Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 11-17, 2010

Windows XP Until 2020, Really? I Don’t Think So

Last week ushered in a plethora of articles about Windows XP elongated end of service date. I also wrote an article about this, if you want to read more about it. However, what much of the mainstream press forgot to look at (and to some degree, I did as well), was the fact that Windows 7 will be replaced by Windows 8 before 2020, thus making XP’s true death around 2014, give or take a year. Of course, I’ll probably still be seeing articles on this that either haven’t corrected their original statement, or better yet, are completely oblivious to this matter. If you want to read a real take on this coverage, I suggest you take a look at Ed Bott’s post over at ZDNet. He explains the whole ordeal very well, and I might add, very accurately.

Zune Pass in the UK

From what I’ve heard from both Michael Gillett over at Neowin and Windows Live Side, it appears that the Zune Pass is now, or will be, available in the UK. This, of course, is a great ground-breaking event for both Microsoft and those who live in the UK. This service had, until now, only been made available to US citizens. If you’re a current subscriber to the Zune Pass, you already know the awesome benefits that it gives you. For those, however, that may not be so familiar with the service, Zune Pass offers unlimited downloads of music while the subscription is active. The Zune Pass also gives users the ability to download 10 songs every month that they can keep even after the subscription is no longer active. The subscription is priced fairly reasonable as well. You get everything I mentioned for only $14.99 per month. Take into consideration that you get 10 songs for free (to keep forever), that brings the price down to about $5 per month for unlimited music. This service, of course, relates more towards Microsoft’s soon to be released Windows Phone 7, with which the Zune service can be incorporated with the phones very nicely.

Apple’s Press Conference

And how could we not forget about this news. Apple, on Friday, held a press conference to discuss the latest Antenna news regarding its new iPhone 4. Of course, as usual Apple touted the iPhone 4 describing it as being the best phone they had created thus far and how consumers have really been overly positive, despite what the media has said. Finally, after letting everyone know that apparently all smartphones have this antenna issue (yes, even apparently the iPhone 3GS) Apple did “apologize” and offer everyone who had purchased an iPhone 4 a free bumper to go around their phone. Of course, this is still only a Band-Aid and isn’t actually solving the underlying problem, but whatever. On another note, Apple also asked for bloggers and press alike to essentially apologize for spreading this news around the web. Alright, I’ll bite. I officially apologize for anything I’ve mentioned on the Apple Antenna issue, whether it be on this site, Twitter, or person to person. Of course, I still think it’s an issue that has yet to be truly addressed.

Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Beta

For those who care, Microsoft made a public beta available for the Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1. I’ve been thoroughly testing this on several Windows 7 machines (which includes installs, upon installs, and then other vigorous testing) and also on one Windows Server 2008 R2 machine. So far, I’m impressed with the stability of the beta (I’ve only had one major issue, and a couple minor one thus far). Microsoft hasn’t announced an official release date for SP1; however, it won’t be the October release that some sites had been announcing that’s for sure. I’m guessing we won’t see SP1 until next year. For what it’s worth, if you’re currently using Windows 7, SP1 will basically be an update roll-up, so if you’ve been keeping up with Windows Updates for the past year or so, you should be in good shape anyways. SP1 will not add any major new functionality to Windows 7, but it will add some functionality to Windows Server 2008 R2, which may be why Microsoft has delayed the release date so that they can get more testing done on the Server side.

Why I Use, Love, and Recommend Microsoft Outlook

I’ve been using Outlook on an on and off basis for the past eight years or so. I first started with Outlook 2000, then XP/2002, 2003, 2007, and now I’ve finally transitioned (well, in the past year) to Outlook 2010 (basically, I’ve used every version except for Outlook 97, when it was first unveiled in the Office Suite and to some degree, the free Outlook 98). I must say, it’s a fantastic program and I am now to the point that I don’t know what I’d do without it. Of course, many critiques of Outlook have said that it’s slow and buggered up, but I’ve found quite the opposite. After you get it synced to your mail account (Hotmail is a very quick process; Gmail, however, can take quite a bit of time), it seems to be a very fast and responsive application. With Outlook 2010, I’ve never had to “wait” for the program to respond. However, I have had to wait for some of the cloud-based apps that I’ve used, like Hotmail, Yahoo! and for some strange reason, especially Gmail. Anyways, the purpose of this is that I plan on hopefully writing a bit about Outlook on the site and adding in some unique and interesting ways that Outlook can be used to easily organize your life. So look out in the coming weeks for articles on Outlook 2010. I would also like to write a bit more about Microsoft Office 2010 as a whole, sort of like my Windows 7 Up-Close article, Office 2010 Up-Close.


As always, you can contact me either by leaving a comment below, e-mail, or through Twitter. Until next week!


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