Windows 8.1 Debuts at Build

Microsoft releases the publicly accessible Windows 8.1 (formerly, Blue) Preview today at BUILD.

The long anticipated Public Preview of Windows 8.1, formerly code-named Windows Blue, should now be available for download via the Windows Store on Windows 8 devices.

There are a number of new and updated features that are available with the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship, touch centric operating system. I’ll have a breakdown of what’s new and improved for Soft32 in the coming weeks. However, if you do decide to install this on your Windows 8 PC, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.

 

 

The software is available via the Windows Store.

Microsoft users are used to going to Windows Update for these types of things – Service Packs, upgrades and updates – that isn’t the case here. You’re going to get it from the Windows Store, as you have with all of your ModernUI apps.

Upgrade Now, Rebuild Later

One of the most impactful issues with the Public Preview is the fact that Microsoft is going to make you effectively blow your PC and install Windows 8.1 Golden Master from scratch. While you will be able to install the Preview without having to reinstall of your existing software and apps, you won’t be able to upgrade over the Preview to the Released version of the software.

This is largely due to the way both ModernUI and 3rd party software is installed and maintained on your PC, as well as Microsoft wanting to start with as clean a Registry as possible. While it sucks from an activation and registration perspective, your PC will be lemony fresh.

HOWEVER, if you DON’T install the Preview and you wait to install Windows 8.1, you WILL be able to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1…so go figure.

Don’t Download over Mobile Broadband

Just an FYI, if you rely on your smartphone or other mobile broadband device to be your main internet connection, you don’t want to download and install Windows 8.1 via mobile broadband. Go to your local Starbucks, McDonalds or other trusted public Wi-Fi location of choice. Windows 8.1 is going to be heavy, and you’re going to have a better install experience and lighter cell bill if you do this via wired or wireless LAN.

Again, please watch Soft32 for a breakdown of the new OS in the coming weeks. I have some installing and updating to do on at least 2 PC’s…

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Windows 8 Release Preview Due in June

Microsoft is going to give us an RC release in June before Windows 8’s planned October release.

The first week of June should see the release of Windows 8 Release Preview, as Microsoft prepares Windows 8 for a mid-Fall release some time, likely, near the end of October.

These plans were announced by Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft’s Windows Development arm, at a developer’s event in Japan, according to All Things D. This release preview follows both Developer Preview late last year and a Consumer Preview in February of this year.

Microsoft is aiming to complete development work sometime this summer, with, its thought, a release in late to mid-October, though Microsoft has not made this official. Windows 8 sports a new, redesigned interface called, Metro, as well as a Windows Store and digital delivery feature designed to go head-to-head with Apple’s App Store, introduced in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and OS X 10.7 Lion, last year.

Apple is due to release its latest OS version OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion sometime this summer. Windows 8 is meant to directly compete with Apple’s planned OS release this year. How well it succeeds will depend on how well Metro is accepted on the desktop, as Windows tablets are not widely in circulation, if at all, as of this writing.

Soft32 is planning on reviewing the final version of Windows 8 when it is released, so stay tuned for our final thoughts and impressions on the OS later this year.

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Can’t Beat the CS6 Beta: Adobe Photoshop Leads the Way

Adobe has done it again. Always at the cutting edge of innovation, they don’t disappoint with this latest advance in digital image editing software. From the reworked interface to the 65 new features, an incredible amount of thought has gone into the Adobe Photoshop CS6. And for the first time, Adobe has released a public beta of the software, meaning everyone can try it out until the official launch later this year.

What strikes you first is the refined, darker-grey UI, looking smart and modern, and making the colours in your photos really stand out. The handling of panels and tools is also extremely logical, with common features more accessible in the foreground and many of the controls moveable straight onto the canvas. The updated Mini Bridge panel now sits horizontally across the bottom of the screen, which, coupled with the darker interface, makes Photoshop not dissimilar to Adobe Lightroom, though both features can be customised to your preferences.

One thing Adobe boasts of with the CS6 is the increased speed of the software, which they hope will have a transformational effect on professional workflows. It looks pretty likely. Powered by the new Mercury Graphics Engine, delivering editing results virtually in real-time via common tools such as Liquify and Transform, and with the additional search tool in the layers panel, the CS6 will save users hours of work. The capacity of the CS6 to save files in the background also means no more sitting waiting for Photoshop to save extra-large files.

Noteworthy new features include additions to the Content Aware tools. Content-Aware Patch allows the user to select an area from an image and then let the computer fill in another image with the chosen section. Content-Aware Move enables users to select an object in a picture and move it to a new position, like magic!

A long-awaited highlight comes in the form of the built-in Lorem Ipsum dummy text generator, which allows the user to add dotted or dashed lines to shapes easily. New type styles provide consistent formatting and let designers apply type treatments speedily to their designs.

One of the major differences with the CS6 is that it includes some video editing tools. The tools are basic, and simple to apply – it’s just a case of pressing the Create Video Timeline button on the new Timeline tab, and off you go. Critics might argue that mobile phone apps can now provide the same tools without the need for shifting images from device to device, but in reality many people don’t use their mobile apps, or want to use a basic form of Adobe Premiere without having to sign up as a Permiere Pro user.

The Photoshop CS6 beta includes all of the features of Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended, and is simple to download. As is common with betas, there are bugs, but it’s worth ignoring these to sample the enhanced design tools, incredible performance and fantastic new features of this industry-beating beta.

Download Photoshop CS6 Beta for Windows | Download Photoshop CS6 Beta for Mac

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WWDC 2011 Apple launches Mac OS X Lion iOS5 and iCloud

World Wide Developers Conference San Francisco 2011 has three Software Revolutions prepared for the public: Mac OS X Lion 10.7, iOS 5 for iPhone/iPad and iCloud to keep them all together.

“Mac OS X has over 250 new features and 3000 api’s for developers.”

At WWDC 2011 Mac OS X Lion was presented with 10 key new features:
1 – Multi-Touch Gestures
Improved gestures and BYE BYE scroll bars

2 – Full Screen Apps
New top-right button for it. You can see all applications in full screen.

3 – Mission Control
Bird-eye-view for everything you have running.

Downside to all these features means you have to learn some gestures, learn how to use and get used to mission control, and get used to new full-screen apps.

4 – Built into Lion Mac App Store
Because this was a very “hard” thing to do.

5 – Launch Pad
A gesture for all your applications, it also looks very alike iOS from iPhone/iPad.

6 – Resume
Remembers the application setting, selected texts if it gets closed intentionally or by accident.

7 – Auto Save
Lion can automatically save any document while you are working.

8 – Versions
Automatic versions of your document. A time-machine of all your document versions.

9 – Airdrop
Aa sharing documents and files from a mac to another. Peer-2-Peer Wifi based sharing tool. This is sharing folder improved in visual way.

10 – Mail
Improved version of Mail with some features and user interface from iOS. It also has bubble-like history for the emails which is cute.
I must admit I love the search feature, you can finally easily search and find fast something on your email.

Check them out:

 

Mac OS X Lion will be priced only for $29.99 available in July only through Apple App Store.

( If you take out the flashy box, and the manuals, the disk and all the manufacturing process and SHIPPING for these Mac OS X disks – then you can make a $29.99 operating system, Just wondering why microsoft is still behind on this )

iOS 5 – new OS for your revolutionary device

Here are the WWDC 2011 presented iOS 5 features :
1 – Notification Center
No more interrupting, no more losing the list of notifications if you have the screen locked Notifications Center “is a single place which combines all notifications ” “just swipe your finger down from the top to get your notifications center”.

2 – Newsstand
Magazines and news papers will be available on your iPhone, in a single place that combines all of them (by purchase). The best part is that you get music and video inside the news. This feature downloads in background all the papers and data. (unfortunately you need a good data plan, without it, a music magazine will download while you are sleeping, increasing your bill)

3 – Twitter – new twitter app integrated

4 – Safari Updates – improved reading options. reading list – to read your page later – this will sync up on your Mac or PC and a great feature: tabs for iPads.

5 – Reminders (text, date, location so on)
Love the “location” feature, you can now program reminders by GPS location (if you leave or arrive somewhere). The downside to this is that I can’t imagine what your battery life will get if you use it a lot. Reminders will sync with Exchange on windows and iCal.

6 – Camera
Lock screen shortcut, use the volume up button to take the photo, grid lines, pinch to zoom, AE/AF lock using your finger and basic photo editing features.

7 – Mail
Rich text formatting, drag addresses, support for flagging, search entire content from the mail server, swipe to inbox gestures, added support for S/MIME and built-in dictionary.

9 – PC-FREE
No more “plug in iTunes to setup”, Software Updates are OTA (Over-The-Air), Delta Updates you download only the updates not the entire OS, create/delete calendars from iOS.

10 – iMessage
New message system between iOS devices iPhone-iPad-iPod Touch, supported over WiFi and 3G.
You can exchange:
– text, photos, video, contacts, etc
– delivery receipts (confirmation of sending)
– read receipts (confirmation of read)
– typing indication
– pushed to all devices

The new iOS 5 includes also over 200+ new features, here are a few that were mentioned in the WWDC 2011 conference:
– Split Keyboard for your iPad if you type with your thumbs
– Game Center “iOS is the most popular gaming platform on the planet” (support for Turn-based games)
– Airplay mirroring (wireless mirroring iPad over Apple TV)
– WiFi Sync to iTunes
– Multitask Gestures

 

iOS 5 will be available this Fall. Will it work on all earlier versions of the iPhone ? – NOPE.
iOS 5 will work only on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, and iPod Touch 3rd and 4th gen.

iCLOUD
– stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices
– is integrated with your apps so everything happens automatically.

iCloud and MobileMe are not the same thing.

iCloud features:

– Now iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and iMac – can be synced completely automatically through iCloud. You don’t have to be near your mac or iPod to sync your new music.

– You can Sync: contacts, iCal, mail, appstore purchases, keynote presentations, documents,album photos, music (purchased with your Apple Id), books and magazines.

– IBooks also remembers bookmarks so you can read something on your iPhone and continue on iPad.

– Backup – if you get a new phone, everything you purchased (music apps and books, camera roll, device settings, app data, and personal data)

– iTunes Match for $24.99 will scan your music (no upload) that you ripped or purchased from another place, match it with 256kbps AAC DRM-free music from iTunes and you can have the same benefits as music purchased from iTunes.

Limitations include: 1000 photos, 30 Days storage time on the cloud, 5 Gb of storage (mail, documents and backup) for your Apple ID beside purchased music, app, books and photo stream.
Again, you should have a data plan on your mobile device.

And the best part of this – THIS IS FREE. (no more MobileMe year subscription)

Everything looks pretty iNICE.

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Mac OS X Lion Preview

Apple® today released a developer preview of Mac OS® X Lion, which takes some of the best ideas from iPad™ and brings them back to the Mac® for the eighth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system. Lion features Mission Control, an innovative new view of everything running on your Mac; Launchpad, a new home for all your Mac apps; full screen apps that use the entire Mac display; and new Multi-Touch™ gestures. Lion also includes the Mac App Store?, the best place to discover, install and automatically update Mac apps. The Lion preview is available to Mac Developer Program members through the Mac App Store today, and the final version of Lion will ship to customers this summer.

Mission Control is a powerful, entirely new feature that unifies Exposé®, Dashboard, Spaces®, and full screen apps to give you a bird’s eye view of every app and window running on your Mac. With a simple swipe, your desktop zooms out to display your open windows grouped by app, thumbnails of your full screen apps as well as your Dashboard, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere with a click.

Launchpad makes it easier than ever to find and launch any app. With a single click, Launchpad displays all your Mac apps in a stunning full screen layout where you can launch, re-order or organize apps into folders. You can also arrange apps into multiple pages and swipe between them.

Lion brings the full screen experience that iPad users love to the Mac. With one click, your application window goes full screen, taking advantage of your Mac’s brilliant display. You can swipe from one full screen window to another and even back to your Desktop or Dashboard.

New Multi-Touch gestures and fluid animations give you a natural and intuitive way to interact with your Mac. New gestures include pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps and swiping up to enter Mission Control.

Lion also includes the Mac App Store, where you can find great new apps, buy them with your iTunes® account, and download and install them in just one step. Apps purchased from the Mac App Store are installed directly into Launchpad.

Additional features in Lion include:

– a new version of Mail, with an elegant, widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; Conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one easy to read timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010;
– AirDrop, a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup;
– Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions;
– Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
– Auto Save, which automatically saves your documents as you work;
– the all new FileVault, that provides high performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from your Mac instantaneously;and
– Mac OS X Lion Server, which makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone®, iPad and iPod touch® devices.

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