Windows 8

(Rumor) Microsoft Surface coming to Europe?

(Rumor) Microsoft Surface coming to Europe?

surface_05

Today Hellshock (follow him!),  one of my Italian tweeps made an awesome discovery. The Italian Microsoft site has a link to Surface within the “Products” section.

Of course I checked that for Germany as well, and in fact it is there, too:

Screenshot (14)

Well, I know that this means nothing at the moment, but it is a sign that Microsoft will bring the Surface all over the World. Maybe Microsoft this time learned from their Zune HD, which was announced for the rest of the world, but never made it to Europe.

What do you think? Are we reading to much into it? Will you be excited?

Just leave a comment below.

source

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, 0 comments
Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

microsoft_logoI struggled with myself very long on what topic I dedicate this post with the anniversary number 200 and ended up with this article.

We all had already a very exiting year with Microsoft. Microsoft is fully in his “reimagine” phase, and the winners of this are we – as users, and as developers.

Windows 8

The year was starting for me with a key milestone: Windows 8 CP. A more fluid and fast alternative to the DP Microsoft released last year. And we finally had a good amount of apps (for a beta build). I felt really in Love with Windows 8 after using it only a few hours. Windows 8 is totally different. The Metro start screen will change the way how users will interact with their PC – also if it is non touchable.

I am currently running the final version of Windows  (RTM), and I love it to use more and more apps instead of visiting websites. It is way more fun to use a twitter app than to use their website, for example.

It is a change in the daily use of your PC, but most of the users that I personally know are exited about how easy it is to use a PC with apps. Sure, there are some people who will not be satisfied. That is not a bad thing. We all like different kind of things. But I am convinced that the majority of people will accept the Metro screen as part of their PC. Period.

For Developers it is amazing: no matter what language you are using right now, almost everyone can do Windows 8 apps. No matter if you are a Web Designer, used to Java, C# or C++, your app can be there on Windows 8! And you can even use more than one programming languages in one app.

In March this year I visited the CeBit, a trade fair that is for technology news here in Germany. I was amazed about the things I saw from Microsoft, but Germany is not a big target for the mobile/IT-industry- at least not shortly after the MWC. You can read my report about the CeBit here.

Windows Phone

Windows Phone is also an important point on our list. Microsoft´s mobile OS may not be blown up as iOS or Android – but we are satisfied with what we have! The OS is fast, does Average Joe´s daily doings way faster than the other two OS – without Multicore-CPUs!!! Microsoft demonstrated this with their “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign, which was happening in several countries around the globe.

The best thing is: The OS will be getting even better! The existing devices will get an update with new functions, that will further enhance the user experience. And there will be the next generation: Windows Phone 8!  Windows Phone 8 will get a whole new core compared to 7, that will bring a lot more features, and for all that spec-driven users out there also multi-core support. Soon we will know more about it (I guess in September).

Xbox 360 and Xbox Live/Zune

Microsoft is also evolving the Xbox/Zune services as well as the Xbox OS itself. If you were one of the lucky one´s like me to enter the Fall 2012 beta update program, you know that it is getting better and better.  I am not allowed to go to deep into detail, but a few things have been announced, like IE for Xbox.

Xbox Live and Zune services will be merged together to further enhance our experience. Hopefully Microsoft will be providing more features to all countries, not only US. Best example is Zune Pass, which is still not available here in Germany. I don´t know what issues Microsoft has with the Germany system, but others like Deezer and Spotify were also able to solve those problems. Let us hope all the best for this.

And then there will be SmartGlass. Your Xbox companion – regardless which device you use. SmartGlass will be used to extend the experience you with your Xbox. Additional info for Movies, extensions for Games, and many many more.

Office 2013

I am also exited about the free-to-test-for-everybody Office 2013 Preview. Microsoft changed the programs into streamed applications. And they are performing very well (even with my slow 2 MBit/s connection). On top Microsoft released One Note MX, a Metro app for Windows 8 for those who use a WinRT tablet only. Get it today via the official Office 2013 website (for up to 5 PCs!). Skype integration is coming later this year via an “Office app”.  There are also further apps in the Office Beta Store.

Microsoft Account and connected Websites

Microsoft changed the formerly known “Live-ID” into “Microsoft Account”. You still have all service like before, with a new name. But there is more. Hotmail will be replaced with outlook.com (in Metro Style). outlook.com has also a “People” app, “Calendar” and of course your “Mail”. On top we now have a Metro “Messenger”. SkyDrive is the last one in this round. Also SkyDrive has been Metro overhauled an got new functions, like a url-shortening service, using skdrv.ms.

MSiccDev goes BizSpark

As some of you know, I am also developing for Windows Phone and will start with Windows 8 soon. I started to learn creating apps because there was no app for fishermen, and I needed a fishing knots app in the marketplace. I am currently planning on a big service for fishermen that targets Windows, Windows Phone and the Web. To get things done with a little help from Microsoft, I applied for Microsoft´s BizSpark program – an got approved last week! Stay tuned, soon I will reveal more information about the project. But it is great that Microsoft support startups. A special thanks goes to @AWSOMEDEVSIGNER (follow him!).

Final thoughts

I don’t know how you feel, but that was a pretty awesome year until now. Windows 8 is around the corner, and will bring new device factors like Microsoft´s surface. All big vendors announced at least one Tablet/PC-convertible. Windows Phone 8 will be the booster rocket for the phone OS version, the codename “Apollo” fits really nice in here.  Microsoft´s vision of “three screens, once experience” is getting closer and closer. And the best thing: we all can participate right now!

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
How to get rid of the “ghost” updates on Windows 8 RP Store

How to get rid of the “ghost” updates on Windows 8 RP Store

Screenshot (55)

This morning I initially planned to work on one of my Windows Phone applications. Instead of doing this, I played around with the Windows Store and assume that I found a solution for the “ghost updates” that a lot of people are experiencing.

First, to all those who now want to tell me that this post is no longer of interest, you are wrong. Not all preview users will be able to get their final Windows 8 copy before October (only those with MSDN or TechNet-subscriptions and partners will be getting it over the next few days).

So now lets go on.

It is annoying to see that the update count on Windows Store tile always shows 2 updates, but when you enter the marketplace, you will get the information that there is no update.

This happened also to me (and I did not have the Amazon Kindle app on RP installed, this is a known issue).

I decided to uninstall all Metro apps (yes, I said Metro because until now there is no official word about the new UI name) to see if the count will go to zero. I began with 3rd-party apps to uninstall, but the count was still 2. Then I uninstalled all Microsoft apps (at once), the count remains even without any installed app. After I restarted my PC, the count was finally gone.

After this restart, I went to the Windows Store, and checked all of my previously installed apps. And I found something very interesting.

Microsoft apps? Where are they?

Screenshot (50)

I found out that a bunch of (preinstalled) Microsoft apps were not listed in the “my apps”-list:

  • SkyDrive
  • Music
  • Video
  • Photo
  • Camera
  • News
  • Sport
  • Weather
  • Travel
  • Reader

No matter how often I refreshed the listed or sorted it in another way, they were not there. This lead me to do a search for all apps by “Microsoft Corporation”. With the search results, the confusion turns perfect:

Screenshot (53)

As you can see on the screenshot above, there are two entries for each of the Video, Camera, Photo and Reader app. If you click on them, they are both absolutely identical from description, screenshots etc.

So I installed all apps I used before, expect those with double entries in search. Still no update count. Ok, done until here.

Now I installed one by one the doubled apps, as I use them also frequently. I sorted the list to show me newest entries first, so I installed the second version of every app:

  • installed Camera, checked update – no count
  • installed Video, checked update – no count
  • installed Photo, checked update – no count
  • installed Reader, checked update – no count

Next step was – a restart (sometimes the store does update only after a restart, don´t know why). After that restart, there was no update shown anymore.

I don´t know which of those apps exactly caused the “ghost updates”, but that´s the solution.

Of course you do not have to do all steps like I did. Here is the short version:

  • On Start screen, select all Metro apps (easier with zoomed out view)
  • once they are all selected, click on uninstall
  • do a restart, as this deletes some temp data
  • after the restart, start the Windows Store and go to “your apps” (right click or swipe from top on Store´s starting page)
  • select all apps you want to install and install them again

After that, the count is to zero, and you have all your apps again. Even the position of the tiles will be like before, so there is no way to be afraid of a lot of work afterwards. What you have to do after:

  • sync contacts again
  • log in to your apps that need a login
  • connect your mailboxes to the Mail app

You will find a few threads on Microsoft Answers also, but the suggested things like refresh your PC does not work for this problem. And if you have VS 2010 and VS 2012 installed or the Office 2013 preview, you will have to install them all over again after the refresh has finished.

So I think my solution will take you far less time, and you will get rid of the annoying “ghost“ updates.

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments
Xbox SmartGlass available on Windows 8 for some, appears to be an update for existing Xbox Companion

Xbox SmartGlass available on Windows 8 for some, appears to be an update for existing Xbox Companion

smartglass_windows_store

Yesterday I was reading some tweets that Xbox SmartGlass is available on Windows 8. Sadly it is not here in Germany, even changing region and language settings did not help to get it displayed.

Thanks to a Robert McLaws (follow him!) and Bing, I was able to figure out some more information.

First thing I made yesterday, was to check the existing sitemap for the Windows Store. You can search the whole sitemap for xbox or smartglass, you will only find Xbox Games and Xbox Companion:

windows_store_sitemap

The next step was to check if Bing would give me any other results, and I was getting this:

bing_search_smartglass

This search shows that the companion app web link is titled “xbox-smartglass”. However, If you click on that link, you will be redirected to the Xbox Companion website:

Xbox Companion page

If SmartGlass is available for you, with a click to install the Windows Store should open up the SmartGlass page. If not, you will see the Xbox Companion app.

So it seems that SmartGlass will be in fact an update to the existing Xbox Companion app. It uses the same technology, and will get a ton of new features (as announced during E3).

As soon as it will be available for me, I will keep you informed.

Posted by msicc in Windows, Xbox, 0 comments

Windows 8 and Family Safety

Win8FamSafety

Today my 10 year old son asked me when I will let him play around Windows 8. So I decided to set up an account for him. (This post will be a how-to mixed with my personal opinion.)

First, I created an account for my son by going to control panel in the WinRT part of Windows 8. With a click on “Add a user” you can create a new account. To create an online synced account, use the Microsoft account (Windows Live ID) you created for your child.

addauser

After looking if it is an existing account, you will be asked if this is a child´s account. Check the option and click on “Finish”.

Finishadduser

After that, go to Desktop and open Control Panel, and choose “User Accounts”, where you click on “Family Safety” at the bottom left.

Now you can choose if you want to manage settings online or local. I recommend online, so you can change settings at any time easily via the web interface. My experience until now was that if you need to change settings, you are not there on your local machine.

FamilySafety

You will be redirected to the Family Safety page, where you will be able to “edit settings”.

You can set up a bunch of things there:

  • Web filtering
  • Web filtering lists
  • Activity reporting
  • Requests
  • Time limits
  • Game restrictions
  • App restrictions

First, in Web filtering, you can set up different options. As I want my son to be relatively free on the web, but protected, I use “Online communication”. So he is able to write E-Mails from Windows 8 Mail app or chat via the Messaging app. You can add additional options to the “Web filtering lists” option.

webfiltering

Activity reporting shows you an overview what you child is doing on the web and the PC.

“Time limits” is a handy tool to control how much your child is on the PC. This is available on Windows 7 as well as on Windows 8 RP.

timelimits

You can restrict the games to a matching age setting based on the USK recommendations with “Game restrictions”.

gamerestrictions

Finally, with” App restrictions” you can choose which apps your child is allowed to use. This counts for Metro apps as well as for Desktop apps.

apprestrictions

My conclusion:

Until now, there is nothing that has changed to the former Windows Live Family Safety, which you had to install with the Windows Live Essentials on your PC. The integration into the Windows 8 RP is done very well. Also if you are not familiar with this feature, the web interface is pretty self explaining. The options are pretty broad, from allowing nearly nothing (this will be for my 5yo daughter) to allow a lot for bigger kids. Microsoft has done a good job here, and there is clearly no need for any third party app.

I can only recommend all parents out there to use this feature – be it on Windows 7 or be it on Windows 8.

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, 0 comments
Get a free Windows 8 tablet for your Xbox Live avatar!

Get a free Windows 8 tablet for your Xbox Live avatar!

xbox-live-tablet

Today I found out that you can have a new gadget for your Xbox Live avatar.

I searched for accessories in the avatar marketplace on my Windows Phone, and found the “Internet Explorer 9 Tablet” prop.

As you can see on the pictures, my avatar is very happy about his new gadget:

dancing-avatar-win8-tablet

That´s cool, right?

Everyone can have this nice little gadget prop easily: You only have to click here.

After a few clicks you can also enjoy your avatar playing around with this nice little gadget.

Alternatively open Xbox Extras on your Windows Phone, go to marketplace, popular, and you will see it as the first popular item. And the best Thing: It is free for everyone!

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Changes to Windows Live and other Microsoft services

Windows-Live-crossed

Yesterday Steven Sinofsky blogged about the changes Microsoft is doing on the Windows Live brand name.

Windows Live was launched as brand back in 2005 as “a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.” The services itself have been under continued development since then.

Meanwhile Windows Live services are used by over 500 millions of people. Now Microsoft is starting to streamline the naming.

First, you no longer have a Windows Live-ID. You have now a Microsoft account. With this Microsoft account you can log in to all services like Mail, SkyDrive, Windows Phone Marketplace and others.

Microsoft recalls each single service. All services are losing their “Windows Live”-tag:

  • Windows Live Mail or Hotmail becomes Mail
  • Windows Live Messenger becomes Messaging
  • Windows (Live) Calendar becomes Calendar
  • Windows (Live) Contacts becomes People
  • FolderShare, Windows Live Mesh becomes SkyDrive

All services are still usable like most of us are used to. But with the great cloud integration on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it only makes sense that Microsoft renames those services to fit the naming of both OS. All services will run as equally named apps. Check out the table below for more info:

changes-to-live-services

But that were not all changes Microsoft announced. Let us go next to Microsoft´s adCenter.  They recently announced that for Small and Medium businesses the service now is called simply “Bing”. As already stated by LiveSide.net, this is a real strange decision. Why are they calling the adCenter now only Bing? Bing is known as Microsoft´s search (decision) engine- so how does this fit?

Of course as I have a developer account for Microsoft Advertising. But it seems there is no change to it – for now.

Inside Xbox will be discontinued. It is a collection of news, game tips and tutorials, packed into a video series popping up on Xbox. For the moment, it is discontinued only in the US, Canada, Australia as well as New Zealand. In Europe, the future is uncertain, as Major Nelson, first class Xbox promoter from Microsoft, has no news to share from here. Head over to his blog to read more and even let him know how disappointing this decision is.

Change is happening, yes. But not all change is good, as you can see on this news roundup.

sources: Windows 8 Blog, LiveSide.net

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Windows 8 Release Preview will be released in first week of June – W8CP used twice as much as Windows 7 beta

japan-announcement-w8-june

We all are excited about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Microsoft gave us a really fast and stable OS preview at the end of February.

Only a few minutes ago Microsoft announced via twitter that the next version, a Release Preview, will be available in early June. They announced it while they are on Japan Dev Days. Earlier this week Microsoft announced also that the Consumer Preview is now already used twice as much as the Windows 7 beta at the same point in time.

Personally I do not wonder about this. W8CP is a preview you can use as a daily driver already, and many of us are doing so. And it seems that there are a lot of people are beginning to like the Metro part of Windows 8.

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments

W8CP: Windows Store will soon accept app submissions from 33 new countries

windows-8-store

Today I read some interesting news about the next upcoming pre-release of Windows 8. Microsoft is going to extend the ability to submitt apps to 33 new countries.

Those countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.

Besides that, Microsoft will probably release another preview version to us as soon as Windows 8 is going to RTM (=Ready to Manufacturing) status. According to the verge, Microsoft will release another update in early June. Hopefully the Consumer Preview is able to be upgraded directly.

With the final release of Windows 8 Microsoft is targeting 200 markets with over 100 languages.  Currently there are only 5 regions with a own catalogue, while all other countries have a “rest of the world” catalogue.

source: MSDN

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments

Microsoft announces official Windows 8 edition names

Windows-8-Metro

In a recent blog post Microsoft informed us about the upcoming Windows 8 versions.

Windows 8

is the official product name for  the next x86/64 editions of Windows. So it is not a codename any more. The improvements are wide ranged: from an fast and fluid user experience to the ability to instantly switch languages, an updated Windows Explorer, better Task Manager as well as a much better multi-monitor support. And of course apps, apps and apps.

Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro are available to all x86 powered systems (both tablet and PC´s, 32 and 64 bit).

Windows on ARM is now Windows RT

Windows RT will only be delivered pre-installed on PC´s and tablets powered by ARM processors. The ARM processors will allow huge improvements in form factors, while maintaining an even more huge battery life than we know before from PCs/tablets with Windows. With every Windows RT you will get also Microsoft Office in form of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, similar to Windows Phone. Another unique feature will be device encryption – a feature much business users have asked for.

Microsoft is continuing with their 3-screens-one-experience strategy, and adds unique features to every version. This is a good way in my eyes.

Now I am curious about E3 and a possible Xbox-Dashboard improvement as well as Windows Phone Apollo. I sure will keep you informed.

source: Windows Team Blog

 

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments