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All posts tagged "microsoft"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Skydrive Apps for iOS

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 03:00 AM

"SkyDrive, Microsoft's online storage service, is one of the core elements of the company's cloud strategy."

And now, with these new apps for PCs, Windows Phone, Macs and iOS devices, Microsoft is making a play for Dropbox users. With these apps it adds a folder to your computer, and any changes to files in that folder are automatically sync'd to your iOS devices. But for new users it will cost you 18GB of storage since Microsoft is dropping the free storage amount from 25GB to 7GB. Microsoft says it's because less than 7GB is the amount most of their users have been utilizing. Another advantage for Windows users is the ability to stream or access files remotely via this app. I like the added functionality but not the decrease in storage. What are your thoughts, or do you even use Skydrive?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wisconsin Schools Say "Thanks for the iPads Microsoft"

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 06:00 AM

"School districts in Madison, Wisconsin will be getting a total of 1,400 iPads this year, all of them paid for by Microsoft, reports the Wisconsin State Journal."

In a round about way, Microsoft is indeed paying for the iPads, since the money for the purchase comes from a settlement that Wisconsin was a part of with 18 other states in an overcharging issue with Microsoft. $3.4 million was the Wisconsin part of the settlement, so they will be using about $700,000 USD of that money to purchase the iPads, which after the education discount will cost the school district in Madison roughly $479.00 USD. Ironic but I'm glad some schools are getting on board with textbooks via iPad, hopefully more and more will do the same.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Microsoft Releases Windows Phone 7 Connector 2.0 for Mac

Posted by Darius Wey in "Windows Phone Software" @ 07:17 PM

"Windows Phone 7 Connector is a simple, easy-to-use application designed to sync your favorite media files from your Mac, with your Windows Phone 7 or Zune HD. You can also sync photos and videos you captured on your phone with your Mac, and when needed, update your Windows Phone 7 software."

Mac users, make your way to the App Store and grab today's update of Windows Phone 7 Connector. Microsoft has tagged it with a version number of 2.0, and with it, there's full sync and import support for Aperture, drag-and-drop support, ringtone transfer and Windows Phone Marketplace support if your phone is running Windows Phone 7.5, as well as a bunch of other goodies ranging from backup and restore improvements to additional languages. And all for the good ol' price of free.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Apple v. Microsoft, an Infographic

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 02:00 AM

"Sean Lind at Manolution has posted an incredible infographic highlighting the battle between Microsoft and Apple throughout the history of computing."

Click on this link and you can see the chart, which lists the major product launches by both companies, as well as changes within the companies and the effects on the stock price at the time. It's an interesting chart even without the comparison if you are at all interested in the history of either company.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Several Updates Released, Including One for the New Time Capsule?

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 05:20 PM

"Last night, Apple released Airport Utility 5.5.3, a minor bug release update for both Apple's AirPort Extreme base stations as well as Time Capsule. More interesting, though, is reference within the update to incoming updates to Apple's two wireless routers. Are these the iOS-running, A5-equipped Time Capsules we've been waiting for?"

Apparently there is a reference in the update about storing updates, which is leading them to believe this may be in preparation for a rumored new Time Capsule, which makes sense since it needs to work with the new iCloud system. But that isn't the only update that came out this week.

Crucial released an update for new firmware for the Crucial M4 SSD that will make them compatible with the 2011 MacBook Pro, which is available here.

Apple released several updates, including iMac Graphic FW Update 2.0 available here (fixes iMac hanging issue during startup or when waking from sleep), Airport Utility 5.5.3 for Mac available here (the Windows version is here, and both fix various bugs including the Airport Utility shutting down during setup bug).

Not to be outdone, Microsoft issued several security fixes for Office 20 for Mac also, outlined here. The updates are for Office for Mac 2011 14.1.2, Office 2008 for Mac 12.3.0 and Office 2004 for Mac 11.6.4. Microsoft also released an Open XML converter for Mac 1.2.0 that is available here, to convert Open XML files created in Office 2008 or 2007 Windows version that can be opened, edited and saved in earlier Office formats.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Apple Value Greater Than Microsoft and Intel Combined

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 03:00 PM

"At market close today, Microsoft (MSFT) had a market value of $201.59 billion. The market value of Intel (INTC) stands at $115.21 billion."

This was on Friday, and while it is quite a large value for either one, Apple did a bit better. At close of business Friday Apple's value was, wait for it, $317.60 billion, greater than the sum of Microsoft and Intel combined. Going into WWDC tomorrow that is quite a tasty bit of news that I'm sure will be mentioned. But before Apple gets too full of themselves, they best take heed to this Bill Gates quote about Steve Jobs from about 13 years ago: 'What I can't figure out is why he is even trying to be the CEO of Apple? He knows he can't win.'


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Windows 8: Still Carrying the Baggage of Legacy Windows

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:30 PM

"The new Windows 8 touch-based UI, revealed earlier today at the D9 Conference, looks good. It’s clearly drawn from the same inspiration as Windows Phone 7, and shows some seriously innovative UI thinking. The idea of tiles rather than icons is rich, and strikes me as even better-suited to bigger screens than phones. The snapping concept is an interesting way to make use of a bigger screen to show two apps at once. Displaying side-by-side content isn’t possible on iOS, and no one’s yet solved that problem in the post-windows (note lowercase “w”) UI landscape."

Interesting that the D9 conference actually had some hands-on time with an early version of the Windows 8 Touch UI, heavily influenced by Windows Phone 7's UI. These demos show just how heavily Apple has influenced industry UI development over the last few years. The author's main point is that Microsoft is trying to add these new (touch) features to coexist alongside existing Windows code, and he doesn't think that it'll work. Imagine the complexity of a real enterprise Excel spreadsheet (huge!) on a touch-screen tablet. Mind boggling. Obviously it's early in the Windows 8 development cycle, so things may change drastically between now and when it gets into consumers' hands. Will we see "more of the same," or will Microsoft truly innovate this time around? Predictions?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Microsoft Can't Build a Tablet and Apple Can't Build a Server

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 11:00 PM

"Last week I was going over a rather impressive list of products that Microsoft (News - Alert) brought to market last decade that failed and while Apple's (News - Alert) list is shorter the failure of its Xserve server product after a decade of trying is just as telling. In looking at the two companies; both have largely been unable, at least for the last 10 years, to do well in areas dominated by the other."

Interesting thoughts on why companies with expertise in specific market segments are having trouble gaining a foothold in other market segments. Not only Microsoft and Apple, but companies like IBM and Cisco are having trouble in the consumer space, while Sony has failed at getting their business products accepted. Companies are committing resources, but not necessarily the right resources. Microsoft designing a product (Zune) that "looked like a square turd" is a good example of perhaps the right product being designed by the wrong people. And Apple's XServe is another example of a failed attempt. So, how can companies be successful in new market segments? First rule: Know your target market. Second rule: Get the right people for the job. Don't just assign someone based on seniority or past glory in other market segments. Third rule: Don't underestimate the amount of work and capital that it will take to successfully bring a product to market. Last rule: Understand your goal. If you don't understand what it is, or how to get there, you lose.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Windows Phone 7 Connector For Mac

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 04:00 AM

"If you're an iPhone owner, it's a snap to sync your phone to your Mac through iTunes.Just plug it in and all your contacts, music, and calendar events are automatically updated.But if you have any other smartphone, it's not so easy."

Well fear not, Microsoft made that a whole lot easier with their first Mac App called Windows Phone 7 Connector. The free app lets you sync photos, music and movies from iTunes and iPhoto with your Windows Phone and your Zune player. There is no iCal or Mail support but at least with this it won't be such a hassle when you try to sync.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apple Still Leads in Online Movie Sales: Walmart Challenging!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple News" @ 11:00 PM

"The online movie business has been booming in recent years thanks to everyone and their mom either starting up their own services or signing contracts with the major players. Despite so many entrants into the market, Apple has still managed to retain its dominance when it comes to delivering feature-length films to customers, though it has lost some of its share of the consumer dollar over time."

Interesting that Walmart (in this article) is predicted to become a much bigger player in online movie sales. With Apple having 64.5 percent market share in 2010, followed by Microsoft at 17.9 percent, and Sony third at 7.2 percent, Walmart is currently lumped-in with the "other" group, sharing the remaining 10.4 percent. I guess that it makes sense, as Walmart isn't generally content to be anything but first wherever they compete. Maybe it's a reaction to being overtaken by Apple in music sales back in 2008, or maybe they sense an opportunity - as sales of physical media begin to dwindle. They haven't become the largest retailer on the planet by missing emerging trends. Anyone see a future for physical media?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The First Microsoft App, OneNote

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 06:00 AM

"Yesterday, Microsoft launched its first Office app for iOS, a mobile version of the digital notebook application OneNote. If you've never heard of it, it may be because you're using the Mac version of Office, which lacks OneNote, greatly reducing the usability of the iOS app."

It is free for now, so if you want to give it a try there is no risk. I've messed around with it a little bit, and while I like it for the most part, I still resort to using the Notes app that comes with iOS and Simplenote. One thing that this program requires is a Windows Live account so if you don't have that, you need to get one or just skip this program. The reason is they use the account for syncing, but only for Windows machines, so it is rather annoying to be honest. Still, there are some nice things like being able to add a photo to a note. I'm not sold on it so I'm taking it off my phone but like I said, it is free so you have nothing to lose if you don't like it and erase it from your iPhone.

Friday, December 31, 2010

What The Geeky Got for Gifts

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 05:30 PM

"If you got an iPad as a gift during the holidays, you certainly weren't alone. In a recent poll of holiday gift recipients, iPads accounted for a full 22.7% of all gadget or hardware gifts, making iPads the single largest category in our gift poll, outstripping the nearest runner-up by nearly 14% of votes. That runner-up was Amazon's Kindle - not surprising considering that the Kindle is the best-selling product in Amazon's history."

It's a relatively small sampling size - less than 2400 votes, and only from people who read Mashable - but among the geek-set, there are a couple of stand-out points: the iPad was the #1 gift, more people got Macs (60%) than Windows machines (40%), Android phones let the way in the smartphone category with a hefty 50.3% figure (iPhones were 30%), but Windows Phone 7 devices at 10.3% just eeked out Blackberry devices (9.4%). Not bad for a brand new platform that most people still haven't heard about! Lastly, the Xbox/Kinect one-two punch clobbered the PS3 with a 54.3% figure versus only 11.9% for the PS3. The Kinect really is driving the Xbox 360 to new heights of popularity!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Android and Windows Phone 7 To Become Commodities?

Posted by Joe Johaneman in "The Competition" @ 07:30 AM

"The iPhone may end up as the 'last man standing' amongst smartphones in terms of holding onto profits and prices, argues Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf. Wolf notes that in the immediate future, competition amongst smartphone platforms -- namely Android and Windows Phone 7 -- may help phone makers like HTC and Motorola dictate prices. In the long term though, smartphones based on either platform may become commodities, no longer able to pull a special premium."

I can't imagine that this is a surprise to anyone. It directly reflects Apple's way of doing business. They are a boutique hardware manufacturer that controls the entire manufacturing process from the bottom up. Google and Microsoft, on the other hand, are software manufacturers. This is the same exact thing that happened with Windows (and will probably happen with Chrome OS). Honestly, though, I don't see this as a bad thing for anybody. It just means there will be competing products at a reduced cost, and that'll drive Apple to improve iOS.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Is Blu-ray Really Missed by Mac Owners?

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Other Apple Hardware" @ 04:00 AM

"Are Macs envious of Windows 7's ability to play Blu-ray discs? Microsoft seems to think so, as seen in this stop-motion web video highlighting a Windows 7 laptop computer and a jealous MacBook."

Hmmm, I really don't see the need for a blu-ray player in my laptop, but if Microsoft was so big on Blu-ray then why don't they put it in the Xbox where I could really use it? That is one place that I do miss it since I would like to get rid of my Blu-ray player and consolidate some of my audio visual equipment. Either there or as an option in my Mac Mini. What are your thoughts on Blu-ray in a laptop, or even in general?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Does the New MacBook Air Worry Microsoft?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 08:00 PM;inTheNewsNow

"Ordinarily, the release of a single ultraportable Mac should not be reason for Redmond to quake in its boots, but yesterday's announcements by Apple should give the Windows team plenty of reason to fear. It's not that the product itself will put that much of a further dent in Microsoft's still-massive share of the PC market. However, the product demonstrates some capabilities that the Mac now can offer that Microsoft would seem to have a tough time matching."

My guess is, no, they're probably a bit sorry that they didn't push harder (and sooner) on the SSD concept, but their market share remains overwhelming, so worry, probably not. The gauntlet has been thrown down. There -are- Windows-based laptops that match-up well with the new MacBook Air, when hardware is compared (the Sony Vaio X is mentioned). But, Mac OS X really gets a boost when run on an SSD. The instant-on (from sleep mode) really is instant. When I'm done with Windows, close the lid. Ditto for the Mac. Open the lid, both come back, the Mac almost immediately, Windows needs a bit more time to awaken.

As for building more 'iPad-like' features into the Mac, it's a good idea as long as the 'old ways' continue to work. Windows has had touch capabilities going way back as well, so as operating systems evolve, we can expect the distinctions to blur a bit. Witness BootCamp and virtualization. Admittedly one-way to this point, but maybe the Hackintosh community will succeed (and/or be commercialized).

The concept of an App Store for the Mac is intriguing. Anyone who has ever searched for software for the Mac or Windows (or Linux) knows how iffy the whole process can be. Bad code, Viruses, Spyware, Keystroke Loggers, ad nauseam, are rampant. A "trusted" source is really the Holy Grail of software, so of course Microsoft will follow. Again, who benefits besides Apple and Microsoft? All of us.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Are You Rooting for Microsoft?

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 02:00 AM

"We were a bit surprised to hear Apple lover John Gruber say such nice things about Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 7 software, after he had a chance to play around with it last week."

But then surprise turned to understanding as Frommer points out that Microsoft is no longer the enemy, and fanboys of Apple no longer have to try and downplay everything coming from the Redmond campus. Who is the enemy? Why Google of course! First it was the Android going after the iPhone, and now it's Google TV trying to push aside the Apple TV. I suppose I can see his logic, saying Microsoft and Google are very similar in the smartphone market in what they bring to the table and their business models (bring software and let someone else make the hardware). Personally, I just like the competition, since that tends to get the consumer more in the end. What are your thoughts?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple and Microsoft Unite Against Blu-ray

Posted by Joe Johaneman in "The Competition" @ 06:30 AM

"Apple has a surprising ally in its campaign of apathy against Sony's Blu-ray disc format. Microsoft, of all companies, has also stepped out with a passive-aggressive stance against the standard, as UK head of Xbox gaming head Steven McGill says that 'Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format.'"

Microsoft was heavily invested in HD-DVD, so I'm not entirely surprised that they're not eager to adopt Blu-ray. Apple, of course, would much rather you bought or rented movies from iTunes. I have a PS3, so I have a Blu-ray player, but I've never used it for anything other than games. I'm much more invested in the idea of streaming content and I believe that Blu-ray, and all physical media, is headed for obsolescence. What do you think? Is Blu-ray, as a format, worth supporting?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Race Between Apple, Google and Microsoft

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 08:30 AM

"Apple has taken an early lead in the race for seamless access to content, but Google and Microsoft remain close contenders, according to a new analysis. Maynard Um with UBS Investment Research issued the report as a note to investors Wednesday. After analyzing each of the key players in the race for the "Global Digital Living Room," Um views Apple as a front runner because of its "head start in media-generated content" and strong ecosystems such as the App Store."

I don't think I will ever be totally in one camp on this issue, because I like to have options in case one part of my system breaks. I have to have a backup plan! I use my current Apple TV to stream my music to the living room and for watching my videos, or to rent from the iTunes store, but I use my Xbox 360 to watch stuff from Netflix, for example. I'm not sure how Google is going to fit into this mix, and my current setup could change with the coming Airplay and new Apple TV. Until I actually get some hands-on experience, it is hard to say at this point. I definitely see Apple in the lead because of the success of their devices. How about you, do you ever see one company winning the home media war or do you see it as an ongoing battle?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Microsoft Developing Apps for the iPad

Posted by Joe Johaneman in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 06:30 AM

"It's funny -- for all of Microsoft's blustery bravado and insecure jealousy, the company really seems to spread itself around pretty evenly. Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott has tweeted that Microsoft is indeed working on apps for the iPad."

This isn't really surprising. Microsoft would certainly like to get on as many platforms as they can, and it's hard to avoid a platform as widespread as iOS. They have programmers skilled in Objective-C in their Office division, so I suspect one of the first apps we'll see is a competitor to Apple's iWork apps for iPad. Anyone have a guess as to what Microsoft is working on?

Tags: microsoft, ipad

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Windows vs Mac - Here We Go Again!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"It's been almost two years since Microsoft's laughable, misleading and creatively bereft "I'm A PC" ads, and you'd think they'd have learned something about appearing too defensive... but no! Right in time for the annual "Back to School" laptop sales wars, Microsoft has launched an official PC vs. Mac section on their website."

Actually, no. Another effort in the "our tool to get something done is better than your tool to get something done" campaign. Aimed at the back-to-school crowd, these pages are filled with interesting factoids - I compare it to a (hypothetical?) battle between Stanley and Craftsman to sell hammers. A PC is simply a tool - use whatever you need, to accomplish what you need to do. Bottom line is that if you need something that only runs on a Mac, buy a Mac. If you need something that runs only in Windows, buy a Windows PC (or use BootCamp or any of a number of virtualization tools). And if Linux or XYZ works, use it! Remember - these are *all* (PCs) "Personal Computers."

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