Office 15 Technical Preview Available Now, Download the Beta in mid-2012

Last Updated on Monday, 30 January 2012 12:09 Written by Mire_B Monday, 30 January 2012 12:09

Microsoft has started serving the first preview of the next iteration of Office with a group of select testers. Office 15 Technical Preview is currently available by invitation only, but I wouldn’t dare to speculate just how soon it will find its way to torrent trackers and other warez sites. Let’s just say that my money is on sooner rather than later, and leave it at that.

There aren’t all that many details about Office 15 Technical Preview just yet. Microsoft, in its usual fashion, is absurdly keeping all details secret until the next generation productivity suite reaches the Beta development milestone.

Office 15 Beta will be available in mid-2012, and there are reasons to rejoice, since the summer will bring with it a Public Beta.

 PJ Hough, CVP of Development, Microsoft Office Division:

This morning, we reached an important development milestone: the beginning of the “Office 15″ Technical Preview Program. Office 15 is the codename for the next generation of the Microsoft Office products and services, and the Technical Preview is the first time we share our work with a select group of customers under non-disclosure agreements. These customers play a key role in our development process by testing early builds and providing feedback, which we incorporate into the final release.

At this early point in our development cycle, I’m not able to share too much about Office 15, but I can tell you Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division. With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio. Quite simply, Office 15 will help people work, collaborate, and communicate smarter and faster than ever before.

While the Technical Preview program is already full, everyone will have the opportunity to try the Office 15 public beta later this summer, and we’ll have more to share about the release then. In the meantime, I do want to thank everyone who is participating in the Technical Preview for their contributions and all our customers for their continued support.


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Leaked Windows 8 Release Candidate (RC1) Is a Tad Interesting, Albeit Fake

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2012 10:02 Written by Mire_B Sunday, 29 January 2012 10:02

I just noticed that a leaked copy of Windows 8 spread through various file-sharing sitesis being advertised as Release Candidate 1. Obviously, this is not the case. The bits are nothing more than Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102, still a Milestone 3 release. A cracked release that is. Don’t bother downloading it, it’s a waste of time!

Perhaps it’s the crack’s fault, but it seems that this leaked copy of Windows 8 M3 can report that it’s in fact RC1.

“You’ll notice that it’s called “DEVELOPER PREVIEW” but go online using the WINDOWS UPDATER and run an update, and then the updated system will become a RELEASE CANDIDATE,” say the folks that released the leaked copy.

Windows 8 Beta, which apparently will be referred to as a Consumer Preview, following in the footsteps of the Developer Preview, is slated for launch in less than a month. Microsoft confirmed officially that we’ll get to play around with the Beta sometime by the end of February 2012.


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Kinect for Windows Available on February 1

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:10 Written by admin Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:09

At the end of this month, Windows users in 12 markets worldwide will be able to start buying Kinect for Windows. That’s right, a new flavor of the NUI (natural user interface) sensor tailored to Windows PCs, a newer version of Kinect for Xbox 360, which already sold in excess of 18 million units.
 
In case you didn’t watch Steve Ballmer’s CES 2012 keynote address, this was the only piece of news worthwhile.
 
We are announcing that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of US $249. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors. The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements. Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users.
 
We love the innovation we have seen built using Kinect for Xbox 360 – this has been a source of inspiration and delight for us and compelled us to create a team dedicated to serving this opportunity.   We are proud to bring technology priced in the tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago to the mainstream at extremely low consumer prices. And although Kinect for Windows is still value-priced for the technology, some will ask us why it isn’t the same price as Kinect for Xbox.
 
The ability to sell Kinect for Xbox 360 at its current price point is in large part subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem. In addition, the Kinect for Xbox 360 was built for and tested with the Xbox 360 console only, which is why it is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform.
 
With Kinect for Windows, we are investing in creating a platform that is optimized for scenarios beyond the living room, and delivering new software features on an ongoing basis, starting with “near mode” (see my earlier blog post for more about this). In addition to support for Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview (desktop apps only), Kinect for Windows will also support gesture and voice on Windows Embedded-based devices and will enhance how data is captured and accessed within intelligent systems across manufacturing, retail and many more industries. We are building the Kinect for Windows platform in a way that will allow other companies to integrate Kinect into their offerings and we have invested in an approach that allows them to develop in ways that are dependable and scalable.
 
We have chosen a hardware-only business model for Kinect for Windows, which means that we will not be charging for the SDK or the runtime; these will be available free to developers and end-users respectively. As an independent developer, IT manager, systems integrator, or ISV, you can innovate with confidence knowing that you will not pay license fees for the Kinect for Windows software or the ongoing software updates, and the Kinect for Windows hardware you and your customers use is supported by Microsoft.
 
Although we encourage all developers to understand and take advantage of the additional features and updates available with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software, those developers using our SDK and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware may continue to use these in their development activities if they wish. However, non-commercial deployments using Kinect for Xbox 360 that were allowed using the beta SDK are not permitted with the newly released software. Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do. Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016.
 
We expect that as Kinect for Windows hardware becomes readily available, developers will shift their development efforts to Kinect for Windows hardware in conjunction with the latest SDK and runtime. The combination of Kinect for Windows hardware and software creates a superior development platform for Windows and will yield a higher quality, better performing experience for end users.
 
We are excited for the new possibilities that Kinect will enable on the Windows platform, and to see how businesses and developers reimagine their processes and their products, and the many different ways each Kinect could enrich lives and make using technology more natural for everyone.
 
Craig Eisler
General Manager, Kinect for Windows


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