ironically, they are on Google). Several people made suggestions (including two Microsoft support engineers), but alas I ended up solving the problem myself.

As it turned out, Apple ships the Mac with a trial version of Microsoft Office pre-installed. It had interfered with my licensed version and had hosed-up all my settings. After reinstalling MacOS X and fully deleting and reinstalling MS Office (both the trial and my licensed version), and then, re-installing all the updates (by using Microsoft's Office Auto Updater and Apple's Software Update), it worked fine.

Lesson 1: you have to be vigilent of even the smartest technology.

Lesson 2: you can't assume that I'm going to bash Microsoft in my blog. They must be credited for watching their support newsgroups and for supporting the Mac

Lesson 3: Microsoft must be credited not only for their Mac efforts (which, in my opinion are better then their Windows efforts), but also for believing in their unique IPTV system and sticking with it. A senior person at T-Online France emailed me yesterday that their Club Internet IPTV service is scaling and is about to cross 100,000 subscribers.

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