Category Archives: Microsoft

Office Ultimate 2007 for students…cheap!

You’ve long been able to go to a local retailer for some time and pick up a “student” edition of Office for around $150 (often on sale for less after instant or mail-in rebates). You’ve never had to prove your student status for those items, and it became a relatively inexpensive way to obtain a “standard” version of Office for pretty cheap.

Plenty of college campuses have done deals with Microsoft as well, offering Office and other MS products for ridiculously low prices (realizing, of course, that student tuition and fees are subsidizing that to some degree). $10 copies of Windows, $20 copies of Office, etc weren’t unheard of.

Microsoft is trying something new; it may or may not be for you, though (keep reading).

Starting today, they’re offering Office Ultimate 2007 for $60. Early word is it will be download-only. The program goes live later today (around 1pm US-Central time, although the site’s countdown clock has been a little wonky), and runs through April of next year. The website for it is here:

[LINK: theultimatesteal.com]

The exact licensing terms are still unavailable. I strongly recommend you review the license terms (once the site goes live and those terms are posted), of course. In the cases of university programs that have offered MS software in the past, sometimes students were granted perpetual licenses for any software they still owned at graduation time. Other agreements called for license suspension at graduation, or terminated licenses if you never graduated at all. Pricing has also varied wildly. No idea yet if the installation will be limited to a single PC or allow a few installs (as other “student” editions have in the past) so you end up with the home PC, the laptop, etc, all covered.

Bottom line, though: for the money, even if the license expires upon graduation, $60 through this new program is a pretty darn good deal. The suite has a retail value of $679.

ALL THAT SAID, you should still check with your university (probably your campus bookstore) and see what they’re offering. You may well get a better deal from them than this one, still.

ArsTechnica has more details on MS’ TheUltimateSteal program here:

[LINK: arstechnica.com]

Windows Live SkyDrive (beta), Google both offering online storage

Microsoft is announcing the final product name for what was previously known as Windows Live Folders. Windows Live SkyDrive gets not only its final product name but also a few new features and enhanced user interface reflecting changes coming for many of the Windows Live services including Windows Live Spaces.

So what’s Windows Live SkyDrive? Windows Live SkyDrive is a new, currently-still-in-beta Windows Live service that gives users 500MB of web space for the online storing and sharing of files. Think of it as “a personal hard drive on the Internet”.

By default, you get several protected directories which you can store your files in. These directories are completed protected from the public. Only you can view them. However, Windows Live SkyDrive allows you create or choose specific folders to share with everyone (Public folders) or specific people on your Windows Live Contacts list. You can set specific permissions for those viewing your folders as well–such as someone who can contribute (add and remove files) or someone who is simply just a reader. Your Public folder allows ONLY reader permissions for the public in viewing files within the folder.

The service is free, but requires a Windows Live account which is also free; you can create your Windows Live account from the SkyDrive page if you don’t have a Live account already.

The overall integration of Microsoft’s Live services isn’t fabulous right now, honestly; the user interface can be downright confusing in places. That said, the SkyDrive service itself seems like a solid bit of online storage and filesharing space that could serve individuals and even some small businesses well.

Some caveats: there isn’t any Windows Explorer/Web Folder/Xbox Live integration of any sort(yet?), and currently, because SkyDrive is in beta, only users from the US, UK and India are able to participate and use it.

In related news, Google’s offering paid storage now as well; if you have a Google account, go here: Purchase Storage. Plans start at $20/year for 6GB, with larger plans ranging up to 250GB. Don’t forget that you already get 1GB with Picasa and nearly 3GB of space with Gmail for free.

The usual security and data protection caveats apply to any such services, of course; the value of your data to you and/or your business should ultimately determine your level of comfort with storing anything online anywhere.

[some SkyDrive portions shamelessly pilfered from windowsvistablog.com]