The orb is gone in Office 2010. Microsoft listened to that feedback and changed it.
Good for microsoft, it took them a few years to fix that one
Access is not just a database, but a forms engine. You can't replace Access with Postgre, it's only part of the solution. What people like about access is that it's a single file that you distribute, double click on it and your app runs, including the database. Postgre simply can't do that, even if you use some other forms engine.
Number one, it's called Postgres or PostgreSQL, not Postgre which suggests to me you're either not detail oriented or are not familiar with the actual product. That said, you're right about the forms engine positioning of Access but in reality, virtually all of the "applications" I've seen built in Access are crap and slow. I've intentionally avoided learning Access's VBA because the application is so terrible and having "skills" in it of any substance are nearly worthless. Also, in the consulting world of sorts, I see people all the time tinkering with Access typically producing wrong results or getting odd error messages because of Access's jet engine [intentionally built-in] failings. That said, in very isolated situations where the amount is data is pretty small (typically fewer than 1 million records w/o many sophisticated fields) and it has to be sent to someone who wants to run "their queries" it's acceptable.
Lots of people were constricted by Excel 2007's 64k row limitation. Excel is a useful tool for a lot of people who aren't database experts. You can call them clueless, but they are getting their jobs done just fine with Excel.
I frequently work with these people who allegedly "get their jobs done fine". These are the sort of people who sometimes ask me for help and then I do 1 to 2 weeks worth of their work in 10 minutes of my time while they watch dumbfounded since they are so ridiculously clueless. I've seen people run counts in SQL on massive servers across a wide variety of tables, one at a time. Keep in mind these tables were never indexed because these "individuals" don't understand what indexing is (to Access's credit, it does have some rudimentary indexing which you typically have to manually enable depending on the situation...). As such, these "individuals" spend days just counting records in tables whereas I'll write a script which will index all of the relevant fields and record all of the counts, typically taking a few minutes instead of days...
If you look at your first article, and read all the way to the bottom, you'll find that Office 2007 was slow to execute macros at first, but later hotfixes solved that problem.
Office 2010 is also significantly faster.
I saw that too, but wouldn't you say that if their first "upgrade" is actually a downgrade in terms of performance, then the developers didn't have their priorities straight? After all, why should it takes a few hotfixes and a version that comes out ~6 or 7 years later only to get back to where you were?