w8cp

Microsoft is telling us how Windows 8 is ready for business

Yesterday at CeBIT in Germany, Kevin Turner (COO of Microsoft), told us how Windows 8 is ready for business use right from the start. He explicitly invited IT pros to test the recently announced Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

CeBIT12_Microsoft Keynote, Kevin Turner

No compromise experience

“Windows 8 will deliver no compromise experiences on a range of devices from tablets and PCs to desktops. It will give people functionality they love and the enterprise-grade capabilities that IT departments demand,” Turner said. “We encourage IT professionals to begin using it to get a firsthand experience of how Windows 8 will give people a beautiful, fast and fluid experience with the mobility and familiarity they need to effortlessly move between what they want to do and what they need to do.”

Microsoft recently often says, that there is no compromise about the user experience. As IT pros like system admins are focusing more on the productivity of the networks and systems they are maintaining, this will get interesting only to be interesting in second place.

Easy integration in existing system structures

This is one of the goals of Microsoft in business use. To reach this goal, Microsoft has focused on a few things.

  • First thing is of course a great user experience. The Metro interface is introduced to be productive on touch based devices as well as with mouse and keyboard.
  • Tablets are the second focus. There are so many things where tablets can be used in daily business, like on presentations, showing a customer a preview of recent products and so on. The big advantage here is that Microsoft was able to integrate the possibility of existing Windows 7 software.
  • Mobility is important: Microsoft solution to this is Windows To Go. A whole Windows installation on a little USB-Device, so users can be equipped with a full, customized Windows copy for working on the go – existing hardware can be reused without being forced to install a new OS.
  • Security is always important, especially in business area. With Trusted Boot and improved BitLocker drive encryption, AppLocker and claim-based access control help protect corporate data across the client device, the network and back-end infrastructure, says Microsoft.
  • Virtualization and management is made easy with Windows 8. Be it the well prepared Windows 8 OS itself, or the additional included Hyper-V technology: Windows 8 will help IT pros to integrate the new Windows devices easily into existing infrastructures.

So this is a short overview of the features coming to businesses. A good amount will also focus on apps/software and their integration as well as their backwards compatibility. The time will tell, how the new concept of Microsoft will be adopted also by IT pros for their daily business.

If you want to read more about this and watch a video about the possibilities, you can read a blog post of Erwin Visser, who has demonstrated some of the above points at the CeBIT.

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments

Microsoft at CeBIT 2012: “Microsoft Heartbeat – The Power of Design”

This was the motto today on Microsoft´s CeBit opening press conference.

It was all about Metro. Ralph Haupter, General Manager at Microsoft Germany, explained what this means for Microsoft:

”Design also says something about the state of a company. We used to define ourselves by our software’s functionality. Today the question at Microsoft is how we people can get to grips with this wonderful new digital world and enjoy it, whether we want to entrust it with our data and if we can control it. This is a question of integrated design.”

A homogeneous look on Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8

All major products of Microsoft are using the Metro look. Be it the experience on Windows Phone, the new Xbox Dashboard or last weeks previewed Windows 8: Metro leads to an homogeneous look and feel. Also the CeBIT trade show stand is shining in the new Metro look.

Microsoft is facing three critical factors here:

  • Esthetics of the experience. For Microsoft, working with technology nowadays should be both appealing and enjoyable.
  • Clarity of the function. IT must stay controllable with a vast number of devices as well as data sources
  • Intelligence of the blueprint.  New the technologies only become flexible and smart, if they are in first place.

The result is shown through the Metro Design. With the consumer preview been downloaded over a million times within the first 24 hours, it is clear the there is a huge interest in the Metro UI. Also for developers the Metro UI has potential:

One of the first German suppliers in the new Windows Store is the Berlin start-up company ”6Wunderkinder”. Their ”Wunderlist” app, a no-frills and easy-to-use Task Manager will soon be available to download. Christian Reber, CEO of the successful company, underlines that an attractive and effective operational concept is key factor for the app’s success. The Metro Design provides the ideal framework here. Plus Windows, which is by far the most popular operating system worldwide. ”We are not only convinced by the Metro Design approach, but also see an enormous potential for our company to reach far more people with our ideas and apps via Windows 8 in the future,” explained Reber.

The new experience will be available in 231 different markets, while using more than 100 languages. This opportunities are only given on Microsoft´s upcoming OS.

Tomorrow there will be a keynote of Kevin Turner, Microsoft´s Chief Operating Officer, at 10 am (EST). He will talk about „What’s Next: IT trends, business opportunity and Windows 8”. You can watch the keynote live at the CeBIT Global Conferences 2012.

Interesting words at the end:

“Windows 8 is also ”Windows reinvented” for a whole new generation of devices. It will be the best operating system for hundreds of millions of PCs, tablets and other devices, and for way more than one billion people across the whole world”, says Ralph Haupter.

I find interesting that Microsoft says “PCs, tablets and other devices”. Maybe this is also another hint of merging the Windows 8 kernel into Windows Phone, or even another Xbox Dashboard upgrade?

If you want to find out more about the CeBIT-News from Microsoft, head over to Microsoft´s official CeBIT site (also fully designed in Metro).

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, 0 comments
Discovering Xbox LIVE and Xbox Companion apps on W8CP

Discovering Xbox LIVE and Xbox Companion apps on W8CP

As the Xbox Live apps do not work in every country, I want to give you a short view to both apps. Both are preinstalled on W8CP.

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Xbox LIVE Games

The Xbox LIVE Games app comes with a few functions which you might know from your Smartphone app. Once you start the app, you will get to the overview screen:

Screenshot (9)

As you can see, your Avatar (if you have one), is loaded into the app. You can view your own profile as well as have a look on your friends profiles:

Screenshot (10)

On your profile you can see your achievements or modify your avatar. If you choose a friend, you will be able to compare your achievements:

Screenshot (11)

Here is a look on a friends profile:

Screenshot (12)

 

Currently, you cannot send or view messages within the app like on the smartphone app. Hopefully this app will be updated during the preview time to fit with the smartphone functionality.

Xbox Companion

The Xbox companion is very similar to the one on Windows Phone. Once you have logged in and connected to your Xbox, you will see a start screen with your last activity as well as your last played games:

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You can scroll through videos. games and music as well:

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Finally, you have the search, like on the smartphone app:

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Again, please remember that the W8CP is still a “Beta”-release, so it is usual that not all functions are working. I am sure the apps will be updated – at least with the official launch of Windows 8. I hope you liked this small overview over both Xbox apps. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to.

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments
First impressions from Windows 8 Consumer Preview (W8CP)

First impressions from Windows 8 Consumer Preview (W8CP)

metrocharmbarFebruary, 29th: Microsoft releases Windows 8 Consumer Preview at Mobile World Congress 2012.

That was what we all were waiting for: the next major version of Windows, previewed with more functions as the Developer Preview released last year in September by Microsoft.

In this post, I will talk about my first impressions with W8CP until now.

First step to take was the download. As I want to run both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on my PC, I decided to download the ISO-Image, extract it and install from USB Stick. If you want to do the same, here is a quick guide to create a bootable USB drive: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool.

Note: I simply extracted the image using 7Zip, copied the whole extracted folder on my USB drive. Reboot, hit F12 to enter boot menu (depends on your hardware which is the right key), and it was done.

You now may think that the install of the OS will take some time… You are totally wrong. From the moment of reboot until I initially saw the W8CP Metro start screen it took 20 minutes! As I am on a 2 year old hardware, this might be even faster with newer ones.

Some words about the experience

Although I am not an a touch hardware, W8CP introduces a really easy way to use. Well, the experience with mouse is still better than with the trackpad on my laptop. Hopefully Asus delivers in near future some drivers built for W8CP. The apps are opening fast, delivering an easy to understand first start screen (if you have to do something, like contacts and mail).

Let´s go through some of the apps:

First I want to show you the “people”-hub. Yes, it admits to be same as on your Windows Phone (if you have one).Screenshot (4)

You have all contacts, which are connected to your Microsoft Account (former called Windows LIVE-ID). If you connected Facebook and Twitter like me, you have a really long list of contacts. Sadly in this early stage there is no way of filtering your contacts. If you are using a Google account, you will have also these contacts in here.

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In “what´s new?” section you will see recent posts on your network. In my case I see only my Twitter timeline. I think there should be also Facebook things, but I did not see one over the time I used W8CP.

Under “me” you can see your personal information, as well as some notifications. here is opposite for me to what´s new section: I only see Facebook news. I think this is due to the early stage a not so bad thing, hopefully Microsoft will update this while we are waiting for final Windows 8. Finally, you can pin contacts to the start screen.

mailmitordner

The mail app is similar to the one on Windows Phone. You have three columns, one for folders, your mail overview and the mail itself. Currently you can use Hotmail, Google-Mail and Exchange to test the app with. POP and IMAP is not there right now. If you want to get your mail from other mail services, you can easily collect them with Hotmail.

fotomainmenu

The photo app delivers nearly the same experience as the picture hub on Windows Phone. You can view your local library with its subfolders, your SkyDrive as well as Facebook. New is Flickr, which is added in here also. Maybe this will come also to Windows Phone?

musik4

Well, the music app is basically what the music section of Zune was, but without the Zune branding. The app contains only basic functionality, such as having a look into a part of the marketplace and a look into your local music library.

That was all about the apps for now. There are several things to still explore, you can expect me to write some more posts over the coming weeks.

Using W8CP

So Microsoft reworked completely the usability. Within every app, you have a own menu, which is called by the “charm bar”. To open the “charm bar”, you have to go to the right botton corner. The charm bar will open you some more options. The charm bar is the key element, where you can do several things:

  • search (apps, people, internet, or within apps, if they use this functionality)
  • share with apps (currently there is no real twitter client, as “Tweet@rama” and “Socialize” are not available any more)
  • devices will let you interact with connected devices, like your digicam
  • settings: if you are in an app, the settings will be app related, while on start screen they are system related.

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Where is the Windows button?

There is no Windows button on your as you have been using since Windows 95. As Microsoft stated, Windows 8 is “Windows reimagined”. And it is totally true. So here is what you get instead of the Windows button, when you move the mouse down the left bottom corner.

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Down the corner is the last app/program you have been using (in this case it is Windows Live Writer). If you move the mouse up now, you will keep an task switch menu with all recent apps/programs which are open. You can navigate within this by using Windows-key+Tab.

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If you are used to use Alt+Tab, you get a task switch menu which is well known to you:

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I really love the usability of Windows 8. For a Consumer Preview, which are only other words for “Beta”, it is at this stage really good.

What are you waiting for? Crab your own copy!

ISO-Download:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso

Windows installer:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download?ocid=W_MSC_W8P_DevCenter_MetroApps_EN-US

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments

WPDEV on W8CP: How to install the Windows Phone SDK

Yesterday I was all day playing around with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (W8CP) as many of us.

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Today I wanted to get a bit more serious and tried to install the Windows Phone SDK.

Once downloaded from App Hub, I clicked “Install”, and waited for the SDK to complete  . Install went trough, and I was waiting for opening my current project.

But then I was shocked by numerous error messages, all of the regarding XNA plugins and updates. So the dream was over. The SDK does not support W8CP.

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I am a very Metro-addicted man, so I was searching for a solution. On Twitter I was tipped by @nikovrdoljak to one part of the solution.

The errors are caused by Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable

XNA Game Studio installs a version of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable behind the scenes.  Some older versions of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable attempt to install and use a file that is being installed by Windows 8, and the older versions of the redistributable are not compatible with the newer version of the file that is installed by Windows 8.  Newer versions of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable are compatible with Windows 8, and if you pre-install the new redistributable before installing XNA Game Studio, setup will recognize that it is already there and use the new version instead of trying to install the old version.

The reason this issue also impacts the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 is that this SDK installs XNA Game Studio behind the scenes, which in turn installs the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable behind the scenes.

So where to download the actual version? Let´s check this later. I followed the steps shown on Aaron Stebner’s WebLog. But that was not all.

I think more WPDev are willing to try, so here is a checklist:

  • uninstall all parts of the Windows Phone SDK – Note: there are some bits left after you use the automatic install, so you have to uninstall remaining parts of the SDK manually
  • do a reboot (that thing you do not want to do once you started playing around with W8CP). Don´t worry, it is faster as on Windows 7 (on my 2 year old ASUS under one minute).
  • go to the Games for Windows download page, which you can find on this page: http://www.xbox.com/de-DE/LIVE/PC/DownloadClient. Replace the “de-DE”-part with your regional language code, for the US p. e. “en-US” to download the correct version of the redistributable.
  • start installation
  • in the middle of the installation, the UAC asks you to allow the installation. Now click on “change, when this message appears” (the original wording might be slightly different, I translated it from German).
  • pull down the switch to set Windows to not ask you anymore (yes, even if this is not recommended)
  • now let the installation of Games for Windows –LIVE Redistributable finish.
  • finally, start installation of the Windows Phone SDK. This time, it takes a little longer than before (probably due to the now working install parts)
  • if you want to, turn the UAC on again (control panel/more settings/users/settings for user access control)

Congrats, you installed the Windows Phone SDK, but…

you still have to deal with some points:

  • the SDK currently works only with Visual Studio 2010
  • the emulator does not work, so you have to debug on device
  • the updated Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 (which is only to have a look, not the final version), might afford additional steps

For me it only worked with above mentioned steps. If you had another steps to do or additional information, leave a comment to discuss.

happy coding on Windows 8, everyone!

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, wpdev, 6 comments