Rumor: Leaked Microsoft roadmap points towards Office for iOS/Android in 2014

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 11th, 2013, 07:22
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

microsoftlogo.jpg

A rumor’s a rumor, but there’s got to be something valid in there.

Per ZDNet, the outfit claims to have gotten its mitts on a Microsoft roadmap for next year and says on it is “iOS/Android support for Office”.

Also on the roadmap for fall 2014 is what’s listed as iOS/Android support for Office. While this could point to the rumored iOS release of Office, the most recent rumors/expectations have been that Microsoft may be making these mobile iOS/Android versions of Office available as part of an Office 365 subscription of some kind. The alleged roadmap makes no mention of an Office 365/subscription tie-in. It only mentions “iOS/Android” as a Gemini Fall 2014 deliverable.

Microsoft itself has dropped a couple hints at mobile support for Office including assorted job listings and references to Excel and Powerpoint on iPhone from last year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft Windows 8 certification change could hint at upcoming iPad mini competitor

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 29th, 2013, 06:02
Category: iPad mini, News

microsoftlogo.jpg

Microsoft could have an iPad mini competitor en route.

Per AppleInsider, recent changes quietly made to the Windows 8 hardware certification guidelines suggest that Microsoft could be gearing up to debut a new, smaller “Windows Reader” tablet designed to compete with more portable devices like Apple’s iPad mini.

The company recently relaxed its hardware certification rules to allow devices with screen resolutions of 1,024 by 768 pixels at a depth of 32 bits. But the Redmond, Wash., company also warned developers that it doesn’t mean they are allowed to develop hardware with low-resolution displays.

“This doesn’t imply we’re encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution,” Microsoft said. “In fact, we see customers embracing the higher resolution screens that make a great Windows experience. We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful.”

The company has been rumored to be at work on a so-called “Windows Reader” for some time.

The new resolution allowed for Windows 8 devices happens to match the display of Apple’s iPad mini, which also sports a 1,024-by-768-pixel 7.9-inch screen. And the iPad 2, which Apple also continues to sell, features the same resolution on a larger 9.7-inch display, giving it a lower pixel density.

Windows 8 operating systems that run at Microsoft’s newly approved lower resolution will lose the operating system’s “snap” feature, which allows two Windows Store applications to be viewed simultaneously side by side. Manufacturers are required by Microsoft to disclose this loss “to avoid potential customer disappointment.”

While Microsoft looks to lower resolutions, some expect that Apple will boost the iPad mini to a Retina-caliber display with a second-generation model this year. However, others have suggested that doubling the iPad mini’s resolution on its small 7.9-inch display may be too difficult a feat to accomplish this year.

Microsoft’s current closest competitor to the full-size iPad is the Surface with Windows RT, which has a screen resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels on a 10.1-inch display. A head-to-head comparison conducted last November by Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate found that the Surface outperforms Apple’s iPad 2, but falls short of newer full-size iPad models with Retina displays.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft to begin automatically pushing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update starting today

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, 06:03
Category: News, Software

windows7logo

If your Windows 7 partition seems to be updating itself after you’ve booted into it, there’s a reason why.

Per ZDNet, as Microsoft marches toward its early April 2013 end of free support deadline for Windows 7, the company is planning to update automatically some of those who still have yet to install the first (and seemingly only) Service Pack for the operating system.

As announced on March 18 via its “Blogging Windows” blog, Microsoft plans to begin rolling out Windows 7 SP1 automatically, via Windows Update to Windows 7 users who still are running the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version without SP1 installed. This process will begin on March 19.

From the blog post:

“Starting tomorrow, the installation will be fully automatic with no user action required for those who already have Automatic Update enabled. SP1 will be released gradually over the coming weeks to all customers on the RTM version of Windows 7. The service pack will take slightly longer to install compared to other updates. To ensure Service Pack 1 is installed without issue, customers should check for sufficient free disk space and that AC power is present on a laptop. If additional space needs to be created, we recommend using the Disk Cleanup tool to delete some files so that the service pack will install. If the service pack installation is interrupted, it will reattempt to install automatically after the next restart.”

This automatic update will be applied only to Windows 7 consumer PCs that are not managed via other Microsoft management tools like System Center Configuration Manager or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), the post noted. Some admins have chosen to temporarily block their users from getting SP1 until they’ve tested it to their satisfaction. Those in that category won’t be getting SP1 pushed to them starting tomorrow.

Windows 7 RTM, with no service pack installed, will no longer be supported as of April 9, 2013, according to a February 14 post on the Microsoft Springboard Series blog. Support for specific Windows releases ends 24 months after the release of a new Service Pack, and Windows 7 SP1 was released in February 2011.

Windows 7 SP1 mainstream (free) support continues until January 13, 2015. Extended (paid) support for Windows 7 SP1 is available until January 14, 2020. (Microsoft continues to provide security updates for free during the Extended support phase of a product.)

Microsoft made available last week a Windows 7 hotfix rollup that includes 90 previously released hotfixes.

So, if you’ve been lax with the “Windows Update” feature on your Windows 7 partition, it might just do it for you.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.2, Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.6 updates for Mac

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 12th, 2013, 09:17
Category: News, Software

On Tuesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.2 update. The update, a 118 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

The company also released its Office 2008 12.3.6 update, a 219.9 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which offers the following fixes and changes:

- This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.6 requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later to install and run.

Researcher locates HTML 5 exploit, floods hard drive with cat images in proof of concept video

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 4th, 2013, 07:32
Category: News, security, Software

HTML5_Logo_256

In as much as Java and Adobe Flash Player have taken recent beatings where security is concerned, apparently no platform is safe.

Per the BBC, a recently discovered flaw in the HTML 5 coding language could allow websites to bombard users with gigabytes of junk data, with a number of popular browsers being open to the vulnerability.

According to developer Feross Aboukhadijeh, who uncovered the bug this week and posted it to his blog, data dumps can be performed on most major Web browsers, including Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Opera, the BBC reported. The only browser to stop data dump tests was Mozilla’s Firefox, which capped storage at 5MB.

If in doubt, this proof of concept video sorta says it all…:



The problem is rooted in how HTML 5 handles local data storage. While each browser has different storage parameters, many of which support user-definable limits, all provide for at least 2.5 megabytes of data to be stored on a user’s computer.

Aboukhadijeh discovered a loophole that bypasses the imposed data cap by creating numerous temporary websites that are linked to a user-visited site. Because most browsers don’t account for the contingency, the secondary sites were allowed local storage provisions in amounts equal to the primary site’s limit. By generating a multitude of linked websites, the bug can dump enormous amounts of data onto affected computers.

In testing the flaw, Aboukhadijeh was able to dump 1GB of data every 16 seconds on his SSD-equipped MacBook Pro with Retina display. He noted that 32-bit browsers like Chrome may crash before a disk is filled.

“Cleverly coded websites have effectively unlimited storage space on visitor’s computers,” Aboukhadijeh wrote in a blogpost.

The developer has released code to exploit the bug and has created a dedicated website called Filldisk to highlight the flaw. In true internet meme fashion, the site dumps images of cats on to an affected machine’s hard drive.

Bug reports have already been sent to makers of the affected Web browsers, and Aboukhadijeh said malicious use of his code has yet to been seen in the wild.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft announces updated Mac accreditation program

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 27th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

This may be handy.

Per MacTech and The Apple Core, the new Microsoft Office for Mac Accredited Support Professional program will target Microsoft Office for Mac, and Microsoft Office 365 suites. The pilot training and accreditation program will be offered free to registered attendees to MacTech’s 2013 BootCamps II seminars, depending upon limited space.

A press release said that the accreditation program will span topics such as Office Web Apps, best practices in configuration, licensing options, cross platform features, sharing documents with SkyDrive and SharePoint as well as other troubleshooting and common questions.

The accreditation is specifically designed for Apple consultants and techs supporting others using Microsoft Office for Mac, and Office 365 suites. At the end of the course, attendees will be evaluated on the content presented, and those who demonstrate sufficient knowledge will become a “Microsoft Office for Mac Accredited Support Professional.” Once obtained, attendees will receive an accreditation certificate from Microsoft, and be able to display the new accreditation graphic on their web sites and other promotional materials, as well as in their credentials.

The first course will be offered the week after next in Seattle with additional information available here.

Sony unveils upcoming PlayStation 4 architecture, announces “PlayStation App” to extend second screen functionality to iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 21st, 2013, 07:39
Category: iOS, News, Software

ps4controller

This could lead to something nifty.

In a follow-up to Sony’s PS4 announcement on Wednesday, the company released a statement regarding the platform’s “second screen” abilities, noting that Apple’s iOS devices will be supported.

Per AppleInsider, the “PlayStation App” will allow iPhone, iPad and Android device owners to use their devices with the upcoming PlayStation 4 console. While second screen apps were touched on in the platform unveiling, specific device support went unmentioned.

Information regarding the app’s capabilities is scarce, and it is unclear how feature-rich Sony is willing to make the second screen experience given that the company is pushing hard to incorporate its own handheld, the PS Vita, as part of the PS4 ecosystem.

A new application from SCE called “PlayStation®App” will enable iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets to become second screens. Once installed on these devices, users can, for example, see maps on their second screens when playing an adventure game, purchase PS4 games while away from home and download it directly to the console at home, or remotely watch other gamers playing on their devices.

During the keynote, Gaikai founder David Perry noted users will be able to purchase game content from mobile devices and have it downloaded to their consoles at home. Another possibility for the app is live streaming to friends’ devices through the PS4′s “Share” option, though this feature was mentioned in regard to the PS Vita.

Microsoft currently offers its own app, called Xbox SmartGlass, for the Xbox 360, though the title’s feature set offers little more than controlling basic console functions.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft quietly increases Office 2011 for Mac price by 10 to 17%

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013, 07:03
Category: News, Software

Well, this is mildly sadistic.

Per CNET, Microsoft has quietly increased the prices of its Office for Mac 2011 by as much as 17 percent, putting it on price par with Office 2013 for Windows.

The company has also quit selling multi-license packages, which allowed customers to purchase multiple copies of the application suite at a discounted rate.

The single-license Office for Mac Home & Student now retails for US$140, an increase of about 17 percent from the previous price of US$120. Meanwhile, Microsoft raised the price of Office for Mac Home & Business, which includes Outlook, to US$220, a 10 percent increase over the previous US$200 price.

Microsoft doesn’t seem to have publicized the price increase, so it’s not clear when it actually took effect. However, Computerworld, which first reported the increase, estimates it occurred around January 29, the same day that Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 were launched.

In addition to the price increase, Microsoft ceased sales of multi-license editions.

The multi-user packs are still for sale on Amazon (while supplies last) at a significant discount, but the listing notes that the software is an older edition.
The moves are apparently intended to redirect customers toward Office 365, which costs US$100 for an annual subscription. The new offering is part of effort by Microsoft to bring its suite of Office server tools and collaboration work flows into the cloud.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces upcoming fix for iOS 6.1 Exchange bug

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 14th, 2013, 05:53
Category: iOS, News, Software

You know that iOS 6.1 Exchange bug?

Apple says a fix is on the way.

Per MacRumors, just a day after Microsoft offered workarounds for an iOS 6.1 Exchange syncing bug and said that it was working with Apple on a solution, Apple has announced on its support page that it has identified the problem and is working on a fix:

“Apple has identified a fix and will make it available in an upcoming software update. In the meantime, you can avoid this bug by not responding to an exception to a recurring event on your iOS device. If you do experience the symptoms described above, disable then reenable the Exchange calendar on your iOS device using the steps below.
Apple details its own workaround until that update is available, advising users to go to ‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars’ under ‘Settings,’ selecting the Exchange account from the accounts list, turning the switch for ‘Calendars’ off, waiting 10 seconds and then turning it back on.”

The bug, which caused iOS 6.1 devices to continuously loop when syncing a recurring calendar meeting invitation to Microsoft Exchange, isn’t the first bug to stem from the two-week old iOS 6.1. iPhone 4S users were affected by a bug that hampered 3G performance, although that was fixed with Apple’s release of iOS 6.1.1 a couple days ago. There is no timeframe for when the fix for the Exchange bug will be released.

If you’ve seen this bug on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.1 update for Mac

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 12th, 2013, 07:43
Category: News, Software

An update’s an update.

On Tuesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.0 update. The update, a 110.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Stability is improved. This update fixes an issue that may cause Office 2011 applications to report a problem with Licensing even though the applications continue to run unaffected.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and have anything to report back, let us know.