Microsoft Office 2013

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Unless you have decided to forsake all information concerning technology you should know that Microsoft will be releasing their new operating system, Windows 8, in late October. With this release Microsoft will also be coming out with their new Version of Office. The last two versions of Office, 2007 and 2010 respectively, have had major interface overhauls from their predecessors. The 2013 version of Office continues this trend by attempting to make Office more touch friendly. Has this attempt succeeded?  The answer is not entirely, but it is certainly an improvement over the 2010 version.  

The Office suite contains many programs that students and professionals use nearly every day. The two most recognizable programs is Microsoft’s Word and Excel programs. The Outlook email clients and the Power Point program are also programs that are used frequently. All together the suite contains Word, Excel, Power Point, One Note, Access, Outlook, and Publisher. The logos for the suite have also been changes as you can see from the image above.

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You can see the new Word interface in the image above. Most of the commands are still located in the same place on the ribbon, but they have been made easier to touch. The ribbon itself can be made to collapse until you place the mouse on it or run your finger up the screen. This feature is to save space for use on a tablet. If you have ever tried typing a document on a tablet you know that the keyboard takes up a lot of the visible space, and the collapsing ribbon is designed to save visual space so that you can see the text.  

The One Note program is my personal favorite.  I use this program to take all of my notes in class. This is nice because notes taken in the program immediately becomes available in my Sky Drive so that I can see it on other computers and on my Lumia 900 Windows Phone. Microsoft has now released a version of the program called One Note MX which is designed specifically for a Windows 8 tablet. The nicest feature of this version is the circle interface. As you type on a tablet a small circle appears near where you are typing  When you click on the circle, a round inter face with font controls, and all of the other commands that were on the old ribbon that took up so much space.  The circle is amazingly touch friendly, and makes this program great in class. 

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So will this new version of Office catch on? Seeing as how Office, and not Windows, is Microsoft’s best selling product, I would say that there is a good chance that the answer is Yes. The new interface is much better on tablets, which works well with the Windows 8 OS. There are also rumors that this version of office may become available on the iOS found on the iPad. This would be wildly exciting to Apple fans. The only thing I know for sure is that I certainly will be using it. In fact, I am using it right now. You can get your own free preview by going to http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en and downloading a 90 day trial. 

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University of Louisville Improvement Efforts

 

The University of Louisville campus has changed quite a bit from when I was a freshmen in fall of 2008. The food services portion of campus has added McAlister’s Deli, Damon’s, and the Ville Grill (which I still call Westside). Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium has had a new deck of seating installed along with many technological improvements. U of L now has one of the newest, and nicest, college basketball stadiums in the new KFC Yum! Center. Almost every entrance onto campus now has a nice new sign and fountain.  Auguste Rodin’s statue of “The Thinker” was even restored to its original state.When you add all of this together what do you get? The answer is a university that now looks like the Tier-1 research institution that it is, instead of the glorified community college appearance that it had previously.

What does this improvement mean for the school as a whole? When I asked this question to students in some of my classes the answers were mostly what you would expect: Improved pride in the school, feeling more comfortable walking around campus at night, and of course better food. It would seem like the improvement process will have a direct impact on recruitment. I liked campus when I toured it in 2007, but I would not even have second thoughts if I were on a tour today which would determine if I would attend the institution or not. The University’s improved athletic facilities have already had an impact. Charlie Strong has brought in some of the most highly ranked recruiting classes in school history in his 3 year career, the start of which coincided with the opening of the PJCS expansion. Rick Pitino has also brought in some very highly touted classes since the Yum! Center opened a few years ago. This does not mean that the new stadiums are the only reason for the improved recruiting, but they surely played a role. The University Basketball program brings in more profit than any other College program, something that has even been improved upon since the days of Freedom Hall.

The University has spent millions of dollars making these improvements a reality. Has this money been well spent? I would argue that this may have been the most important thing that the University has ever done. The school is already well on its way to becoming one of the top level educational institutions in the nation, but the appearance of the campus had not kept up with the academic improvements. As a student who is on campus everyday I only have one thing to say: I approve!

Can the Big East Survive as a Power League?

Almost a month ago the Big East hired former CBS executive vice president Mike Aresco to be the new commissioner of the conference. At the time many fans of Big East football breathed a sigh of relief, because it seemed like the conference finally had a leader that could get the conference a good TV contract. Many people believe that a good TV contract will help stabilize football membership. However, Notre Dame may have just pulled the rug out from under the already stumbling conference.

Yesterday, the news broke that Notre Dame has decided to move all of its non-football sports to the ACC. Since Notre Dame’s football team has always been independent, this means that every team Notre Dame had in the Big East will soon transition to the ACC. So why is this such a problem if the Big East’s main issue is Football and Notre Dame was not in the conference for this sport? Simply put, this now puts the strength of the Big East as a whole into question.

Many reporters have claimed that Notre Dame left the Big East to find better competition for its Lacrosse, Soccer, and Basketball Teams. The fact that Basketball was mentions is especially worrying, because prior to the recent defections of Syracuse, Pitt, and West Virginia the Big East was seen as the premier basketball conference. Even though most of Notre Dame’s prestige was created by its football prowess from over a decade ago, it was still one of the most recognized brands of the conference. Loosing this Brand name is obviously bad for TV contract negotiations simply for its pull. It is also bad for the negotiations due to the fact that many fans had hopped that we could get a contract with NBC who already had a contract with Notre Dame for football. Many Big East fans believed that this combination would be profitable for NBC, but now it seems like that would be awkward

So what does this mean for the Big East as a power league? It may scuttle positive TV negotiations, or it may mean nothing. It is really to early to tell. The one thing that we know for sure is that the conferences prestige just took another hit to the common fan. As a common fan I would now be extremely happy if my school, the University of Louisville, would say so long to the Big East. The new Big East Football brand is weak, and the Basketball prestige is dropping steadily. Back in 2005 the Big East was a great step up for U of L, but now its status has dropped so low that it has become a liability. I hope Tom Jurich is making some phone calls.

Is ESPN Conducting a Smear Campaign Against the Big East?

ImageAt face value the head line of this article sound foolish. However, it is a question that I have heard repeated more than a few times over the last year. Fans of the Big East Football schools feel that they are getting a lot of undeserved bad publicity from the “Four Letter” network. The motive? The Big East is up for a new TV contract and the previous contract with ESPN has nearly run its course. The Conference and the Network have had nearly 30 year relationship, but in early 2011 the conference rejected the network’s contract extension offer. The Big East decided that it was time to test other waters after the PAC-12 signed a contract worth 3 billion dollars. It turns out the ESPN might not have taken the possible breakup well.

 The Big East is currently in a 90 day period of contract negotiations that is exclusive with ESPN. After this period the Big East can negotiate with any network it wants. So why would ESPN try to smear the networks image? Many theories have been floated to try to answer this question. There are only two that really make any sense to me.

The first theory is that ESPN is trying hurt the conferences image so much that it is forced to accept an ESPN offer that is worth substantially less money than the Big East is looking for. This would seem to be a dangerous move on ESPN’s part, but if the network is primarily interested in Basketball for this negotiation, then trashing Big East football shouldn’t damage ESPN’s basketball marketing efforts.

The second theory that has been floated around is that ESPN is trying to tarnish the conferences image so badly that no other network will want to touch the Big East. Then, at the last moment, ESPN will “save the day” by signing a new contract with the conference for a nice, low price. In both theories it is clear that the theorists think that ESPN is trying to devalue the Big East for its own gains.

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Would ESPN really do that? Does ESPN really think that Big East football is that bad? Do they have any concrete evidence to support this?  The true answer is that there will never be any real proof that ESPN is actively trying to damage the Big East. However, there is evidence to counteract the ESPN’s claim that the ACC is a better football conference than the Big East. Since the creation of the BCS the Big East is 7-7 in BCS Bowls while the ACC is only 2-13. Does the ACC receive the same negativity that the Big East receives? No. 

It also seems suspicious that when BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo was asked about recent conference expansion that he said,  “We always keep our television partners close to us,’’ he said. “You don’t get extra money for basketball. It’s 85 percent football money. TV – ESPN – is the one who told us what to do.’’ While he quickly retracted the statement, it seems that was quite a loaded statement for it to be miss-quoted.  Is ESPN really trying to devalue the Big East? Make your own conclusion. 

Windows 8 Hate

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As a college student everyone I know owns some type of computer. Most of these computers either run the Mac OS or Windows. The most important characteristic of a computer is its Operating System(OS), which is the interface that you use when you are operating the computer. Apple just released its new Mac OSX Lion a few weeks ago, and Microsoft is preparing for the role out of its new Windows 8 OS. Why is this important? Simply put, Windows 8 is aesthetically a major departure from Windows 7. 

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Many Technology writers have heavily bashed the new interface, saying that it is clunky and hard to use. I disagree. I have actually found that use of the “Metro” interface is actually easy, but it will take some time to get used to for people used to the traditional Windows interface. Other complaints include the “disappearance” of the old Start menu. However, the start menu has not gone away, but it has simply changed instead. If you look at the image above you will notice that it says “Start” on the top left. Why does it say Start? Because it is the Stat menu. 

The new menu is quite interesting. The live tiles give you information from apps without having to open them. This is especially nice for the Mail and Weather applications. It is also easy to get to setting in apps by swiping from the left of the screen to reveal the Charms bar, which is available in every application. That Bar also allows you to go back to the start screen, search within the app, share information with people in your social circles, and control your devices. That’s nice to have in one place. 

So with those improvements, why do so many technology writers seem to enjoy to hate on Windows 8? Essentially, it seems like technology writers expect consumers to not like change. That may actually be close to the truth. Even if this is true, people need to give Windows 8 a chance. Windows 8 will eventually be seen as a very good operating system, so don’t dismiss it because you do not like change.  Image

 

Card Chronicle

You know the problem with those open ended class assignments? For me it is the fact that they are open ended. So what should I write here? Should I talk about food? Nah, I am already too hungry. Should I talk about music? Apart from me thinking “Call me Maybe” is the most annoying song ever, I do not have much to contribute. So now that I have covered what I will not be covering what should I talk about? Card Chronicle. Why am I going to talk about Card Chronicle? Simply put, it is the only website that I read everyday.

What is Card Chronicle you ask? It is everything University of Louisville sports. Louisville Basketball? Covered. Louisville Football? Covered. References to Saved By the Bell?  Double covered.

The self proclaimed 9th favorite blog of Charlie Strong was originally created in early 2006 as “The Card Report.” In October of the same year, the blog’s creator, Mike Rutherford, moved the Report to the SBNation sports site as the renamed Card Chronicle. Here is the first post ever.

The site has grown tremendously since then. Seriously, if you look at the article archives from those days many posts had no comments. If you look at the posts from the last week  there are several articles with more than 40 comments. If you combine this with the fact that the Card Chronicle’s Facebook page has nearly 4000 likes, you can see that its popularity has skyrocketed.

Once upon a time I was a UK fan. Please, don’t hate me. I repent for that mistake. I grew up in Big Blue territory and I didn’t know any better. Then I started my search for which college I should attend coming out of high school. Someone from my school who had already decided to go to Louisville showed me Card Chronicle back in 2007, and this site is why I am a Cards fan today.  I grew up being a UK fan by being feed all of the normal UK fan content(Billy Gillispie is going to win all kinds of Championships at UK). Somehow, it never felt right.

Card Chronicle showed me something different: it contained humor, intelligent dialogue, and real life expectations. The change was refreshing and it made me mad I hadn’t realized that I should have been a Louisville fan all along. So I extend a big thank you to Mike Rutherford and Card Chronicle. Thank you for opening up the world of Louisville fandom.