Last summer Microsoft introduced Outlook.com, a redesigned webmail service with a modern design and new features that were ahead of Hotmail, Gmail, and the other competitors. Here’s my enthusiastic description of Outlook.com.
(To be clear: Outlook.com is a webmail service. You get an @outlook.com email address and check your mail at www.outlook.com. It’s not the same as Microsoft Outlook, the program from the Microsoft Office suite that runs on your computer.)
Since last August, anyone has been able to sign up and get an @outlook.com address. Hotmail users can keep their Hotmail address and switch over to the new Outlook.com interface. […] continued
Google has achieved a rare distinction: it has now launched not one but two of the strangest, most pointless products in the long history of stupid tech products.
Last year Google introduced the Nexus Q, an orb-shaped streaming media player designed for living rooms. It had an unbelievably small set of features that did not match anyone’s habits in the real world, combined for some reason with a high price tag that made it bizarrely unappealing in almost every way. The reaction was so vicious that Google shipped almost none of the odd balls. Within three months it was listed as “out of stock” in the Google store; Google gave up that fiction and declared it “no longer available for sale” a few months later. […] continued
Another Java update? Really?
New updates for Java on all versions of Windows this week (Java 6 Update 41 and Java 7 Update 15), following the emergency Java updates last week, which followed the emergency Java updates the week before that. In fact there have been five Java updates in just over five weeks, 15 in the last 18 months.
Apple released an emergency stop-the-presses get-it-now update for Java on OS X which among other things automatically disables Java in all browsers. Apple is a little sensitive about it, since it had to admit publicly that hackers had exploited a Java flaw and installed Java-related malware on Apple employees’ computers. […] continued
One of the first questions asked during setup of a new Windows 8 PC has particular significance. By default, you’ll be asked to sign in with a Microsoft account. If you do, you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the best features of Windows 8, the built-in ability to sync settings automatically among your PCs. It won’t seem important on your first Windows 8 PC, but it will shorten the setup time (and amaze and delight you) when you set up your second Windows 8 PC.
Tip: Set up your Microsoft account ahead of time, and use it to sign in to your Windows 8 computers. […] continued
Microsoft and Adobe made sure your computer stayed busy this week, with a particularly large crop of patches and security updates. Your computer has probably already restarted at least once and probably could use another restart to make sure everything has settled down.
Microsoft’s regular Patch Tuesday included a long list of updates covering 57 different vulnerabilities, including some that security researchers believe the bad guys might start targeting in the next month or so. There are more details here.
Meanwhile, Adobe rushed out an emergency patch for zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash last week, then followed it up with another patch this week for all versions of Flash on Windows and Mac OS. […] continued
The number of smartphones and tablets sold worldwide in 2012 is absolutely staggering. The sense of amazement is the same no matter how you measure it – number of units sold, growth year over year, spending, profits, comparison to declining computer sales. There is something profound going on in the world.
A couple of trends in 2012 are surprising. We’ve been accustomed to thinking of Apple as an unstoppable giant setting the bar high above competitors. In fact, the world is a duopoly, divided between Android and Apple iOS, and Android has taken a sharp lead in the number of devices sold. […] continued
Time marches on.
It’s time to retire computers running Vista.
Most of them are five years old, some of them coming up on their six-year anniversary.
If you’re running Vista, you’ve probably noticed that your computer is running slowly. Molasses slow, glacier slow.
The constant torrent of patches and updates, and the changes in programs over the years, have made it impossible to run Vista at the same speed as when the computer was new. The processor, memory, and hard drive are several generations old. The hardware can’t power Vista and your programs in their current form. […] continued
Adobe has never been shy about charging high prices for its products. Artists and designers have long struggled with the high cost of licenses for Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and other creative programs, and the $449 price tag for an Acrobat license has been a thorn in the side of small businesses for many years.
Adobe is moving towards subscription-based licensing, just as Microsoft is doing with Office 2013.
For the first time, Acrobat XI Pro can be licensed separately by subscription. Like the other Adobe programs, Acrobat is $19.99/month on an annual contract. If you know you only need it for a short period, you can subscribe month-to-month for $29.99. […] continued
Continuing our look at a handful of new features in the updated Office suite, in case any of them get you all excited. (Hey, don’t laugh – I have to sit down and fan myself with my hand whenever I think about inline replies in Outlook.)
Outlook has a refreshed look and feel, with a text-based navigation bar at the bottom of the screen and the ability to quickly peek at calendars and contacts by hovering with the mouse over “Calendar” and “People” at the bottom. […] continued
All the attention is focused on the subscription-based licensing of the new Office suite, but at some point you’re likely to wonder if anything has changed in the programs themselves that would make you care about the upgrade.
If you’re a home user or micro-business owner with several PCs, the subscription is priced so cheaply that you have little to lose. Office is a highly polished machine and the new programs have minor improvements throughout. The new version does not have any large changes that impose a learning curve – nothing like the first time you saw the ribbon at the top five years ago. […] continued