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23/12/2017

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So this support for one PC and one Windows tablet is intriguing because, well, what's the difference? Why the distinction between the two form factors? Microsoft wouldn't say. It's possible that this is leading up to a new set of touch first Office apps that run in The Interface Formerly Known as Metro on Windows 8.x and Windows RT, which is something Redmond has been hinting at for ages.Significantly, however, our Microsoft spokesperson gave no further hints that a new, fondle-friendly version of Office for iOS and Android would be coming soon, saying only, For iPads and Android tablets we recommend Office Online.Otherwise, Office 365 Personal confers all of the benefits of Office 365 Home Premium. Subscribers can install the full Office application suite – including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher – albeit only on one PC or Mac (and there are no OS X versions of Access, OneNote, or Publisher).They also get 20GB of cloudy storage on the newly renamed OneDrive, 60 minutes of Skype calling per month, and access to the Office on Demand application streaming service.Funnily enough, Office 365 Personal subscribers won't really be saving much money. A subscription costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 billed annually. That's compared to $99 per year for Office 365 Home Premium – which, again, allows subscribers to use Office on five times as many devices.

A strict launch date for Office 365 Personal wasn't given, but it will debut this spring. When it does, the current Office 365 Home Premium offering will be renamed Office 365 Home, although it will retain all of its current features. Schneider said Redmond would have more details to share about Office 365 Personal closer to when it launches. High-flying fanbois will soon be able to use their iPhone, fondleslab or laptop to watch free video content on United Airlines flights.Apple and United have struck a deal which will allow users of iStuff – running iOS 7 – to watch 50 movies and almost 200 TV shows free of charge.However, fandroids shouldn't get any ideas just yet. On the webpage announcing the link-up, United Airlines are at pains to point out that Android mobile devices are not fully supported at this time.The new service will be available on most domestic (which means American) flights by the end of the year.All fanbois need to do is download the latest United app and get on the plane. Some content will be accessible through a browser, whilst other bits will require the app itself.

Hands on Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Update 1 – with pain relief for those suffering from “customer satisfaction issues” – is widely expected to be released in early April.It'll probably coincide with the Build developer conference starting on 2 April. This spring update has already gone to computer manufacturers to install on their new machines, and in the last few days it has leaked out on the internet – meaning anyone who wants it can pull it off the Microsoft servers without waiting.I’ve been giving it a try. The “satisfaction issues” addressed are intended to make life easier for users of non-touchscreen PCs who rely on the mouse and keyboard to get around.I prefer to use a Thinkpad X-series laptop when traveling and covering trade shows – such as Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona last month – mainly due to the durability of the hardware.For this, Linux-powered Ubuntu 10.x used to do me fine, it's unfussy and unobtrusive and uses the PC’s resources well. That went out of the window when Ubuntu started smoking the Unity crack pipe. For longer documents, Word on Windows is simply a better tool than Word on any Mac. This all makes me the kind of “desktop and mouse user” Microsoft says it wants to make happier with 8.1 Update 1.

Microsoft has implemented many excellent optimisations within Windows during the past five years, distancing the operating system's kernel from the version in Windows 7 and Vista. But despite this under-the-hood work, Windows 8.x has proved highly disruptive to users, IT managers and the entire PC industry, largely due to the touchscreen-friendly user interface changes Microsoft forced upon people in 2012.There are a number of areas where Windows 8.x really caused problems. Familiar on-screen elements such as the pop-up Start Menu were removed. Secondly, software settings were scattered to the wind. Some disappeared altogether, some of the rest landed in a new Control Panel and others in apps; the older Control Panel remained. Another common WTF! provoker was printing: it seemed you couldn’t easily print from most Metro Modern apps. WTF?Fourthly, Windows 8 gave the user a shock when he or she flipped between traditional desktop applications and the elephantine new Modern apps and back again. This was a bit like reading a book in which random pages would be set in EXTRA LARGE TYPE – but you couldn’t read ahead to see when they were coming.

Finally, the Modern apps seemed anything but modern: they represented a step-down in functionality. Nobody could argue that the Mail app was anything like as functional as Vista Mail.For Windows tablet users, this wasn’t an issue – these users weren’t context switching, and didn’t need continuity. They still found settings hard to find. But it was the fourth - the limited Modern functionality – that was the killer. Since then Android scaled up well into low cost ‘slabs, while iPad apps are far more sophisticated. This left no reason to buy a Windows tablet. It was desktop users who had to shoulder the pain.At MWC in Barcelona last month, Joe Belfiori claimed that according to Microsoft’s own user testing: “Users of touch devices are more satisfied than users were with Windows 7. But users of Windows 8 on non-touch devices were in general a little less satisfied.The Windows 8.1 Update 1 gives a better non-touch experience, more hardware options, better IE compatibility for education and enterprise users, and the hardware requirements and licensing has been tweaked.I found the UI changes are mainly small and subtle. More options are now available by right-clicking the mouse. Modern apps become Windowed Windows apps, bounded by traditional Windows conventions – they get a menu bar and close button. They also now appear on the Windows taskbar, although you can turn this off. They get a live preview thumbnail, just like in Windows 7, although this doesn’t work for all third party apps. The popular Tube app just shows its icon as a preview.

The more useful shortcuts implemented in Windows 8, such as switching to the previous app, are retained. In Microsoft’s taxonomy, though, “everything legacy” is considered one app, and bunched together as the Desktop. Overall, given a Windows 8 machine, I found that banishing Modern was the best way to retain sanity. If one installed Start8 or a free equivalent, it was possible to refrain from plunging into the Modern environment for weeks at a time. If there was a need to run a Modern app, it could be tamed using ModernMix, which Windows-ised the app.I found with the Windows 8.1 Update 1, I could dispense with ModernMix, even though I lost the ability to run the Modern-style app in a Windows. However, I’ll probably opt to retain Start8 as it has extra conveniences, such as turning off Taskbar transparency and giving me right-click access to the Win-X menu. However inconsistencies remain. Users who preferred their window chrome to be dark, which is less distracting, have had to sacrifice legible title bar text since Windows 8 arrived. You cannot set the title bar text to be light against a black background. This is trivial, but it’s pretty silly.

You still see a horizontal scroll bar on the Start screen, even when there’s nothing to scroll. Why? And the Start screen retains a button that does a quite baffling miniaturisation. I’m not sure why.Apple has embarked on a mission to allow fanbois to take the best quality mobile phone selfies in the history of humanity.As well as a new section in the iTunes store specifically dedicated to Sharing Selfie apps which allow fanbois to share pictures of their ugly mug, the fruity firm has patented a system to allow them to fix lenses to an iPhone.Apps for the self-obsessed include sexting enabler Snapchat and something called Front Flash, which is dedicated to helping low light exposure. But not of the rude kind, obviously.The patent is full of references to rotating members and bayonets, which sounds pretty painful.Yet this just relates to a bayonet lens attachment system. In a nod to Apple's Magsafe plug, which loosely connects to a laptop using magnets to prevent any disastrous tugging incidents, the fruity firm's new system allows the lens to detach in the case of a drop event.

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