Microsoft introduced its cloud-based productivity suite, Office 365, in limited beta last year, giving small businesses access to always up-to-date versions of Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online from remote locations. According to Microsoft, the private beta was such a hit that the Redmond software company decided to open it up to the public, expanding Office 365 availability to millions more people in nearly twice as many countries and languages.
Distractions are distracting--it’s a fact! Faced with a constant stream of tweets, memes, PC gaming, Facebook, and the ability to watch on demand video through services like Hulu and Netflix, it’s amazing anyone ever gets anything done at all. Even task-oriented programs like Microsoft Word can bring productivity to a screeching halt with its plethora of editing and formatting options. When a deadline looms and stuff simply has to get done, some of us have the willpower to ignore all the distractions that our PCs offer and focus on the task at hand. For the rest of us, there’s Write Space, our Chrome Web App of the Week.
If you’re the type that doesn’t just let Windows Update run amuck on your system, you might want to make sure you pay extra attention this Patch Tuesday, and roll out the fixes to your machines sooner rather than later. According to Microsoft it plans to issue 12 separate patches to address 22 vulnerabilities, 3 of which are rated “critical” which is the most serious rating a fix can carry.
Going forward, Ubuntu's developers decided it is in the best interest of the open source OS to ship with LibreOffice for its productivity suite, replacing the Oracle-owned OpenOffice that previously came pre-installed. That includes Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), which will be available April 28, 2011, ZDNet confirmed.
LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, which came into being after contributors for the latter became fed up with how Oracle was handling (or not handling) things, and thus LibreOffice was born.
"Oracle needs to see where we're going, and the momentum, and what they can provide," LibreOffice developer Michael Meeks told THINQ last year. "It takes a long time for people steeped in ten to fifteen years of proprietary development to understand free software, and if you look at how that community was structured inside OpenOffice, there were many obvious weaknesses and it's a shame that their experience has been that free software does not provide compelling value [to Oracle]."
The decision by Ubuntu makes it the first major Linux distro to ship with LibreOffice, assuming the due date doesn't get pushed back. Fedora 15, due out on May 10th, will also ship with LibreOffice.
The last few Patch Tuesday’s have been a bit heavier than usual, but December is poised to break the record again with 17 Bulletins being issued addressing 40 separate vulnerabilities. Before you panic however you should know that only two of the vulnerabilities are rated as “critical”, with all but one of the remaining flaws falling into the “important” category. A critical flaw is anything that allows for remote code execution so even one is bad enough, but at least we won’t have to wait too much longer for a fix.
The vulnerabilities are addressing every version of Windows from XP all the way to 7 (including server), as well as all supported versions of Office. A full list of the bulletins can be found on Microsoft TechNet, along with details of a webcast scheduled for Wednesday to address any questions.
Long story short this isn’t a patch Tuesday you would want to skip.
Google Wave may not have lasted long as an official web app, but the search giant announced today that it intends to use the existing code to design a fully functional application that can be hosted by anyone who wants it. The service will lose its integration with Gmail, but will still give active Wave participants a place to use and modify new and existing Wave’s after the service shuts down at the end of the year.
In many ways Wave might stand a better chance of reaching its full potential as a community open source project than as a neglected Google product. At the very least it takes the sting away from those who used the service extensively before they found out it was being given the axe.
According to Microsoft, Office 2011 for the Mac platform will land on store shelves at the end of October, and while that's a good two months away, Mac users will save a bundle over Office for Mac 2008.
The new version will come in two main flavors, including Office for Mac Home & Student Edition ($119 for a single install, $149 for a three-installation family pack), and Office for Mac Home & Business Edition 2011 ($199 for a single install, $249 for a two-installation multi-pack). By comparison, the latest version for Mac -- Office for Mac 2008 -- runs $149 for the Home Edition and $399 for the Business Edition.
All new versions will include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Messenger for Mac, while the Home & Business and Academic editions will also include Outlook.
For those who just can't wait, Microsoft said that those who purchase a qualifying Office 2008 suite between now and November 30, 2010 will be eligible to download the new version at no cost. See here for terms and conditions.
Having trouble wrapping your head around Microsoft's Office 2010 suite? Before you plunk down a wad of cash at your local bookstore for an instructional book, give Microsoft's free materials a try.
Novices will want to start with First Look: Microsoft Office 2010, a 186-page ebook in PDF format. This one goes over the changes introduced in Office 2010 and covers each of the apps.
For those will a little more experience under their belt, Getting Started with Microsoft Office 2010 offers a bit more meat for IT types. This one is available in Word, PDF, and XPS formats, and checks in at 259 pages.
Microsoft earlier this week launched its certification program for its Office 2010 productivity suite, providing would-be Office gurus with three levels of mastery. These include Specialist, Expert, and Master.
According to Lutz Ziob, general manager of Microsoft Learning., this year's MOS program was designed to highlight mobility in Microsoft apps.
"Office 2010 frees users from one computer, or even one type of access device," Ziob explains. "Through Office 2010 you can access your documents through either your smartphone or PC."
Microsoft says its MOS certification program is now in its 10th year and offered in over 140 countries.
Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet is pleading with readers to do their homework before jumping on the Office 2010 Starter bandwagon, and with good reason. Microsoft's Office 2010 productivity software goes on sale tomorrow and while it's true that the ad-supported Starter edition will be free, you might be getting less than you bargained for.
It's hard to argue with free, but it's worth noting that Microsoft gutted the Starter edition to only include basic document viewing and editing of Word and Excel. The goal is not to give Office away, but to entice users to upgrade, which some point out sounds a lot like trialware.
"Incorrect messaging of Office Starter 2010 may discourage your customers from purchasing a full Office suite and could also lead to customer dissatisfaction and confusion," Microsoft wrote in a note to its OEM partners. "Market research shows that many people confused Office Starter 2010 with a full Office suite, and were then dissatisfied because they believed they had received a full Office suite."