Microsoft Pushes New Updates for Office 2013

Microsoft recently released the consumer preview new version of Office; back on July 16th as a consumer preview. Office 2013 has a metro UI which is similar to what has (See: Office 2013 Screenshot Tour) and has several new features including tight cloud integration (Read: Office 2013 Features).

Also Read: Use Word 2013 to Edit Your Blog

Office 2013 Update

However, less than a moth later, Microsoft has now released an update to Office 2013 which updates the version to 15.0.4128.1019 from the earlier version 15.0.4128.1014. However, there is no change log available for the update and I am still trying out figure out the changes in this release.

If you have not yet tried out Office 2013, you can download a free consumer preview version of Office 2013 or also use direct download links for Office 2013 to download it for your PC.

Windows 8 Final Build Leaked Before Official Release

Microsoft signed off the Windows 8 RTM yesterday with the retail version coming out on October 26th. Microsoft will also make the RTM available to developers and IT professional on August 15th and to other Microsoft customers starting August 16th. However, it looks like the RTM has already leaked into the wild.

Tom Warren from The Verge reports that the final edition of Windows 8 has already leaked into the wild. The leaked Windows 8 Enterprise edition is reportedly the European version of the software (Windows 8 ‘N’) which usually comes without the Windows Media Player installed in it.

The leaked version of Windows 8 is available for downloads on several fire sharing websites like Media Fire and is also easily searchable on sites like Files Tube. However, unlike all other recent Windows versions, the leaked version will not have all the features available unless you activate it and the earlier Windows 8 product keys will not work to activate the software.

Also Read:

We would advice that you stay away from the current leaked version since it might not work properly and include viruses and Trojans.

Windows 8 Has A Much-Needed OOBE Tutorial

There are plenty of significant changes in Windows 8, and with change comes a learning curve. As a technology enthusiast who gets excited rather than afraid when presented with change, I even had to take some time to get used to using Windows 8 and its new gestures productively, and this had me a little concerened about how average users would take to the OS.

Obviously, most people don’t know about the Charms bar, or full-screen Metro apps, or the new Start Preview screen (and the thumbnail used to access it, which lies in the area once occupied by the infamous start button.) That being said, I had my fingers crossed that they had some sort of out-of-box tutorial up their sleeves that will acquaint users with these new paradigms and gestures that have been introduced to the operating system, and thankfully, that appears to be the case.

The Verge spotted a post by Darren Baker, who got the RTM bits a little early and wrote about his experience installing it on his tablet. Upon the completion of the installation, he was presented with a tutorial that demonstrated hot corners with both touch — as he had a touch-enabled device, of course — and the mouse.

Apple’s own operating systems as of late have been getting increasingly gesture-heavy, and they rightly have a basic tutorial upon configuring your system that introduces you to these gestures.

It’s quite a relief that they implented this. Users will still be resistant to the change, of course, and people will still have to get used to the new ways of doing things in order to be as productive as possible, but this basic introduction should help prevent people from being completely flustered after booting up Windows 8 for the first time.

Tidbit: Windows Server 2012 Released To Manufacturing, General Availability Set For September 4

On top of Windows 8 and Windows RT — which The Next Web learned about through sources close to the company — RTMing on Wednesday, Microsoft has also finalized Windows Server 2012, and will be shipping the final bits out to partners/OEMs this week.

It will also be made available to Volume Licensing customers sometime within the next couple of weeks as well.

Microsoft also announced that Windows Server 2012 general availability is set for September 4th, during which they will also be hosting a special online launch event where executives, engineers, customers and partners will “share more about how Windows Server 2012 can help organizations of all sizes realize the benefits of what we call the Cloud OS.”

Microsoft Releases Windows RT To Manufacturing

We know that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing, but what about its ARM tablet counterpart? The Next Web has learned through its sources that Windows RT has also been released to manufacturing on Wednesday, so companies who are working on ARM-based Windows tablets have the final bits of the operating system.

Now of course, don’t expect to be able to walk into a store and pick up a boxed copy of Windows RT; this flavor of the OS will be available only to partners/manufacturers.

This is good news; apparently, there were some murmurs of a possible Windows RT RTM delay, which would be disastrous as Microsoft would miss the holiday season sales cycle. However, everything has gone according to plan, and we can expect devices — PCs and tablets alike — to begin going on sale come October 26th, which is when Windows 8 will be generally available.

Yes, this means that the much-anticipated Surface should be coming out around this time as well.

The RTM Windows Store is Now Accepting Paid Apps, Company Accounts

On the heels of the announcement that Windows 8 has officially RTM’d, Microsoft has announced that the Windows Store is now fully open for business. From today onwards, any qualifying business in a supported market will be able to submit Metro apps for Windows 8 to the store.

Microsoft has also announced that today, 54 new markets have been added to the list of distinct catalog offerings, providing developers more opportunities that are specific to their respective markets. 24 new app certification languages have been added, bringing the total up to 38 and more than doubling the amount that was supported with the Release Preview build, which, released 8 weeks ago, was the last public pre-release of Windows 8 before we reached RTM.

The developer dashboard is also now available in an additional 11 languages, meaning that you will be able to select from an even larger plethora of languages for the backend area where you can submit apps, view analytics, and check the certification process.

Transaction support is also now enabled, and the Application Developer Agreement (ADA) has been updated to reflect this. The base Store fee is 30% of revenue for any transactions occurring through the platform, with that fee being reduced to 20% for the lifetime of the app if sales hit $25,000 USD. Microsoft also notes that they’re working hard to continually improve their certification policy, and that they are committed to “provide a level of transparency, consistency, and specificity that helps developers make more informed choices and take best advantage of the Windows platform…”

In conclusion, it’s worth noting that, in order to upload apps to the Store, you will need to have the RTM build of Windows 8 installed. Of course, you won’t have to wait until general availability; the RTM build will be released on MSDN and in trial form on Technet come August 15. Microsoft recommends that, until then, you keep working on your app on the Release Preview and register your company account now, as it takes a bit of time to get a company account verified and registering now ensures that you can “hit the ground running” once the RTM build is released.

Microsoft: Windows 8 Has Been Released To Manufacturing (RTM)

As expected, Microsoft has just announced that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM). As we speak, the final build of the OS is being released to OEMs and manufacturing partners, and will come pre-installed on a slew of PCs (and tablets) which will be released over the next few months.

In the announcement post, Steven Sinofsky notes that they’ve seen an insane level of participation in testing the pre-release version of Windows 8. Over 16 million PCs have participated, including the roughly 7 million PCs that participated in the Release Preview which the company made available for download 8 weeks ago. So, what’s next? We know that general availability will be on October 26th, but when will the build be available through official channels for us early adopters?

Here’s a timeline of when the bits will be released to various marketplaces:

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.

And yes, for those of you who are keeping track, recent rumors have been spot-on; the RTM build is 9200. So, there you have it. The Windows 8 RTM build is done.

1 Million Outlook Users In 6 Hours

For those following me on Twitter know that I’ve not been having a good time with this Outlook release, and that’s primarily Tom Warren’s my fault. Having said that, Microsoft’s newly launched email service——is in one word, gorgeous. The Windows 8 Mail and Office 15 experience, fluid and clean Metro experience is a refreshing change for a regular Hotmail user.

Microsoft’s internal infrastructure allows current Hotmail users to rename their Microsoft Account IDs to get a shiny new email address. If my timeline is right, Microsoft announced Outlook at 9 AM PST or 12 PM EST today. That’s 7 hours from the time of writing this post. And as it turns out, in the first 6 hours, Outlook got a million users:

The graph shared by the team shows quite the rise within hours of announcement and it’s a long time away from a plateau-ing:

There are two ways of getting the new email address:

  • For existing Hotmail users, they should rename their accounts
  • Sign up for a new account

In case of renaming the accounts, if you have a Windows Phone 7 device, you will have to reset your phone and install your apps. A small price for getting a nicer email address.

Hotmail has undergone several brand changes and this is the final one. Along with Windows Live, Hotmail—the brand—is on its way out.

Microsoft Unveils New Hardware, Details Upcoming Touch Mouse Gestures For Windows 8

With the Windows 8 RTM right around the corner, Microsoft has unveiled a slew of new hardware products tailored towards Windows 8 PCs and devices.

The first one that was announced is the Wedge Mobile Keyboard. Designed specifically for tablets, it connects via Bluetooth to tablets, and is designed to be as small and portable as possible without compromising the typing experience. Also, a nice touch to it — and the other keyboard that was announced today — is that it comes designed with the new logo on the Windows key. On top of this touch to really indicate that it was built in the Windows 8 era, the keyboard also sports some hotkeys for Windows 8’s Charms. Building a tablet that’s both extremely portable and pleasant to use is quite a challenge, as anyone who has used an average netbook keyboard can attest to.

In order to bring your Wedge Mobile Keyboard with you while on the go, they have also created a pretty nifty cover that’s made of a rubber material. Not only does it protect the keyboard from scratches, but, when kept in a bag next to its accompanying tablet, it helps prevent the tablet from getting scratches as well. Finally, the cover can bend at the middle, forming a tablet kickstand.

Next up, we have the mouse counterpart of the keyboard, which is aptly named the Wedge Touch Mouse. With a peculiar size and shape, it definitely seems portable. However, I’m going to reserve my opinions on its comfort level and ergonomics until I actually get my hands on one. There’s no word on whether any advanced gestures will be available for it, but we do know that it will come with four-way touch scrolling. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard will be available soon for $79.95, and the Wedge Touch Mouse will be available for $69.95.

The next pair of keyboard/mouse siblings announced by the company are the Sculpt Touch Mouse and Sculpt Mobile Keyboard. They’re a bit larger in form factor than the Wedge series of peripherals while still remaining relatively mobile. They both connect to your PC via Bluetooth as well, and have been updated for Windows 8. And, like the Wedge Mobile Keyboard, it comes with those very same hotkeys to help make you more productive on Windows 8. The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard will be available for $49.95, and the Sculpt Touch Mouse will be available for the same cost as well sometime soon.

And finally, Microsoft announced that a slew of new gestures for Windows 8 are coming to the existing Microsoft Touch Mouse:

  • A one finger swipe will allow you to move side to side or up and down, shifting content on your screen.
  • Two finger movements manage apps, allowing users to display Windows 8 charms, switch through open apps and show app commands.
  • Three finger movements will let you zoom in and out.
  • Thumb gestures navigate backward and forward through apps.

Microsoft Announces BUILD 2012, Set For Late October

It’s offiical: There will be a second BUILD conference, and it’s happening right on the heels of Windows 8’s general availability in late October. BUILD 2012 as it’s called will be taking place on October 30th through November 2nd, this time in Microsoft’s home city of Redmond, Washington (it took place in Anaheim last year.)

So far, details — in the form of a session list — are sparse, and MJF  is still uncertain on whether or not they will publish one this year, but she points out that Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure, Windows Phone, and Visual Studio 2012 will very likely be the primary topics of this year’s developer conference.

Given the importance of apps in the eyes of consumers when it comes to a platform, Microsoft certainly needs to do everything in their power to continue drumming up developer enthusiasm. Windows Developer Jose Fajardo estimated based on the current Windows Store app count that we may see roughly 1200 apps by the time Windows 8 launches. There’s more to it than quantity, of course; on top of rallying up just about everyone who even has a sliver of interest in developing for Windows, the company also has to work to bring more established developers — from other platforms even — to Windows.

So, if you’re a developer or enthusiast, get ready; BUILD 2012 registration opens on August 8th.