Microsoft demonstrates upcoming Windows 8.1 update at Build conference

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 27th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

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If you’re running Windows 8 on your Mac, this might be helpful.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Wednesday launched its latest effort to reverse the fortunes of its Windows platform, showing off a line of new devices and unveiling Windows 8.1, a new build designed to boost interest in the company’s underperforming Windows 8.

At its Build developer conference at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, Microsoft looked to woo developers and win over customers who have been reluctant to upgrade to its newest operating system. As the company confirmed in the past, Windows 8.1 will feature the return of the Start Menu, as well as the option to bypass the touch-centric Modern UI and boot directly to the desktop.

Aside from the return of the Start Menu and the boot-to-desktop option, Microsoft showed off a number of tweaks and additions to its operating system.

Microsoft also showed off increased Bing integration, saying that the search engine has consistently grown market share in the United States since its introduction. Bing powers the full search experience throughout Windows 8.1, with features built in to show not only links to content, but also different ways to interact with that content.

If you’ve tried the Windows 8.1 update is due out for general release later this year.

Microsoft releases long-awaited Office Mobile 365 for iOS

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 14th, 2013, 06:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You’ve been hankering for a native version of Microsoft Office for iOS for some time now.

And it’s arrived.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Friday released its Office Mobile 365 app for Apple’s iPhone, allowing users with subscriptions to the productivity suite to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go.

With Microsoft’s Office Mobile, users can view documents stored in Microsoft’s SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint, as well as read and edit Office docs sent as email attachments. Additionally, owners of Windows machines can remotely access documents that were recently viewed on a desktop client.

Another PC-only feature is “Resume Reading,” which allows Word documents opened from SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro to automatically jump to where users left off on their Windows computer or tablet.

Microsoft says documents are optimized before being viewed on the iPhone, while support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics and shapes comes built-in. Also available is an in-app Slide Navigator in PowerPoint and a function to help with presentation practice.

The application offers the following features:
- Edit – You can make quick edits to Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

- Documents Remain Intact – Formatting and content remain intact when you edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents on your phone.

- Edit While Offline – Your device doesn’t have to be continuously connected to the network to work on an Office document that is stored online. You can view and edit recently used documents even while you’re offline. Your changes will be saved online when your device reconnects to the network or to Wi-Fi.

- Create – You can create new Word and Excel documents on your phone.

- Comments – You can review comments that have been made in Word and Excel documents on your phone and add your own comments.

- Share – When you’re done with your edits or comments, simply send the document in email or save it to SkyDrive or SharePoint.

Office Mobile comes in at 58MB and is available from the App Store as a free companion app for existing Office 365 subscribers. The app requires an iOS device running iOS 6.1 or later to install and run. Microsoft Office 2013 for PC is required for recent document and resume reading.

If you’ve tried Office Mobile 365 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

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.


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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

Posted by:
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.