I am currently beta testing “Microsoft Live Essentials” where you can manage a business and its employees and projects online in a sophisticated and serious manner.

Microsoft Office Essentials Live Beta

If you are interested in joining me in this beta test, please reply to
this post and I will set you up. I have 8 slots available for
additional testers. Check the system requirements at the end of this
message to make sure you have the right grit to get into the site.
Those 8 slots will go to forum “regulars” first and then others will be
considered. A forum regular is someone who posts at least one comment
here a week.

Microsoft Office Essentials Dashboard

is providing a free domain name registrations for this program. I hate
coming up with temporary website names for things I plan to dump as
soon as they leave beta and move into a $30 a month fee for lackluster
server performance and meager bandwidth and paltry server space
allotments — but I came up with “Book Beta” anyway and you can find
that site barely designed online now at http://BookBeta.com.

As I understand it you, as one of my beta testers, can get in there and
design a sub-page of your own. I will also set you up so you can mingle
with employees, manage human resources and do lots of other business
stuff during the beta.

Add and delete what you wish. I only ask you not
publish or do something I will have to remove or fix later. If you
don’t know what I mean by that then you should not be in the beta. You
can express your interest in the beta by replying to this post with a
comment or by getting in touch via the Contact form link found at the
top of this page. You will also get a “yourname@bookbeta.com” email
address you can use (but not abuse!) — it looks and feels like Hotmail
because it is Hotmail.

If you do not have a Microsoft Passport account
I am uncertain if you will have to create one to participate in the
I cannot imagine anything that will convince me to continue beyond the
free beta test period and start paying $30 a month for the service and,
of course, I will lose my http://BookBeta.com
domain name because that’s the game Microsoft plays to get you to stay
and pay.

I will close down the site when the beta is complete. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
To use Microsoft Office Live Essentials, you need the following:
Internet Explorer 5.5 with Service Pack 4 (SP4) or later running on
Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 Internet
access via dial-up or broadband Super VGA (800 x 600) or
higher-resolution display Certain features require Microsoft Office
2000 or higher The following system requirements apply to specific

To use the Edit in Datasheet feature within the Business
Applications and Shared Sites areas of Microsoft Office Live requires
Microsoft Office 2003.

To export to Business Contact Manager requires
Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office XP, or Microsoft Office 2000.

To import contacts from Microsoft Office Outlook requires Microsoft
Office 2003 or Microsoft Office XP. To link contacts to Microsoft
Office Outlook requires Microsoft Office 2003.

* Certain features
require Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher, Microsoft Office 2000 or
higher, and Windows XP.


  1. It sounds cool, but alas, I don’t think I can participate. Sounds pretty PC related, and I think I’d be left out with a Mac.
    I’m curious as to why you’re starting this. Are you going to be “hiring” people? Or is this simply to see if you can better manage your home business?

  2. Hi Carla —
    Yeah, I’m not sure why Macs are out. Is there still an Internet Explorer for the Mac or has that been discontinued?
    I’m not really “starting” anything — I’m just “beta testing” right now.
    That said, however, this does offer an interesting glimpse into ways of collaborating online where you could work together as a dedicated team on a project or a business endeavor without having people landlocked in the same place in order to make great things happen.
    There’s a lot of freedom of inspiration and expression in this way of working together and you could also internationalize it so while we’re sleeping, our Australian brothers and sisters are keeping the project alive and awake. This sort of setup gives you true 24/7 hours of operation without borders.
    I could certainly see using a site like this to manage my projects and expenses and payments and to invite collaborators and agents and publishers and designers in — all socketed in private areas so all projects would remain separate and private — but equal!

  3. There is a version of Internet Explorer, but Microsoft has stopped updating it. I think it’s 5.0, maybe 5.2.
    I have to use IE in my PartyLite (candles) home business. Consultants signing in to the corporate office have to use IE. I have Virtual PC on my iBook because of my Pampered Chef home business, (Their software is made only for PC.) but luckily, to access PartyLite, I can use the Mac version of IE. Otherwise IE would be running ssslllooowllllyyy through my Virtual PC.
    And yes, I have two home-based businesses; I’m a sadist. I don’t do that much right now, but it lets me make a few bucks when I want to. 😀

  4. I don’t understand why so many sites “require” Internet Explorer when there are other free choices that work just a bit better.
    I’m able to access the http://bookbeta.com through Firefox with an IE extension so that saves me the hassle of flipping between browsers.
    You’re a busy person! Two home businesses. Wow!
    Maybe you should spend $500 as a “business expense” on a PC notebook so you can work a bit faster for the “PC Only” stuff you do?

  5. Well, I’m just taking catalog orders now instead of home shows, so it’s not a big deal. I decided to stop giving up my evenings in order to write. Eventually, I’m going to sign up for my own Web sites through the respective home offices. Then I could make money and spend even less time passing out/mailing catalogs and collecting orders on my own! 😀

  6. I wonder how this stacks up against BaseCamp> BaseCamp. I dont know anything about online business management, but I came across BaseCamp while back. Not to get on my anti-MS soapbox again, but with all the AJAX/Web 2.0 web apps floating around these daya, MS certainly has its work cut out for it. Although, bringing the familiarity of Office and other MS products to the Web 2.0 scene might prevent enough people from jumping ship in favor of something like BaseCamp.

  7. Jonathan —
    BaseCamp feels like Drupal or Moodle – a little cheap and immature.
    The Office Live stuff is slick and based on the familiarity of MSFT products. There is also sophisticated tracking and stats available without any need to code it into your pages. You can also manage payroll and other projects with sophisticated user-proof protections.
    The experience and feel reminds me of the early years of Yahoo! hosting: Interesting idea with quality and reliability built-in but with a little immaturity in execution and ease-of-navigation and WAY WAY over-priced. It is, however, simple to set up and use and the Office familiarly goes a long way toward teaching what needs to be known based on what has already been experienced.

  8. The beta participants have been selected and notified.
    If I was unable to accommodate you in the beta this time, I look forward to you inclusion in the future!
    Thank you for your interest in helping me test on this project.

  9. The beta participants have been selected and notified.
    If I was unable to accommodate you in the beta this time, I look forward to you inclusion in the future!
    Thank you for your interest in helping me test on this project.

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