In light of the Windows 10 Anniversary update coming this summer, Microsoft is vamping up some of their already offered features. Cortana becomes a stronger force, Windows Hello is improved and gaming capabilities are increased.
The new update provides a more powerful Cortana. Cortana will appear more throughout the system, in the lock screen and with Skype as a bot conversation. She is gaining momentum as a suggestion advocate, providing cuisine ideas and even following commands. Although barely touched on at the Microsoft conference, one of the new features associated with Cortana is the ability to system control. Microsoft gives viewers a reason to believe Cortana will soon be able to recognize phrases such as “Cortana, turn off Wifi.” or “Shut down PC.” In addition, Cortana will tap into third party apps more often. She already is able to access Yelp and TripAdvisor for information, but now she will have access to 1,000 apps that integrate with Cortana. The Microsoft app store section, “Better with Cortana” provides plenty of options to make Cortana more proactive for the average user.
Exciting for gamers, Microsoft is enhancing a few of the top features such as allowing support for multiple GPUs and the ability to turn off VSync and enable GSync and FreeSync instead. Game developers will be able to use the new Desktop App Converter to put out Universal Windows App versions of their work. The biggest announcement for gamers is Dev Mode for Xbox One. Developers can easily use Xbox One as a development kit and create more games.
If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit: 4 Big Updates Coming to Windows 10 this Summer
For those of you users out there who are running Google Chrome beta, there is a beta extension in existence called Chrome Office Viewer that will actually let you open Microsoft Office documents in Chrome. Currently this is a read only extension but hopefully soon it will be a full blown read/write add-in. It has the potential to be a big plug-in. It is also important to note that when opening documents in chrome, it opens it up in a sandbox mode. Essentially separating it from everything else to prevent infections if the file is malicious. Pretty cool if you ask me.
Ever have problems with items within an outlook calendar becoming corrupt, or it is just acting quite strange? Well Microsoft has released a utility that is called CalCheck that allows you to check your outlook calendars for corruption and other issues. CalCheck is a command line program and we here at bva find it to be useful.
Essentially the tool opens an outlook profile in order to gain access to your outlook Calendar. It checks for multiple things such as free/busy publishing, permissions, delegate configuration and automatic booking. It will then check each calendar item for known problems, generates a report for you.
All in all, this is a time saver for any IT technician as it gets right the the heart of outlook calendar issues. If you want to read the rest of the article on the CalCheck utility, access the link below.
Download it here.
BVA emplyees see the perks of Microsoft Office 2013 but one awesome new feature we noticed was SkyDrive. With this you can share documents from anywhere with the cloud storage and even allows them to edit at the same time you are accessing the file. If you’re more of a visualy person and want to see what this feature is all about, check out this article. It gives you step-by-step idea as to what it all offers.
Rumors are the Microsoft will be launching Office 2013 to customers at the end of this month. It has been available to business customers since November 2012 and had a preview earlier than that. Now they are ready for everyone else to buy it and use it. Microsoft 2013 has many of the options we have loved for awhile along with some more options to personalize your Windows experience. Office 2013 will have the standard Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. Like normal it can be placed on up to 5 Macs, PC’s, or mobile devices as well. The nice thing about this version is it have been tested on Surface RT tablets too. One thing that I like about the newer Office products is it has adapted to the ever evolving cloud computing world. Customers are able to save work in SkyDrive or SharePoint where it is easy to do what you please with it. Social Networking is no stranger to Microsoft Office either, you can view Facebook updates and LinkedIn feeds using Outlook with ease. There are many variations of Office 365 including Home Premium, Small Business, ProPlus, and Enterprise to customize what suites you best. To get a better idea of what is the best for you follow this link from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en/whats-new
Windows on an iPad? Want access to Microsoft Office application on your iPad? With OnLive Desktop you will have access to a Windows7 Cloud desktop. This service allows you to have access to a Windows 7 desktop machine with Office pre-installed, a file storage center with 2gb of free storage space. What’s cool is that you can access your OnLive Desktop account through a web browser if you want to download or upload files for editing or review on the iPad or your main computing system. You will have to get used to the Windows keyboard versus the iPad keyboard when you’re using this app.
To see a demo check out this link http://desktop.onlive.com/
To use OnLive Desktop you will first have to create an account. There are several service accounts available however you will receive 2GB of cloud storage for free just for signing up for the service.
• PC Microsoft Office with 2GB cloud storage Free
• Full-featured document viewing and editing programs
• Easily transfer files between OnLive Desktop and other devices
Microsoft has recently launched their new cloud based product called Office 365 which is available to small businesses all the way up to enterprise level companies. It is also available to educational institutions and business professionals.
There are several plans available for this service which I will not go into much detail about, but here is what you can potentially get. You can get Office Professional Plus which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. This in turn of course comes with Microsoft Exchange online for your hosted email solution. This will also include the Microsoft Office Web Apps which can easily be run from a web browser.
You can also get Microsoft SharePoint online which allows you to manage and share documents with coworkers, manage projects, have real time communications, and even protect content with document level permissions.
One of the newer and more advanced features that you can get is Lync Online. Lync is the newest version of what Microsoft used to call Office communications server. Essentially it allows you to collaborate in real-time through the use of instant messaging (IM), Video calls, and online meetings. There are also white boarding features available, as well as the ability to communicate with users external users with Lync Federation.
All in all, it is another cloud based service that has real potential. At bva we have done several of the exchange online implementations (before it was packaged into Office 365), and it has gone off without a hitch. For companies or users who do not want to purchase expensive hardware, this is a good route to go. It gives you all of the enterprise level tools you need for a good price. Plans begin anywhere from $6 to $27 (the latter for large enterprises) and are fairly simple to get going.
If you are thinking of going this route, let bva assist. We are Microsoft Gold Partner with a dozen Microsoft certified technicians. We have a decade’s worth of experience with small and medium sized businesses.
Do you use Microsoft Office and want to try Google Docs? Do you use both Google Docs and Microsoft Office? Would you like to backup and access your Office files from anywhere? Well now you can with a new service that Google has launched called Google Cloud Connect.
What this program does is it allows users to backup and share their documents that have been created with the Microsoft Office Products and use them on Google Docs. Google Cloud Connect supports Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents in the 2003-2010 versions of Microsoft Office.
It is fairly simple to setup. All you need to do is download a little plug-in for Microsoft Office and have a Google Docs account. A little toolbar is installed and it is as simple as selecting the sync button and it will sync it up to the cloud.
Check out the video below!
Here is a simple walk through on how to add public calendars to your outlook profile.
Within your outlook, go to the bottom left corner and click on the Folder List button (figure A). This will bring up additional folders that you do not normally see (Figure B).
If you expand public folders, you will see all of the public folders for your organization. These are all hosted on the Exchange server. If you would like to add a calendar to your profile you would browse down to the calendar and add it to your favorites.
In this case, you would expand Public Folders > All Public Folders > Calendars. Inside the calendars folder is the list of available calendars. Right click the calendar you want and select add to favorites. You will see the ‘add to favorites’ dialogue, and you just click add.
Once you have added the calendar to your favorites, you should be able to go to your calendars and the calendar you just added to your favorites should be listed under “other calendars.”
You should be able to repeat this process for any other public folder calendars that you want to add to your outlook profile.
More and more BVA is getting requests for solutions wrapped around instant messaging and web collaboration. It’s amazing how popular it has become and have a feeling it is due to the large push in the consumer area with Skype, MSN, Yahoo, and other interfaces. It seems like the need for communication with other employees and friends on the fly is starting to become not a benefit but a need. Especially with the push of IM on mobile devises has really has changed they way people communicate. Microsoft Lync 2010 is a re-branding of the company’s Office Communications software suite. This old but new offering focuses on business users for enterprise VOIP (voice over IP), instant messaging, video and audio conferencing, and application and desktop sharing. Lync will operate in conjunction with other software platforms such as Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Exchange. Forrester estimates that the overall unified communications market will be worth $14.5 billion by 2015. I had the pleasure of seeing Lync in action, which on the fly allowed groups of users to interface via voice or video, all while collaborating on a PowerPoint document. Because Lync integrates multiple services such as instant messaging, video and voice into a single client experience, experienced users can simultaneously juggle multiple tasks and calling partners. Microsoft formally launched Lync 2010 in November and has been in Beta with some large clients over the last 10 months. Microsoft’s Lync Website offers a free trial of the software, which will be available December 1. Mobile clients for the Apple iPhone, Nokia phones and Windows Phone 7 are expected within the year. Lync’s other features include the ability to select multiple people from a contact list to make a group call; test a network connection before initiating a video call; and flipping through instant messenger, video, and document-collaborating within the same client experience. Integration with services such as Exchange means that Lync will auto-update its users’ statuses, for instance if they’re in a meeting or otherwise away from their desk. Lync also interfaces with Windows Live Messenger and even Kinect, with users able to activate a video conference through gestures.
Microsoft Lync Website
Retail Pricing Construct
|Server license offerings
|Lync Server 2010 Standard Edition
|Lync Server 2010 Enterprise Edition
|Lync Server 2010 Standard CAL
|Lync Server 2010 Enterprise CAL
|Lync Server 2010 Plus CAL