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Vol 1 Issue 192
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Windows Preview, videos, rumours;
Norton's new security; WP X7


It was mid-August that Mary Jo Foley wrote "Microsoft is aiming to deliver a technology preview of its Windows Threshold operating system by late September or early October, according to multiple sources of mine who asked not to be named." Her ZDNet column: All About Microsoft, is well respected - she has been writing about technology for at least 20 years.

After that article, the rumours and leaks about an operating system update - call it Threshold or Windows 9 - grew in number and quality until around September 15 when the dam seemed to have burst.

Suddenly there were leaked page views of one build after another. They showed apparently real page shots of changes and / or new features. Topping them all were new videos on Winfuture. de a German web site, by Roland Quandt. He had, at the time this was written, released four videos of what is labelled Windows Technical Preview Build 9834.

Each is also now posted on Youtube:

1. Start Menu

2. Live tiles

3. Multi-desktop

4. Notification Center

Of course, Microsoft has no comment. Nothing to say on what will be in Threshold, when it will be available, how much it will cost or even what it will be named.

BUT, there has been a teaser - On September 30, Microsoft will stage an invitation-only event in San Francisco. It's purpose: to "update press and analysts."

Microsoft will discuss: "what's next for Windows and the enterprise." Doing the talking will be Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, and Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president in that group.

While there is no mention of Windows 9, every news source on the net believes the company will be announcing and probably distributing bits for its new operating system. To say I'm excited about the new Windows is a bit understated. It looks like Microsoft has got this one right!

Foley after getting her invite, put it this way: "It's official: Microsoft has sent out invitations to a September 30 event in San Francisco, where the company is expected to show off an enterprise technology preview of its next version of Windows, codenamed Threshold. . .

"The invitations don't specify whether Microsoft will distribute the Windows Threshold tech preview bits at the event. But previous leaks have indicated Microsoft has been targeting late September or early October to make a first public preview of Threshold available.

"Microsoft also is expected to release a first public preview of the Threshold version of Windows Server at the same time, sources have said."

Paul Thurrott on his Supersite for Windows looking at a more recent build 9841, says: "In less than two weeks, Microsoft will begin revealing information about the Windows Technical Preview, the first pre-release look at the next version of Windows. The actual Preview won't be out until October, I'm told. But there's no reason to wait: Here's what you're going to see.

"You get to the Start menu the same way as before: Just press the Start key on your keyboard or click the Start button on the Windows taskbar.

"You can pin items like desktop applications, Modern apps, folders and contacts to the Start menu. Pinned items appear on the right side of the menu as tiles, and you can resize individual tiles and position them as you wish, as with today's Windows 8 Start screen. You can even resize the Start menu itself."

Brad Sams on Neowin suggested: "A focus of the (September 30) event will be about the enterprise too, which is not a surprise, considering the lack of enthusiasm from large corporations to deploy Windows 8. Look for Microsoft to talk directly to these partners about Windows 9 and how they specifically listened to enterprise feedback to build this version of Windows."

Shawn Knight on Techspot writes: "Sources also indicated that they expect Microsoft to release a technical preview of Windows 9 either at the conclusion of the press conference or shortly thereafter."

Getting back to the videos, Anthony Tosie on Neowin writes that the new Notification centre: "can be seen aggregating alerts from both notifications sent by Windows Store apps and balloon tips sent in the traditional notification area on the taskbar. By clicking on the notification centre icon in the taskbar, all the alerts are displayed with the application's name and a summary of the notification. . . .

"The notification center also displays the time an app sent an alert as well as a button to clear all notifications. Additionally, alerts in the notification center can be removed one at a time by clicking an "X" icon when hovering over them with a mouse. . . . ."

Tom Warren on The Verge says the leaked screenshots and videos give an early indication of what features the company is working on. He writes: "Microsoft is bringing a very early version of its Cortana digital assistant to what will likely become Windows 9. . . . It is likely that Microsoft will seek to combine the Cortana for Windows functionality with its new search button that has been placed on the taskbar. . . .

"Microsoft is also bringing over a number of other Windows Phone features to Windows 9, including Storage Sense and Wi-Fi Sense. Storage Sense is designed to collect information on what data is being stored by apps or the system to make it easier to prevent a hard drive filling up. It's not yet clear how Wi-Fi Sense will be implemented in Windows 9, but the Windows Phone feature allows devices to automatically connect to Wi-Fi access points that do not have a passcode associated with them."

Sebastian Anthony on ExtremeTech writing about the new Win9 Start menu, says: "while it looks completely different from the Windows 7 Start menu, retains most of the same functionality - but now the direct Documents, Pictures, Control Panel, etc. links are on the left side, rather than the right. Instead, the right side of the Windows 9 Start menu either contains a flyout menu for expanded folders, or a panel filled with Metro-style live tiles. . .

"The live tiles are identical: You can resize them and move them around. As you pin (or remove) items from the Metro portion of the Start menu, it scales accordingly. I have to admit, it's pretty slick . . . .

"We also see that the taskbar properties window will let you choose whether the Start screen or Start menu pops up when you hit the Start button. Presumably the Start menu will be the default for mouse-and-keyboard users, while touchscreen devices will default to the Metro-style Start screen."

Is Windows the new brand name?

Something that I've noticed on more than one occasion lately, is any reference by Microsoft to Windows. They use just that word with no number nor extra code name attached. Is it deliberate? A rebranding by Microsoft?

Another example of this was spotted by Paul Thurrott while he was examining numerous online screenshot leaks. While looking at the Licence terms in Setup for one of the recent leaked builds, he writes: "Nothing super-notable here, except for one thing: There is no Windows codename or version number listed.

"Which suggests that rumours about this next version of Windows possibly just being called Windows (i.e. not "Windows 9" or "Windows Yogurt" or whatever) are true."

Tom Warren, on the Verge has similar thoughts - "Microsoft could simply switch to just using "Windows" instead of a numbering scheme. . . . It would be a surprising move, but with Windows clients moving away from big releases towards regular updates it would make a lot of sense. A numbering scheme could still be present, but not marketed directly to consumers. Microsoft has already moved towards just using Windows in marketing videos instead of Windows 8. . . . "

"Further hints at a simplified naming scheme can be found in Microsoft's plans for future Windows updates. The software maker is currently preparing Windows Threshold . . . The upcoming release will place a large emphasis on delivering regular updates . . . rather than preparing big successors like Windows 10 or Windows 11. . ."

There's also new job posting on Microsoft's website. They are looking to "fundamentally change the way Windows is shipping."

Brad Sams of Neowin says the job posting goes like this: "The Mission Control team is seeking a strong developer to help advance the state of client software delivery. We are creating a new system that will fundamentally change the way Windows is shipping to put the ecosystem at the center of Windows. We want every engineer to get an immediate view of how he / she is affecting the Windows ecosystem by providing qualitative and quantitative information that will allow them to take the necessary decisions in real time."

So the changes / updates will come yet faster than they have during this year's speedup. But did you also notice that Windows is always referred to as just that again, no code name or number attached.

Symantec recasts Norton to one security tool

Symantec has consolidated its Norton portfolio into one product. That tool, Norton Security, will be available September 23 for $ 80 a year. Discontinued are Norton Internet Security, Norton AntiVirus and Norton360. Users can access Norton Security on PCs, Macs, Android and iOS devices.

Symantec is hoping to make Norton Security, which has a new user interface and cloud-based management "feel much more like a service and less like the software you used to 'set and forget," Fran Rosch, executive vice-president of Norton said in a blog post.

The cloud-based capability allows users to manage devices through Norton accounts. Rather than setting up a new account for each device on which Norton is running, users will be able to transfer accounts to new devices without starting from scratch.

Wilson Rothman writing in The Wall Street Journal says: "Symantec is overhauling its Norton security software, going from nine products to just one as the company turns its attention to smartphones and connected devices. . . Norton Security most closely resembles the Norton 360 Multi-Device offering that previously had cost $ 100 a year but is now $ 70."

The new product can be used across Windows and Mac computers, as well as smartphones running iOS and Android. It includes other services, such as a password keeper, and offers cloud-backup storage starting at an additional $ 10 a year for 25 gigabytes.

Rothman cited a much appreciated change for consumers: "As part of the transition, Symantec is easing back on pre-installed promotional software that many PC buyers have come to label junkware." He quotes Rosch saying it: "isn't worth the cost. To make the same profit as it does on one direct-subscription sale, Symantec needs to convert about five of the trial software users."

"We're headed towards security as a service," Gerry Egan, the senior director, product management for Norton, told CNet's Seth Rosenblatt. He said the new Norton is not like the Nortons of the past, which earned a reputation for sacrificing performance in exchange for security, Egan said that the new Norton will offer a money-back guarantee. "We will be offering a virus-free guarantee," he said. "If at the end of the day we run into something we can't deal with, we'll give you your money back."

WordPerfect updated to version X7

I've been using WordPerfect for years, many years - I still have one of the grey cardboard manual and disc containers on a shelf above my desk reminding me of its origins in Orem, Utah.

Yes, I'm a WP fanboy, but I also respect and at times use MS Word 2010. Each word-processor has its own attributes and I respect each for the way it makes my day easier.

And yes, I know Ottawa-based Corel released WP X7, the latest version of its office productivity suite, back last spring on April 8, 2014. However this old guy didn't get around to getting the latest and greatest until recently, so forgive me while I enjoy new tasty tidbits such as - PDF Forms, Macro Manager and Mail Merge Expert. Each developed we're told by Cindy Howard, Senior Product Manager, "as a result of consumer feedback."

You say you're not a WP user! Well there's a 30-day, fully functional free trial version of WordPerfect Office X7 - Standard Edition, which includes WordPerfect X7, Quattro Pro X7, Presentations X7, WordPerfect Lightning and the WordPerfect eBook Publisher available at this site. Go for it!

Veteran writer Edward Mendelson on PC Mag has kind words about the new X7. "In a Microsoft-centric world, few people (if any) are going to switch from Office to WordPerfect, but if you already have it, you'll want the latest version . . .

"X7 makes tasks like mail-merge easier than before and adds conveniences like the ability to type the first few letters of the name of a feature and use that feature without finding it in a menu. . . .

. . .new WP features worth noting are the ability to save a file in multiple formats (WordPerfect, Word, PDF, HTML 5) at the same time, and the ability to save automatically numbered revisions of a document so you can restore an older version effortlessly.

"But, as in every version dating back to the 1980s, the best thing about WordPerfect is its Reveal Codes feature. This is an optional window at the foot of the main window that shows exactly where formatting features like point size and columns begin and end in your file-something you can't see in any other processor. Microsoft added a roughly similar feature into the OS X version of Word a few years ago, but it's still not in the Windows version. If you're writing for publication, the Reveal Codes feature gives you total control over formatting in ways of a kind you can't get from any other word processing app. . . .

"WordPerfect users tend to be fiercely loyal, as you might expect of users of an office suite that hasn't changed its file format in more than 20 years. . . "Corel's WordPerfect is still the most writer-friendly word processor on the planet. If you're still using an older version, you should rush for the latest upgrade. It's the most reliable and richest WordPerfect version yet-and that's saying a lot."

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