O'Grady's PowerPage » Microsoft

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.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.0 update for Mac

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 30th, 2013, 07:27
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.0 update. The update, a 106.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Meeting invitation times are displayed inaccurately in Outlook. Fixes an issue that causes meeting invitation times from non-Exchange calendar servers to be off by one hour during certain times of the year.

- Slides in collapsed sections cover other slides in Slide Sorter view in PowerPoint.

- Fixes a display issue that involves collapsed sections in Slide Sorter view.

- Hash tags (#) in hyperlinks aren’t saved correctly in PowerPoint. Fixes an issue in which hyperlinks that contain hash tags (#) aren’t saved correctly.

- Crash occurs when you use Paste Special with a partial table in PowerPoint. Fixes an issue that causes PowerPoint to crash when you use the Paste Special option to copy and paste part of a table.

- RTF text that’s saved in PowerPoint for Windows can’t be pasted into PowerPoint. Fixes an issue in which RTF text that’s saved in PowerPoint for Windows can’t be copied and pasted into PowerPoint for Mac.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.0 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.

Microsoft announces Office 365 Home Premium for Macs, PCs and Windows tablets, points to February 27th release date

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013, 08:05
Category: News, Software

microsoftlogo.jpg

If you were wondering when Office 2013 would find its way to the Mac, it’s on its way come February 27th.

And in a subscription model.

Per CNET, after existing in preview form since last summer, Office 2013, the next version of Microsoft’s productivity software, is now available for download.

The company has begun offering users Office Home and Student 2013 with all the familiar apps like Word and Excel for a one-time fee of US$139. Since this stand-alone package won’t entitle you to any subsequent upgrades, Microsoft is also offering a more complete subscription model for US$99 per year that delivers the various updates over the coming months and years.

The package offers the following:
- The latest and most complete set of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.

- One license for the entire household to use Office on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs or Macs, and Office on Demand available from any Internet-connected PC.

- An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, nearly three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account.

- 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobile phones, landlines or PCs around the world.

- Future upgrades, so you always use the latest time-saving technology.

Microsoft also announced today the cloud-connected Microsoft Office Home and Business, though you won’t be able to snatch it up until February 27. You can get it for a one-time fee of US$219 or as a subscription for US$150 per year.

And along with the new software, Microsoft’s Office.com Web site has received a refresh in both look and functionality. The Web site lets you manage your account, set up and check the status of your subscription, and download the Office software to your computer.

Office 365 Home Premium for the Mac requires the following specs to install and run:
-1 GHz or faster x86 or 64-bit processor with SSE2 instruction set (PC); Intel processor (Mac).

-1 GB RAM (32-bit or Mac) /2 GB RAM (64-bit).

-3.0 GB of available disk space (PC); 2.5 GB HFS+ hard disk format (Mac).

-1024×576 or higher resolution monitor.

- Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 2008 R2 with .NET 3.5 or later (PC); Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later (Mac).

- Graphics hardware acceleration requires DirectX10 graphics card with 1024 x 576 resolution.

- Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, or 10; Mozilla Firefox 10.x or later; Apple Safari 5; or Google Chrome 17.x.

A full 30 day trial can be found and downloaded from here.

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