TWT Newsletter, Issue#050 – Office 365 and E3 round-up
Welcome to our 50th TWT Newsletter! Belated happy 4th of July wishes go out to our US readers and happy 50th newsletter to everyone! 50 issues and still going strong, the TWT Newsletter brings you the best of the months IT news and valuable tips for working with your PC. We hope you enjoy this anniversary edition and here’s to another 50.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Office 365 officially launches, is this the future of Microsoft Office?
3) Tip of the Month – Are you running 32 or 64 bit Windows? Here’s how to tell
4) Free Utility of the Month – GameSave Manager
5) E3 2011 round-up
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
There were several site updates in June as well as a new article. Instant messaging and social networking are very popular services. To keep in touch with all your friends without having to have dozens of tabs/applications open at once, you might want to consider a multi-protocol instant messaging program. In our new article, entitled “Multi-protocol IM Showdown”, we review and compare Pidgin, Trillian and Digsby to find out which is the king of IM. Read the article by visiting this link.
Since Trillian has had a major update, it was time to update our Trillian tutorials. You can view four new Trillian 5 tutorials by visiting this link.
Finally for June, we updated our ZoneAlarm firewall tutorials. This popular free firewall continues to protect PC’s all over the world and now it’s easier than ever to use. To view our updated tutorials, click this link.
Office 365 officially launches, is this the future of Microsoft Office?
Despite strong competition from free alternatives, Microsoft Office remains one of the most popular office suites on the PC. Now however, there’s a new member of the Office family that is radically different to its predecessors in one important way, it runs over the internet, in the so-called ‘cloud’.
Office 365 is Microsoft’s answer to Google Docs. Now, all the familiar Office applications are available to you wherever you have an internet connection. Need to access an Excel spreadsheet you were working on in the office from your home PC? No problem, just log into the Office 365 site and use the online version, you don’t even need a copy of Excel on your PC. Want to access a Word document on your smartphone? Again, this is possible on certain handsets.
Microsoft offer a free 30 day trial of Office 365, so naturally we took the software for a quick test drive. Using the web based applications, while not quite as responsive as the desktop versions, is still quick and easy. Microsoft have gone to great lengths to make sure that users familiar with the desktop versions of the office apps will feel instantly at home. Any document you create is saved in the cloud, meaning it is accessible wherever you go and also instantly backed-up. Microsoft also include an online version of their collaboration software Sharepoint, as well as Exchange e-mail, instant messaging and voice chat software too in some versions.
For the many users who use the Office desktop applications, Office 365 can integrate smoothly with the regular old Office, giving Office users the benefit of cloud document storage without the reduction in application performance associated with running programs in a web browser.
So, would we recommend Office 365 for home users? At the moment, we’d be hesitant. Even when creating an Office 365 account it is easy to tell this product is aimed at enterprise rather than home users. The Sharepoint and Lync (instant messaging) options are unlikely to be of use to home users. Furthermore, when using the online versions of the Office applications, we noticed that it was not possible to open existing Office documents from your computers hard drive unless the desktop versions were installed too. If someone e-mails you an office document for instance, you will still need the desktop versions of Office to open it.
Finally, did we mention that Office 365 is not free? Just like the regular office, Microsoft expect you to pay for this version too, prices start at $6 a month for individuals and small businesses. Remember that Google Docs is free (see this link) and, while not as fully featured as Office 365, it still contains enough functionality to suit many home users.
Is Office 365 the future of Microsoft Office? In some capacity yes, though possibly not as dramatically as some cloud computing enthusiasts predict. It is likely that both Office 365 and the desktop versions of office will continue to compliment each other for some time. Even with a blisteringly fast internet connection, the desktop versions of Word, Excel and the rest of the Office suite still outperform the online versions. Of course, with an Office 365 account your documents are instantly backed up and accessible anywhere you have an internet connection and that’s something that can be invaluable for many users.
If you are curious to learn more about Office 365, you can visit the official Office 365 web-page by visiting this link.
Tip of the Month – Are you running 32 or 64 bit Windows? Here’s how to tell
The 64 bit editions of Windows are now becoming more and more commonplace. Now that computer users are adding more RAM to their systems, the 64 bit edition of Windows becomes very attractive. Did you know that 32 bit windows only supports 4 gigabytes of memory, and that this includes the memory on your graphics card?
When choosing software, you may need to know if you are running the 32 or 64 bit version of Windows, here’s how to tell quickly.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 – Open the Start Menu, right click on computer and choose “Properties”. A computer properties window will open. Under “System” on this window, there is an entry labelled “System Type:” which will let you know if you are running 32 or 64 bit.
Windows XP – Open the Start Menu, right click on My Computer and then choose “Properties” If you don’t see “x64 edition” listed anywhere on the window that appears, you are running the 32 bit version of XP.
Free Utility of the Month – GameSave Manager
Every year, June means it’s time for the E3 video games exhibition and of course that means all kinds of exciting new games news. Continuing this theme, here’s a little-known utility that could help anyone who plays games on their PC. GameSave Manager scans your computer for saved games/profiles and other data from the games on your PC. It then backs these up to a folder of your choice or, if you have DropBox, it can back them up to the cloud.
Now, if you ever accidentally delete your save games, or you suffer a hard drive failure, you won’t need to worry about your save games getting lost or incorrectly restored. What’s more, if you have multiple PC’s you can then synchronise save games across your PC’s using Dropbox and GameSave manager.
Although GameSave Manager contained some features that didn’t work correctly when running on an account without administrator privileges, we still decided to give the program our free utility of the month award and hopefully the developers will be able to solve these problems and continue to add support for more and more games.
Find out more about GameSave Manager by visiting this link.
E3 2011 round-up
June means the Electronic Entertainment Expo in LA, where all the big players in the video game industry get together to show their new wares. The big news this year was from Nintendo, who unveiled their successor to the Wii. The new WiiU comes with a touch-screen controller with a large screen that the console can beam images to. The controller includes d-pads and analogue sticks, meaning both traditional games and motion controlled titles can work on the new console.
For PC gamers, there was less news this year than we might have hoped. Microsoft’s conference focused entirely on the Xbox360. However, a few interesting Windows related facts were revealed after the press conference. Most interestingly, Microsoft interactive entertainment marketing chief Mike Delman said that Xbox Live would be “built into” Windows 8. What this means exactly is still unclear. Hopefully, Microsoft will overhaul the flawed Games for Windows Live service into something much more polished. Maybe we will be able to buy some games on the Xbox and play them either on the Xbox or the PC (and perhaps for a few titles, our Windows phones too). It’s exciting news especially for those of us who use both Xbox and the PC on the big screen.
Elsewhere on the show floor, there was still plenty of support for Windows PC’s in gaming. For performance enthusiasts, PNY were showing their new range of easy water-cooled graphics cards, that allow users to install a super efficient water cooling system without the hassle or risk of creating and filling a system themselves. To find out more about these, click here.
SteelSeries revealed their new Diablo 3 headset and mouse, specially designed for the eagerly anticipated new PC Game (which was strangely absent from the show). You can find out more about their gaming peripherals here. Razer also showed a new gaming keyboard with built in LCD track panel. visit their website here.
There were also dozens of new exciting titles, below we’ve picked out a few of our favourites:-
Bioshock Infinite – The latest entry into the Bioshock franchise sees the player exploring a dystopian flying city called Columbia, on a mission to rescue an enigmatic young woman called Elizabeth. Expect all kinds of sci-fi action in this latest instalment that promises to be every bit as engrossing as the previous instalments. See the games official website for more information.
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Star Wars games are always popular and this latest addition looks set to capture a huge audience of new and old fans alike. A massively-multiplayer online game created by BioWare and Electronic arts. Players will be able to explore the Star Wars universe, team up with other players to engage in epic battles and choose the light or dark side of the force. For more information, see the games official website here.
Carrier Command – Gaea Mission – For those of you who prefer your gaming a little more cerebral, this update to the 1988 classic Carrier Command sees players in command of an aircraft carrier taxed with capturing and controlling a network of islands before the faster, terrorist controlled enemy carrier can do the same. The original game captivated strategy gamers worldwide and the new update seems destined to delight both returning fans and new commanders alike. Visit the games official website by visiting this link.
Ibb and Obb – Family friendly games for the PC were difficult to find at this years E3, but this friendly looking cooperative platform game certainly fits the bill. Working together, Ibb and Obb must make their way through the strange landscape, using the white ‘warps’ to change gravity and walk underneath the current level. It sounds confusing, but once you see the game in action, things become easier to understand. Head over to the games official website where you can watch a video of the game.
That rounds off our newsletter for July. We’d like to take this opportunity once again to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support, whether you have been with us since issue one or this is the first time we’ve dropped into your inbox, we are always grateful for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th August 2011 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7! We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page or by leaving us feedback in our forum. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy. Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!