“I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.

The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.

For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011
Office 2011 for Macintosh: The Missing Manual

Office 2011 for Mac is easy to use, but to unleash its full power, you need to go beyond the basics. Fortunately, you’ll find crystal-clear explanations on the features you use most—and plenty of power-user tips when you’re ready for more—in Office 2011 for Mac: The Missing Manual (O’Reilly Media, $34.99 USD).

“Ask a Mac user what they want from Microsoft Office and before long they get around to: 1) Make Office more Mac-like, and 2) Give Office for Mac the same features as the Windows version. Office 2011 for Mac doesn’t completely resolve those issues, but it’s certainly a welcome improvement,” notes expert author Chris Grover. “And you’ll find all the Office features, new and old, covered in Office 2011 for Mac: The Missing Manual.”

This entertaining guide not only gets you started with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the new Outlook for Mac, it also reveals useful lots of things you didn’t know the software could do. You’ll learn how to:

Take advantage of new tools. Navigate with the Ribbon, use SmartArt graphics, and work online with Office Web Apps.
Create professional-looking documents. Use Word to craft beautiful reports, newsletters, brochures, and posters.
Crunch numbers with ease. Assemble data, make calculations, and summarize the results with Excel.
Stay organized. Set up Outlook to track your email, contacts, appointments, and tasks.
Make eye-catching presentations. Build PowerPoint slideshows with video and audio clips, animations, and other features.
Use the programs together. Discover how to be more productive and creative by drawing directly in Word documents, adding spreadsheets to your slides, and more.

Steve Ballmer

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® announced today that Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will deliver a preshow keynote address at the 2011 International CES®. Owned and produced by CEA, the 2011 International CES, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, is scheduled January 6-9, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“As leader of one of the world’s most innovative technology companies, a keynote address from Steve Ballmer is the perfect way to kick off the 2011 International CES,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “Microsoft’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive have been major forces behind the success of the company and its impact on the global consumer technology industry. We look forward to hearing Steve’s strategic vision for the future of Microsoft and our industry.”

Steve Ballmer will kick off the 2011 International CES with a preshow keynote address at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, in the Las Vegas Hilton Center. In previous years, Microsoft has used the CES keynote stage to launch major products including Xbox, Windows Vista and its Sync technology partnership with Ford.

The full line-up of 2011 CES keynote addresses will be announced in the coming months.

The 2011 International CES will feature 2,500 global technology companies unveiling the latest consumer technology products and services across 15 major product categories including the latest in audio, automotive electronics, connected home technologies, digital imaging, electronic gaming, entertainment/content and more. For more information on the 2011 International CES, visit CESweb.org.

Microsoft Releases Office 2010

Author: Sven Rafferty
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Office 2010 Logo

Today, Microsoft Corp. announced the worldwide availability of Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010. Consumers can now purchase Office 2010 at more than 35,000 retail stores across the globe, such as Best Buy, Fnac, Harvey Norman and PC World; through online retailers, including Amazon.com; and direct from Microsoft at Office.com.

Office 2010 can also be purchased with the most popular desktops and laptops from leading PC makers including Acer Inc., Asus, Dell Inc., HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony Corp. In the next year, more than 100 million PCs will ship with Office 2010 preloaded, which can easily be activated with the purchase of any one of the three versions of Office 2010, including Office Home and Student 2010, Office Home and Business 2010, or Office Professional 2010.

“Working with major retail partners and PC makers, we’ve made dramatic changes in the way we deliver Office 2010 to give consumers more buying choice, making it easier than ever to unlock the power of Office on new and existing PCs,” said Stephen Elop, president, Microsoft Business Division. “For the first time, people can purchase a Product Key Card at retail to activate Office 2010 preloaded on new PCs. For those who want to download Office 2010 direct from Office.com for an existing PC, the new Click-to-Run technology will have them up and running in a matter of minutes.”

Office 2010 Represents a Great Growth Opportunity for Microsoft and Its Partners
“Recent comScore Tech Metrix™ data confirms that more than 1 billion PCs worldwide have Office software installed, making it the most widely used productivity suite in the world,” said Mike Hurt, senior vice president of comScore. “This milestone helps illustrate the importance that software products like Microsoft Office have played in shaping the digital world to date.”

Considering there are approximately 1.8 billion Internet users worldwide, Microsoft and its channel partners see an incredible opportunity to deliver Office 2010 to existing and new Office customers around the world.

From a survey of Office 2010 beta users, Microsoft found that 75 percent say they plan to buy Office 2010 within six months. The Office 2010 beta program had more than 9 million downloads — more than six times the size of the 2007 Microsoft Office beta program — indicating strong consumer interest in Office 2010.

“Following the great response to the Office 2010 beta and the success of Windows 7, we predict this will be the biggest consumer release of Office, ever,” Elop said.

Productivity Solutions Across the PC, Phone and Browser
Throughout its development cycle, customer feedback has been critical to the improvements found in Office 2010. Based on this valuable input, Microsoft has made considerable enhancements to help users do the following:

Create great-looking documents and presentations. Express creativity in PowerPoint 2010 presentations with new video and photo editing features. Add extensive text effects and table formatting options in Word 2010. Reveal important trends in data with Sparklines in Excel 2010. OneNote 2010 makes everything you need simple to find, organize and share.
Connect and work together more simply. Advanced e-mail management and calendaring capabilities in Outlook 2010 and the new Outlook Social Connector help people stay productive and in touch with personal and business networks. Work with others more efficiently using new co-authoring in Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010 and OneNote 2010. Deliver presentations over the Web with new PowerPoint Broadcast Slideshow.
Get things done from virtually anywhere. With Office 2010 and the Office Web Apps — the online companions to Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote — people have the freedom to save documents directly from Office 2010 to Windows Live SkyDrive, then view, edit and share those documents in the cloud. The Office Web Apps preserve the look and feel of Office documents, so valuable content and formatting are not compromised while moving between the PC, phone and browser*

Office Mobile 2010 also is available from Windows® Phone Marketplace for all Windows Mobile 6.5 phones. People using Office Mobile 2010 can perform lightweight editing of Office documents and take notes on the go, or work on Office documents stored on their phone or attached to an e-mail. Today, Office 2010 is available in 10 languages and will expand to 94 languages.

“For information workers the lines between home and office are becoming blurred; in return for flexible working practices that fit better with lifestyle employees are prepared to spread their working hours. Facilitating this involves accessing documents and information from a range of devices, so providing a consistent experience is necessary. With Office 2010 Microsoft has done a lot to help this.

First, being free, Microsoft Office Starter will ensure that basic productivity tools, that are familiar to many from their work place experience, are freely available on many consumer PCs. Second, Office Web Apps makes the basic office capabilities freely available to anyone with an internet connection and facilitates that sharing of documents. With the Office 2010 announcement Microsoft is taking both OpenOffice and Google Apps head-on. This release should ensure Microsoft remains the dominant vendor in the productivity tools space for the foreseeable future,” said Bob Tarzey, Analyst & Director, of Quo Circa.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Microsoft, KIN, Social Network, Phone

Microsoft takes the Sidekick and makes it a KIN. Will the Gen-Y bunch take the bait or ignore it for the iPhones and Droids? Interesting looking phone, but like so many things Microsoft, it may be too late to the party. Here’s the press release…

Microsoft Corp. today announced KIN, a new Windows® Phone designed specifically for people who are actively navigating their social lives. Brought to life through partnerships with Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and Sharp Corporation, KIN is designed to be the ultimate social experience that blends the phone, online services and the PC with breakthrough new experiences called the Loop, Spot and Studio. KIN will be exclusively available from Verizon Wireless in the U.S. beginning in May and from Vodafone this autumn in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

“Working closely with our partners, we saw an opportunity to design a mobile experience just for this social generation — a phone that makes it easy to share your life moment to moment,” said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “We built KIN for people who live to be connected, share, express and relate to their friends and family. This social generation wants and needs more from their phone. KIN is the one place to get the stuff you care about to the people you care about most.”

With KIN, social networking is built into the fabric of the phone. KIN has a fun, simple interface, which is designed to help people publish the magazine of their life by making the people and stuff they love the focus rather than menus and icons. The unique hardware design was developed in partnership with Sharp to create a new kind of social phone. There are two models called KIN ONE and KIN TWO. Both phones feature a touch screen and slide-out keyboard. ONE is small and compact, making it a perfect fit for a pocket and to operate with one hand. TWO has a larger screen and keyboard, in addition to more memory, a higher resolution camera, and the ability to record high-definition video. The 5 and 8 megapixel cameras in ONE and TWO, respectively, are designed for use in low light with image stabilization and a bright LumiLED flash.
Read the rest of this entry »


So Apple has left its heart in San Francisco with Tony Bennett singing farewell to the Keynote crowd on Apple’s behalf this year at Macworld Expo 2009. So what’s on tap for next year? Who will do the keynote? Will there even be a keynote? What is IDG, Macworld Expo presenter, going to do? Think anchor. As in one for a mall and not one that sinks a ship… Next to Apple, what company in the South Hall has the money, brand recognition, and guts to take center stage in Apple’s place? Microsoft.

Imagine it. Steve Ballmer up on stage smacking out some of its own sales figures. You know, how it sales more office productivity applications than any other company in the world? How it is number one in sales for things like mice and stuff of that nature. Want big announcements? Maybe X-Box integration with the Mac? ‘Watch X-Box Live content on your Cinema display through your Mac,’ Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, could tell the crowd. Or how ’bout, ‘Today we’re announcing Office Live for the Mac. Do all you can on Windows on your Mac. Today. For free.’ Microsoft could pull it off.

Now granted, Microsoft isn’t well known for innovation as of late, look at the Zune for an example of copy-cat failure, but it is well known, period. Putting up Ballmer, of even Gates, to speak before a crowd of emotionally injured Mac faithful could turn the tide for the Redmond-based computer company. Just the fact of Microsoft stepping in for arch rival Apple would be enough to cause the media to stomp over each other in the West Hall to get good seats for the keynote. Mac fanboi’s may hold to their code of loyalty, but there would be a lot more curious showing up to see how it all plays out in their place. Think about it, Microsoft at the All Things Mac expo. The center of the Macintosh universe…and Microsoft is right there in the middle of it all! Without a doubt, a Microsoft anchor at the 2010 Macworld would cause a flurry in the industry and best of all, for Microsoft, piss off Steve Jobs to no end. Just watch Triumph of the Nerds for a Jobs reaction to when he’s burned by Microsoft. You know, Macworld 2010 has potential…

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Apple took a leap into the enterprise market last Friday with the release of the iPhone firmware 2.0, a free downloadable upgrade for current first-generation users and pre-loaded on the 3G iPhone. The vault was the inclusion of full native support for Microsoft’s heavily used corporate email server, Exchange. Now, business men and women around the globe would be able to get their email on their iPhone in real-time. In other words, when new email appeared in their Inbox on their Mac or PC at the office, it would also be on the iPhone. This method is termed “push” as in pushing email to your phone rather than the phone checking for new email every 15, 30, or 60 minutes per user defined settings.

Push email has its advantages, like being constantly up to date with your email, but it also has some nasty cons. Users that see a large influx of email coming in throughout the day will find heavy battery usage due to the constant pushing of messages. Instead of holding off at a minimum of every 15 minutes to get your email, now your messages are filling up your iPhone every minute a new message is sent to you. If you receive 10 messages in 15 minutes, your iPhone will have 10 active sessions with your Exchange server within those 15 minutes. Multiple this by the hours in your day of heavy traffic and you’ll notice a red battery on your iPhones screen real fast. Add the 3G iPhone to the mix and it may be at 20% by the end of lunch. Not that this problem isn’t reserved just for Exchange users, but also Apple’s new MobileMe is effected by this issue as well. Anytime high traffic email is pushed to your iPhone, your phone will be draining its battery very quickly.

There are ways around this battery dump for your iPhone. In the Settings section, you will find the third icon labeled “Fetch New Data”. Tapping this brings up various settings. The first is “Push” which lets you turn it on or off. If you have more than one push account, say your Exchange server at work and your personal MobileMe, you can tap the “Advanced” selection on the bottom of the screen and then individually disable push for each account to allow you to retain, say your work email to be pushed and not your personal mail.

Push technology is not a new problem for batteries and it’s one Apple needs to actively find a solution to. Other manufactures such a Research In Motion (BlackBerry) have made great strives in keeping the battery juiced throughout the day while still receiving lots of email. If Apple wishes to overtake the millions of BlackBerrys in the enterprise, it needs to get this battery drain plugged.


The Disneyland Resort (NYSE:DIS) today announced a five-year alliance with Microsoft, HP, Life/ware and home builder Taylor Morrison to showcase integrated digital technologies for the home in the immersive, story-telling experiences for which Disney is known. The alliance includes the design and development of the new Innoventions Dream Home attraction, a 5,000+ sq. ft. home belonging to the fictional Elias family, scheduled to open in May in Tomorrowland at the Disneyland Resort.

Keeping with Walt’s vision of bringing cutting-edge and inspiring ideas to Tomorrowland, the Innoventions Dream Home will introduce Disneyland guests to newly available technology from the participating companies that will enhance their lives today, while providing them a glimpse of the emerging digital advances they may find in their homes in the future. The attraction will provide guests with a “high-tech, high-touch” opportunity to experience technology in an entertaining, low-risk environment showing them how the power of technology can connect them to the people and things they care most about.

“We’re thrilled that Disney has chosen Microsoft to bring digital entertainment to life at Disneyland,” said Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Entertainment and Devices eHome Division at Microsoft. “Together, we’re showcasing innovative technology that is both attainable and inspiring, offering park guests the opportunity to see, touch and feel digital home experiences in a simple, fun and interactive environment.”

“This exciting alliance gives each of our partners a forum to inspire our guests’ imaginations and motivate them to incorporate and enjoy the new technologies that are available today,” said Ed Grier, president of Disneyland Resort. “Consistent with the Disney heritage of growth through innovation, the Innoventions Dream Home is just another example of how we are committed to investing in and developing exciting projects that keep our guests returning again.”

The technology companies will showcase a wide range of technologies and products in the exhibit, including the latest in mobile phones, PCs, digital music and gaming. The Innoventions Dream Home demonstrates how home technology can be simple, intuitive and fun while helping guests understand how to seamlessly interconnect their home, the surrounding community and the world, helping consumers stay closer to the people, places and entertainment that are most important to them. The alliances also help ensure that the Innoventions Dream Home remains on the forefront of technology with the newest devices and products as part of the exhibit.

Guests will actively engage in this experience as they help members of the fictional Elias family prepare for a trip to World Soccer Championships in China, where their son is competing. Elias family members rotate throughout the house, randomly interacting with guests in the various rooms. Upon exiting the house, guests can learn more about the companies that collaborated to create the Innoventions Dream House, exploring the technologies for themselves first-hand.

The notion of a Dream Home has deep roots at the Disneyland Resort. Walt Disney was fascinated with the concept of a futuristic home and he introduced concepts at World’s Fairs that led to the first “House of Tomorrow” exhibit in Disneyland (1967). Those early versions featured modern conveniences for housewives, but the story line always focused on progress that led to a better way of living. In 1998, Disneyland opened Innoventions, an interactive pavilion featuring what was then considered breakthrough technology: voice-activated computers, high-definition TVs, smart-cars and satellite broadcasting.

The intent was not to predict the future, but to let people play with emerging technologies and imagine how those technologies might enhance everyday life. The precursors to the Dream Home enabled people of all ages to experiment with interactive devices, games and exhibits, demonstrating both the fun and the significance of modern innovations.

Now comes the Dream Home, a convergence of five companies and their fascination with technology. The combination of Disney’s strong storytelling heritage, cutting-edge technology expertise from Microsoft, HP and Life/ware, and Taylor Morrison’s talent for building an environment that will bring it to life, will inspire Disneyland guests’ imaginations for years to come.

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Proporta Zune 2 Case

Microsoft has released a new version of their Zune MP3 player. We welcome the Zune 2nd Generation. The new Zune Pad appears on these refreshed versions, boasting an innovative touch-sensitive button for navigating the device, as well as wireless sync, Windows Media Centre TV on the go, and new codec support. Pretty useful device, hey?

Proporta’s Alu-Leather Case (Microsoft 2G Zune 4GB and 8GB) is definitely a must have for protecting your MP3 player against the all-harming day to day impacts they encounter.

Proporta create this protection by using their trademark ‘screen saver system’ which uses a sheet of rigid, lightweight aircraft grade Aluminium to line the Case, perfectly saving it against crushing and impact shocks. Cut aways give access to ports and controls so that you can use your device in the case.

Another protective option is the Proporta Silicone Case (Microsoft 2G Zune 4GB and 8GB).

The Silicone Case gives your Zune 2G a tough, protective skin, allowing access to all ports and controls, whilst protecting it from scratching and impact damage. The Silicone case adds little more than a millimetre to your device enabling you to carry it around comfortably in your pocket.

And more news… keep an eye out for an Aluminium Case for the Zune 2G heading your way as well. More details to follow.

It is also imperative that the Zune 2G’s screen is kept protected from everyday scratches, scrapes and dust invasion. Proporta recommends their Advanced Screen Protector (Microsoft 2G Zune 4GB and 8GB Series). It incorporates an improved thickness, made from a new ultra high-clarity plastic, without impairing screen brightness and clarity. This screen protector reduces glare from sunlight or bright lighting and is fully washable and replaceable.

Show your Zune 2G the respect it deserves and visit www.proporta.com for full protection.

Is Leopard Apple’s Vista?

Author: Sven Rafferty
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Leopard Copy Cat Vista.jpg

What’s with this cat? Apple had two years to make it happen as good as Tiger and yet, things all over the hard drive don’t spin like they should. While I’m not quite prepared to call this a Vista issue like some are, I am disappointed. Ironically, I’m more grieved with Apple’s update, 10.5.1, than the out-of-the-box version. As previously blogged, the update does more harm than good. Constant crashes, complaints of applications not responding to log outs, and permission issues, Apple’s update to fix its network copy bug is just horrible. I couldn’t believe that Apple’s very own iMovie 08 would not open for the life of me after installed last week. I never did get it to open under 10.5.1. Carbon Copy Cloner made a perfect copy of my not-so perfect install and I went back to 10.5.0. Things are better but still, minor issues are there.

Now Oliver Rist at PCMAG.COM has a whole different feeling on Leopard. He thinks Apple pulled a Vista. While his article has some valid points, I find it a bit comical to go that far. His first point is the “wait for the service pack” before you install it. Since I’ve already established the 10.5.1 is actually worse than 10.5.0, and since it only corrects the network copy bug with a few other minor fixes, this already is untrue. Granted, it kind of puts more credence into his statement, but only at face value. The truth is (and by the way, NEVER move files people, COPY and you’ll be just fine), Vista has been out just nearly a year now and there are still tons and tons of issues that the upcoming SP1 will supposedly to fix. The number one issue with Vista is hardware. No one can get even peripheral less than a year old to work in Vista. Ah, last I checked, this isn’t an issue in Leopard. Read the comments in Rist’s article and you’ll find one poster stating that he used his PowerBook (Apple stopped making these nearly three years ago) to upgrade to Leopard and then download drivers for his Vista machine!

Other complaints from Rist include “useless” visual effects. He thinks Apple’s translucent Finder menu bar is very much like Vista’s all-over-the-place translucent borders and title bars. I agree with Rist, Aero is horrible. I turn it off any Vista machine that I must work on. Apple’s single bar on the top is not that bad. Unlike Aero, it actually grows on you. Rist also poo-poos the Dock and I do agree, the dinky shinny star as a running application indicator is a poor choice for a company known for it’s expertise in user interfaces. The reflective Dock, though, ain’t that big of deal to complain about.

Other issues, such as networking (outside of my fluke first install, I’ve had zero issues with networking), and Rist’s whining of Time Machine as a poor bundled app, again, does not make this a Vista comparison.

In summary, I agree, Leopard has its issues and I am quite annoyed with Apple for allowing this to happen; however, Vista it ain’t. When a multi-billion corporation has nearly seven years to update it’s operating system, the mistakes should not be as great as it is with Vista. There is not a mass exodus of Mac users returning to Tiger as there are Vista users running back to eXPerience (remember that? :) ) With major PC manufacturers going back to Windows XP as a pre-install choice and Vista installs with a “Go Back to Previous Version” options, I really can’t see how anyone could honestly call Leopard Apple’s Vista. No, Microsoft has earned its smelly fish of an operating system all by itself.