Aug 01

Microsoft previews Outlook.com email.

 

Chris Jones Introduced outlook.com email preview on a blog post yesterday.

Outlook.com is Microsoft’s new cloud email offering for the general public. It has a much cleaner interface following in essence what they’ve done with their Windows OS and phone offerings. It’s also integrated with Skype, Microsoft Office Web Apps, and SkyDrive. I haven’t played with most of the new features, but so far I like the ability to edit and view Office documents on the fly. Outlook.com is also tightly integrated with most social networking sites.

Outlook.com connects to your mobile phone or tablet using Exchange Active Sync. So you should be able to synchronize mail, contacts, and calendars without issues.

You can sign up and create an account by going to www.outlook.com. If you have an existing Hotmail Account you can upgrade to an Outlook.com account by clicking the “Upgrade to Outlook.com” option under the “Options” menu (located on the top right of your inbox). You will be able to keep your old hotmail.com account but will be using the Outlook.com email. As with most free email services, you can also create more email aliases by going to “Create an Outlook.com Alias..” option under “More Email Settings.” The aliases can be hotmail.com, live.com, or outlook.com as long as no one else is using them.

People have reported a few issues after upgrading their hotmail.com accounts to outlook.com so tread carefully. Since my Hotmail personal account isn’t really that important, I’ve upgraded it already, and so far I haven’t had any issues.

Microsoft will eventually upgrade every user of Hotmail.com to Outlook.com. They will also do away with the Hotmail.com service. All Hotmail.com users will  be allowed to keep their existing hotmail.com email. I am not sure if they will still allow you to create aliases that include Live.com and Hotmail.com. We’ll have to wait and see.

Let us know what you think if you’ve already upgraded or created a new account.

 

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Jul 19

Windows 8 to be available on October 26th

That’s right, Windows 8 will be available this next October 26th. Users will be able to get Windows 8 on new PCs or upgrade their existing computers to Windows 8 starting on that date.

I’ve been playing with the customer preview releases of Windows 8 and Server 2012 for the past few months, and I am starting to like a few of the features. I am still not a big fan of the new Metro interface though, but I am sure I will grow to at least tolerate it as time goes on.

Microsoft also announced the release timeline for Windows Server 2012. It will be available to hardware partners in August, and customers can buy equipment with Server 2012 sometime in September.

Microsoft is starting to invest a lot of energy and money in the tablet and phone markets. So much so that this next release of Windows has a user interface designed around these touch screen devices. We’ll just have to wait and see how that works out for them.

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Sep 21

Microsoft Releases SBS 7 Preview (Beta).

I just received an e-mail from Microsoft stating that SBS 7 Preview has been released to the public. SBS 7 is the next installment on their Small Business Server lineup. It is the successor to SBS 2008. SBS 7 is built on Windows Server 2008 R2 code. It also includes Exchange Server 2010 SP1 and Microsoft Sharepoint Foundation 2010. I am actually eager to try it, and I will be downloading it and installing it as soon as I have time. I’ve been playing with SBS code name Aurora for the past month, and this new release  will keep me entertained for quite some time. You can read more about it on the SBS site. You can download the software at the Microsoft Connect Site.

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Jul 12

Microsoft announces next versions of Small Business Server.

Microsoft announced today at their Worldwide Partner Conference that they would be releasing the next version of Small Business Server  for testing to the public by the end of summer.

Two versions will be released for preview – Small Business Server 7 Preview and Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora” Preview.

The first one, SBS 7, will be an update to their existing SBS 2008  Product. This version will include updates to the major components in the Small Business Server Suite (Server 2008 R2, Exchange Server 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2, etc…). The second one, code name “Aurora,” will be introduced as an entry level solution for small businesses with 25 or less users (The standard version of Small Business Server 2008 and 7 supports up to 75 users/devices).

I was wondering for quite some time now if Microsoft was going to update the current version of Small Business Server 2008 to include Windows Server 2008 R2, and this announcement answers my question. I like the changes introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2, and I welcome them to the SBS world. What does this mean for the existing users of SBS 2008 though? I’ve migrated a lot of my customers to SBS 2008, and they love it. Will there be an easy upgrade path to SBS 7? Will it make sense to upgrade, or will we just be better off waiting for the next upgrade cycle? Because if it’s not broken, why fix it, right? I am pretty sure all these questions will be answered with time. In the mean time I’ve registered to be a beta tester, and you can be sure that I will be playing with this release as soon as it is out.

Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora” is an interesting concept. A “lightweight” version of Small Business Server targeting the entry level market – businesses not ready to make the jump (financially) to the standard version of SBS. From experience, I can say that most of the customers that haven’t made the jump to the SBS bandwagon haven’t done it for financial reasons. Most times we can find ways to finance the investment, and the problem is solved. I don’t know how effective it would be to have an entry level version to target this market segment, and I can’t tell for sure until I play with it, know the features, and know the pricing structure.

You can find out more about these two new versions by going here. Also, if you are interested in trying the beta versions when they are released, go to the Small Business Server site and register.  I’m already registered and can’t wait to try them out.

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Jun 22

Google Voice No Longer Invitation Only.

Google now allows anyone in the United States to create a Google Voice account – no invitation required. Google Voice gives you the ability to have one telephone number that rings all your phones. You get free text messages and calls in the U.S. and Canada. The voice mail feature allows you to transcribe messages, and you can access it just like you would access your e-mail. Up until now you could only access the service if you were invited, but now you can create an account any time.

I have been using it for over a year, and it is pretty good – and free. I like the features it offers, and having one number ring all your phones is pretty awesome. I recommend you give it a try. You’ll like it.

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Mar 12

Newegg admits to have sold fake Intel CPUs.

In a recent article, we posted that the e-tailer Newegg.com had shipped to some customers what appeared to be counterfeit Intel CPUs.

Newegg originally stated that the CPUs were demo units that were accidentally shipped to their customers, and they quickly took action to fix the issue by shipping real CPUs to their affected customers.

HardOPC wrongly reported that the “demo” CPUs were provided to  Newegg by D&H Distributing. This statement prompted D&H to threaten HardOPC with legal action for libel.

This last Monday, Newegg published on their Facebook page a statement indicating that the CPUs were indeed fake and blamed one of their providers, IPEX, for the fiasco.

Here’s what Newegg had to say:

Newegg is currently conducting a thorough investigation surrounding recent shipments of questionable Intel Core i7-920 CPUs purchased from Newegg.com.

Initial information we received from our supplier, IPEX, stated that they had mistakenly shipped us “demo units.” We have since come to discover the CPUs were counterfeit and are terminating our relationship with this supplier. Contrary to any speculation, D&H Distributing is not the vendor that supplied us with the Intel Core i7-920 CPUs in question.

Newegg’s top priority is to proactively reach out to all customers who may have been affected to ensure their absolute satisfaction. We have already sent out a number of replacement units and are doing everything in our power to resolve the matter promptly and with the least amount of inconvenience to our customers.

We have always taken pride in providing an exceptional experience for each customer, and we apologize for any inconvenience to our valued customers. We take matters like this extremely seriously, and are working in close cooperation with Intel and the appropriate law enforcement authorities to thoroughly investigate this incident.

Newegg solved the issue promptly with their customers’ satisfaction in mind. I didn’t expect less from them, but the thought remains in my head. How were these CPUs able to go unnoticed until they reached the end user? Newegg will obviously have to look into their QA practices more closely after this.

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