You don't have to be a tech guru to appreciate the ways Microsoft helps busy women get things done. When I got the email asking me to join the blogging team working with Microsoft Office on the #OfficeChamps program, I was a little shocked. I'm not a tech guru, I'm a style maven. But then I thought about it--I need these products to make my life run.
Both personally and professionally I rely on technology to build my brand and to keep our home running smoothly. I'm actually the PERFECT person to interact with Microsoft, because I am authentic. When I get exposed to something new there is a learning curve--and I'm going to say it--a little resistance to the new. Sometimes my brain aches at all the new.
To make it easier, Microsoft brought me out to Seattle for a kick-off event. I joined a group of a-list bloggers for a few days of training and immersion. I came away from my first experience with one thing crystal clear: Microsoft wants to make the user experience personal and exceptional. Whether it's a search engine, Office tool/software, or computer--they think about how we use the products to make our lives richer. Here's a little of what I discovered during my time in Seattle.
We started the first day off with a deep-dive into Office, focusing on OneNote--the tool that might have me leaving Word behind. This is a perfect place to coordinate posts and projects. With OneNote, you can capture anything from pictures and files to audio recordings and excel spreadsheets, all organized in tabs and pages. I've now got OneNote on my phone so I'm able to catch up on all my files on the go! OneNote is ideal for bloggers since it VERY interactive.
Later, we had an in-depth overview on how to use the Nokia Lumia 1020, which provides the highest quality photos in a snap! Interacting with Windows Phone is really similar to Windows 8 with "Live Tiles," customizable screens and a familiar interface. Once you've experienced tiles, you'll never want to go back to icons. Windows connects you across your devices and the cloud easily and seamlessly. I recently ditched my Motorola Razr for a Nokia Lumina928--look for my review soon--so I am all about the tiles. But here's the big news: The pictures are STUNNING. I learned how to personalize my tiles and get seamless connection to my Microsoft Account, SkyDrive, and Office. We also got tips on a variety of photo and video apps, such as Fotor and Movie Maker to make our photos and vidoes sparkle and shine.
It wasn't all work, we got to check out the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and took a tour of Pike Place Market. We toted the Nokia camera with us, testing the instant camera, one touch to share, and editing tools. We also used Fotor and Movie Maker to make a collage and video from the day and of course saved everything on the go to SkyDrive.
On day two we headed to the Microsoft headquarters. Some of what I saw in the experience lab is top secret. But I can share a few OTHER things I discovered.
Bing: Microsoft's search tool has a reason to make you click. Google has been a leader in search, but Bing might change that. Want to see the Bing difference? Try the "Bing It On Challenge" you can compare Bing and Google Web search results side-by-side. After five searches, the tool reveals which search engine you actually prefer. Head to www.bingiton.com. One of my favorite features is Bings social integration. Only Bing shows you the best, relevant search results from across the web as well as from your trusted social networks. Say you searched for hotels in Hawaii, youll not only see web results, but any photos, comments, links or check-ins from your Facebook friends. Bing focuses on unique ways to bring friends and experts into the search experience from the most popular social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Klout and LinkedIn.
Surface Pro2: The lightest high-functioning laptop around. Run all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite, as well as apps from the Windows Store. The new Surface has improved battery life and a revamped keyboard. Starting at $899 (ERP), Surface Pro is available online at http://www.surface.com and at Microsoft Stores and select retail locations.
3D Printing: With the new 3D printing support in Windows 8.1, thousands of app builders and device manufacturers can create easy-to-use 3D print experiences. As we learned about the printing we saw a money clip being created before our very eyes. 3D has been moving from corporations to small communities of creators. Since the price of printers have come WAY down, were seeing do-it-yourself hobbyists, inventors, and design enthusiasts get into the act. If you've got the cash these printers make a great gift! Windows 8.1 has an app available tomorrow that will make 3D printing so much easier.
This is part of a paid blogging campaign. I will be posting about my experiences with Microsoft products and services. Everything is unscripted and based on my personal experiences.