Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.5 update

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Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 11:53
Category: News, Software

It’s not a huge update, but it might be helpful.

Microsoft on Wednesday released version 14.3.5 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following change:

- Fixes an issue that affects IMAP-based email accounts in which the flagged or starred state of a message was not set correctly.

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Microsoft demonstrates updated Start button for Windows 8.1, feature to arrive on June 26th

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Date: Friday, June 7th, 2013, 07:11
Category: News, Software

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If you’re using Windows 8 on your Mac, there’s some changes coming down the pipe.

Per The Verge, Microsoft demonstrated a number of new features in Windows 8.1 earlier this week, but the company briefly showed the return of the Start button as well.

During Computex this week the company took the time to fully demo the Start button. In the following video you can see how Microsoft is adding options to show the All Apps view when the Start button is activated. The animation of the Start button switching between the desktop and Start Screen is clearly shown too with the new support for desktop wallpapers on the Start Screen. Microsoft will deliver a preview version of Windows 8.1 on June 26th:



Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe Flash Player updated to 11.7.700.203

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Date: Friday, May 24th, 2013, 11:46
Category: News, Software

Never look an update in the mouth.

On Friday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.7.700.203 for Mac OS X, a 16.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:

Fixed:
- Audio stream cuts off on certain websites after 10-60 seconds(3541383).

Known Issues:
- Some newer AMD Graphics Processing Unit drivers exhibit rendering issues in certain circumstances (3431502).

- Webcam fails when used in conjunction with Microsoft Kinect (3482709).

- In AIR for iOS, cannot package localized swf names (3518195).

- In AIR for iOS, giving focus to a Spark TextArea component can cause text to be truncated (3514889).

- Long application description in AIR installation dialog causes the buttons to not be visible (3515305).

- Slight lag in FLVPlayback video looping (3515066).

- Large bitmaps which are scaled down do not render correctly when published (3520589).

- On AIR, custom context menu items fire extra events (3493614).

- In the Chrome browser, Swapping microphones at runtime fails (3493587).

- In Internet Explorer, when flash content is scrolled out of view, audio can be garbled (3520586).

- AAC audio becomes distorted when you attach an enhanced microphone with AEC (3523551).

Adobe Flash Player 11.7.700.203 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new Flash Player and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Xbox One to feature improved iOS device, SmartGlass integration

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Date: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013, 06:25
Category: Hardware, News, Software

Microsoft announced its upcoming Xbox One console yesterday.

And threw in some interesting iOS cooperation with it.

Per Mac|Life and Wired, Microsoft’s new gaming console will be “fully integrated” with Xbox’s SmartGlass application, thus allowing users of iPhones and iPads to connect seamlessly with the next generation of Microsoft’s popular console series.


xbox-one

Introduced last year and allegedly downloaded by over 10 million people, SmartGlass currently allows users to interact with their Xbox 360 consoles in a number of limited ways, such as using the iPhone’s keyboard to type onscreen (a significant improvement over the hunt-and-peck nature of gamepad-based input), watching videos, and navigating menus.

Currently, it’s not too clear what Microsoft’s “fully integrated” service entails. Future versions of SmartGlass will apparently let users turn their iPhones or iPads into a “skeuomorphic remote control, able to emulate any other control device.” The Xbox One will also supposedly allow more devices to connect at once for multiplayer and shared experiences”.

Further details are expected to be revealed at this year’s E3 conference in Los Angeles from June 11-13.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple apparently unwilling to release Windows 8 version of iTunes

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Date: Friday, May 10th, 2013, 06:48
Category: News, Software

Well, this is kind of a new one.

Per Mac|Life and CNN Money, Microsoft has apparently been pushing Apple for a Windows 8-native edition of iTunes, which currently only runs in traditional Desktop mode on the company’s Metro-style software — and not at all on the tablet-centric Windows RT.

“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” laments Windows Division CFO Tami Reller. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”

While Apple has grudgingly carried over iTunes, Safari, QuickTime and even iCloud to the Windows platform, the company has largely ignored Windows 8, which debuted six months ago and claims to have sold 10 million licenses during that time.

Thus far, the sole exception is a recent OS X Mountain Lion update which added Windows 8 compatibility to Boot Camp — but that’s for running Microsoft’s OS on Apple’s hardware, not for Apple software on Windows computers.

Windows RT owners are the ones suffering most from Apple’s neglect — they can’t install iTunes at all since it requires Intel hardware, which means a traditional desktop or laptop computer or more expensive Windows Pro tablet.

However, even that is a less than ideal experience, since iTunes doesn’t currently take advantage of the native Windows 8 experience, instead running as a window inside the classic Desktop view.

While the words “bargaining chip” come to mind, we’ll have to wait and see if an accord can be reached between Apple and Microsoft as to what to do with iTunes when it comes to the Windows 8 universe…

Microsoft releases Office 2008 12.3.6 update for Mac

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Date: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013, 08:25
Category: News, Software

On Tuesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.6 update. The update, a 209.7 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 2008 12.3.6 requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later to install and run.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.4, incorporates Office 365 functionality into newest version

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Date: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013, 06:54
Category: News, Software

This one’s been something of a long time coming.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Tuesday released version 14.3.4 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, includes a variety of feature additions that brings the application suite somewhat up to spec with its Windows counterpart, and includes bug fixes for compatibility issues that hindered interoperability between PC and Mac versions of Word, Outlook and other titles.

Perhaps most important is the ability for existing Office for Mac 2011 users to integrate with Office 365, a subscription service that offers users access to the latest Office software updates, as well as SkyDrive cloud storage and SharePoint access for Word.

Fixes included in the new version:
- Coauthoring session with Microsoft PowerPoint Web App and Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac.

- After token expires, does not prompt for credentials in Microsoft Outlook for Mac.

- Calibri Light font not included in Office for Mac.

- SetupUI is shown to user on start after Office for Mac is already activated.

- Saving files to SkyDrive and SharePoint in Microsoft Word for Mac.

- Folder contains excess white space: Error 1025 in Outlook for Mac.

- XLIST command that is used by Gmail is deprecated in Outlook for Mac.

- Local group mail cannot be sent in Outlook for Mac.

- Remote devices lose control while in Presentation Mode in Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac.

- File format extension support in PowerPoint for Mac.

- Searching continues after user cancels in Outlook for Mac.

- Items go into Junk Mail in Outlook for Mac.

- Blocked Senders List under Junk Email Protection in Outlook for Mac.

In a recent change to its pricing policies, Microsoft placed Office 2011 for Mac in the same tier as its more current PC counterpart Office 2013 for Windows. At the time, it was thought that the Redmond, Wash., company was pushing Mac users toward an Office 365 subscription due to the deprecation of multi-license bundles.

With Tuesday’s update, Office 2011 users can sign up for Microsoft Office 365 if they so choose. Subscription to the Home Premium edition costs US$99.99 per year, or US$9.99 per month, and grants the use of Office on up to five computers.

In order to take advantage of the newest Office for Mac 2011 version, existing owners must have version 14.1.0 or higher installed on a machine running OS X 10.5.8 or later, while Office 365 requires an Intel Mac and OS X 10.6 or higher.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Microsoft’s Xbox, Kinect employees helping to develop smartwatch

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Date: Friday, April 19th, 2013, 06:40
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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Microsoft is prototyping its own wrist-worn device. According to The Verge, a reliable source familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans has revealed that the company has been developing a wrist-worn device for just over a year. Microsoft was initially rumored to release a “Joule” heart rate monitor accessory for the Xbox, but the company has since decided to focus on a smartwatch instead. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Microsoft’s plans earlier this week, citing unnamed supply chain sources who claim Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from component manufacturers.

Microsoft’s smartwatch is said to be in the prototype phase, with teams who have worked on Xbox accessories and the Kinect sensor focused on the device. The device apparently features removable bands attached to a 1.5-inch touch display. One prototype includes the same magnetic power connector that Microsoft uses on its Surface tablets. The MagSafe-like connector is made up of five pins and can transmit both power and data, but we’re told this is only a prototype and a final design may omit the connector.

Microsoft previously fielded a range of smartwatches back in 2004 under the SPOT brand. The devices used FM radio signals to obtain news, weather forecasts, and stock information. Microsoft discontinued the devices in 2008, shuttering the service fully last year. Microsoft’s Bill Buxton recently outlined the 37-year history of smartwatches at a talk during the company’s TechFest research event. At the time, we speculated Microsoft may re-enter a market it tried to kickstart years ago, and it looks like that may soon be a reality.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Microsoft planning boot-to-desktop mode for Windows 8.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, 07:33
Category: Rumor, Software

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If you’re using a Windows 8 partition, then there’s a fairly decent chance you want to strangle whoever created the Metro interface, as great as Microsoft seems to think it is.

Per The Verge, in an apparent attempt to have its latest operating system better appeal to business customers, Microsoft reportedly plans to add a “boot to desktop” mode to its Windows 8.1 update, allowing users to bypass the Metro Start Screen.

In current test builds of Windows 8.1, codenamed “Windows Blue”, the operating system includes an option to boot directly to the traditional Windows desktop, sources familiar with the company’s plans indicated to reporters. That’s a major change from the current version of Windows 8, which automatically boots to the new Start Screen which features the tiled “Metro” user interface.

Windows 8 currently boots to the new Start Screen, requiring an extra step to reach the desktop.

The new Start Screen has been criticized by PC users who feel the interface is not ideal with a traditional keyboard and mouse setup. Some believe the Metro user interface is better suited for touchscreen devices, like tablets and phones.

While Microsoft reportedly plans to make the desktop view a default option when booting a system, the company is said to be keeping the invisible “hot corners” it introduced with Windows 8. That function allows users to bring up the operating system’s “Charms” or the Metro Start Screen by touching or dragging their PC mouse to the corner of the screen.

Windows 8 launched last fall with a great deal of hype from the Redmond, Wash., company, which claimed the new operating system was a revolutionary upgrade from its predecessor, Windows 7. But Windows 8 got off to a soft start, and failed to turn around sales in the sagging PC hardware market.

Continuing woes in the PC market have been generally blamed on the popularity of Apple’s iPad, which reached a new, lower entry price of US$329 last fall with the debut of the iPad mini. In comparison, many new touchscreen Ultrabooks running Windows 8 cost over a thousand dollars.

The struggles seen by PC makers have led market watchers to predict that the industry could see a major shakeup in the coming years. Some believe that remaining companies could merge, leading to fewer options, while others see gross margins shrinking in an effort to cut prices and boost sales.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Microsoft working on “iWatch” device of its own

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Date: Monday, April 15th, 2013, 06:17
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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You know that rumor about Apple working on an iWatch of sorts?

Microsoft may be working on its own.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is apparently working on designs for a touch-enabled watch device, executives at suppliers said, potentially joining rivals like Apple Inc. in working on a new class of computing products.

Earlier this year, Microsoft asked suppliers in Asia to ship components for a potential watch-style device, the executives said. One executive said he met with Microsoft’s research and development team at the software company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters. But it’s unclear whether Microsoft will opt to move ahead with the watch, they said.

Microsoft declined to comment.

Some investors and big technology companies are betting on a boom in wearable, computerized devices built around the growing power and slimming size of sensors that can detect body temperature, geographic location and voice commands of people on the go.

Some of the new wearable gadgets, like Nike Inc.’s FuelBand, measure physical activity, while others are intended to supplement functions of a smartphone, such as receiving text messages, taking photos or checking the weather. Apple has also experimented with designs for a wristwatch-style device.

Startup Pebble Technology Corp. is selling a watch that syncs wirelessly with smartphones and vibrates to alert wearers to incoming phone calls, Twitter posts and emails. Google Inc. is testing with consumers a device it calls Google Glass, an eyeglass-style gadget that displays certain computerized information in a user’s field of vision.

“We see growing demand for wearable gadgets as the size of the smartphone has become too big to carry around,” said RBS analyst Wanli Wang. “A smart watch that is compatible with a smartphone and other electronics devices would be attractive to consumers.”

Research firm Gartner expects the market for wearable smart electronics to be a $10 billion industry by 2016.

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has shown an interest in wearable gadgets. Microsoft a decade ago unveiled a “Smart Watch” powered by the company’s software. For a subscription fee, Smart Watch wearers could have news headlines, sports scores and instant messages beamed over FM radio to their wrists. But sales stopped in 2008.

For its potential new watch prototype, Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from component makers, said an executive at a component supplier.

The tests of a computerized watch also underscore Microsoft’s ambitions in expanding its hardware offerings. Last October, Microsoft launched the Surface tablet-style computer, and the company is prepping more homegrown computing devices including a smaller, 7-inch version of a tablet to compete with popular gadgets like Apple’s iPad Mini, people familiar with the matter have said.

Microsoft also is continuing to test its own smartphone, although it isn’t clear whether it will bring such a device to market, component suppliers said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.