Office Forms Server 2007 Now Available on TechNet and MSDN

Microsoft has just posted the download for Forms Server 2007 on the MSDN & TechNet sites.  In case you’re like me and have absolutely no idea what exactly this is, here’s Microsoft’s take on what the product is supposed to do:

“Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 provides scalable, standards-based electronic forms solutions with enhanced security that can help your organization to extend the reach of forms-driven business processes to anyone with a Web browser.

Office Forms Server 2007 is a new server offering in the Microsoft Office system. It is a standalone server that delivers new Microsoft Office InfoPath Forms Services, which is also available in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. This new technology uses server-based electronic forms to streamline business processes and make data collection, distribution, and integration more cost-effective than with paper-based forms.”

Still confused?  Hey, me too!  All I got from this description is that it’s a standalone server product to work with InfoPath and that it makes delicious waffles.  I’m sorry…did I say “waffles?”  I meant “waffles.”

I’m hungry.

Anyway, WinSmarts.com has an interesting article on how this particular product, along with InfoPath & MOSS, will work together.

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Microsoft Releases Office Accounting Express 2007 – for FREE

Microsoft just released a free accounting tool for Windows users: Office Accounting Express 2007.  Aimed at small and home-based businesses and available at IdeaWins.com, OAE offers the following features:

  • Create quotes and invoices; track expenses and employee time
  • Enter data once and share it seamlessly with other Microsoft Office system programs
  • Manage payroll and taxes with ADP’s integrated payroll service
  • List items on eBay, track sales activity, and download and process orders
  • Email invoices and get paid faster with PayPal
  • Monitor your customers’ business credit in real-time through Equifax

MS plans to complement this release with a Professional version which will offer many more features including inventory management and Microsoft Dynamics POS integration.  The professional version will be available in January 2007 for $149.

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A Screenshot A Day: Windows Vista: 2006-09-15

Another day, another Windows Vista screenshot.  Today, we’ll be taking a look at Problem Reports and Solutions.  This “feature,” which we’ve all come to know and love from Windows XP, can be found in the Windows Vista Control Panel.  In this new edition, you’ll be able to better view a complete history of Windows problems…be it program incompatibilities, programs that have “stopped responding” (shudder), or faulty/unavailable drivers.  While the actual error reporting feature was helpful only about 10-15% of the time in Windows XP, this updated console in Windows Vista might actually prove to be useful if only for the fact that I can better view a system’s history of these “problems.”

There’s even a dedicated section of the console allowing you to view problems that are currently being researched.

Here at Fans of Tech, we’re testing out using Picasa Web Albums to host these and other images for our readers. If you’re new to Picasa Web Albums, please check out the graphic below before clicking on the Screenshot of the Day.

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A Screenshot A Day: Windows Vista: 2006-09-14

If there’s one thing we could all use more of, it’s screenshots of the next Microsoft Operating System, am I right? Huh? Am I?

I’ll take that silence to mean “yes.”

Our intent with ASAD is to provide those of you who are unable to toy experiment with a pre-release with a daily glimpse of the OS you’ll be dealing working with for the next 4-5 years. We’ll be uploading screenshots of dialog boxes, installations, administration tools, Explorer windows and much, much more. To start things off, I’ve taken a screenshot of the Windows Vista desktop (with a customized task bar and Sidebar) on a widescreen laptop:

(As you’ll eventually notice, Aero is not enabled on our test system as the Nvidia GeForce Go card on the laptop is not able to handle the kind of graphics that Vista can display – there’s no Vista compatible driver yet and, even if there were, I still don’t think this laptop graphics card could handle Aero. Subsequently, you won’t notice alot of transparency or drop shadows in these screenshots.)

Also, we’re testing out using Picasa Web Albums to host these and other images for our readers. Please check out the graphic below before clicking on the Screenshot of the Day – if you’re new to Picasa Web Albums.

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Windows Vista Pre-Release Candidate Available for Download

According to MSTN, Microsoft seems to be testing out their relationship with partner Akamai by releasing the pre-RC1, build 5536, of Windows Vista as an .iso for download – but only for the first 100,000 people.

The download page from Microsoft offers two ways of downloading: by a d/l manager or by a direct link to the .iso itself.  (The latter did not work on our end so we gave in and installed the download manager.  The ISO is 2.58GB.)

Microsoft seems pretty desperate to get as much beta testing done as possible so, do both them and us a favor and test this one out…then give feedback.  Because, as much as I don’t feel like supporting a multi-billion dollar company by encouraging their extremely closed off business model, I also don’t want to deal with a crappy OS for the next 5-7 years.  Who knows?  You might even be surprised by the latest Vista experience: “Windows Vista Build 5536: It’s Not Crap.”

Windows Desktop Search 3.0 Beta 2 Released

MSTN once again comes through for us by alerting us to the arrival of the second beta release of Windows Desktop Search 3.0.  Guess what…this one actually has a user interface!  Who woulda thunk it!?  (I still can’t believe they pushed out a beta without a UI – what a stupid, stupid move.)  This 2nd beta release appears to have one major improvement and one major flaw.

The improvement is in the speed at which it searches – lightning fast.  What took 4-5 seconds to pull up before now takes less than a second…I’m truly impressed.  The resources that WDS consumes have also been cut down.  The flaw, on the other hand, has prompted me to uninstall the app within 30 minutes of installing it: no support for network shares.  According to Brandon Paddock’s blog, this – as well as support for FAT32 drives – will be added in the next release.  Access to network shares is a must for me so, unfortunately, I’m going to have to bail on this beta but WDS 3.0 certainly shows promise.  There’s no doubt about that.

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Live Drive Confirmed

According to Angus Kidman of ZDNet Australia, Microsoft has finally confirmed their long-rumored “Live Drive” service: an online offering from the Live.com series of services aimed at providing users online storage to be tightly integrated with the upcoming Vista operating system.  Microsoft’s own John Hodgson confirmed that there will be multiple tiers of services but that the basic service would offer users 2gb of storage for free.

Before that happens, though, we’ll be given 4gb from Google’s identical rumored service.  Then, after MS launches LiveDrive, Yahoo! will present us with 2gb in yet another online storage service. 

Yawn.

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