Search stories … or “how do people manage on XP”

I know from experience that the people I meet in this job , and those who read this blog are more likely to be early adopters than the population at large so you, as a reader may well be on Windows 7 by now, and had a better chance than most of running Vista. But we know there is a lot of Windows XP still out there.  So here is something that I’m generally curious about: of those still on XP how many have added Microsoft’s (or a third party’s) search solution ?

This being Christmas time people are thinking about sending cards and in recent days two people have – unknowingly – each asked me for the others address.  Now I have some addresses and phone numbers in my contacts, but as it turns out neither of these two. Both addresses were buried in attachments in my e-mail and in both cases I had a fragment of the address. Tap that fragment into the search bar in outlook (which uses Windows search) and in less time than it took to type it I have the answer. I’ve had a chapter of problems with my car of late. We lease cars through different companies and we have a firm who coordinate everything – normally the extra layer would gets in the way, but throw this lot a problem and they make it a personal mission to get to a solution.  So have I put their number in my contacts ? er. no. Lease company? Yes. Garage? Sure. People who actually sort things out ? No. And the reason – it takes about 2 seconds to type their name into search and get an email with the number in the signature. (if I can persuade them to make that a clickable link things would be perfect).

If this saves me an hour a week [and that’s a low estimate] it would mean Microsoft gets a week of extra work out of me per year. (Actually it’s 6 days) If your organization is still on search-less XP think of that next time you can’t find something you know is on your PC or in your mailbox. And when you hear an excuse for staying on old software try asking “What percentage of the salary bill are we prepared to forego for this reason”. When you take public holidays, vacation allowance, sickness and training off the total there are a little less than 200 days to actually work in a year. So it’s easy – think of features in “days saved per year” , halve it and that’s the percentage of the salary bill.