AT&T Rolls Out The WP7 NoDo Update For The Samsung Focus

Microsoft started rolling out the NoDo update bringing the much awaited copy & paste feature to all WP7 handsets, at the end of the last month.

However, some carriers decided to delay the release of the NoDo update for WP7 based handsets including AT&T.

Nevertheless, AT&T has finally started rolling out the NoDo update for the Samsung Focus and the LG Quantum. The HTC Surround will get its NoDo update sometime in May, due to some software issues.

Samsung_Focus

Samsung has also taken this opportunity to roll out a firmware update for the Focus. The new firmware update incorporates some useful changes and bug fixes.

The capacitive buttons on the Focus are temporarily disabled, if an app is open and a   user drags his finger from the screen to the buttons. This will definitely be appreciated by all Focus owners, and will help in reducing all those accidental touches. No more going back to the previous screen, while playing Fruit Ninja!

Another nifty change brought by this firmware is the anti-shake setting being enabled by default for the Camera. Most users don’t really bother to check out the camera settings before clicking a snap, and this small change will definitely come in handy for them.

WP7 is a closed OS, still users need to wait for sometime before they can update their handset to the latest version of the OS.   So much for being a closed OS!

Via WPCentral

Microsoft Safety Scanner Scans Your PC For Virus, Spyware and Malicious Software

Over the past couple of years or so, I have used Microsoft Security Essentials as my only virus and malware protection tool. The Free Antivirus tool from Microsoft is definitely worth installing on your PC.

Microsoft Safety Scanner

If you are someone who does not like to install Antivirus on your PC or just want to check whether your current Antivirus is really working well, a new tool from Microsoft will come in handy.

Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free security software from Microsoft which provides users with on-demand scanning while allowing users to remove viruses, spywares, Trojans and another malicious software from their PC. Safety Scanner works along with your current Antivirus software, so you don’t have to uninstall your current AV protection to use it.

One of the bad things about Microsoft Safety Scanner is that it expires every 10 days. Users will have to download a new version to scan your system every ten days which could be annoying considering that it is around 70MB in size. A simple definition update should be added so that users don’t have to download new versions every 10 days.

Users must also note that unlike traditional Antivirus systems the Safety Scanner does not provide continuous protection and should not be used as a replacement for traditional Antivirus software. Microsoft Security Scanner should only be used to additionally scan your PC. If you intend to replace your current Antivirus you might check out our Free Antivirus section to find a suitable alternative.

Additionally, you may also want to read the following articles related to :

Download Microsoft Safety Scanner

Office 365: Now Out For a Public Beta with a Marketplace

If the FISMA blame game wasn’t enough, Microsoft has released its closest competitor to Google Apps for public beta and it is called Office 365. Chances are, you have heard of it already because it was in a closed beta for around six months now. The FISMA blog war has surely pre-heated the oven for this new cake from MSFT and Google Apps was not even aware that trouble was yet to begin, full-on.

logo-office-365

Microsoft has been running a cloud based email service, similar to Google apps named Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS). Apparently, no one knew about it and this rebranding and facelift was well worth it. Today, BPOS is back with a bang and it will find a prospective market in big enterprises, ones that have had good relations with MS and are using Google Apps already. However, the real aim that Microsoft has here is to get the service to the small businesses.

The launch of the Office 360 suite is supplemented with the launch of Office 365 Marketplace with around 100 apps. Google App Marketplace had close to 300 apps on their completion of a year, which was last week.

The Apps offering from Microsoft will not reach the masses as easily as Google Apps though. They are no free plans like in Google Apps and the minimum pricing is at $6 per month if you have less than 26 employees per month. Those who have been testing this App complain of the user interface but praise the functionality. Overall, this is enough to scare Google.Try out Office 365 for yourself- www.office365.com.

Google vs. Microsoft is now The Misleading vs. The Irresponsible

Google vs. Microsoft has reached a whole new level where they are fighting blog fights. Google calls Microsoft “irresponsible” in a blog post with Microsoft calling it “misleading” in the response. Check Google’s explanation as it appears here.

google-vs-microsoft

In a breathless blog post, Microsoft recently suggested we intentionally misled the U.S. government over our compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Microsoft claims we filed a separate FISMA application for Google Apps for Government, then leaps to the conclusion that Google Apps for Government is not FISMA certified.

Google claims that the separate FISMA certification it filed for was because of a name change and Google Apps Primer and Google Apps are the same products. Google Apps for Government has two additional security features and this will not require an additional FISMA approval. Google clarifies this further with,

…we’re actually going through a re-certification based on those changes that Google has announced with the Apps for Government’ product offering.

On a friendlier note, the last paragraph of the explanation post says Google hopes Microsoft will also re-authorize its applications for FISMA every few years. At this point of time, I feel like this explanation was long overdue and Google is right. It was wrong of  David Howard to attack Google but who knows, maybe Microsoft will throw another lemon and Google will make yet more lemonade. Only time will tell, but this sure gets interesting.
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Microsoft Apologizes for Windows Phone 7 Update Delays, Teases Us with Mango

On the second day of the MIX11 conference, Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of Microsoft, outlined what lies ahead for Windows Phone 7. One of the biggest hurdles for Microsoft has been to push out updates regularly and reliably. It infamously bricked Samsung phones through its February (NoDo) update. To make matters worse, although Microsoft had promised to deliver cut-paste feature in January, many WP7 users are yet to receive it due to careers and manufacturers taking their own sweet time.

Windows-Phone-7Going forward, Microsoft hopes to get these problems sorted out. To that effect, it has added both staff and infrastructure to the unit responsible for testing updates. If you are amongst the unfortunate WP7 owners who haven’t yet received the update, head over to the Where’s my phone update? page to check the status of the update for your handset. Microsoft has also launched a portal called Update Central, which includes a step by step guide for installing WP7 updates, and acts as a central repository for all update related information.
Microsoft expects every manufacturer to finish testing the current update by the end of April. Soon after, in May, it will release a beta version of new developer tools. The new developer tools will enable developers to create more powerful and versatile apps for Windows Phone 7.

The first major update for Windows Phone 7, codenamed Mango, is expected to be released this fall. It will rectify some of the most glaring shortcomings of Windows Phone 7. Mango will enable multitasking for third-party applications, introduce fast application switching, update the browser to Internet Explorer 9, and integrate Twitter. Mango will also introduce support for 16 additional languages, and expand the Marketplace to 35 countries (up from 16).

Microsoft has added as many as 1500 APIs to Windows Phone 7. Perhaps the most significant addition is the inclusion of APIs for raw access to camera and motion sensor libraries, which a lot of devs had been demanding. This will finally allow augmented reality apps like Layar, which was also demoed today, to arrive on WP7. Developers will also get access to Live Agents for creating Live Tiles, and accessing Push notifications. WPSauce has a fairly comprehensive summary of the new developer features.

All in all, Mango is looking to be a fantastic update. It will take care of some of the biggest shortcomings of Windows Phone 7; and hopefully, propel Windows Phone 7 into being a true challenger of Android and iOS.

Hey Microsoft, HTML5 isn’t Native, Because the Web isn’t Supposed to be Native!

As you must have read by now, Microsoft introduced the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at the MIX11 conference. The announcement surprised many, including yours truly, since Microsoft is known for dragging its heels over Internet Explorer. There was a gap of five years between Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7, and a further gap of three years between Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8. Say what you want about Internet Explorer, but a significant portion of internet users still rely on Microsoft’s browser for surfing the web. Rapidly evolving IE augurs well, not only for Microsoft and IE users, but also the entire web. It’s all well and good if Opera or Chrome or Firefox implements cutting edge standards, but not many developers are going to use those features unless Internet Explorer also supports it.

Internet-Explorer-10-Platform-Preview

Over the past year or so, Microsoft has largely been saying the right things, and making the right moves. Internet Explorer 9, which was a huge improvement over Internet Explorer 8, introduced support for several HTML5 and CSS3 standards. With Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft is continuing to focus on making IE even more developer friendly and standards compliant. The first developer preview itself has a fairly impressive changelog. CSS3 Multi-column Layout, CSS3 Grid Layout, CSS3 Flexible Box Layout, CSS3 Gradients, and ES5 Strict Mode are some of the major new features Microsoft has implemented. These are changes that should thrill developers, and excite general web users. IE 10 platform preview should be winning accolades. Instead, Microsoft has once again managed to annoy developers and web standards enthusiasts.

In the past, Microsoft has been heavily criticized for twisting facts, spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), and talking out of its behind. Microsoft has been trying to turn over a new leaf, but old habits die hard. Yesterday’s announcement was full of buzz-words and half-truths meant to influence the average joe. Microsoft’s official announcement proclaimed:

The only native experience of the Web and HTML5 today is on Windows 7 with IE9. IE9’s approach to taking advantage of what the operating system offers from the native graphics stack to jump lists in the shell maximizes performance, usability, and reliability.

The trouble is that no one is quite sure as to exactly what Microsoft means by native web and HTML5 experience. The phrase native webis by itself is an oxymoron. The web isn’t supposed to be native. The web is supposed to be operating system and hardware independent. The web is supposed to be open and uniform. While HTML5 and CSS3 strive to deliver a native app like experience, there’s definitely no such thing as native HTML5.

Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate VP of Internet Explorer, wrote, The best HTML5 is native to the operating system, so Web sites have the fewest translation layers to pass through. Like all PR-speak, this statement is purposefully ambiguous, and conveys a false sense of superiority.

Microsoft is also making a lot of noise about “full hardware acceleration” support. However, as far as I know, Firefox 4 supports hardware accelerated compositing on most platforms, Chrome has been testing this for a long time through the beta channels, and Opera has demoed it in a labs build.

Dismayed at Microsoft’s shady tactics, people have already begun speaking out. While Haavard from Opera Software lambasted Microsoft, Mike Beltzner (ex-director of Firefox) decided to be cheeky and sarcastic.

Native-HTML5

The use of dubious and shady marketing speak wasn’t Microsoft’s only blunder. In an attempt to justify the lack of Window XP support, Dean Hachamovitch wrote, Others have dropped support on Windows XP for functionality that we think is fundamental to performance. Others here implies Google Chrome, which removed GPU acceleration and WebGL for Windows XP in Chrome 10. However, what Hachamovitch ignored to mention was that Google intends to re-enable these features in Chrome 11 on Windows XP systems with reasonably up-to-date drivers. He also forgot to mention Firefox and Opera two browsers that have already demonstrated that Windows XP is fully capable of running modern browsers.

Through its reckless behavior in the 90s, Microsoft almost become synonymous with evil. It has been desperately trying to rebuild its image over the past few years. Internet Explorer 10 has lots of stuff that are worth getting excited about. Sure, a lot of it is stuff that other browsers have already implemented. However, the IE team has clearly been doing a pretty decent job over the past year or so. Cheap antics like this will only tarnish the efforts put in by the Internet Explorer developers, and antagonize users. We are already well into the new decade. It’s high time that Microsoft stops treating every one of us like a moron, and lets the products speak for themselves.

Windows 8 Build 7850 Leaked, Available for Download

It has finally happened! Someone has leaked an internal build of Windows 8. A short while back, Windows 8 Build 7850 was published by Betaarchive, and should appear soon on torrent and other file sharing services.

The build that has been leaked is actually pretty old – older than the build demoed by Microsoft at CES. According to multiple sources, Windows 8 has already reached Milestone III, whereas the leaked release is from the Milestone I days. Officially, the build bears the version number Windows 6.1, and behaves more or less like Windows 7. Even if any major new features are present, they will probably be locked down.

Windows-8-M1-Leaked

Nevertheless, if you are really desperate to get a taste of Windows 8, keep an eye on your favorite torrent website. The file name of the release is 6.1.7850.0.winmain_win8m1.100922-1508_x86fre_client-enterprise_en-us.iso, and the file size is 2.45 GB (2,637,101,056 bytes). Of course, keep in mind that toying with leaked releases is always fraught with danger. Besides being unstable and unfit for daily usage, there is always the possibility that they might have been tampered with. Don’t install this build unless you know what you are doing, and even then, don’t use it as your primary operating system.

Microsoft About To Release Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview [Video]

Believe it or not, Microsoft is gearing up to launch the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10, just a month after releasing Internet Explorer 9. Yes, this is the same company that took five years to move from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 7, and three more years for the next update.

Spurred by declining market share, Microsoft intends on releasing platform previews at regular intervals until the beta stage is reached. Platform previews are solely meant for developers, and doesn’t include most of the user oriented features.

Microsoft will probably release the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at the MIX11 keynote. Stay tuned to Techie Buzz for more updates. Microsoft has mistakenly released the Internet Explorer 10 video in advance. However, it was pulled down as I was updating this post. The first platform preview includes features like CSS 3 gradients, multi-column layouts, and grid Layouts. Microsoft has already updated the Internet Explorer Test Drive website. Here are snaps from the video that got pulled down by Microsoft.

Internet-Explorer-10-CSS-3-Gradients
Internet Explorer 10: CSS3 Gradients
Internet-Explorer-10-CSS-3-Multi-Column-Layout
Internet Explorer 10: CSS3 Multi-Column Layout
Internet-Explorer-10-CSS-3-Gradients
Internet Explorer 10: Full Hardware Acceleration

Update: Here’s the video, via WinRumors.

Windows 8 App Store Revealed by Leaked Screenshots

A Chinese website has leaked a couple of screenshots, which allegedly show the Windows App Store in action. While it is prudent to take any leaked information with a pinch of salt, it’s pretty safe to bet that Windows 8 will include an app store. Back in June 2010, we had stated as much, based on leaked confidential information. The new screenshots are also consistent with the ones leaked (and ridiculed) on the Neowin forums. Moreover, almost every other desktop operating systems of note (Mac and Ubuntu) already has an inbuilt application repository.

Windows-8-App-Store-Home-Chinese

To be honest, the Windows 8 app store appears to be a mash up of Windows Media Player and the Mac App Store. It will include free and paid content from a large number of third party developers. What is unclear at this moment is whether automatic update for all applications, which has been a long standing demand of Windows users and developers, will also be included.

Windows-8-App-Store-Apps-Chineese

The other point of interest is the name of the app store. In the screenshots leaked by Neowin, the software center is titled as “Windows App Store”. If that is indeed that actual name, one can bet that Apple won’t be too pleased about it. Apple believes that it owns the trademark for “App Store”, and is already suing Amazon.

Windows-8-App-Store-Home

As we get closer and closer to the public beta of Windows 8, expect the volume of leaks to steadily increase. In fact, the Chinese website believes that the app store is almost ready, and will be made available to beta testers soon.

Windows-8-App-Store-Apps

Update: Bad news folks. The leaked screenshots have been confirmed to be fake.

Google Apps for Government Claims FISMA Certification, Misleads the Government And Upsets Microsoft

Last year, the Department of the Interior selected Microsoft’s service for their cloud-based email system. Google advocated open competition and sued the Government for not considering their Google Apps for the Government service.
gapps-government

Google used the FISMA certification as one of the factors when pushing their Google Apps for Government service, though it has recently come to light that Google Apps for Government does not have FISMA certification. It has only applied for it. On the other hand, another service from Google, namely Google Apps Primer has FISMA certification and this has led to a lot of confusion.

The DOJ has seen through this and says,

On December 16, 2010, counsel for the Government learned that, notwithstanding Google’s representations to the public at large, its counsel, the GAO and this Court, it appears that Google’s Google Apps for Government does not have FISMA certification.

David Howard, the Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel writes in his Technet blogs report,

I’ll be the first to grant that FISMA certification amounts to something. The Act creates a process for federal agencies to accredit and certify the security of information management systems like e-mail, so FISMA-certification suggests that a particular solution has proven that it has met an adequate level of security for a specific need.

While Microsoft accuses Google of misleading information in their services, Google accuses the Government of unfair competition and gets a lot of bad press from both ends.

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