Microsoft Answers Rebranded as Microsoft Community

Microsoft Answers has got a new look and feel as well as a new name starting today. If you head to answers.microsoft.com, you would notice the clean white design, quite a change from the prominently green design before this, and a new name – Microsoft Community – integrating the new Microsoft logo.

Microsoft Answers is now Microsoft Community!

We’ve got a new name and a new look, but the Microsoft Community will continue to provide the same great questions and answers that you rely on to get the most out of your technology.

Microsoft Community are community-supported forums where Microsoft users and customer support agents from around the world connect to share ideas and solve problems. The site allows users to find answers, ask questions, and share their expertise. Users can submit their questions, and other users and agents post helpful replies and step-by-step instructions or add on to the common issues. The support agents moderate the discussions and mark useful replies as answers.

The community is structured in to eight categories based on products and technology: Hotmail, Messenger & SkyDrive, Internet Explorer, Office, Office for Mac. Virus and Malware, Windows, Windows Phone, and Zune.

While the design is neat and visually appealing, this looks like a quick rebranding exercise only. The URL is still answers.microsoft.com. At the moment, community.microsoft.com directs to Microsoft homepage and Microsoft may want to leverage the same. The categories are simply migrated and there has been no effort to refresh the same. For example, ‘Hotmail’ is not replaced by ‘Outlook’ and the URL of this category says ‘windowslive’. Ouch!

CyanogenMod 7 Has Half A Million Served

Rejoice Android ROM community, CyanogenMod has recently topped over 500,000 unique installs of the latest major version release, CyanogenMod 7. Supported by a team of developers, maintainers, and community staff, CyanogenMod has become one of the most popular customized aftermarket ROMs for Android devices. In fact, it’s officially available for 28 different devices (including tablets and ebook readers) but runs perfectly fine on a total of 44 unmentionables.

What started out as a small project to update and customize the first Android handset, the HTC Dream, has now turned into a huge effort to provide devices with not only the latest and greatest version of Android, but to provide users with phones that are highly optimized, free of carrier branding and have features that may have been previously disabled.

According to CyanogenMod installation statistics, the HTC Desire (codenamed Bravo) has over 70,000 of the aforementioned half a million installations, followed by the HTC Evo 4G (Supersonic) at just over half with roughly 39,000 installs. While this is a great milestone for the ROM community as a whole, when contrasted with the fact that  500,000 Android devices are being activated daily, it becomes glaringly obvious that many regular consumers are running out-of-date versions of Android that have been hampered by carriers and OEMs who want to brand their devices.

The efforts of a single soul have come a long way, so congratulations to cyanogen  and the entire CM Community  on their milestone mark. The more users taking control of their own devices, means the less carriers can control.