Microsoft Office 2013 Home Premium Presentation

The best sold product by Microsoft is ready to be delivered to the market with a new face and a new modern feature: the Cloud integration. Steve Ballmer was eager to unveil this product as fast as possible, preparing the media and the new customers to accept it as part of the Windows 8 “revolution”.

Microsoft Office 2013 Home Premium, which is part of the Microsoft Office 365 family, is already available for free as a preview version, which will expire on its official release. All you have to do to get it and make it run, is to download the installer from here, then sign-in into Office 365 Home Premium account with your Windows Live credentials. A new online UI will appear from where you can open your applications, documents, and custom settings on any PC (PC running Windows 7 or 8 and Internet connection required).

The package offers new full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access. In case you are already using Windows 8 Release Preview, these apps are fully integrated into the interface with lots of extra add-ons on Windows Store. You will have 25 GB of free online space on SkyDrive to store your documents for easy access and sharing. When the Preview version will expire, the free access will be gone.

The full version Office 365 Home Premium will come also with full Skype integration, additional 20 GB of SkyDrive online storage and Mac compatibility. All these will be available on up to five PC’s or mobile devices. It is not clear what prices will Microsoft ask for their four cloud subscription plans: Home, Small Business, ProPlus and Enterprise, but all these will be available only if you pay a monthly fee.

Stay tuned, for our full preview of Microsoft Office 2013.

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Transfer music and video files from iPod and iPhone with Ease

Have you had a problem with your computer or hard drive, lost all your music, then connected your iPod to your computer, hoping you could do a two-way transfer? Unfortunately, when you do that iTunes won’t let you copy your previous music library to your computer. That’s where Sharepod comes in. With Sharepod, you can copy music you have stored on your iPod to your computer with a simple drag-and-drop interface. You can arrange by track, by album or by playlist.

Sharepod is a simple, single-executable application that doesn’t need installing. So whether you are at home or a friend’s, it is easy to download, open and have your iPod connected within seconds. As well as iPod to PC sharing, Sharepod allows you to copy music from your PC to iPod without the need for iTunes. This is a great if you have multiple computers and want to use your iPod with all of them, instead of connecting your mp3 player to just one device.

Sharepod is a great freeware application for transferring music from your iPod to other computers and back again. If you have multiple computers in your home network or want to share music with friends, there is no simpler way to do it than with Sharepod. Sharepod fixes the universal problem iPod users have when trying to connect their device to secondary computers.

Download Sharepod

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Format any USB stick with the desired file system using HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool

Where would we be without our USB flash drives? Our music, pictures, work files, personal data, and just about our entire life’s history are often stored on the modern day equivalent of the floppy disk.

We love their portability, file space, and universal compatibility, and so too does Hewlett-Packard’s USB Disk Storage Format Tool.

What is it and what does it do?

The HP USB Storage Format Tool is a little godsend for those who use USB flash drives as recovery devices because it is capable of formatting virtually any USB flash drive in a diverse range of systems. And here’s the best bit. Not only does it install and run very smoothly, the interface looks exactly like the standard format which is built into Windows. The key difference being where the Windows version does not have the option of selecting USB drives to format, the HP USB Storage Format Tool does. Big difference huh?

This funky piece of software also offers users the option of creating a DOS start-up disk, by either using the internal MS-DOS system files, or the ones located at a specific path.

Oh! and before we forget, this format tool also allows you to rename all your USB flash drives in any way you want and offers a NTFS volume label for format which enable you to create a FAT32 volume which is bigger than 32GB. Cool hey?

The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool blows us away because by deleting space used on flash drivers that cannot be removed in the traditional way, and creating bootable USB drives it brings enhanced power and functionality to your system without costing you the earth. If you use flash drives, then don’t delay and get it today.

HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool

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I’m having a Bad Apple Day

You’d be surprised at how Apple’s integrated online services into its products…

I’m a T-Mobile USA customer living and working in Chicago, IL.  Earlier this week, Gigaom’s Kevin Fitchard reported on a seemingly nationwide, T-Mobile outage.  While no official statement has come out from the number four US-based carrier, both he and I seem to think that the brief service interruptions are due to the company’s network refarming and upgrades.  T-Mobile is in the process of moving its HSPA+ service from 1700mHz AWS to 1900mHz UMTS. Kevin put it very well, “…You can’t move that much hardware around without experiencing some problems…”

Kevin is right.

This morning I’m beside myself and I’ve got issues with my iPhone that can’t get resolved because I can’t get a 3G/4G signal through my T-Mobile Sonic 4G Mobile Hot Spot.  All I’ve got is EDGE (2G).

This is a problem for me, because I’m running iOS 6.0 Beta 2 on my iPhone 4S, and its misbehaving.  Specifically, regardless of whether or not you have songs stored on your iPhone, Music appears to want to play songs from iCloud.  Unfortunately, it seems to have issues playing any audio through iCloud.  Having a decent connection helps, but currently, in Beta 2, just because you’ve got a decent 3G/HSPA+/LTE signal, doesn’t mean the song will play.  It may… or it may not.  Currently, having the content on your iOS 6 powered iDevice just seems to confuse it.  It may not play the local content either.

I was able to determine that if you turn on Airplane mode (so all wireless radios  – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular – are turned off), local content can play without any issues…but who wants to go the whole time you’re listening to music with your cellular radio/phone turned off?

At times, I can coax the phone into playing content with the cell radio on by turning it on and off a few times and trying to play music. Today, that’s not working.  The recommended troubleshooting step to correct a misbehaving iDevice is to restore it from a backup and letting all of your content sync back over.

Did I mention that Apple requires an internet connection in order to make that happen..??  Yeah… iTunes requires an internet connection to repeatedly verify that the file you’re using to restore your iDevice with, is an actual, verifiable (literally…) Apple sanctioned and certified iDevice ROM. Verification of the image takes place EACH and EVERY time you restore your iDevice.

Which Cupertino-based Braniac thought THAT one up?

What happens when you don’t have internet access??  Well… THAT’S easy.  You don’t get to restore your iDevice, and it stays screwed up until you GET internet access.

That’s just awesome.

So without a reliable 3G/4G HSPA+ signal through my Sonic 4G Hotspot, I’m outta luck until I can get home LATE tonight. Unfortunately for me, I’ve got a lot of desk work today, and will be without my music unless and until I get a reliable cell/data service signal, which again… is just awesome.

However, I really think it’s amazing how tightly Apple has integrated its online services, specifically iCloud, into all of its products.  It’s also amazing how those products don’t function as designed when a critical piece of infrastructure malfunctions.

I’m kinda stuck until T-Mobile’s network and my 4G hotspot decide to behave, or I buckle and turn on Airplane mode and turn my iPhone into an iPod Touch.

I’m certain the programmatic issues will get resolved in future betas of iOS 6, but right now, it’s really stinking up the joint…

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Valve’s Free Movie-Making Tool Now Available To Download

Valve, the creator of game franchises such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life and Portal,  just announced the open beta release of Source Filmmaker – Valve’s in-house movie-making software is now available to download.

Source Filmmaker works from inside the Source engine and its been used by Valve to create all its animated short films, including those in the “Meet the Team” series of Team Fortress 2 shorts. Because the SFM uses the same assets as the game, anything that exists in the game can be used in the movie, and vice versa. By utilizing the hardware rendering power of a modern gaming PC, the SFM allows storytellers to work in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get environment so they can iterate in the context of what it will feel like for the final audience.

Below you can see a short clip created with SFM…

Source Filmmaker system requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7 / Vista (Windows 7 64 bit suggested)
  • Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
  • Memory: 2GB (4 GB suggested)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 200 series card or better, or AMD Radeon 3000 series or better (NVIDIA GeForce 400 series or AMD Radeon 5000 series preferred)
  • Monitor: 1366 x 768 (1920 x 1080 suggested)
  • Hard Drive: At least 15 GB of Space
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible USB headset with mic (suggested)

Download the SFM

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Mountain Lion Release Predicted

The release date for Apple’s new flagship, desktop operating system has been set…well sort of.

If Apple sticks to its previous behavior, I know exactly when OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will be released – 25, July 2012.

Apple’s Q3 2012 earnings call is set for 24-Jul-12, and the company is doing rather well. WWDC unveiled a new MacBook Pro with Retina Display and a refresh of the remaining notebook line.  It also introduced a new version of their mobile operating system – iOS 6, set to be released with their latest iPhone, currently anticipated to be released some time in, it’s expected, mid October 2012.

Last year, however, Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, was able to announce that OS X 10.7 Lion, would be available for purchase and download in Apples Mac App Store.  If Apple holds true to previous behavior, then I expect Mountain Lion to be released the following day, 25-Jul-12 for the advertised $19.99 USD.

If this is the case, I hope Apple’s got the bandwidth and server space set aside to handle the traffic. If I remember right, I had to wait about a week or so before I was able to get my copy of Lion due to server collisions and contention. Downloading the OS is great, but I’m not looking forward to having to wait and wait to get the OS upgrade, and I’m certain I’m not alone. I’m hoping that new data centers and other Apple infrastructure will help make the Mountain Lion release process smooth and easy for all.

Please look for a final review of Apple’s Mountain Lion here on Soft32 in the beginning of August 2012.

Apple stock (AAPL) was trending up over 18 points for the week at the time of this writing, at 604.72, up 18.41.

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Meet new friends and find hot flirts with Qeep

Smartphones are really cool, but can be really expensive. Not everyone can afford the gadget and all the extra costs related to it. That’s why I like applications like Qeep. It’s a social networking app for a Brew based cell phone near you.

If you’ve got a Featurephone, or any other phone that is NOT a Smartphone, it’s likely running some form of Java, or Brew, as an operating system. It may or may not have applications on it; and depending on your cell carrier, you may or may not be able to put more applications on it. However, if you can send and receive text messages, you won’t be left out in the cold.

Qeep is a global social network for your Featurephone. Qeep is already the world’s leading mobile gaming & entertainment network; and its social network app, also called Qeep is easy to use. You can use it to play games, chat, send pictures & more.

Qeep looks like a really nice application. If you’re not using a Smartphone, chatting on FB, Twitter or via an IM app like Skype or AIM isn’t always possible. In many cases, you’re simply out of luck, as a similar app doesn’t exist for your phone, or may hit you with huge fees. Qeep won’t do that, as its free to use and makes use of your existing data or cell phone account.

Download Qeep

 

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Test your PC out for gaming capabilities with 3DMark Vantage

Gaming seems to be the stuff right now.

If you’re a serious PC advocate, whether on a Mac, a PC or a Linux box, you’re most likely doing some kind of gaming. This is one of the reasons why I really like tools like 3DMark Vantage. It’s a graphics benchmarking tool for Windows.

3DMark Vantage is the industry standard benchmark tool for DirectX 11-based gaming PCs. It includes two graphics tests, two CPU tests and six feature tests. 3DMark Vantage is one of the best ways to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 with real world, game-like loads.

The Basic Edition is free.  The Professional Edition unlocks all of the app’s features including custom testing options, unlimited test runs and priority customer support. A commercial license enables you to use the benchmark for business purposes, including testing for performance, standards compliance and stability.  For research and development including component evaluation, burn-in testing and competitor analysis and for promotional use including trade shows, consumer events, overclocking competitions and other sales and marketing activities, 3DMark Vantage is a must have tool.

The app’s benchmark presets offer a convenient way of scaling the load to provide relevant results for all levels of hardware. These settings represent more advanced levels of visual quality, and a score is produced when running the tool when completed. That score is calculated differently for each preset, and scores are not comparable across different presets.

download 3DMark Vantage

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