Talk about getting your wires crossed. In the same week that Microsoft sounded the trumpets for the arrival of their online preview for Office 2007, they’re now announcing a shipping delay for the office suite.
"Based on internal testing and the beta 2 feedback around product performance, we are revising our development schedule to deliver the 2007 system release by the end of year 2006, with broad general availability in early 2007," a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica.
The company had previously planned an October release, although speculation that Office 2007 would be delayed began shortly after Windows Vista’s own ship date slipped from the fourth quarter of 2006 into early 2007. Pragmatically speaking, this means that the company will launch its mainstream promotions for Office 2007 almost simultaneously with Windows Vista.
How much of a change this represents for Microsoft’s marketing plans is unclear. The October release was already low-key, aimed primarily at getting OEMs on board in advance of holiday sales. For the consumer market, the expectation has been that Microsoft’s marketing department would ride the Vista wave while trying to hawk Office. That’s unlikely to change now, unless Windows Vista slips again. Ballmer has hinted that Windows Vista could see another delay, but those hints are largely vacuous, and seem to be primarily centered on timing issues framed in terms of weeks, not months. We expect that Microsoft will shortly announce free upgrade programs for computers purchased this holiday season for both Windows Vista and Office 2007. At the very least, such a move would allow Microsoft to talk up their "units shipped" quickly after launch
According to Microsoft, over 2.5 million people have downloaded the Office 2007 beta. It marks a significant development for the company, insofar as they are abandoning many years of a largely consistent user interface in favor of an almost entirely redesigned system. Microsoft believes that the redesign will pay off in spades as customers find new productivity enhancements, but the marked difference from versions past could be considered a risk for the company, should the Office 2007 System meet mostly disinterested customers. IT buyers in particular have expressed concerns that the new user interface could end up costing companies more as they retrain users. Office developers, on the other hand, have said that the new user interface was originally conceived with to require little to no training to use effectively.
There's a time in every gamer's life where you have to make the decision: do you enjoy playing videogames, or do you collect? You can do both of course, but there's certain behavior in each group that usually makes people fall into one specific camp. People who just like playing games have no trouble selling their titles when they finish them. Collectors, on the opposite extreme, will often buy rare games they find even if they won't get to play them for a long time, if ever. In fact, the game may just sit in the shrinkwrap, never loved, just so someone can say they have a mint copy of Suikoden 2 on their shelf. These are the sort of people who will look at you sadly if they see Greatest Hits versions of games on your shelf.
Having my game collection in storage has broken the collecting bug; the only games on my shelves are the ones I'm playing or reviewing. Once I get those racks and racks of games back in the house? It's over for me. A game goes into the collection, and it completes a series or simply makes one system's row look bigger, and it's never leaving. From my copy of X-men Legends signed by Stan Lee to my Dreamcast shooter collection, there's a lot of stuff I could never part with.
Gamespot has a feature that shines a light on the seedier side of game collecting, with the editors talking about the five games they have on their shelves that they think make them look cool. Sometimes it's an underappreciated gem, sometimes an import, sometimes it's something as mundane as Guitar Hero that's there to prove they can still rock. Admit it, if you collect you have one or two things on your shelf that you always hope someone notices when they come over. The best reward for collecting is someone pulling a game out of your stacks and exlaiming, "Oh man, you have a copy of this?!?" There simply isn't a better feeling in the world.
If nothing else, this feature should remind you just how cool Otogi is.
Last night I finally made it out to my local IMAX theater to check out Superman in 3D. I'm not going to review the movie for you, there are a lot of places online for that, but the 3D effects bear mentioning in terms of movie-geekery. It was quite the experience. There are some very slight spoilers ahead, so be careful.
The first thing a lot of people don't know is that the entire movie isn't in 3D, only about 20 minutes or so give you the effect. A blinking glasses icon on the bottom of the screen warns you when something is going to happen, and then if the theater is packed you get to listen to hundred of people put their glasses on at the same time. It's quite the noise. The glasses themselves were large and comfortable, and fit easily over my prescription frames. The first 3D scene is kind of a fun look back at Supe's childhood, and the second one… well, it's worth the price of admission alone.
The plane crash scene, on the IMAX screen, in 3D, was more exciting than many rollercoasters I've been on. In my theater the sound was cranked, and many people had their hands over their ears. The 3D effect is intense, and does a good job of putting you in the movie. I felt battered by the time the scene was over. I actually heard people screaming in the audience in places. It didn't feel like a comic book movie during this scene, when people got hurt, it looked brutal. Some of the imagery was beautiful, some of it ugly, but everything together made your jaw drop. When the scene is over and you get the nice reveal shot of Superman, a lot of people stood up and cheered. You really did feel like you saw something, well, super.
The 3D effect was impressive in most cases, but there was some slight doubling in the image even with the glasses on in places. You can also catch some odd details when the effect glitched up. In one scene a hand seemed to be about a foot in front of the arm it was supposed to be attached to. Other than these slight nitpicks, it was a great way to watch the movie, and the flying scenes were all incredible.
The movie itself I found pretty blah, but the 3D experience more than made up for it. If you have an IMAX in your area, it's worth the drive and the extra money. I left impressed, and ready to sit down and see the whole thing again.